Being the Best

February 20, 2010

Ok, here’s the thing; I have been watching and listening to Andres Segovia a lot lately and having read his biography know that the man used to practice 8-10 hours a day. Every day.  Currently watching Julie & Julia and know that Julia Child was so pissed that the men in her Le Cordon Bleu class was mocking the way she prepped onions, that she bought a  20 LB bag and chopped every single one over one afternoon until she mastered it. Been watching the Olympics on and off and know that those kids also practice all day long and physically injure themselves in their quest to be the best. I read about historians who devote their whole lives to a single topic and have an encyclopedic knowledge of their chosen subject.

This is why I’ll never be great at anything….

At this point in my life I realize that even though I have aspirations and some degree of talent in a few disciplines, despite my passions for such things as cooking and music, I will never amount to anything that anyone would consider “the best”. What I am is in what I guess you’d call middle management. Having been in mid to upper management, I find that I hate it due to the people factor. At the end of the day, all you end up being is a babysitter for people less competent than yourselves. I cook of course and like to think I’m pretty good at it, at least better than the average “home cook”, but nothing that would really blow people away despite how much I push myself to be better with each and every dish. I still play guitar from time to time after having done it for a living for a while, but I will never achieve the level of competence that even the average 13-year-old You Tuber has reached. Oh, and I used to fancy myself a writer; having about half a book sitting in a binder for the past 15 years and a few published pieces, but all I can muster now is the very occasional blog that is decidedly weak at best.

Not sure where all this leaves me. Nice to be the typical Jack-of-all-Trades master of none, but there has always been something in me that says I’m supposed to be an expert at something, or something that I am known for or at the very least, doing something I love and getting paid for it; the true American Dream. Thing is, it’s not that I’m not passionate or interested in my work. I find myself working 10-12 hour days and still talking enthusiastically about transportation and international trade, but maybe that’s just good work ethic.

In the meantime, I guess I just keep doing the things I like to do and hope it either pays off in some way, or at least figure out what I want to be when I grow up.


Pop Culture President

January 15, 2010

Here’s another oldie from just about a year ago. 44 % approval rating now last I checked and he’s just getting started.


I am honestly at a loss. Family members , friends who I trust and respect, most of Chicago…All are in a religious fervor about what is about to happen on Tuesday. All for a man who basically looks great on a magazine cover but lacks substance and experience. Just bumper sticker rhetoric. I can only hope that I’m wrong about all this, but I don’t think so. Out of all the people I am thinking of who worship this guy, I can’t think of any who are as versed in presidential history as I am. I think I’ve said all I can say about it since having come from a cult, I know that once something is ingrained in someone, something drastic has to happen to be knocked back into consciousness . I’m just going to hope I’m wrong to the extent that what’s about to happen does not effect me and my family directly.

You see, despite being financially tight to be sure in the past couple of years , I have been able to finance a car with zero down, landed a job with a huge salary increase, and have absolutely no risk of losing my house. Why ? Because I know that the only person you can rely on is yourself and hard work, focus, and smart decisions are the only way a person can get ahead in this country. Well, not the only way. Apparently, the voting public decided that the government will save them and look to Mr. Obama as the Moses to lead them to the promised land.

At this point, all I can do is sit back and watch as Rome burns since I don’t have a fiddle…

That Guy Revisited

January 10, 2010

I’ve decided to repost a few old blogs from the My Space page. Why? Well for one thing, I’ve been dry lately. I guess no news is good news since most of what I used to write about was my anguish and frustration. I have very little of that at present. (Some, but nothing I can’t handle.) For another thing, I thought I’d recycle some material so that my new friends and some rediscovered old ones can benefit from my “Wisdom.” Here goes, from October 2008.

I never wanted to be “That guy”.

That guy is the guy who has a mortgage, children, car payments, you know, responsibilities. Real life… Granted, everyone has responsibilities at one level or another, but then there are those I see on TV that makes me wonder “How in the hell did they get a job like that ?!?” Two examples come to mind; Andrew Zimmern and the host of Antiques Roadshow. Andrew Zimmern is the host of Bizarre Foods. He introduces himself as a writer, a chef, and a world traveller. His job is to travel all over the world and eat local cuisine. Yes, he does eat some things that would give the average person pause, but that’s the point. It’s theatre. Still, I have done some basic research and haven’t been able to find any impressive credentials that would cause this guy to have a network pay untold thousands of dollars to finance a career as a professional global eater.

Then there is the host of Antiques Roadshow, Mark Walberg. Mr. Walberg’s credentials seem to be based as a professional host. He’s hosted sports shows, home improvement shows, reality shows (none of which I’ve heard of.) How do you start in this ? How do you become a professional “TV Personality” ? But I digress. I’m certainly not interested in becoming neither a professional personality nor a professional eater. Although the world that both these men are in greatly interest me. Bringing it closer to home, I have expressed my desire to work in antiques or the culinary world. Just can’t seem to be able to figure out how to go about it.

At this point in my life, I thought I would be something special, something different. I see a lot of people a lot younger than I who are a success at doing something they love be it writing, music, cooking. I had a certain level of success at the first two back in the day, but as I get older, it’s becoming more apparent that in the pursuit of the “American Dream”, I’m just going to end up being that guy…

I’m rambling…What I’m trying to get at here is I am trying to make adjustments to my life so I can find some contentment and peace. Trying to do everything I can think of (and hoping that I stumble across a solution that I haven’t thought of yet.) . All while trying to be patient which was never one of my strong suits. I’m a bit old to be trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up…

Another Year in the Bag

December 29, 2009

Just returned from my first Christmas trip back east in at least 3 years. I know I’m supposed to feel something about the holidays, but I just don’t. Sure, it was nice to see Abby excited about opening presents, looking at the tree etc., but for me it continues to mean nothing. I just don’t  feel the “magic” of the holidays. Pretty sure I never will. It certainly was nice to see my in-laws since I actually like them, and it was nice to see J’nette’s grandparents since I am pretty sure this is one of my last chances to do so based on their health, but I was also about 30 miles from the few friends I have in the world and was not able to see them due to pre-planned  family activities that I had absolutely no control over.  Not to mention the whole thing cost our family about $1000  in trip related expenses that we can ill afford to spend.  So all in all, personally speaking it was not a good investment…

On the plus side looking back over this past year, I am in a much better place professionally which relates directly to my peace of mind. Never again will I leap at money without thinking it through. I will be completely honest since why not and say that I have taken a 15k/year pay cut to take this new job, but the benefits of working close to home coupled with dealing with people I actually like is worth all of that and more. I have also sacrificed a good amount of “power”, but I’ve found myself to be completely OK with that. The things that make me happy and at peace the most is spending time with my family, being at home as much as I can, and cooking. These are all things I can do more of with my current situation. I have some plans in the back of my mind both personally and professionally, but I am waiting for the right time to impliment them. That time will come soon enough and I am content with that knowledge and happy to be on this new and decidedly better path.

Spinning Wheel of Crap

December 8, 2009

How is it I can feel so damn good about myself on Friday and just so completely shitty on Monday? We can save the trite analysis such as “Well, that’s life”, or even “Guess you have a case of the Mondays”. I’m serious. On Friday I was sitting back just feeling totally satisfied with myself. Got the job I wanted where things are going very well.  Met some people (Ok a person in particular) that I was getting really excited about since that connection thing is as rare to me as teats on a bull and very cherished. Had some money problems I’ve been trying to settle and managed to settle at least one of them.  Actually starting to feel….Well, starting to feel again. Today, the job is still well, I’m respected and doing ok. Busy to be sure, but OK. The connection has been lost as fast as it came (not in so many words, I just know…), I got hit with another supposed bill from 1994 of all things (Going to fight that one tooth and nail starting with contacting LifeLock.) and Oh, the day care lady who has been watching Abby since she was 6 weeks old is shutting down due to government harassment and crippling taxes that they can no longer afford to pay. Closing in 3 weeks in fact since they can’t afford pre-paying the taxes and insurance they would owe by staying in business on January 1st.

My fault I guess.

 I should have known after all these years that despite what people say is silly and melodramatic (even people I live with), almost the second I get the feeling of contentment and dare I say happiness, something or somethings are going to happen to make it all come crashing down. 

This is my curse and this is my life. Best I can do is accept it and keep on keeping on as best I can.

Bloggin’ round 3.

November 29, 2009

I titled the blog this way as I have been writing these things long before they were called blogs…Not sure why I bother as my postings usually end up getting me in trouble in one way or the other. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I do it! I had a really bad patch for most of 2009, most of it caused by that nightmare of a job that most of you know about. Throwing up in the mornings and forcing myself to drive there every day by sheer force of will was just no way to live. Things have stabilized professionally and emotionally. I am making less money, I am driving a decidedly laughable looking beater of a car while my luxury vehicle rots in the garage, but I wake up in the morning ready to go to work and enjoying it for the most part. Hard to put a price on that…I’m also meeting some great people and also as most of you know, finding someone that I find interesting to talk to and enjoyable to be around on a daily basis is a rare and cherished thing for me.

Anyway, here I am. Mainly because it feels good to do a brain dump this way every now and then and there is no room to do it in Facebook. Not sure what direction this thing will take. I was all over the map with the one I ran on My Space, but then again so is my head most of the time…I would like to follow some people’s suggestions and do a “Food Blog”, but there are many out there. Besides posting photos of my dishes, I don’t know what else can be said the appearance and more importantly, the taste should speak for itself. Unfortunately I am not able to cook for 99.8 % of you…