Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No BS at B Spot

I want to apologize.  There was supposed to be a post yesterday wrapping up the holiday shopping season with a rant about dickhead teenagers.  Well it never posted and when I went back to investigate, it isn't there.

Maybe I was too tired to correctly put it up and in my sleepy stupor, I forgot to upload it into blogger.  Who knows?  What DO know is that I went out to dinner with the Wifey and Addi and it was great.

Now I am accused of waxing poetic about food.  My co-workers who read regularly often tell me that I am always writing my best when I write about food.

Well, this post is no different.

Our restaurant of choice was B Spot.  Michael Symon's latest creation.  Burgers, Beer, Brats, Bar Snacks, Bad Ass Milkshakes, and god knows what else you can think of that starts with the letter B.

I am a burger fanatic.  I love to make them on the grill, I love to eat them with various toppings, and I enjoy fresh ground meat.  Now many would think that people would automatically like Michael Symon's restaurants because they are supposed to.  He's a well known chef.  It must be good.  Well I am not one of those people.  I think his restaurants are fantastic because he isn't trying to recreate anything from space to space.  He has 4 very different restaurants.  Lola, fine dining; Lolita, or Lola v1.0 as I like to call it; Bar Symon, casual; B Spot, Burgers.  The only restaurant I have not been to is Roast in Detroit.  But when you look at it all, he uses fresh ingredients and that is what makes the food good.

The B Spot is going to be addicting.  There are so many burgers to choose from, I would have no choice but to go back over and over and over and over again.

Now, I have a special attraction to meat topped with meat.  My burger concoction was called the Fat Doug. Burger, Cheese, Pastrami, Cole Slaw, Mustard, all on a bun.  It was lovely.  Cooked to a perfect medium rare, it was amazing.  Jenn had the Symon Says.  I forgot what was on it, but it looked great and there were no complaints on the other side of the table.

I think the best part of the dinner was the sides.  Jenn ordered the chili cheese fries, which were awesome.  I ordered the Chips with Parmesan fondue and rosemary.  It was a suggestion from a twitter friend Tom Noe.  He's a food writer and he replied to a tweet and suggested it.  I got it and boy was he right!  I love fried food.  I love cheese.  I love fried food smothered in cheese.

Besides the food, Symon really showed his personality with this place.  He has a disclaimer.  This is not a fine dining restaurant.  Don't be mad that you can't get a reservation.  Don't whine, and by god don't throw names around.  I think this is important based on some reactions I get when I talk to people about Bar Symon.  People want to make reservations because they want a seat.  Well, these restaurants are not downtown, nor are they fine dining.  Get over it, wait in line like us common folks.  

Best line on the disclaimer, #7, If you are reading this and making funny faces, drink your favorite bourbon, beer, or what ever, and relax, because you are too uptight for this place.

B Spot.  No Bullshit.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Party Like a Rockstar

I wouldn't be telling you the truth if I told you that this weekend was all about helping the people of retail.  It wasn't.  It's Tuesday, the week of Christmas, and this past weekend was awesome. 

This year has been filled with more ups than downs, more good than bad, and more sweet than sucky.  This past weekend was just another example of the awesomeness of this year. 

Let me start off over a month ago.  You know, way back when the December train was just leaving the station.  I looked ahead at my schedule and I noticed that I had a Sunday off and also the last Saturday before Christmas.  I was pissed the hell off.  Who gives a commissioned sales rep the day off on the busiest Saturday?  Well my disappointment turned to excitement just 3 short days later.

I was Facebook chatting with, my friend, Kasey Crabtree.  Just, know you, typing the shit [or whatever you call it when you just BS on Facebook.  I think it's called wasting time].  She invited Jenn and I to go and see Trans-Siberian Orchestra [TSO] on the 19th.  That just so happened to be the last Saturday before Christmas.  That just so happened to be my day off.  The chances of this happening are like 31:1. 

Now I have heard stories of Kasey and TSO.  Late night parties.  Going to other cities to see them.  I mean she waxed poetic about it because she has been doing it for like 11 years.  I mean you could sit there and say, I saw them in Montreal in 2000 and I was front row center.  She would yawn at your story and say, well I have VIP passes and the band knows my name.  [I was paraphrasing as if Kasey were me].

So when she offered to take Jenn and I, what was I going to say?  No?  Oh no.  The answer was yes, and I put it in all caps.  So you knew it was serious.  That particular day was also Kasey's birthday and she said she would rather spend it with Jenn and I that evening at TSO.  So I was down.

Flash forward to last Sautrday.  Jenn is fighting with her inner self about what she should wear and I was dressed and ready to go.  The baby was ready for grandma's and I was just glad that we were going out.

Now after hearing the stories Kasey told, I was honestly expecting to just go and see the show in a good seat.  Honestly.  That was it.


When we met Kasey at the Q, she went to will call and got our 'tickets'.  Our tickets were a laminate that said VIP and the tickets to our seats were wristbands that said VIP 7:30.  I was amazed, but then again, I was just expecting to see the show from a better seat than I had last year when I paid for them.

So we give Kasey a hug and realized we forgot her birthday card at home.  I was a little mad at myself.  So then Kasey said, "before we head to our seats let's take a walk upstairs in catering."

What?

Yeah, so we walked over to an elevator, you know the elevator down a short hallway that looks accessible and also off limits?   Yeah, that elevator.  We get on.  We head up to catering.  It was surreal.  I have been backstage many times before with other concert venues, but never for a show this big.

Catering at a show this big was awesome.  It was located behind the stage on the luxury box level.  It was very rockstar.  We helped ourselves to dippin dots and just shot the shit for a minute.  I was still kind of blown away that we got this far and no one questioned why I was there.  It was quite the opposite.  All the security guards were talking to Kasey.  "Hey Kase". "Happy birthday Kasey", "who do you have with you tonight Kasey?"  At every moment Kasey introduced me as a blogger and podcaster and also a good friend of hers and then she would say, and this is his awesome and very lovely wife who is cool with everything.

It was awesome.

As we went back to the same elevator we ascended to catering in, we descended to the 1st level.  The only indication as to where we were going was a piece of gaffer's tape that said, Stage, next to the 1 button.

The doors open.  This is much like how I would imagine going to heaven would be like. 

My wife's mouth was just hanging open at the wonderment that was the backstage area.  This was her first time backstage at a huge show.  Kasey commented on the moment Kate Hudson walks backstage in Almost Famous.  You need to soak it in.  Backstage there was chocolate fondue, candy, red bull shots, you name it, it was probably there.

We literally walked through the stage to get onto the floor to find our seats.  We got all those looks of, who are they?  How'd they get backstage?  You know, the looks you give people who walk out from behind the stage and you wish that you were them. 

Our seats were in the VIP section that was elevated behind the soundboard.  They were amazing seats.  A good friend once said, if you go to a show and want to hear the concert as it is meant to be heard, sit behind the guys who are mixing it.  Same goes for the lights.  Just so happened to be that they were both in the same spot.  

Once the show started, there was no doubt we had the best seats in the house.  It was exciting.  The house lights dimmed.  The stage came to life.  The show has started.





Throughout the show, the band often goes into the first few rows.  I have always wanted to be the guy in the front row they slap hands with.  Why?  I have no idea.  Well, the rear platform, near where we were sitting, was better than that.  Why?  Well because it allowed us to get this close to the performers.


she was standing on the chair next to me!



Then she got on the platform and ascended to the amazing heights to close the show!

After the show, the room cleared out, and we were still there.  Talking to the lighting crew guys and then we went backstage again. 

I had an opportunity to meet the drummer Jeff Plate and he handed me a card for his side project.  I can't wait to play some of this stuff on my podcast. 

I just realized that this blog is getting long and drawn out so I will end it before I tell you that the after party with the band was awesome [for as long as we were there, but we had to exit early on an account of feeding a baby]. 

I just wanted to thank Kasey and I encourage you to go visit her newly launched blog.  She launched it on the very Saturday we ventured into the Q to see TSO. 

For all you twitter peeps, I will have a new list of people to follow from the band TSO.

I am tired just reliving this in my head, and I left out a bunch of stuff.  Whew! 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry

I'm sorry for being away for so long.  This weekend kicked my ass and I need a good night sleep to recover.  I got a kick ass blog post ready to roll, just need to write it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Throwing Quarters Podcast [Bigger, Better, and Uncut]


Well 2009 is quickly coming to a close.

It's been one hell of a year for not only the blog as a whole, but also the podcast.  It went from idea to reality so fast it's hard to believe everything that went on.  Here is a recap.

This year we have had a whole bunch of different guests.

My friend Amber was the first guest/co-host way way back.

My brother Steve made an appearance.

My other brother Keith was on as we took the show on the road to Chicago and his improv group Legitimate Beef was on.  They were hilarious, they were back in episode 6.

A fellow blogger and do-gooder, Julie [Tangobaby] was on the show back in Episode 7.

Then we took it into Season 2.

We had Alexa from Cleveland's a Plum on the show to kick off Season 2.  Alexa, as you might know, went on to be awarded the "Best Blogger in Cleveland" award by Cleveland Magazine.  This episode was also when Dan Ryan came to the show and became the announcer of Throwing Quarters.

Like I said before, Dave Ritz broke Throwing Quarters' live music cherry with a great great set.  In that same show we also met another blogger buddy from Minnesota, Jules from Just Jules.

Then we had on Adam Taylor and Kate Young live at the Barley house and we also met what would become a good friend and fellow guest blogger, Kasey Crabtree.  That show was the most stressful, and also the most fun of all the shows.

Then on the latest episode we had Ken and Jim from the up and coming Cleveland band, Vendetta Point.  We played 3 tracks on the show that you cannot hear ANYWHERE else for download.

This little show has grown.  Each show got a little better.  Each show was a little different.

Now this leads me into the next evolution.

Over the past few days I have been sleeping like crap.  I have been up all night thinking about a ton of things as it relates to my little podcast.  I wanted to take it to the next level and I knew I couldn't do it all on my own.

So yesterday morning I sent out an email to some key people in my vast network.  I gave them this long drawn out vision of my podcast.  Where I wanted to take it and why I needed their help and why I think they would be the best people for the job.

With in hours I got back tweets, e-mails, and a long phone call that was one of the best phone calls ever.  All of the pieces are in place for the next season of the podcast.


Let me start at the top.

I have been listening to all of the feedback I have gotten.  Many of you wanted a more regular podcast.  So starting with this new season, I have put together a production schedule for the remainder of the year.  It will be on the same day, same time, every month.  So instead of going months with out a podcast, you will get it like clock work every month at the same time.  Keep reading, I will tell you when that is.

Next, many of you wished that you could interact as we put on the show.  Well, I am glad to say I have figured out a way for you to interact with the show.

Next, many of you wished that they could see what happens in the process of making a podcast.  You wanted to see behind the curtain if you will.  Well, I am really glad to say that this season's podcast is NOT only going to have killer audio, but you are going to be able to watch us produce it.

As the ideas in my head kept popping I got more and more excited.  A phone call a few weeks ago made me realize that I needed to have more than just me too.  I needed people that I was comfortable enough around to talk to, but I didn't want to have people in the studio and behind the microphone that were ultra green, and also, ultra nervous.

That is when I enlisted the help of 2 trusted friends.  I want you to meet the 2 new additions to the Throwing Quarters Team.

Kasey Crabtree has quickly become a very close and dear friend.  You may remember the stellar guest post a few weeks back.  She is a real radio professional currently on the air with WNCX Saturday mornings from 10am-2pm.  She spins classic rock, but has been behind the mic for nearly 16 years.  When she got my e-mail she called me later that night and we talked for a long time about what my vision was.  She is ready to help, and I cannot wait to start the next season with her sitting across from me.

Dan Ryan and I met in broadcasting school of all places.  We were energetic students who had a huge desire for radio, and a disdain for television production and it showed.  When I first met Dan the first thing I noticed was for his ability to cut through a room with only his voice.  I mean you could hear it down the hall.  He and I collaborated quite a bit through the radio program at school, and after school he moved away.  Not too long ago through FaceBook, we reconnected and ever since, he has been a part of the show.  His Hollywood Spin this next season is going to blow away anyone else's ability to report on the entertainment industry.

Not only are we going to have 2 new co-hosts and collaborators, but we are also going to have a new format.

Our production schedule is going to start on the 3rd Sunday of January.  We will start the show promptly at 8pm and we are going to do the whole thing from start to finish, live.  We are going to broadcast the audio on uStream and also have what Kasey has dubbed, a fly on the wall cam.  Using uStream not only will you have the ability to interact with the show as it is happening, but because you rock, we are also going to try and incorporate exclusive giveaways on the uStream broadcast.  

Don't worry, if you can't tune in live we are also going to be posting the audio in iTunes like we always have, and also posting it right here in the blog, and we are still are going to stream it on Stitcher for you iPhone, Blackberry, and Droid users.

So there you have it.  The next evolution of the podcast.  Bigger, better, and uncut. 

Set your calendar for January 17 at 8pm, and tune in for The Throwing Quarters Podcast [LIVE].

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Buzz Words

Wanna know what drives me nuts besides not writing?  Buzz words.  You know those words people say to show that they think they know what they are talking about. 

Need an example?  

I recently was having a conversation with someone in passing.  They recognized me from where I work full time, and they also knew that I wrote a blog.  Interesting how the two sides of my life meet every once in a while.

Anyway, they were talking about blogging and social network.  If I could get a nickle for every times they said content, media space, and unique hits I would have a shit load of nickles. 

So why do they drive me nuts?  Easy, because it's jargon.  It drives be bat shit crazy to hear people talk to one another like that, unless they are in the same business and that's the way they speak, but I write a blog and I do know that I am a content provider, but it doesn't mean I know what the hell I am talking about.

People throw these words around to show they are better than you, or to show they are smart for knowing the 'secret' language of the business.  Who gives a shit?  If I am talking with someone and they are using the lingo way too much, I know they are full of shit!

Remember the corporate buzz words from a few years ago?  Coach and develop? 


This shit drives me crazy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ripped Pants

I am going to make a resounding fuck you to my ass.  It's been just about a year since Jenn came down stairs and told me that my sperm fertilized her egg and that she was now pregnant.  Since then my ass has gotten bigger.

My ass has been reminding me that it's been getting bigger pretty regularly.  It all started when I was at work one day and I bent over.  I heard the first tear along the seem of my work pants while on the sales floor.  The tear wasn't too bad and I was able to work the rest of the day without anyone noticing.

You would think that this would be a warning to get my ass into shape.  Well like a husband to his nagging wife, I ignored the warning.  Over the weekend I my ass made a much larger statement.  It went right through a pair of pants.  A different pair.  It split a pair of pants from zipper to belt loop on the other side.

This happened on the sales floor once more.  As I rushed to the back of the store I was thinking, man, I am sure glad I was wearing underwear today.

What is a guy to do with is ass hanging out of his pants and 5 more hours in their shift?  I did what anyone would do.  I wrapped a sweater around my waist and ran to the Gap, just a few doors down and bought another pair of pants.

This time they were relaxed fit and slightly stretchy.

My ass needs to go on a diet.  No more eating crap.  Walking the dog everyday.  Doing something but sleeping when I get home from work.

Right.

I am gonna have to go on a lifestyle change.  Just need to find time to fit that in my schedule.   

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I can help, really.

There has been an ongoing Twitter convo between my blog pal Vodka Logic and myself over the past few days. Because I work in the cell phone industry she has tweeted that I needed to help Tiger delete shit off his phone in an effort to conceal his 'transgretions'.

Although I posted yesterday about Tiger and the whores who loved him, I decided that I needed to post again on the subject, because if it's worth doing, then it's worth OVER doing.

So I wanted to start with just some commentary that started yesterday and I needed to continue it today.  If you recall, I was talking about the women who have come forward to throw Tiger under the bus Escalade.

I saw this report this morning on the Today Show, and I need you to watch for my next comments to make sense.



Can you believe some of this garbage?

Let's take it from the top.

Jamiee Grubs.  Are you fucking kidding?  "He never mentioned his wife, I would have never pursued him had he not pursued me.."

Really?  Where the hell do you live?  Last I checked you lived in America.  Because you are a woman, I am going to assume you have been to the website TMZ.  Here are some photos I have found on TMZ that would indicate that he was married.





[This is Tiger and HIS WIFE at the Ryder Cup! His Wife.]

So Ms. Jamiee Grubbs, you may be able to play the innocent 20 something on Extra, but I am not buying it for one second.  You kept text messages and voicemails over the course of a few years.  You are an extortionist, and a money hungry bitch.  Regardless if Tiger talked about his wife or not, he was married.  I don't buy your story.  You are not some innocent victim.  You are an active participant in this whole thing.

Next, a porn star is talking about how [SHE BANGED SHE BANGED] Tiger.  Nice work, who else have you banged?  Sorry too harsh.  But unlike the Jamiee, you knew he was married and you were proud of it.  I wouldn't have labeled you as a whore for being a porn star.  You are just trying to make a buck.  But when you talk about having sex with a married man and then you brag about it, then that is when I would call you a whore.  Don't mistake me, I think Tiger is wrong too, but there is enough shit going on out there that is ripping him apart, I am just trying to even out the coverage.

Now on to part 2 of the blog.

How can I help you cover your tracks, just in case you need to hide a 'transgression'.  Believe it or not, I have helped jerks hide their tracks at work all the time. 

1.  Do not text message anyone.  They are a written record of you.  When you are as big of a star as you are, it's rather easy to confirm the owner of any number.You never know when some enterprising bitch will leak them to TMZ.

2.  Do not leave voicemail to anyone unless it's your wife, husband, or mom.  Again, the less evidence out there the better.  If YOU got a voicemail, then delete that shit quickly.  Again, a snooping spouse can find shit.

3.  If you are cheating on your spouse, you need to start memorizing phone numbers.  Do not under any circumstances put that person in your phone under their real name.  Again, a snooping spouse can find those and call them.  Awkward alert!

4.  [see #3] If you are not able to memorize numbers, then you need to put their mistresses phone number under a good friend's contact profile.  Like for instance, your agent.  His job is to remember the bitches you have slept with so he can do damage control.  If your agent fucks this up, then you need a new agent.

5.  [see #4] If you have a really good agent, have him keep all the numbers of the bitches you slept with, and call him when you want to talk to them.  He can forward your call to the bitches in question and then you don't have to lie and you can just say, I was just talking to my agent.

6.  Do not fly your mistress to exotic destinations if you are rich.  I have seen many movies where people fly out and meet a mistress only to have their spouse fly in unexpectedly to surprise them.

7.  Get a prepaid cell.  Untraceable as far as a bill in your box is concerned.

8.  Make sure the person you cheat on your spouse with is richer than you.  That way they aren't money hungry and will sell their story to the highest bidder.  Expanding on that thought, make sure they have more to lose than you.

9.  Make sure the person you cheat on your spouse with is also WAY better looking than your current spouse.  I know this isn't the time for thinking of the spouse's self esteem, but this forethought can go a long way in a divorce proceding.

10.  If you do not have the ability to remember number's 1-9 without writing them down, then here is the easy way out.  DON'T FUCKING CHEAT ON YOUR SPOUSE!

I hope this helps you in the future.

Also, this is in response to the woman who stopped legislation to honor Tiger in his professional achievements, you are a stupid bitch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I ain't sayin' she's a gold digger!

Have you never made a mistake?  No?  Well ok you must be Jesus. 

Like you, I have been watching the coverage on Tiger Woods.  Just like I watched the coverage on Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and who ever else you can name that has diddled someone else besides their wife.

This kind of thing, sorry to say, happens all the time.  It doesn't get the least bit of coverage unless it's someone famous. 

I've watched this drama unfold on CNN about Tiger and his voicemails.  Tiger and his Cadillac.  Tiger and another woman besides the one he was already doing.  I am tired of it.  In less than a week Tiger went from being the best golfer in the world, and that's it, to Tiger, the adulterer and drug addict. 

I don't understand.  We built Tiger up to be this amazing golfer, but yet we tear him down immediately when he breaks the mold we had for him in our mind.  We saw him as squeaky clean, can do no wrong, family man, husband.  Now that we see that he is a little human we call him things like bastard, asshole, and dickhead.

He is human.  Like you and me.  He is not different in the end.  So instead of hammering your imaginary gavel and judging him in the courtroom of your mind, think about it this way.  Would you want people talking about you in the same sense if it came out you diddled your baby sitter 3 weeks ago with your spouse upstairs?  Or while you were on a business trip you got loaded and headed to the strip club and you broke the 'no sex in the champagne room' rule?  Would you want your dirty laundry aired for all to see and have your peers instantly judging you based solely on your indiscretions?

The truth is, no one knows what is happening to Tiger, but Tiger.  I don't care how many inside sources you have, no one is going to know the whole story but Tiger and his wife. 

I think it's complete bullshit that we have gone so far into the story as we have. 

Leave the man alone.  Let him either work things out with his wife or let them get divorced.  In the end it's not our business.

Now, for all those women 'coming out'.  Put your gold digger bitch personalities back into your purse and go home.  Yes, Tiger cheated on his wife with YOU.  You are not some unknowing pawn.  You are a conscious partner in this whole masquerade.  The reason you dropped your panties and let him stick it in you is because you wanted to be able to blackmail him later.  You didn't 'love' him.  You didn't care about him.  You wanted what was in his pockets.  Sure, there are two parts to all the stories, but if YOU knew he was married, than why did you even show him the time of day?

Call me crazy, but if a MARRIED guy walked up to you, and YOU KNEW HE WAS MARRIED, and he starts to make advances to you, wouldn't you think he was creepy, an asshole, and a dick?  He was married and it's not like it was a secret Tiger was married. 

So for all you women out there that were WRONGED by Tiger.  Go back to the hole you crawled out of, and get a job.  That is what Tiger did to get all his money.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Move Along

Ok, so last night, I may or may not have cracked open a bottle of merlot.  I also may or may not have drank 2 full glasses.  I also may or may not have passed out and don't remember going to bed. 

So today's blog is brought to you by the letter combination M-E-R-L-O-T. 


If you are not on twitter, please get on it, and then promptly follow me.  We have some good discussions throughout the day. 

Get on it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Christmas Carol: a day at the theater

The theater.  A world that allows us to step back in time to enjoy a form of entertainment that this world is lacking.  Live action acting.  Sets changing right in front of your eyes without you really knowing anything.  It's kind of like reading a book and watching a movie all at once.  You have to use your imagination a little, but not so much you cannot enjoy the acting on stage.

Theater.  My wife and I have a soft spot for it.  In high school we were in the drama club.  Outside of school, Jenn was part of a theater company in our home town and still continues to do so to this day.  This year Audrey is taking part in this year's production of Annie and thus we are spreading our love of the theater to our children.

Theater.  Besides old time radio serials, theater is my favorite form of entertainment.

Yesterday Jenn and I got to go to the theater.  For those reading outside Cleveland, you can get more information about Playhouse Square here.  Going out to the theater in my mind is like going out to a fancy dinner.  If the movie theater is the McDonald's of entertainment, and local theater companies are like T.G.I. Friday's, than going to a Broadway show is like going out to a 4 diamond dinner.

Jenn and I were running late to the show.  As we pulled into my mom's house our dear little shit monster named Addison decided to fill her britches.  The process of stripping down and the feeding the baby took a little longer than anticipated.  We were close to 45 minutes from downtown and now only have 30 minutes to get there on-time.  So I decided to drive like some sort of Nascar driver down the shoreway to Playhouse Square.

I slid our overweight beast of an SUV into the undersized parking space.  It's like trying to put on a pair of pants from high school.  Sure I could slip them on, but I wouldn't wear them out anywhere.

Jenn was hauling ass towards the theater entrance.  She is not a fan of arriving late, but then again, we have arrived late twice to the theater.  Once during Phantom of the Opera, and now this time.  As we hauled ass down the stairs to the walkway of the theater I noticed something.  I noticed amid all the Jaguars, Mercedes, and BMW's a vehicle that surely did not fit in.

The Lincoln Mark LT pickup truck.  Yeah, I know.  Lincoln made a pick-up truck?  As we passed a sign pointing us to the walkway to the theater, I was thinking, if you drive a Lincoln pick-up truck, does that make you high class white trash?

We arrived so late we had to sit in temporary seats in the back of the house until intermission.  Intermission hits and Jenn ran to the bathroom as she skipped the stop on the way in, because she didn't want to be later than we already were.

As we found our real seats Jenn pointed out something striking.  People were coming back to their seats from intermission with snacks.  Soft pretzels, M&M's, Pepsi's, Water, and popcorn.  Since when did they let food into the theater?  I remember a time you were banished to the lobby to eat your intermission snack, but here I sat, in a crowded theater, with the lady next to me spilling into my seat as she noshed down a bag of M&M's.

Call me old fashioned, but food, snacks, and drinks do not have a place in the theater.  It is too distracting. As you are enjoying the climax of the production, you hear little Jimmy behind you burp after sucking down his soda.  You strain to hear the actor over the lady next to you as she shoves the remaining M&M's in her mouth.  Distractions.  If you cannot enter a theater during the opening number, you shouldn't be able to sit in the theater chomping down on snacks that have no business being outside a stadium.

To go one step further, you can make a correlation between snackers and jean wearers.  Don't even get me started on THAT subject.

So next time you go to the theater, leave the snacks in the lobby, down your drinks early, and if you cannot sit through 2 hours of theater without shoveling in empty carbs, than you have a bigger problem than hunger.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Recapping the week that was.

I am having trouble finding the words I need.  This past week was probably the best week ever. 

Lemme take it from the top.

In the midst of a busy Black Friday weekend, my ambitious Wifey decided to have some friends over for dinner.  It was just a small gathering of 10 people.  This was the first large scale entertaining we have ever done. Sure, we have had the proverbial cookout, but a cookout is a little different than a Thanksgiving dinner.  Cooking some burgers on a grill.....preparing a turkey for roasting.  3 pounds of flesh...20 pounds of flesh.

Thanksgiving is 10x harder, especially when you have a hardheaded wife determined to do it all herself.  For those who followed her Twitter Feed that day, thanks for the encouraging words, because she did a fantastic job.  The only thing I can take credit for is the turkey.  She cooked everything from the corn pudding to the pumpkin pie. 

Here are just a few shots from the evening.



[The Turkey.  Salt Water Brine.  Coated in a pound of butter.  Seasoned with salt and pepper and filled with apples and onions and celery and NEVER BASTED]



[The guests. L-R: The Wife, Jenn P, Pat, Julie, the Audrey, Devon, Brendan, Josh, Carrie, and Lee]

So with the big dinner out of the way, next on the social calendar was dinner with Josh and Carrie on Wednesday.  I wrote about that experience here.  I can't say enough good things about that night.  I was so proud of Audrey.  She is really coming into her own and becoming quite the foodie. 


Now the next day, I committed myself to a fundraiser at The Greenhouse Tavern.  I wrote about that night here.  Again, I can't say enough great things about THAT night either.  I met so many like-minded people it made my head spin.  My Twitter following has nearly doubled as a result of that evening, and I continue to get photos in my inbox about that night.  Here are a few of the latest photos I got from Blog it Forward, #cocktailsforanissa. 
[Chef Symon, Carrie, Chef Josh, and Wifey]



[The Chef and The Chef talking about what chefs talk about]

Now today we have another night out.  3 nights out in one week.  How exciting my life has become!  Anyway, I won tickets from work to see A Christmas Carol at Playhouse Square this afternoon.  Can't wait to make it out to the theater, it's been a very long time. 

So that is the week that was.  This isn't the most entertaining post I have had, but I am so damn tired from this week, I need to take a nap!

Let's hope the next few weeks are just as awesome as this past week was!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What would YOU do?



[The photo of Michael Symon telling me (you can see my hair only) that he read my blog.  Chef Pallardy and the Wifey.  photo courtesy of Chef's Widow]

So for the past few posts my blog has been an uber love fest for Michael Symon.  I have trepidation about posting this for a few reasons.  The world doesn't need another Michael Symon story, and I don't want to embarrass my friends, but then again, fuck it, Symon is the shit, and if you can't take some hazing from me at some point, you need to hang out with me more.

So, like I stated before, I was at this fundraiser.  The fundraiser brought out the geek elite, the Cleveland Bloggers to The Greenhouse Tavern.  It also brought out Michael Symon. It also raised over $1K too.

Now over the Thanksgiving holiday a good friend of mine and his wife and new son drove from Washington D.C.  My friend Josh is a chef in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dining Room at the Pentagon.  Yes, THE Pentagon.

The weeks leading up to his leave to come home, we chatted online about what we wanted to do, and planned our nights out because of my limited shitty retail schedule. I had 2 days off while they were in town and Michael Symon is his idol.  Is that what you call someone you look up to?  Anyway, his goal for his trip out was to go a Michael Symon restaurant [Bar Symon], and have great great food.  I mean we did both.  And by did both, I mean my tastebuds needed the morning after pill.

So, we went to this fundraiser and across the room was Josh's idol.  The reason that keeps him running in his day to day grind.  Symon was chilled out, having a quiet dinner with his wife and talking to the people he knew there.  At one point he was heading out, and he walked through the bar and just chatted.  I glanced over and saw my good friend Kasey talking to THE Symon.  After she had her convo, she came over and I said, Josh has been dieing to meet him.  He is a culinary God to Josh as he also just a plain ole GOD to the rest of Cleveland.

So Kasey kind of looked at Josh sideways.  You know the way you look at someone when you want to tell them they don't make any sense.

"Well, go introduce yourself!" Kasey said.

Josh was nervous.  "Adam, you coming with?"

That's when Kasey chimed in.  "Aren't you in the military?  You went through boot camp, and you can't walk over there and just say hi to Michael Symon?  You don't have the cajones to do that?" [I'm paraphrasing.  The wine has dulled my memory]

That was all the encouragement he needed and off he went.  He walked up to the Chef and said hello.  Chef to Chef.

The rest as they say is history, but I think it's a pretty funny observation.

I mean Josh was deployed in the desert.  He has experienced a mortar attack on foreign soil.  He has fired an M-16.  He cooks for some of the MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, and he couldn't muster the courage without a little encouragement.

I think Symon should have been nervous to shake hands with Josh honestly.  I mean Symon cooks for us common folk.  He doesn't cook for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the biggest office building in the world.


What would you do if you were suddenly across the room from your idol?  Would you say hello?

I know I would say hello if given the opportunity.

What would YOU do?

Friday, December 4, 2009

#cocktailsforanissa

There are things I have learned since starting this blog.  You never know who you are going to meet.  You never know where you will find yourself.  You never know why things happen the way they do, but in the end, things happen for a reason.

Last night was something magical.

Fellow blogger Chef's Widow [who recognized me and knew my name which was just a shock to me] was called into action by a tragedy.  Anissa, a fellow blogger out there in the world, who was only 35 or so, had 2 strokes.  She was in a coma.  She is in bad shape.  The Widow decided to throw a party in her honor.  So the "Blog it Forward" dubbed #cocktailsforanissa was born.  She was donating proceeds to Anissa's family to help with whatever they needed help with.  The Cleveland Blogging community stepped it up and came forward to "Blog it Forward".  We all need good Karma, and we all need to have those little guardian angels.  

Not only was this my opportunity to help out a great cause, which by the way was able to raise $300+ in a 50/50 raffle, but it also afforded me the opportunity to head out to the Greenhouse Tavern.  I have talked about it.  I have watched many videos about the place, but I have never had the opportunity to head down to the Tavern to enjoy the deliciousness that is Jonathon Sawyer's cooking.

I have been dreaming of having his much raved beef tartar.  I have never had beef tartar before, so what better time to try it.  I just hope I am not spoiled from it.  The texture of the raw beef, the seasoning, the garlic in the fries.  It was just heaven on a plate.  I also had 2 plates of crispy fried chicken wings with the wife's help, which were out of this world.  This stuff had sex with my taste buds.  That's the best way I could tell you.  I loved it all!

Now, the Widow was able to pull out some amazing people.  Just to mention a few of them, we had Tony Ramos, Kasey Crabtree [which you met last Saturday], Jeanne from Life in Cleveland, Alexa from Cleveland's a Plum, Amelia from Chef's Widow, Rima from Rimarama, KaKaty, Josh a.ka. Chef Pallardy, Carrie from Shawnee's Girl, Julie from West of Cleveland, and who am I forgetting?  Oh yeah, Michael Symon.

I don't want to go on and on about Michael Symon, I did that enough yesterday, but I DO want to share a little story.

Like I said before, you never know who is reading your blog, but something funny happened.  In the midst of all the chaos, somehow I was able to get my good friend Chef Pallardy to go introduce himself.  While they were chatting about being chef's and what not, before he walked away I was able to say, "Hey Chef, just wanted to say my 7 year old daughter loved your roasted bone marrow at Bar Symon last night."

He stopped turned around and said, "YOU'RE the dude who wrote that today?  I totally read that, she also had the goat cheese mac n cheese huh?"

My heart skipped a beat.  He read my blog.  I was so floored I just stopped and said, "Dude, you read but didn't comment you bastard."

He laughed and went on his way after posing for a picture with Chef Pallardy and his wife and MY wife.  I took the picture, but I don't need my picture with him.  Michael Symon is a totally nice dude.  I could drink with him more often.  I'm sure he has some great stories.

Talking about nice dude's Chef Sawyer was an amazing guy too.  I was able to stop and talk to him very shortly as he had a kitchen to run, but I did make sure to comment on his beef tartar. He also was explaining sustainability, and things like that.  I am not much of a tree hugger, but I definitely respect a guy who has convictions like that.  I think we all need something to believe in.  I was inspired by him and his wife.  If I could have a FRACTION of the success they have worked for, I would be a happy guy.   


Last night was so amazing I am having a hard time writing about it.  There were just so many layers to the evening, I am having trouble with it.  I could write a blog about every person I met, but I think somehow you would get bored.


All in all I loved the Green House Tavern.  They definitely deserve all the praise and acclaim they have gotten over the past year.  Thanks to Chef's Widow for hosting and putting together such a great event to meet other great twitterers and bloggers from the good ole Cleveland. 


I'm sure there will be future blogs posts and photos about the debauchery that happened there.  Many many disposable cameras have completely random photos of us just drinking and having a good time! 


If you want to read more about #cocktailsforanissa and relive the fun we had, go to twitter and search the hashtag in the title.  It was a fantastic evening I really enjoyed being a part of.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Roasted Bone Marrow anyone?

It feels so great to be back from the long weekend.  I hope you enjoyed all my guest bloggers while I was away.  Kasey was calling them Adam's Angels.  I would have to agree.  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to Kasey, Laura, Ashley, Jules, and last but not least, my wife, Mrs. Throwing Quarters

It was a long weekend and I couldn't have blogged even if I wanted to.  I also want to thank you for all the great comments you have left for all my guest bloggers.  Thank you thank you and again, thank you.

So, now that I am back, what should I talk about?  Should I talk about mean customers?  No.  Been there done that.  Should I talk about the awesome Thanksgiving dinner we had this past Sunday?  Yes, but not right now.  I want to talk about food, but I want to share a more recent story.

When you go out to eat, what goes through your head as a parent?  Do you instantly think of what the kids menu is before you leave because you want to make sure your child eats?  What happens? 

It can be a point of anxiety for many parents.  For me?  I don't even care.  I go eat where I want to eat, and I know if I take Audrey along, she is going to eat something.  She isn't going to look for chicken fingers, Kraft macaroni, or pizza unless it's given as a choice.  She is a typical 7 year old.  She likes those things, I cannot fault her.  But as of late she has been asking for things I am not expecting her to ask for.  "Dad, can I try that mustard over there?" or "Dad, I'm not sure if I like it, but can I try that A-1 steak sauce?" or "Dad I don't like those sweet potatoes, but I tried them." 

She does this without me asking.  It literally warms my heart.  I have tried and tried and tried to give Audrey more than just the crap you can get on a kids menu at any restaurant chain.  She orders off it when available, but I don't fret when we go somewhere that doesn't have a published kids' menu.

Audrey and I watch Top Chef together all the time.  I am trying to show her that people get excited about food.  We watch Iron Chef.  We watch Diners, Drive In's, and Dives.  She gets excited about food. 

Well when I told her that my friends Josh and Carrie were coming in from out of town, we are all going to Bar Symon, she was more than excited. 

My friend Josh is a chef in the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Dining Room at the Pentagon, and a total food guy.  So when Michael Symon built a restaurant in our home town, we had to make sure he went while he was on leave. 

Audrey walked around school for weeks telling her classmates and teachers that SHE was going to Bar Symon and that she was excited.  She had no clue about the menu, but she was excited to go.  I knew the menu enough to know that there was something for her on it, but she is the big girl, she can pick what ever she wanted.


 [panorama shot from the table. You can see the Wifey, Audrey, and Josh's Wife Carrie]

So let's go through the progression last night.  Josh ordered the Roasted Bone Marrow for an appetizer.  His wife, Carrie, and I have read the Julie and Julia Project so we were curious about what roasted bone marrow was.  Josh had it many times in his line of work, but Carrie and I thought it was like a unicorn.  Something everyone always talked about but no one ever saw in the wild.  We have yet to see it on any menu at any restaurant we have ever been to.  Now I know there are some great French restaurants out there, but I have never seen this in the wild.  

To the table came the Bone Marrow [pictured to the left] served right in the bone.  Carrie dove in first, and I was just so excited to try it that I almost jumped out of my skin when Audrey said this:

"Dad, can I try it?"

What?  What does your kid eat again?  Oh that's right, Kraft Macaroni N Cheese off the mother fucking kids menu.

So with delight Josh scooped up some roasted bone marrow onto the toast it was served with and just watched, with my mouth gaping open.  What she said next I almost peed my pants.

"Wow, Dad, I like this, can I have more?"

What?  Yeah you have trouble getting your kid to eat chicken fingers at Friday's, my child eats roasted bone marrow!  You know the stuff from INSIDE the bones of a cow!  She eats that! And she asked for more!

So the waiter, named Steve, yeah he was that good I remembered his name, came back to take dinner orders and Audrey decided to try something I was equally impressed with.  Goat Cheese Mac N Cheese.  She knew it was not Kraft, but then again there is comfort in knowing your pasta is about to be smothered with cheese. 

I looked around.  There were other parents there with their children, all eating off the non published kids' menu.  Buttered noodles, chicken fingers, and who knows what else was on there.  Audrey was ordering off the big kids menu and loving it.  Score one for my daughter!  Even the wife was impressed!

Later on in the night I let Audrey's mom know what she ate and she sent back, Eww, that sounds gross. 

I just sighed in frustration and why doesn't anyone else think that this is the coolest thing in the world?!

So I ordered a braised pork shank, because let's face it, pigs are tasty.  That is also pictured.  The wife got the burger.  But Audrey kept tasting everything.  She tried the braised pork shank, the goat cheese mac n cheese [which she loved btw], and even the Bar Symon burger.  Along with the Bacon and Apple Bread Pudding, Brown Butter Whipped Potatoes, and many many other great things! 

For dessert we tried every dessert they had.  It was just a magical night all around.  Good brews, good eats, and good conversation.

It's always nice to talk to someone about Cleveland when they are away from Cleveland.  You can see a bigger picture of Cleveland and not the narrow-minded views of the residents.  The can't see the forest from the trees I believe is the analogy.  Cleveland, as it turns out, has become a travel spot for foodies.  I have read about this in the times, but I have yet to have it confirmed by someone outside Cleveland that I actually knew.

Anyway, our tour of Cleveland Food resumes tonight as Josh, Carrie, and the Wife head down to the Greenhouse Tavern for Blog it Forward Happy hour.  If you don't have anything to do, get down there.  There is more info about it here

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't Tell Horror Stories [Guest Post from Mrs. Throwing Quarters]

After months and month and months of asking begging my wife to write a blog, she finally did.  This is our funny story of having a baby, but from my wife's point of view.  She was the one doing all the work, I was the one who was blogging the whole time, and tweeting, and doing nothing but encouraging her to push harder.


Welcome the wifey officially to the blog.  She has also gotten on the Twitter bandwagon and you can follow her here.  


Today is my first day off, whew, what a long weekend.
-Adam
**********************************************************************************

I found out I was pregnant on New Years Eve last year.

With in a week of finding out I was pregnant people started telling me how horrible their labor was, or stories of their horrible pregnancy.  Let me tell you this is a sure fire way to scare a newly pregnant woman, especially if this is their first pregnancy.  My niece turned two last april and I remember my sister's pregnancy well.  She was put on bed rest at six months because she went into preterm labor.  We were all so worried for her and the baby.  Then last year at this time she lost a baby, it was heartbreaking.  All this was already in my mind when the doctor confirmed that I was pregnant, could any of her problems be hereditary? Would I have these problems?  Was there anything I could do to help make sure I didn't have these problems?

My sister is younger than I am, she's healthy and active, not that I'm too old or unhealthy but I'm not as active as she is, would I be more at risk?  All these thoughts flooded my brain and made me worry more than enough before I started hearing other peoples "traumatic" stories.

Some of these women told me things that made me wonder why they had had more than one child, especially at the same hospital!  My mother treated me to a pedicure when I was about 6 months along, noticeably pregnant but not huge.  The lady doing my pedicure asked me if this was my first and then proceeded to tell me that with her first (of three) children the doctor sowed a towel inside of her while stitching her up after delivery, causing an infection and lots of pain.  She had a horror story for all three of her children and one from her sister, the towel one was the one that stuck with me the most.

My husband (you all know him if you're reading this blog :) likes documentaries and had gotten one from Netflix about childbirth.  Now I am a strange kind of person.  I wanted to know just enough to understand what was happening to my body and to the baby but not so much that I sit around and worry about what is going to happen to my body and the baby.  I wanted to know just enough to ease some of the unknown fears but not enough to sit around and stress myself out about what is to come. 

I loved that my doctor seemed to understand that and respected my wishes.  This also means that I was not one of the women who rents videos about childbirth or visits birthing centers, it's wonderful if that is what you want, I just know that I didn't want that and I was ok with that. 

I had my plan, an epidural early and strong!  The women that want natural childbirth are awesome and strong if that is what they want but I think it varies for every woman and basically no matter how you chose to approach it the fact that you are bringing another life into this world is an awesome thing.  Any choice a woman makes is the right one for her, and the only women that I can't stand are the ones that think any medication for any woman is the wrong choice.  If you don't want them then more power to you but if you do then that is just fine!  I can't imagine why any one wouldn't want the aid of meds but that's just me.

Well anyway, this documentary my husband had was made by Ricki Lake during her second pregnancy.  She had not felt like she was a real part of her first child's birth (bur really how could you not be right?) because she had been medicated.  So she followed three separate women during their delivery, one of them being herself.  The whole point of the film, in my opinion, was to try and scare women into having natural childbirth, but for me it only solidified my choice to be medicated!  The film talked about all these strange ways they used to deliver babies, and all the "possible" side effects of the medications they give us now.  There were all these doctors from other countries talking about what wimps Americans are for using medications for easing labor.  Then we actually watched these women have their children.

WOW!!!  Everyone of theses women screamed in agony,  begged for it to stop, or cried and cussed.  Now really can you tell me how that is "enjoying the process of birth"?  I looked at Adam and told him if he didn't turn the movie off I wasn't having this baby (now mind you I was probably about seven months along at this point :)

With all these stories floating in my mind along with the normal first time pregnant jitters I was beginning to really freak myself out.  As I was leaving work one of my last nights one of the girls asked how I was holding up.  I admitted to being scared and worried that I wouldn't be able to do it.  She looked me straight in the eyes and said "Is it comfortable? no. Is it fun? no.  But is it worth it? yes! absolutely! if it weren't no one would ever have more than one."

I held on to that thought all the way through till they took me into the delivery room.  I will not be a woman who tells horror stories.  Why? Because I don't have any!!  The worst part of the whole thing for me was the nerves going into it.  In fact I have a funny story to tell.

I was induced, being nine days late, so there was no natural progression of contractions, no natural water breaking, it was all done at the hospital, which I definitely didn't mind.  While waiting for the epidural they gave me another drug that didn't work as well and I don't remember, but Adam says I stated that "man, this shit hurts!"  :)

Shortly after that I was given the wonderful epidural.   After that I felt nothing but a touch of pressure when I had  contractions, it was wonderful!  I was able to talk to my husband and the nurses and my doctor with a clear head.  I knew what I was thinking and wasn't out of my mind in pain.  I remember the process of pushing and was able to hear and understand my doctor, and was completely clear headed when they handed me my baby.  Even the process of getting the epidural wasn't as bad as I was afraid of.  Now here is the funny story that you may pass on to any pregnant woman that you may know.

They had given me a very large cup of water (which I didn't expect) to help keep my hydrated.  I was still very nervous about what was yet to come, and I'll admit I was worried about not being able to control having to pee with the effects of the epidural and not feeling much.  Well the nurse did one of those questions that wasn't really a question more like an order.  "Would you like a popsicle?" which translated into "You will now be eating a popsicle, what color would you like?"  we even joked a little when she left the room to go get it.

She brought my the popsicle and opened it up, giving me no choice but to eat it.  Well (here is the funny part)  one of the other nurses came in and decided they needed to catheterize me and empty my bladder.  Now if anyone has had a catheter before you know they are not really very fun, I remember my sister had to be catheterized after she had her baby because she wasn't moving any urine and I remember her being in tears about it.  I was a little nervous but then realized that I had an open popsicle in my hands.  It's a popsicle, what do you do with an open popsicle?  Nothing, you just keep eating it.  They laid the bed down and did their thing and I laid in that bed staring at the ceiling and eating my grape popsicle.  It was hilarious!    

When the nurses left the room for a minute we laughed about how silly that was, and even kind of gross in a way.  After everything was all over I was amazed.  I was exhausted and it hadn't been fun or comfortable but damn it sure had been worth it!  As soon as they handed me my beautiful baby I was ready to do the whole thing over again!  A few months of uncomfortable and a few hours of really uncomfortable and they hand you a beautiful baby!!  Afterwards when Adam asked me if I'd do it again I said absolutely but I didn't have any horror stories to pass on to any other new moms.  He laughed and said "Tell them about you're popsicle" so I have told the several of my married friends that are talking about having babies, but are nervous, "Is it comfortable? no.  Is it fun? no.  But is it worth it? Oh yes!! and then I tell them to have a popsicle!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Real vs. Artificial [Guest Post from Just Jules]

The last guest blogger is Jules from the blog Just Jules.  A great blogger and she has become a good friend.  She has made an appearance on the podcast and I have made an appearance on her blog.  Her post is great and I hope you enjoy.  Make sure you go over and visit her blog.  

Can't wait for that day off coming tomorrow!


-Adam

*******************************************************************************

Real vs. Artifical


Real vs Artificial? I was asked this question in an e-mail last week. I know that the sender was referring to Christmas trees. The answer was easy. We always have a real tree, no question there. In fact, most year we have two trees... However, this week I have been thinking about that question differently.

Real vs Artificial what kind of Christmas do I want to have this year? The last few years feel like they have been artificial Christmases. It seems that I have just been going through the motions; making sure we were where we should be when we should be, with the gifts we should bring. I have been making sure the kids are dressed nicely and are behaving. I have been smiling and laughing at the right times and ignoring what would otherwise drive me over the edge on any other day. Gifts have been open, thank yous have been exchanged, and meals have been eaten. But, has any of it been real? Have I enjoyed any of it?

Now before you start thinking that I am a scrooge let me just point out that my husband and I favored the holiday so much we were married at Christmastime 11 years ago! I used to be so crazy about Christmas that I would start counting down the days right after my birthday in July! However, lately, things have not been the same.

So, why? Part of it I believe is that we now have 4 beautiful bright eyed children who ARE so excited for Christmas. Not that the children are a problem - the problem is that when you are the one that needs to make the season wonderful it loses some of it's wonder for you. I could compare it to cooking all day for Thanksgiving. By the time you eat the food you have worked so hard on you are no longer hungry. This is how Christmas has been for me.

Now what? Now, I try to make Christmas this year real. I want to really enjoy this holiday. My children are getting older and are requiring less hands on attention. So, I am trying to make a point to remember the real reason for the season. This is Christ's birthday - his day. Not Target's day (goodness knows they rake in enough this time of year!) I am going to follow my kid's lead. Enjoy the wonder through their eyes. This is a time for family, friends, and feeling warm and safe. A time of good food and good times. I am hoping to search out the meaningful times this year and enjoy them. I am not going to ignore conflict until it hurts but I am not going to seek it out either. I want this year to be different, I want this year to be real - not artificial.