The Hunt Begins…

I have become a hunter. My prey? Employmentatis permanensis — that elusive creature commonly refered to as “the full-time job.”

That’s right folks. I’m job hunting. I spend my days working on endless versions of my resume, and checking job sites like Monster.com and MediaBistro. I keep reviewing my skillset trying to create as many options for myself as possible and pursuing those I think will serve me best.

Have I mentioned that I hate job hunting?  It’s all about me trying to convince people of how great I am. For someone who hates talking about himself, the whole process is torture (although I must admit that I look pretty good on paper). 

It’s times  like these when I almost regret becoming a writer. I never planned to have a career in writing. After college I took a job writing for a trade magazine as a way to pass the time and make a few bucks while I decided what my next step would be. And that was that…My next step turned out to be another writing job…and then another….and another… 

I could have been a doctor or a lawyer. People always need someone to heal them or litigate for them. I could have been a plumber or an electrician. People always someone to light their way or unclog their toilets.   

But no, I am a writer. So here I sit working on yet another version of my resume, trying to fool potential employers into thinking I have what they need.

And so the hunt goes on…..

Advertisements

Restaurant Review: Chickie’s and Pete’s

First things first. The name “Chickie’s and Pete’s” is grammatically incorrect. It’s very annoying… Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest we can move on…

Chickie's & Pete'sDF and I found ourselves with another free night and decided that it would be much more fun to go out to dinner than to stay in and clean the house. A sudden craving for seafood — more specifically crab legs — led us to Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar, a very well-known restaurant with a reputation for good food and good times.

We arrived around 7:30. It was a Friday night, so I expected a crowd. It wasn’t just crowded, it was packed. We were told it would be a 20 minute wait. The way this particular location is laid out (there are 7+ locations in this growing chain) there is no place to wait except outside (where you can’t hear your name called) or the crowded entryway. I hate crowds. I hate waiting. I hate crowded entryways. But I do like accuracy. Approximately 20 minutes later were we sitting at our table, menus in hand, as our cute and bubbly waitress (her name was Brittany) took our drink orders. I don’t drink often but when I do, I’m a beer snob, so I wont touch most beers. I do however really enjoy the Yuengling brand of beer. I ordered a Yuengling Black and Tan from the tap and it was excellent. DF ordered her standard Long Island Iced Tea, which she enjoyed enough to refill 4 more over the course of the evening (yeesh, what a lush!).

For our appetizers, we ordered calamari and an order of mixed crab fries. The calamari was lightly fried, mixed with hot and sweet peppers and served with a seasoned marinara dipping sauce. In my opinion the calamari was excellent. It was cooked just right, and the peppers and marinara added a nice little kick to this old favorite. For those of you who have never heard of crab fries, they’re french fries seasoned with Old Bay and other spices. C&P’s is famous for their crab fries. For their mixed fries they use potatoes and sweet potatoes to create a melange of color, texture and flavored.

Time for the main course. We were craving crab legs, so crab legs we got. King Crab legs. Giant armored pieces of crustacean yumminess. I forgot how annoying it was to open crab but C&P’s provided us with two different types of crab crackers to help us get our food. I didn’t even need to use them much. With only a slight bit of effort I was able to peel away the hard shells by hand, leaving only the succulent meat, which came out intact or in huge chunks. The crab meat was tender and very flavorful. I don’t think either one of us remembered to use the clarified butter that came with the meal.

We also ordered “Riverboat Clams” (C&P’s take on Clams Casino) and an order of “Chickie’s Style Hot Shrimp” — shrimp steamed in a seasoned broth and served warm with cocktail sauce. The Clams Casino was ok. Would I order them again? No. Nothing against C&P’s, I’m just not a big fan of clams in general.  The “Hot Shrimp” was really tasty. I liked the way the seasonings combined with the tang of the cocktail sauce. A little messy, but worth it.

We ordered a lot of food. It was all very good. And, since we don’t like to waste good grub, we were very happy with the fact that Brittany (remember our cute and bubbly waitress?) was very quick to provide us with “to go” boxes, so that last night’s yummy dinner could be today’s tasty lunch…

Unfortunately, C&P’s doesnt offer dessert. I’m not usually a dessert kind of guy, but with all the mixes of flavors we had I think something sweet would have been a good way to end the meal. Did you catch that Chickie and/or Pete? I’m not asking for Bananas Foster or Cherries Jubilee, but would it kill you to offer some ice cream or a piece of pie?

One thing to keep in mind.  This is a sports bar (it’s in the name to help you remember). There’s music playing and sports on multiple monitors, so if you’re looking for a quiet place for intimate conversation, this isn’t it. But, if you’re looking for a great place to hang out, hear some music, have fun and enjoy some good eats, Chickie’s & Pete’s definitely makes the grade.

Taking A Stand

 Stand With Planned Parenthood — Contact Your Representative
Last week, the House passed a bill to bar Planned Parenthood from all federal funding for any purpose whatsoever. That means no funding to Planned Parenthood health centers for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other essential care.
[Want to know how your local Representative voted? Click here to find out.]

————–

Should we fear for the future? What happens if Planned Parenthood (and/or related organizations) are denied Federal funding? What will happen to all of the people who rely on PP counselors for advice?

I think this is just another way for government to distance itself from anything that relates to abortion. For the record I consider myself to be Pro-Choice, even though I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the issue of abortion. I do believe that every woman should have the right to choose her own path and decide what is best for herself.

Obviously its a very sensitive topic, one that I don’t think will ever be resolved in a way that satisfies everyone. The best thing we can do is keep an open dialogue.

And speaking of open dialogue I’d like to share this little tidbit with you. It shows how some people can’t get past the hype to find their own way. The following is an excerpt from a real conversation I had with one of my very Christian friends in college…

Woman:
“I don’t believe in abortion. I think its murder.”

Me:
“Well do you believe that a woman has the right to make her own choices about what’s right for her own body?”

Woman:
“Yes I do.”

Me:
“Oh, ok., So you’re Pro-Choice.”

Woman:
“God no! I said I was against abortion.”

Me:
“I know you’re against abortion, but you just said that you supported a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body”

Woman:
“Yes I said that.”

Me:
“Ok. So then you’re Pro-Choice.”

Woman:
“No. I’m against abortion.”

Me:
“You do understand that you can be against abortion but still support the right to choose, right? Pro-Choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion, you know. Being pro-choice is about respecting a woman’s right to make choices. The name ‘Pro-Choice’ should tell you that…”

Woman:
“You’re just trying to confuse me and make me say things that aren’t true…”

Restaurant Review: Johnny Mañana’s? More Like Johnny Nunca’s…*

Johnny Mañana’s is a Mexican restaurant not far from where I live in Northeast Philadelphia. I love Mexican food. It’s spicy and flavorful. So on a rare free night, DF and I went there for dinner. We’d been there for lunch a while back and remembered good food and great service…

We sat down to mismatched plates and complimentary drinks in mismatched glasses. I thought it was a theme…We ordered an appetizer and two entrees, sipped our free drinks and like any other nosey couple eavesdropped on the other patrons. That’s when we started to pick up on all the signals…It also didn’t help that we were sitting near the open air kitchen/grill area and could hear the cooks and wait staff bitching and complaining.

It turns out that the mismatched plates and glasses weren’t part of a new theme. They just didn’t have enough plates and glasses for all of their customers and so were scrounging around using whatever they could find. Even the complimentary drinks were a fakeout — they were free because the restaurant didn’t have a liquor license.

While we waited for our food I noticed a number of plates being returned to the kitchen. My guess is that people got tired of waiting for their food and left, which is what happened at the tables to our left and right. There were a lot of complaints and the manager/owner type person apologized by saying that “they had just recently reopened.” I guess he got tired of dealing with complaints because a few minutes later I saw him slip out a side door and drive away, never to be seen again….

What happened, Johnny? What happened to that nice place I remember? I guess its gone…Oh well, life goes on…And, for all of you budding restauranteurs out there — do not open if you’re not ready to serve customers. Free drinks will only carry you so far…

 Just so this review isn’t 100% negative, know this — the homemade chips, salsa and gaucamole are incredible (and available for purchase). 

*translation: “Johnny Tomorrow’s? More like Johnny Never’s”

A Salute To The Military

This particular salute is to the U.S. Navy. Not for any specific military action, but for what it has done for my little brother.

B.G. has always a smart and talented kid, but in his teenage years he was a real handful.  The plain truth is that he was a real jerk, and I seriously worried about his future. He stayed out when he wasn’t supposed to, disappearing for hours then waltzing back into the house as if nothing was wrong. He was openly rude and defiant, and avoided family gatherings whenever possible. He wrecked 6 cars (not all of them his) and didn’t seem to care very much about his actions. He had lots of potential and great ideas but no real direction.

And then he joined the Navy. I don’t know what internal decision process led to that choice but so far it seems to have been one of the best things he’s done with his life. He’s now in his mid-20’s and doing very well. It hasn’t been a perfect ride, but he’s close to getting his first promotion, and has been talking about getting his degree. He has also met (and married) a great girl (also in the Navy), and they’re expecting their first child (a girl). I am very happy for him and extremely proud of the man he is becoming.

So, to the U.S. Navy I say thank you. And to B.G. I say keep up the good work, little brother…

Lost History

My family is from Guyana. I was born in the Unites States. I’m first generation American.

The other day my girlfriend asked me a question about my family. It was a simple question (one that I forget at the moment) that I should have known the answer to, but  didn’t.

As I thought about it I suddenly realized that not only did I not know the answer to that particular question, but that I didn’t really know all that much about my family history. The sad truth is that I’m not sure if anyone of my generation knows much about my family’s life before coming to America.

To be clear, when I say history I’m not talking about genealogy — the who begat who’s. One industrious member of the family has already traced our line back to the 1850’s.  I’m talking about history — the stories and experiences of the generations that preceded me. In all fairness to me, I’m not totally unaware of my family’s adventures in Guyana — and there have been some good ones. There’s the time my grandfather was accused of embezzling money from his company. Everyone else thought he did it but my grandmother (knowing he was innocent) began her own investigation into the case and found the real culprit. There’s also the story of my great-uncle, who as a young pharmacist was accused of killing a man by giving him the wrong medication. Fortunately for him further investigation revealed that the wife did it — apparently she decided she didn’t want to be married anymore so she bumped off her husband by switching the labels on his pills. And, of course, there’s the very weird set of stories about the short time my family lived in a haunted house and my grandmother became possessed….

Knowing my family as I do, I know stories like these are just the tip of the iceberg. My grandparents have been gone a long time now, so the history now rests in the hearts and minds of my mother (the second oldest) and her nine siblings. I’ve made a personal pledge to preserve my family’s history; to keep it from fading away as my relatives pass on. Starting with my mother I’m going to start interviewing my family members; get them talking about the old days and recording what they say…

Obviously the concept of preserving family history isn’t a new one. I’m not claiming to have reinvented the wheel. There are millions of families out there that keep track of their history and from now on mine will be one fo them. We are, in part, who we come from, and I want to know more about who I am…

Am I An A**hole?

I have a confession to make. I think I may be an asshole…well, maybe just a bit of an asshole. Why? Because I am addicted to a website called Failblog.org. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a site filled with pictures and videos of people having a very bad day — slipping and falling, crashing into things, lighting themselves on fire, and getting hit in the crotch, etc.  — and all for the viewers enjoyment. And I do so enjoy it. It’s hilarious! I laugh my ass off every time I watch one of the videos.

But as much as I like the site, there’s a small part of me that is ashamed (well, only a little ashamed). How is it that we can find so much humor in another person’s suffering? To be fair, on Failblog a lot of the suffering is due to someone’s stupidity but still…

Take the “Am I An Asshole” test. Watch this compilation video from YouTube highlighting the “best” fails of 2010. Did you laugh?