October 22, 2010

And I Quote

"I tend to be more forgiving when I go to upscale joints to eat, simply because I realize I'm dealing with lot of items that I may not be used to. Establishments like this are known for getting people who work with unique flavors and taste sensations, to help make them stand out. So, I'm guaranteed to occasionally get something that doesn't immediately connect with me. But I make it a point to work hard, give it a fair shake, and try to be open minded about it.

But if you fuck up a sandwich, you're dead to me."

-Boogie Man Montoya-

March 6, 2010

Kate Gosselin.....AAARRRRRGGGGHHH!

I was checking my Yahoo email the other day, when I had another one of those loud, overly obvious news headlines thrust into my face. You know the type, a big picture of a famous person, coupled with the perfect sound-byte headline, all of which is taking up huge amounts of browser space. You can' help but take it all in while you're trying to locate that little tiny button that actually leads you to your email. Every once in a while, this tactic works. There's something curious enough to actually pulls me away from my task and forces me to click for a new tab, just to learn more about this stirring piece of data. Nine times out of ten, I'm usually hugely disappointed with the result.

I know Yahoo has never claimed to be an authority on the news. And I know they're a company in pain, who's biggest draw at this point is their willingness to dish relentlessly on celebrity goings-on. I'm aware of all these things, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. And I reaaaaallly don't like them when they actually work too.

I could give two shits about why Sandra Bullock is getting an Oscar, or why she doesn't deserve it. And yet, finding myself suckered into a pointless article because of a captivating headline just makes me feel.....stupid. And I don't like to feel stupid people!

Or, you could get what happened the other day; an article so offensive and rage building, that it's amazing I didn't foam at the mouth and die on the spot.

It started off as it always does, I wanted to check my email. Upon signing in, I see the big bulbous picture of a blond woman who looks somewhat familiar. The eyes drift to the headline before my brain can stop them. The mental conversation that followed went something like this:

"Oh, it's Kate Gosselin, that's why I thought she looked familiar."
"According to these big words, she's gotten a make over so she could be on Dancing With The Stars."
"God how I hate Dancing With The Stars."
"You know it's funny, with this new look of hers, I don't really remember what she used to look like before."
"That's weird, I don't even remember what she was famous for either. She must be an actress or something."
"No wait, I do remember now. She was the mom of the eight kids with that Jon guy."
"Ooooh, okay! Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate Plus 8, who recently got divorced and is now a single mother is going to be on Dancing With The Stars!"
"Wait..... what?"

Let us consider the math here. A woman, who's most well known public traits are a styled haircut and the ability to reproduce en' masse, who's home is currently broken by a philandering dipshit of an ex-husband, and is now a single mother to 8 children, is going to be taking part of a reality show where she dances in fluffly clothes and hip music. Someone with no sustainable income beyond being an interesting tidbit in People magazine, who has apparently left their career of being an RN in the dust, and is reliant on the child support payments of an idiot, is apparently using all of her time to do rumba's and tangos. Perhaps I'm a little too old fashioned or something, but I can't help but ask:


I mean shit, one would figure that being responsible for 8 fucking children and having no true support network to speak of, might be something that occupies a good healthy chunk of your time! I've seen mothers all around me on a day to day basis, getting stressed out and overwhelmed with the existence of a single child. 8 should be hard labor people! Free time should be a at the back of your fucking mind! What are these kids gonna do while mommy is shaking her ass in front of a camera? Sit backstage with juiceboxes, hoping the stage hands don't have criminal records?

Oh wait, the article says that one of the judges is helping out by setting up a "special day care" for the youngsters. Isn't that nice? I mean, we're not going to trust the father of the children to look after the kids while mommy's playing whore but hey, why not let a TV judge whom you really don't know, make a "special day care" for your children? That sounds like a wonderfully stupid idea.

The article concludes on a quote. During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Gosselin said "If I can cook dinner and dance, then I'll be doing really well."

Hey Kate?


But, I digress.......

Huh. No new emails, too bad.

February 24, 2010

Switching Off

I have just encountered a strange phenomenon. Something probably foreign to most of the world, but something probably infinity relateable to those who deal in high stress professions: Doctors, Police Officers, Firemen, Soldiers, and to a lesser extent, the people in the profession I'm studying.

Here's how it goes down: I'm driving to to class for a day of fun and pressure in the kitchen. My head is flying at possibilities, getting stations set up, selecting tools, the mad scramble for cookware and appliances to get a head start on things. Part of my head is anticipating potential problems for the personnel in my group, and how to best adapt to it. I've got a mental soundtrack playing in the noodle that's got me pumped. Real pumped.

Soon as I hit the Institute, I hit the ground running. Decked in the uniform, looking sharp and ready, I dash into the kitchen and start tending towards necessity. Grabbing cutting boards, sanitary buckets, that whole shebang. I am reared up on adrenaline, and ready to fly.

And then, the tide turns. Class is canceled, and everyone can go home.

Now for most folks, this would be great news. A day off to go do with what you like. No long hours, or sweaty high stress situations. A day to relax and embrace a little peace. There was a time, not too long ago, when I took this as great news too. I mean, hey, I'd rather be doing other stuff.

But not today. Today, I am mortified.

My heart is still racing, and I feel practically ready to run a marathon. I've got that much energy, and I really don't know what to do with it.

I've noticed traces of this phenomenon. Days when I'm not in the lab I feel agitated and edgy. I scurry all over the place with this deep seeded feeling that I need to get something done. I have no idea what that something could be, but it needs to be finished before I can calm down.

I've spoken of the Warface before, and I suspect this is an extension of that. This feeling of constantly being bombarded with stimuli, that you don't think so much as react. Constantly adapting to situations to achieve a set goal, until suddenly it gets achieved. And you find yourself sitting atop a mountain of energy, and no place to put it.

Switching off people. Most folks do it, and do it well. When they're done with their outside life and return home, what's done is done. But, some people, like the aforementioned doctors, police officers, soldiers, etc... can't do it so easily. And somewhere along the line, without really meaning to, I became one of those people.

I'm not complaining, for within all that pressure comes a remarkable sense of achievement. Being able to pull a monumental task out of one's ass within a set amount of time feels pretty damn amazing. It's an endorphin rush like no other. And perhaps, that's what keeps me edgy. Maybe I'm an addict. Maybe I'm riding the rush the way crackheads weave slurry songs to their muse. Truth be told, it makes more damn sense than anything else I've been able to come up with.

Anyways, I just needed to say something about it. To try and get it out of my head so I can go embrace a day to myself. It's sad, I never meant for this blog to be a place where I celebrate and promote the profession I find myself in. There are tons of other blogs out there that do this, and I certainly don't want to be one of them.

Alright, enough of the culinary babble, it's time to get back to bitching, Boogie-style.

February 9, 2010

The Warface

Alright, let's be totally frank here: I really don't know jack about much of anything.

I've managed to compile a working knowledge of the universe based on the knowledge of a sixth grader, mixed with a lot of bad movies. Don't let the degrees and certificates on my wall fool you people, I am sub-functional. A wanderer through the dusty roads of fact and reason, painting my own personal graffiti over both of them. Nobody in their right mind should take anything I say with anything more than a chuckle and a truckload of salt.

So why, why, why, please tell me why, people are actually coming up to me and asking questions like I actually know shit?

This scenario happens in the kitchen in what seems to be a once a day occurrence. I will be standing at my station, pouring through my daily sheets for what needs to be done, flipping through my textbook confirming processes on how to do what's on those daily sheets, and trying to throw a bunch of things together in the vain hope that the end result will taste good. I'll be moving along basing my every step on my working knowledge of the universe (see above) and the little bits of information I am able to gather out of the aforementioned sources. While I'm doing all of this, one of my colleagues in studentia will come up to me, sometimes making the journey all the way across the kitchen, and ask me how to do stuff. "Am I doing this right?" "Should I do this or that?" "It's not looking right, what should I do?" I hear these questions all the time.

Despite the fact that I am in the same program as these poor diluted souls, and am taking the class at the same time with them, and am essentially and idiot, they continue to believe that I actually know something! Me! Something! It's ridiculous!

I have lived a long and reasonably content existence where my word isn't really anything to take seriously. Oh sure, I've been a teacher, and a fairly effective one, but that doesn't count. These people watch me walk into their classroom and don't have to deal with me for more than a few hours. They don't know any better. Besides, I have to put on that face when I step into a classroom. I mean, can you truly listen to someone who doesn't give off that sense of confidence? I need people to believe in me when I teach, otherwise I haven't done my job. And the ol' warface comes with the job. The difference of course, is that in this circumstance, I'm a student. I'm walking into a situation where it's expected that I don't know crap. The point is to sit there, and actually learn something from a smarter, more experienced group of educators. So there is absolutely no reason for anyone to expect me to know anything about anything.

And yet, here we are. I'm getting questions from all sorts of people. Taste tests, problem solving, suggestions, the whole shebang.

What's weirder is that the responses I give to these people usually turn out to be correct ones. I don't know how this happened, but in the processes of reading up and studying things before starting this program, out of the constant fear of being too dumb to keep up, I actually managed to learn a thing or two. I can conceptualize what they're asking, and respond to these queries with confidence. I can actually stand in a group of people, and give out orders........and those orders are actually followed! It's insanity!

I'm not throwing this out there like I'm claiming to have some form of aptitude in this subject, I very clearly don't. It's just strange to have so many people, especially those who really don't know anything about my background (I'm not exactly forthcoming,) believe that I do.

In the end, I guess I'm worried that I haven't removed the warface for this. That despite being in a situation where I can relax with my guard down, I'm not doing it. This is one of the few times in my life, where I'm not required to know everything and have all the answers, and yet I'm still locked up and ready for battle. And by battle, I don't mean combat, but that dreaded, sickly sense in my gut that tells me my word has to mean something. That bad things will happen if my calls are off, even by a bit.

It scares me I guess, because being a leader of people has always scared me. I'm not a fan of telling people what to do, even when what I'm telling them is the right thing, because....you know.......why should they listen to me? Why is my word so damn important? I get through this with the job, because it's.....well......a job. I'm paid to tell them what to do. But such a mentality doesn't work for me in this situation. When I decided to walk into those kitchens, I did so figuring that my time leading anything was done. I walked in expecting to be the quiet outcast. The guy who kept to himself, did everything as he was told, and just sit back learning what needs to be learned. I guess, my hope was to be the throwback to the guy I was in college the first time around. Before I was put into positions where my word was required to carry weight. That isn't happening, and I worry that it may never happen again.

I wish I had a way to conclude this on a more appropriate note, but tell you the truth, I'm just confounded as hell by all of this.

February 2, 2010

One Of The Quirks Of Studying Culinary Arts

I waltzed into the bedroom around 9:45 this evening. I had just gotten through making dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, and was good and ready to plop down in front of a warm, toasty laptop, and dive headfirst into all the happy joy that only the internet can provide.

It had been a pretty productive meal. Pork Chops with scalloped potatoes. Tonight, I decided to toy around with veloute sauce, which is old school classic french stuff, and in the end converted my creation into a supreme sauce, which gracefully resided atop my pork chops. T'was a good series of experiments that lead to a very light and very nice meal.

Has I was kicking off my shoes, it dawned on me that I probably should sit down and do a bit of homework. I was in a peaceful mood, and in a good state to focus on some required studential stuff, so why not crack down and do some homework right?

So, I stared at my desk for what felt like five minutes, but was probably only a matter of seconds, trying to determine what my homework was supposed to be. You see, the mood to actually do homework comes at very intermittent times. And while I always meet deadlines, sometimes it takes until the final hour to kickstart the ol' mental drives, and get the damn things done. In the process of all this waiting and procrastinating, I oftentimes forget what exactly I'm supposed to be doing. This was clearly one of those times.......just staring at the desk, slowly piecing together what my homework was.

And then, it hit me. I knew what my homework was.......and it was dinner.

You see, we're currently studying the classic sauces in lab, and the night's homework was to brush up on them.......which I feel I did relatively competently.

Homework complete...........weird as hell.

January 5, 2010

Boogie's Resolutions: Reviewed

Remember this?

I certainly didn't. As the course of the year went by, and things went from fucked to interested, to a fucked up brand of interesting, I completely lost sight of the dedicated riffs I had set forth about this time last year. It wasn't until I was in the eighth hour of an eleven hour trip home on New Year's Day that I realized, "My god, an entire year has gone by." It's the traditional time for brand new resolutions, and while there were plenty to choose from, I figured I really couldn't start until I evaluated the ones I had made last time around.

And rather than simply flip through them in the quiet contemplation at home, I figured I might as well bare them for all to see in what is sure to be, mass humiliation.

So, let's begin....


Nailed it! But not to the degree I would have liked. There were tons of places and I would have loved to try and chances I would have loved to take, but finances were tight. So, these establishments were left wanting. Still, I've added a lot of places and flavors to the ol' belly, and have since become a regular at a few locales. If anything, 2009 can be clearly stated as the year I really began to appreciate the Vietnamese. Those cats know a thing or two about good eating! So, my appreciation for eating has only increased. And, my ability to cook hasn't fared to bad either. Not great of course, but I'm less likely to poison someone.


Eh, I really can't say I met this one at all. I probably drank less this year than the year prior. The only excuse I can really give is that it wasn't by choice. Again, finances were tight, and the loopy-miser had to sit this one out. Some may say it's for the best, but damnit, I miss the stuff. I'm a fun drinker after all.


I probably broke even here. Except that this year, my adventures were more peaceful and home bound than last years, which ended up being more public and.....probably illegal. I'm not sure if this is a sign of maturity or laziness, but my adventures were definitely a bit more grown up this time around.


Meh. Bleah! Pssh! Forget it bub, I was a pitiful musician this year. I did record some stuff, and I actually played around quite a bit, but not nearly to the degree of my formative years. And I barely took in any new sounds from around the world. Beyond developing a new appreciation for Tom Waits, I pretty much slunk on my belly amongst the musicians that I was around. I'm so ashamed.


Nailed it! In ways, I could have never guessed.

As of August last year, I am a fully enrolled and matriculated student at the local Culinary Institute. I haven't set foot into a kitchen yet, but I managed to pull off a full-time semester with flying colors (Straight A's bitches!) It's strange to have gone from this being a potential pipe dream to actually doing it. Never really thought I would. And strangely, the people in this world have been more eager about this than anything I've ever done. Folks who I had been forcing my musical works on suddenly became very eager about my time spent with food. I guess sometimes you really are the last to know.

As of right now, I now have four shiny new certificates, an assload of knives, and a sparkly white chef coat that makes me look ripped. Not a bad way to check off this goal.

Well, that's the sum up......now for the new year's resolutions:


We're in baby, and we ain't leaving until we're done. I've got 4+ more terms of this program, and I expect to walk out graduated. After spending this kind of dough on it, it'd be sick not to. And, pulling the best grades of my life on my first term in, I've gotten real competitive about it. More competitive than I've ever been about anything in my life. Not so sure that's the best way to go about it, but it definitely keeps me boosted.


The great Kimmi Rudolph of Rock Deli/Metal Deli fame, started a trend that has been a guiding point for the year. While featuring yours truly on one of her esteemed podcasts, she referred to me as a "Dapper Guy." I even briefly won an award testifying to this (which was later changed to "Best Quote," and equally wonderful honor.) And believe it or not, these simple words, kinda altered my brain path a bit. I started wanting to act less like a furious bastard, and more like a dapper gentleman. Being a cook only further cemented this, since the cooks I respect most have always been class acts. I like feeling dapper day in and day out, and wish to continue it more so.

Does this mean that the days of madcap ramblings are over? Hardly. For you see, even the the sophisticated get pissed about shit. They just tend to speak out about them in a very elaborate, well stated way. And that's what I'm all about baby!

The idea here is to treat the good things that are around me better, and find more unique ways to slander the bad stuff. I think I can pull that off with gusto.


This has been one of the hardest years of my life. I haven't had to work as hard to endure through bad times as I have this last year. But, it's also been one of the best. Knowing you can survive something is a fantastic feeling. That despite everything that's going on around you, your ability to adapt and think a situation through can get you through to the end of your troubles. Perhaps it's not the most relaxing way to live, but you certainly feel like you've accomplished something when the smoke clears.

I suspect that this year will be just as hard, perhaps harder. And I want to take my lumps right. It means testing the intellect and the instinct of course, but it also means having faith that things will always work out right. I don't buy into the notion that the universe is a dark and morbid place whose sole purpose is to fuck with my existence for the sake of fun. I'm a butt hair in the eyes of the universe. Barely noticeable, unless you stare really really hard. It doesn't have the time, or the resources to pick on little ol' me.

But I also believe that the universe is self righting. Nature's all about balance, and bad stuff is always weighed perfectly against the good stuff. You just gotta look for it. Keep your eyes open, take chances, and never pass up an opportunity to be happy, no matter how fleeting. Maybe we all can't take in mansions, fancy cars, and beach parties in Malibu, but that's not all there is to life now is there? Never neglect the little things people: a good, well-cooked meal, the smell of firewood burning all around you, making a point to dress up a bit when you're feeling down, finding any excuse to tell someone a great joke. Life's too frickin' short to simply sit and wait for all the big things to happen, when there's a million little things going by you every single day. I aim to bust ass to find them.

And may those of you who read this find as many little things as possible in this the year 2010. All the best!