Thursday, August 30, 2007

Old School, or old and at School

It's been about 2 weeks since my last post and I feel like I should post some sort of update. But, I don't have anything planned. So, let me kick it freestyle for you one time. I will try to sum up the last 2 weeks for you in a freestyle rhyme(i will type what ever comes into my head, rap style, with nothing planned).
Here we go!

(Insert drums and bass line here)

so its been a while since i updated my blog
so you haven't seen new pictures of me or my dog.
I've been a busy boy, I haven't done much sleepin'
but if you you know me you know I'll never miss eatin'.
I moved from by the river in baton rouge
now I live in thibodaux on bayou lafourche.
I'm teaching 9th grade geography at Hahnville high
where the have gators on the campus and that ain't no lie.
I'm liking what I'm doin and thats a good thing
cause student teacher don't get paid that means no cha-ching.
so my pockets may be empty but thats allright
at least my pockects not weighed down when my wallets light.
its not an easy gig some kids can be a pain and that ain't cool
it's probably karma goin round for how I used to act in school.
so its thursday now and we're about to start labor day weekend
and just in time cuz this kids are driving me to drinking.
But let me let you know I love it and I'm doing fine
and though it wasn't much I hope you liked my rhyme.

Peace, I'm outta here. word to ya mom inem!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Reflections on the art of slinging hash

Lat night was my last night at the Olive Garden. I am now officially retired from the restaurant biz. I'm done and will never, ever, work in food service again. Hmmm, sounds like I've heard that line before. Oh yeah! I said it twice before, the last time being when I left Salvaggio's. Of course Katrina messed up my cushy warehouse gig and sent me to the OG. But this time things are different. I start my student teaching on Monday and should be able to parlay(sp.?) that into a teaching job come January. If not then I'll work as a substitute until I land a gig. So let's recap the places I have worked(food related) and in chronological order. I will give dates to the best of my recollection.
1.1997-98 Johnny Rays BBQ, Oh how I miss the chocolate pie and delivering catering orders in the pig van
2. 1998-2000 Olive Garden, Tuscaloosa. This was also the only time in which I have ever been "terminated" from a job. it's true, I got fired(long story-not my fault).
3.2000-2001. Alabama Grille, Tuscaloosa. I liked eating there but working there was terrible. on the bright side, they had awesome homemade cake and it was in walking distance from my apartment.
4. 2001-2002(maybe 2003) Lone star Steakhouse, Tuscaloosa. These fools actually let me be a manager.
5. 2004 Salvaggios, Slidell, La.-Best thing about this place was that it got destroyed by hurricane katrina. I know that seems like a really mean thing to say but the boss (not mr. phil) was a complete jackass. I have never in my life wanted something bad to happen to a person. I take that back, this was the one time.
6. 2006 Olive Garden, Slidell. I will give them a pass because I worked there when they re-opened after the hurricane and things were crazy everywhere. But, there were some really nice and memorable characters there, as well as some complete DA's.
7. 2006-2007 Olive Garden, Baton Rouge. By far, my favorite restaurant experience and I credit that to my co-workers, you guys (remember the time I got yelled at for saying "you guys" on my first day?) made it tolerable and sometimes even fun to come to work. I will not miss the job at all but I will miss the lovable band of characters who I proudly call friends. I also give credit to the management team. The group at the BR-OG is the best management team I have ever worked around. I I must give special mention to the general manager, Lorin Bray. Mr. Bray was the best manager I have ever worked for, with, or around. It was my honor, and I do mean honor, to call him "boss".
I have spent a good amount of time in the biz and have seen and heard a lot of things. But as I am in a reflective mood I would rather relate to you what I have learned rather than just random anecdotes.
One of the things I have learned is that it is much better to listen than to talk. Those who know me know that I can be the center of attention, but I have learned that it is a better idea to put the spotlight on others, to make them feel like they are the most important person in the room. That is how you develop relationships, and get fat tips.
I have also learned that if someone tells you that you are the best server they have ever had, it really means that they gave you a crappy tip. The verbal tip is the sign of monetary death.
Probably the thing that I have taken away from my food service experience more than anything else is that nothing beats a smile, a joke, and eye contact. In all of my years of services I had one customer complaint. Yes, only one. And I got that when I dropped a glass of ice on a little kid. Oddly enough, the parents didn't mind at all but a guy eating with the family felt that we should buy the entire meal for the entire table(by the way, the kid was not injured and by the end of the meal he had become my "little buddy"). Some people will use any opportunity to get something for nothing.
To those of you who work in the biz, remember that the people at your table or at your bar pay your bills. Be nice, try to make their day a little better, hopefully they will help make yours better.
to those of you who are sitting at the table or bar, remember that you help to pay your server/bartenders bills. If you leave nothing-they make nothing. servers make $2.13 an hour and due to the way taxes are set up they typically get a voided paycheck each week. That means zero dollars of hourly wage. They live on what you leave. Many of them are working their way through college on this money, some are single parents trying to raise a family on this money, the list goes on and on.
The point to all of this is just to say that I'm glad it's over for me. I look forward to being the one doing the eating for a change.

Although I do not remember all the names and faces, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who helped by my bills and tuition. And, to all of you who fought with me on the front line, you will always be in my heart. Always.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Season Draws Near

Go ahead and laugh, I laugh at it myself. Some may say that I was a band nerd. Alls I'm saying as that chicks dig the uniform(especially the cape). So, football season draws near. I am excited! I think it's gonna be a great year for football fans here in south Louisiana and for those in Tuscaloosa as well. Let's begin with the NFL. Our beloved Saints have a lot of talent on the roster this year, particularly on offense, and if nothing else they will be fun to watch. Now don't misunderstand what I am saying. It's gonna be a tough season. Our schedule may not look terribly difficult but we are slated play some very tough teams. True we get to play Atlanta twice and 3/4's of their offense we be in court while we play(refering to vick, for those who may have been under a rock for the last 2 months). But, Atlanta isn't known for scoring a million points, they rely on a stout defense. Also you better believe that they will be out to prove that they are more than a one trick pony. What bodes well for the black and gold as that they can potentially score from anywhere on the field and with the talent we have can stretch the field and create a lot of mismatches and one-on-one scenarios. Defensively, I think we are stronger this year. It's still early in preseason and I fully believe that many of the issues we are most concerned about (DB's) will work themselves out as opening night approaches. The predictions on the saints vary. If your asking me, I am thinking that we will be somewhere around 11-5 and deep into the playoffs. How deep? I will not speculate, but I will say that this team is one of the most dangerous in the league, and I mean that with both good and bad contexts. If we lose Brees, We're dead.
Turning to the college ranks. I think it will be an exciting year nationally. There are a lot of powerful teams ready to stake their right to play in the national championship game. But beware, Rutgers and Boise State don't plan on slipping back to anonimity. That's not to say that they are going to the big game, rather, I am suggesting that there are some other school who are ready to make a jump into the spotlight. Rutgers and Lousville will have an affect(effect?) on things. Also watch out for some bottom dwellers who are gaining strength. Kentucky will be a factor in deciding the SEC East. They will upset at least two of the big dogs in the east this year(though I'm not sure which two). Also, Watch out for the PAC-10. We all know about USC but UCLA is tired of playin the little brother role.
But let's talk about the issue that you all really want to hear my take on. LSU @ Alabama. Let us take off our purple and gold or crimson colored glasses. You and I both know(though we may not publicly admit it) that this game could go either way. Yes, LSU has been rather dominant the last several years and Alabama has been hit and miss, but this will clearly be a game of emotion. Alabama players understand how much LSU wants to win this game. The boys in Crimson and white love their coach and their university and will not die easy in this game. On the flip side, The tigers are taking this game personally(I'll write a post on that some other time). They want this victory more than a natioanal championship. You think I'm just saying that but trust me, I hear lots of things while working at a very popular Dining establishment here in tiger-town. So, let's turn our attention to the field of play. LSU is a little sketchy at QB. They have talent there but are unproven thus far. They have lost several recievers and coach miles continues to make comments that someone needs to step up in that role, we'll have to see if someone does. In terms of running backs there is no clear #1 but there seems to be a hundred #2's. Defense, where they have been simply dominant the last couple years(minus that big oops against Tennesee 2 years ago) should be pretty strong again. But with the loss of some of their top players I would not expect them to be the fighting tigers you have become used to. They will give up some points this year, not alot, but they will not be able to stop everyone, everytime.
As for BAMA. They didn't look great last year but they did have a lot of young guys get alot of experience. Their QB started every game as a sophmore and has proven that he can make every throw in the playbook. Also, he remains calm and rarely makes mental mistakes. The offensive line returns all 5 starters (I think they were mostly sophomores last year). The running back situation is alot like LSU's. No one seems overly dominant but there are several guys who, unlike LSU, seem ready to take the #1 back position. Recievers are an issue at BAMA. They have some guys who can flat out fly but may not be the most reliable and some guys who will catch everything but lack big play speed. It'll come down to play calling to maximize what they have. Finally, the defense. Alabama has always been a defense first school. They, however, lack the dominance that they had even 2 years ago. However, the do have a couple of playmakers who can force turnovers and make big stops. All in all, they will be similar to LSU in that they will appear dominant at times and be like trying to eat soup with a chopstick other times.
So, this brings us to the issue of coaching. I will tell you who has the edge and why. But read what I have to say before unleashing your verbal assault in my direction. It think LSU is ahead of the curve on the coaching side because Les Miles has been there for a couple of years and his way of doing things is routine their now. But he has several new coaches on staff, including coordinators which means that the tigers are having to install some new systems. Alabama also has alot of new coaches this year including Nick Saban (who, though I love BAMA, i am not really a fan of). I have given this much thought and after the waying all of the issues, pros and cons, etc. have determined that Alabama has a better coach than LSU. DON'T START YELLING YET! Heres my justification for saying this. When Saban left LSU, tiger fans hailed him as the greatest coach in their history(yes, you did. be honest with yourself). In Les Miles' career at LSU he has been criticized repeatedly for being inferior to Saban(you may not want to admit it now but again, you know I speak the truth). And finally, Why is LSU taking this game so personally? because they are seeking not to prove that they are better than Alabama, but that they are better than Nick Saban. LSU, by their own actions, have determined that Saban IS a better coach than Les Miles.
My prediction for the game-like I said, it could go either way. I'll give you my pick the week of the game. I will say that at this point I lean towards LSU, but hat could be because one of my legs is longer than the other.
OK, let the swearing begin.

Thanks for your help.

We found a place. Probably less than a mile from K's job, that's good for K. It's about 30(ish) minutes for me. If anyone finds themselves in the area give us a call. Again, I'd like to apologize for using the blog as a classfied section but we can now get back to our regularly scheduled program. However, I can't post any musings just this second, I gotta pack some boxes. Oh, we're moving on the 16th or 17th, we're not sure which yet. go bye bye!
It's been a while since I posted any pics of Sadie. His one of her napping on "her futon". What a cutie!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

If you can help!

I hate to do this, but it seems that Kristi and I need to move to the Thibidoux area. If you or someone you know has a house for rent in the area(Thibidoux, Houma, Raceland, Lockport, Des Allemands, etc...) please let us know.
Sorry for the shameless advertisement but desperate times call for desperate measures.