Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To Russia With Love...

I haven't looked at this blog in months. I don't even like it much. I felt a desire to write today though, so here I am.

I wanted to start an entirely new blog, but I couldn't decide on a title for it, so I figured I'd just throw my feelings out in to the world using this old rag. I refused to change coarse due to minor uncertainly regarding a new direction. A story as old as humanity itself.

I was a little surprised to find that a handful of people are still reading it from time to time. That's the Internet for ya'. Some Russian guy seems really interested. He hit every post several times. Hello, Russian guy. Hello to you.

I don't know who this person is. Could be anyone. I have no way to tell. Could be some crazy American ex-pat. Or a college student. Or some laboring fringe character. Or a North Korean slave who works in a lumber mill in Siberia. That last one is unlikely. I'll assume, however that the person is a Russian resident who has never visited the patch of dirt on which I live. Regardless, I would like to share a tale. The story of what life is like for an average man, on an average day, In America....

Once upon a time...

I live on the outskirts of an old, industrial type of city. It lies at the confluence of two of the largest rivers on the continent. Decades ago, before the Interstate highway system was built, my city was a major shipping hub due to those rivers. Once the highways opened, much of the economy here died. The heart of the town began to economically rot, and that continued for 50 years. All the people who could afford to do so abandoned the city and moved to the outskirts, which creates a micro-economy somewhat healthier than the average for this country.

It's expensive to live on this special little patch of dirt. I should leave, but I'm not sure exactly where I should go instead, so I'm stalling.... See the recurring theme?

I live in a condominium, less than 1,000 square feet. I have a wife and a cat. We procure the necessary money to live here through a variety of means. My wife works for the worlds largest health insurance provider (which profits from the sickness of others). I work at different places all the time, but chiefly, I work for corporate food providers (which profit from making people sick). You see, much of the food here is poisonous. As is the health care. As is everything. Poison leaks in to the ground-water, it falls from the sky, and it flows through our veins. Most of us survive by working in the poison industry.

The cat does nothing; it earns no wages. It sleeps a lot. Financially, it is a leech, but it helps us forget about our long days in the poison business when it frolics about and such, so we keep buying it's food so long as it doesn't bite excessively.

When I'm not hustling poison for a living, I also take care of my family. They are aging, so they need some help. I cook all of their food; nice, clean, healthy food, in an attempt to lessen their health burdens. Six decades of poison have hurt them greatly. This consumes many hours a week, and emotionally burdens me. Between the work hustle and the family responsibilities, I'm busy and tired. Really busy, and really tired.

Despite a history of hard-ships and an uncertain future, however, I am happy. The greatest thing about this place, and perhaps any place, is that there are many kind and wise people. Many of the people are educated. Many are progressively pursuing solutions in the ongoing struggle to increase the quality of daily life for everyone. Many have rejected the horrible beliefs and behaviors of our ancestors, and are moving forward with love and positive energy toward a far superior reality. The Internet is everywhere. In some senses, This is the greatest moment to exist in any location on Earth. Many of us feel that the potential for improvement is virtually unlimited at this moment, and that our lives do have meaning.

It isn't all sunshine and roses though.

The government here is a mafia. It behaves like any mafia does. Our civil liberties are rapidly eroding. This mafia is responsible for an uncountable number of deaths globally. I'm sure you're already aware of this though...

Many people are brainwashed by the government. They wrap themselves in the flag, and are willing to die for the principles they imagine it represents. It's scary.

The religions here are a mafia. They behave as other mafias do. They collect funds and lobby the government (although they don't pay taxes) in an attempt to erode civil liberty. Another recurring theme...

Many people are brainwashed by the churches. They point to The Bible as a rule book, and are willing to die for the principles they imagine it represents. It's fucking horrifying.

There are many fools. They are full of hatred. Foreigners, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals are the main targets of their anger. Many of them believe that their God agrees with them. Their primary motivation, however, is fear. They're merely looking for an easy target to point the finger at. They see the house of cards collapsing around them. The economy is failing globally. The state is becoming increasingly militaristic. The media preaches frightening propaganda in an attempt to convince us that we must be physically controlled, that we must depend on the mafia-type groups for survival and protection. It's an alarming reality, and frankly, many of our citizens are too soft, and weak, and ignorant to accept it. They cling to the flag and Bible out of desperation. We'd be much better off without them.

I hope we are evolving in the right direction. I'm just not sure though.

Maybe it's the same in Russia. Perhaps humanity is the same everywhere. I imagine that whoever the Russian reader is, they are someone who feels at least loosely the same as I do about the nature of this reality. I sure hope so.

From St. Louis to Vladivostok, I send my love to you...

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Line In the Sand. Well, Honestly, It's Actually Just Sand

Perhaps it's time to change the title of these scribblings. There is no more cooking. At least for awhile.

I took a new gig. These days, I supervise a group of minimum wage earning youths. I fiddle with spreadsheets. I answer phone calls from a millionaire business owners, while I'm very busy, to discuss increases of 0.2% in food cost percentages. I field complaints about excessive mayonnaise from 39 year old housewives who haven't had intercourse in four months. I whistle when I get that nervous feeling; that suspicion that perhaps the cage door is locked, and that even if I push on it, it may not open.

I stand outside in the alley for three minutes, staring down a storm drain, and try to slow my thoughts. These are the words I say to myself: "Don't freak out man. Society is fucked. This entire social reality is a sham. You're just another fish in this big poisoned pond. Don't overestimate your importance in the universe. Just get through the day, collect your paycheck, and try not to shoot everyone. This is life as you have always known it.".

I go back inside, and my bosses love me. They think I'm the cat's meow.

Maybe I'll tell them who I actually am someday. Maybe not.

I'm micro-managing up a revolution these days. It's sad. I feel like a prostitute. But Jesus, I have to retire someday, somehow, right? The government sure as hell isn't going to help me when I'm old. Or young. Or ever. I need to make some decent cash, sooner rather than later.

Maybe I should just buy a bunch of canned goods, bottled water, ammunition, and weed. I could start writing anti-statist leaflets and handing them out in the park. Maybe I should just sell everything I own and live in the park too.

Too many decisions to make. That's always been the trouble for guys like me.

I'm spending most of my free time trying to sit still and slow down my thoughts. I read, and nap, and try to figure shit out. It's hard to tell if I'm making any progress or not.

Here's what I've learned so far.

I've been trying to figure out the nature of this existence for 17 years now. Either I'm dull and idiotic, or the answers are totally above and removed from anything I am capable of fathoming.

There is some degree of wisdom in honestly recognizing that you aren't wise.

There is zero logical evidence that any supreme being gives a rat's ass about the welfare of the beings who reside on this magical rock. I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm saying the facts simply don't back up the theory.

The previous statement, once accepted and realized, is painful for some, frightening for some, and liberating for others. For me, it's painful. I really wish someone gave a fuck about this train wreck.

Virtual all of my training as a youth was wrong. It is sheer foolishness to care about most anything I was taught as relevant to life. Humanity, my trainers included, is largely confused in regard to everything.

Being loved holds real value. Loving others holds even more value. If authentic, love weakens the ego. Humans are incapable of growing while the ego is allowed to stand it's ground. Don't fear a fairy tale about the devil. Fear your ego.

I suppose that's about all I've learned. Progress as a human? Not sure. Do my thoughts even matter? Probably not.

But I'm here. And I'm saying the thoughts out loud as they pass through my mind. I'm absolutely honest about everything, with everyone.

Except my bosses.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A "Sunny D" Monday...

I was about 12 years old when I first knew that something was terribly wrong.

It was during the 5 o'clock news, on a weekday. I was alone in the house. It had been a bad day. I used to have a lot of trouble getting along with my peers. Sometimes I still have trouble getting along with my peers. So I was sitting there, feeling melancholy, watching the news.

What type of 12 year old, when left unsupervised, chooses to watch the news anyway? Something was already a little off I suppose.

Even now, 19 years later, I can remember each of the stories. A man was shot and killed in a robbery. Police later killed the perpetrator of the crime. He had stolen 150 dollars and some weed from another guy.

Two people were killed in a car accident on I-270. There they were, commuting to somewhere or another in their American made family sedan, and bang, one mistake and they were dead. Smashed like bugs and then burned in a raging fire.

A woman was missing. No one had seen her for four days. The news people gave me her description and license plate number, and advised me to keep an eye out for her.

A small shopping center was being named after a soldier who had died in a helicopter crash. His family was there at the ribbon cutting. They were honored by the gesture, and made some sweeping emotional statement about how their child had sacrificed everything for his beloved country. He died in Southern Illinois somewhere.

The weather man said that there would be thunderstorms tomorrow. He seemed very concerned about every ones safety, and suggested that I stick around until after the break for more information.

The commercials came then. The first one was for a real estate company. It showed a happy young couple closing the deal on a new house. The next commercial was for a beverage called "Sunny Delight". These kids, who were also around 12, had been playing baseball. Apparently, they were very thirsty. They were extremely excited about drinking some fake orange juice.

It was at this exact moment that something snapped in my mind. A powerful realization swept over me. This "Sunny D" commercial was bullshit. And real estate companies were bullshit. Strip malls, dead soldiers, police, criminals ,money, and flaming Ford Crown Victorias were all utter bullshit. The missing lady? Probably ran away. Or killed herself. Couldn't stand anymore of the bullshit.

Within moments, I would identify all sorts of additional bullshit. My parents, their jobs, their cars and house, my Bugle Boy jeans, dog food made by Purina, lawn mowers, gem stones, the grocery store, the church I occasionally visited; all bullshit.

Suddenly I could see what it was that had always been lying below the surface. That vague sense of dissatisfaction that I had felt for my entire life became understandable for the first time. I realized that my entire reality was a bunch of nonsense. The materialism, the patriotism, the entire modus operandi of everyone I knew; it was all a big waste of time and energy. The adults who guided my life were as clueless as I was. My parents were not really in control. Security was an illusion. A childhood fancy. The world around me was a big cluster-fuck, and all of the people in it were crazy. Something, a very long time ago, had gone terribly wrong.

As an adult, I've adjusted somewhat to the harsh realities I exist within. Furthermore, I've discovered some elements of life that are valuable. I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin.

Yet I still live in this horrible culture. I work for a corporation. I spend an absurd quantity of time earning money, spending money, and thinking about money. I own all sorts of shit that I don't need. I pay taxes, against my better judgement. It truly is an incredible waste of time and energy.

Today was the type of day when I really question whether the effort is really worth it. It seems a horrible tragedy that we must waste so much of our lives working like slaves just so we can have luxuries we could do without. In any decently run universe, we'd retire at age 45. By the time most people can retire, their best years are long gone. They are lucky if they can enjoy 15 years of non-slavery by the time they die.

I was doing some paperwork at work today, and I kept finding my self staring blankly at the wall, lost in a daydream.

I saw myself in the woods, 12 years old and barefooted, picking berries from a bush. My family was near by, digging roots from the rich soil with stone tools. My fingernails had blood underneath them and around the cuticles from butchering an animal an hour earlier. I was looking forward to walking home to the long and narrow house that we all slept in. I would laugh and eat and smell the odor of fire cooking flesh when I got there. As the sun went down, I would inch closer to the glowing cooking fire, in order to avoid the chill of the evening. The evenings are so cold, but I wouldn't mind, because the sun always returns in the morning.

When I snapped out of the daydream, I immediately wondered "Could this ever become my reality?" I closed my eyes and for a few seconds, saw only the black behind my eyelids. Suddenly though, I saw a small vibration within the darkness. A tiny, yet violent vibration. Quickly, the vibration ceased as the disturbance grew in size exponentially. Now it grew rapidly, so rapidly that it was moving toward me, moving away from me, moving in every direction toward everything, faster than the speed of sound. I momentarily sensed it's burning hot energy closing in, and then, bang, it hits me, nuclear heat tearing me apart, destroying my entire being, ripping my molecular constructs down to atoms, sending them flying in every direction at the speed of light.

When I opened my eyes, All I saw was an Excel spreadsheet on a twelve inch monitor, smelled bread burning, and heard a teenage girl shriek in panic.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crazy? Who's crazy?

Lets pause for a moment, and take a brief trip to imagination land...

Imagine me. A 31 year old man, sitting on his couch. Everyday I eat meals, and go to work, and read things, and talk with other people. I have a girlfriend who I'm about to marry. I own a cat. Every single day, I spend some time by myself, reflecting on my memories, processing new information, and trying to objectively look at the world around me. Every once in a while I try to write some of my thoughts down. It looks like I'm going to be offered a very significant promotion at work soon, but ultimately, I dream of opening a business someday.

Can you imagine it? Pretty easy to see? Nothing shocking or unusual right? Let's keep going...

The same 31 year old man. I smoke a lot of Pall Mall cigarettes. A few nights a week, I consume alcohol. I used to drink more, but I'm tiring of it as I age. Plus I work six days a week, so there just isn't time. Now I snack on a lot of pickles. I'm hypoglycemic, so sometimes when my sugar gets low, I smash a slice of wheat bread into a ball and eat it in one bite. I bite my fingernails and wiggle my big toes constantly. I also have a sleep disorder. I walk around and say crazy things while I'm asleep. Sometimes I light cigarettes or piss in the kitchen trash can while totally unconscious. I once kept a craw fish alive in a small tank on my kitchen counter for six months. Often it would escape and fight with the aforementioned cat in the middle of the night. I like to feed the squirrels in the park behind my condo. The sight of squirrels eating sunflower seeds relaxes me. My neighbor hates the squirrels, and I slightly resent her for it.

Are you still following along? Can you envision me still? I seem a bit more unusual now, right? But would you say that I'm crazy? Probably not I imagine. Perhaps you now see me as odd, but I doubt you'd call me insane....

Let's push it one step further...

Now, suppose that I told you that a unicorn lives in my extra bedroom. If you want to see it, too bad, because this unicorn is invisible. In fact, I can provide no physical evidence that it exists. Yet I assure you, it is very real.

Furthermore, I can actually communicate with this invisible unicorn. I talk with it every day of my life. While I can't actually hear it speak words, the unicorn speaks to my heart. I bring most every decision or trouble in my life to the unicorn, and somehow, in a way that is indescribable, the mythical beast tells me what to do. The unicorn helps me decide what jobs to take, or how to best deal with financial hardship, and even who to vote for. It really is pretty incredible. I've been living this way for so long, that I now realize that I would be nothing without it's presence.

Are you still trying to picture it? By now you think I'm a full blown lunatic, right? You probably would like to know if I've ever been diagnosed as schizophrenic, correct? I can imagine your faces now, looking at me as if you're worried about my well being....

How dare you! You assert that I'm insane? You ask if I have any other invisible associates? Of course not. That would be absurd!

Hold on for a second now, hold on. Give me a minute to explain myself. In fact, you may be interested to hear what I have to say...

I have to share something with you. The unicorn demands that I do so.

The unicorn wants you to know that it loves you. It loves all of us. Actually, the unicorn created you. It created me also. It created EVERYTHING, merely 6,000 years ago. All you have to do is truly believe in it's existence, and you too can have a relationship with this magical horse. I know this probably seems pretty confusing to you, but don't worry. I have a book that will help you. The unicorn's magic book. The unicorn didn't actually write it, of course, rather myself and a few dozen others did. It goes without saying, however, that the unicorn closely supervised the books construction.

What? You're going to stop reading this now? Wait a second! Hold on! Just one more thing. You see, you could be in danger!

Look, the unicorn loves you. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. But here's the thing... If you don't turn your entire life, will, and existence over to the white-horned horse at this very moment, the unicorn, in it's infinite wisdom, will wait until you die, and then it will subject you to an eternity of suffering that exceeds human comprehension! It's true. It's right here in the book.

I know what your thinking. You want to know how a horse that loves us all so much could ever send most of us into eternal agony, right? I don't have an answer. You just have to believe that the unicorn is far more intelligent than we are. Just accept it. The unicorn doesn't like to be questioned, OK?

All the unicorn asks for in return is your undying allegiance, a solemn vow to share the it's message with every human you meet, and ten percent of your income. That's gross, not net income. Oh, and if perhaps you could just show up once or twice a week down at the local....

Oh, really? You just aren't going to read anymore? Fine then. I've done what the unicorn asked of me. Out of the goodness of my heart, I'll still beseech the unicorn to forgive you, but I can't make any promises. After all, what more do you need? The unicorn has provided you with plenty of chances friend...

Somehow I suspect that if the unicorn was a man, and he lived in the sky rather than in my spare bedroom, you people could see me as the sane and rational human that I am.....

Things I've been accused of: Today...

People keep telling me that I'm offensive. They tell me I'm rude and that I get angry too easily. What follows is a list of my behaviors that some deem to be inappropriate, accompanied by my my personal justifications for my actions.

1) So called "road rage". There really is a laundry list of things I'm criticised for in this department. Constantly honking at people. Screaming at people. Obscene gestures. Intimidating the elderly. Swerving my car at other drivers. Extreme aggression. Frequent violations of state and municipal traffic laws.

Many of these stem from my frustration with perceived stupidity of other drivers. I fully understand that the average housewife or high school boy might not possess the driving skills or sense of urgency that I do. Some people are just more timid than I am. Some are too young to know the unwritten rules, and some are too old to keep up anymore. That's fine.

Yet some things are just too much for me to tolerate. Driving 10mph below the speed limit is 20mph too slow. Failing to notice the left-hand turn arrow for three seconds earns a scolding. I need to see a blinker before I see break lights. Don't even dare pull in front of me if you aren't traveling as quickly. At bare minimum, other peoples driving mistakes are an inconvenience to me, in the worst case scenarios, they endanger my life. That makes your driving habits my business. I have two rules: Pay attention, and Move your Ass! Failure to obey either will result in aggression on my part.

Traffic laws? Those are for idiots and cowards. Speed limits are a good suggestion for bad drivers. Traffic lights are an insult to my intelligence. I'm a grown man. I can determine for myself when an intersection is safe to pass through. No right on red? What am I? A child?

2) I'm not tolerant of children in public. I don't want to hear crying in a restaurant. I don't like children sprinting around in the grocery store. I wasn't allowed to do any of that shit when I was a child, so no one else should be either.

The world is full of idiots and shitty parents. It isn't my job or social responsibility to tolerate other peoples unruly children. These kids aren't nearly as special as their parents would like to convince us they are. Half the time they are moronic, loud, and ugly. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree most of the time...

3) I park in the space reserved for "New and expectant mothers".

There are four reasons for this. First, pregnancy isn't a handicap. Secondly, it's perfectly legal. Third, most Americans could use the exercise anyway. And finally, I'm not the one who got you pregnant. It just isn't my problem.

4) I scoff at flags and all forms of nationalism.

Look people, flags aren't magic. They're merely cloth rectangles with random patterns on them. They symbolically represent the concept of a nation, which is also idiotic. What is a border exactly? Isn't it just an imaginary line? The entire idea of a country is nothing more than a man-made device used to keep more resources for one group while depriving another.

And why would anyone be proud of their national origin? It's the equivalent of being proud of your hair color, race, or shoe size. If you did absolutely nothing to earn your status, why would you be so filled with pride? It's sheer nonsense.

Accordingly, I also refuse to engage in the mindless worship of the military that everyone else seems so fond of. This always seems to touch a real sore spot with the flag-loving dolts that surround me. People loose their minds if I even mention the topic.

The truth is this though. The military is composed of volunteers who are financially compensated for what they do. Don't try to convince me that I need to pay homage to a group of employees who do the bidding of plutocrats who in no way represent me. If you want to believe in the bullshit your fed, that's fine. But I'm not buying it. It should be mentioned however, that the level of worship the public heaps on soldiers is dangerously out of control. A public that doesn't question the motives and behavior of those who put military force into action is a public that would still throw roses at soldiers returning from duty in a concentration camp. Historically, mindless allegiance most always ends in atrocity, and if you look around, you'll notice an alarming quantity of mindless people.

5) My general lack of social grace.

By no means do I go out of my way to be rude to people. I don't generally bite my tongue though either.

If I think someone is being a dick to the cashier at the pharmacy, I call them out. If I find someone to be a bigot or simply a bad person, I have no other choice but to speak. If someone treats me in a manner that I find to be unjustifiably disrespectful, I'm most likely going to attempt to verbally humiliate them.

Sometimes I just don't like people. So I just avoid them entirely. I have family members that I haven't seen in years. There have been co-workers that I don't even acknowledge. I refuse to waist precious time on people who I find to be detestable, and I have no urge to hide my feelings.
I don't feel that any of this makes me a dick, I think it just indicates that I'm honest.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I am offensive and rude.
Either way though, I don't foresee any behavioral changes on the horizon. I'm comfortable in my own skin.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Not-So-Prodigal Son's Return...

I've been gone for quite a while now. Frankly, I haven't had the motivation to write. I'm not working in a kitchen anymore, and I'm entirely sick of arguing about real world issues, so just like that, the blog dried up and turned to dust.

I've considered abandoning the blog all together, and returning to the simple life of scribbling short poems and essays on sandwich wrappers and old envelopes before throwing them out of the car window on the interstate; all the while fantasizing that somehow, someday, some fringe person would collect some of them and track me down using the addresses on the envelopes. In my fantasy, I would be discovered once I was an old and crippled man, maniacal and bitter, yet I would quickly become an icon in the subculture's literary world. Just when public interest was about to peak, I would die, leaving my legacy forever shrouded in mystery and confusion. 100 years later, Freshmen Lit students would sit around a classroom somewhere in the Midwest, and one would passionately argue the benefits of post-modern leftist isolationism (or some other nonsense) based on my classic essay "The queen of hearts, a one-eyed jack, and the ace up my sleeve", which I originally wrote with a black crayon on several Taco Bell napkins while under the influence of hallucinogens in 1998.

Take that Kilgore Trout!

So anyhow.... I'm going to try to write again. I can make no promises, however, about what the content of future writings will contain. I'm just going to cut loose, stop trying to not offend people, and call it as I see it. If any of my friends, family, or regular readers are offended, then so be it. I'm no longer concerned with potential social consequences.

Anything less is a waste of my time...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A recent history of my time in the trenches...

I need a new home. I'm well trained, dependable, and eager to be part of a new team. I'm hoping to find a warm, welcoming kitchen, looking for a kitchen mercenary who is only moderately insane. Corporate entities and amateurs need not respond. I'm only interested in working for reasonably intelligent private owners. Please call soon. I'm getting really tired...

The last eight months of my employment have seemingly lasted for a miserable lifetime. Bouncing around from one nightmare to another. Hope fading slowly with every sunrise. Something has to give...

I don't need much. I'm not asking for anything great. Hell, I'm not even asking for a lot of money. I'm more than happy to work hard for average compensation. I just want a job where I don't find myself wanting to smash my car into a bridge embankment on my drive to work.

I've worked the line at a giant corporate restaurant chain. I'd describe the job as simultaneously stressful and boring. Stacking onion rings and wrapping assorted microwaved nonsense in tortillas as fast as possible, worrying about time, cursing at high-pitched fryer alarms, and watching life pass me by. This would be an adequate job description.

I worked as a grill cook at a giant corporate cafeteria. I'd cook breakfast and lunch for company workers at a large flat-top, taking the orders face to face and handing off plates. At the same time, I had to manage and fill a small breakfast bar type set up. It was a load of crap. Corporate, micro-managed crap. No one could seem to understand my lack of enthusiasm about making specials out of two-day-old reheated hash browns and ancient turkey sausage. Plus, about 20% of the customers I had to wait on were horrible assholes. Spoiled, passive aggressive, white-collar cowards. And there was a worker there.... Ah.... The bastard. Perhaps the most irritating person I ever worked with. Five feet tall. An ass-kisser. He'd smile to your face and talk shit behind your back moments later. The type of guy who often describes himself as a "team player", yet constantly tries to make himself look better by throwing the rest of his co workers under the proverbial bus. If I ever see that guy on the street, I'd honestly consider tossing him through a plate glass window.

I spent a few days working for a small Italian style restaurant that's been open for 40 years. My first day there, during my first hour, I saw the kitchen manager drop a piece of fully cooked and sauced protein on the floor. Without blinking, he picked it up and placed it directly on the plate. Besides not throwing it away, he didn't even bother to visually check it, or briefly re fire it, or rinse it off. Nothing. Just straight to the table. Another cook looked at me, shook his head, and said "Well, welcome to *name of restaurant*." I should add that this was the dirtiest kitchen I've ever seen. They didn't even own a mop. At the end of my first shift, I asked what I should clean before I left. They told me that they didn't really clean. Just wrap up the food and leave. That kitchen was so dirty that even the roaches complained.

I worked for a first time restaurant owner for a bit. The place that I was working went through an ownership change, and I stayed on. I knew this could be trouble, but the girl seemed enthusiastic, and I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I tried to remain optimistic. Soon, I'd realize that I was on a sinking ship. Bad ideas. Unrealistic demands. Complete ignorance. Zero experience. Total inability to manage people. An endless stream of idiocracy, incompetence, and righteous indignation. On my day off, she called me seven times to ask what type of plastic souffle cups she should purchase. The next day, she created a total shit storm (which I had endlessly warned her was about to occur), blamed me for it, and my time there was done. I packed up my knives and hit the road at 7:15 on a Friday night. The entire staff ended up quitting within about a 30 day time period. So it goes...

I'm not even going to mention the wild array of interviews and nonsense I've suffered through at this point...

Before that new owner took over, things weren't all that bad for me. It certainly wasn't the type of place I'd have worked the rest of my life, but in retrospect, I'd be happy to rewind time and do it again. I actually liked and respected the owners then. The woman who called the shots was a bit of a loose cannon, but so am I. In addition, she knew what she was doing, and once she became convinced that I did also, I was pretty much cut loose. All communications were honest if nothing else, and most all of my transgressions were forgiven on the basis of competency and my honest approach. And I genuinely did enjoy the company of everyone I worked with there. It really was fun sometimes. Hell, these days, I'm not even sure who owns the places I've been working. I don't even know when the last time I had fun was...

Please, please, give me something! This is my plea to the culinary Gods. Decent food, decent wage, decent boss. That's all I ask for. Can't someone provide a home to this humble orphan in a chef's coat?