:: Life on Planet Dan-E ::

Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Monday, February 14, 2011 ::

:: It's Been a While ::
... since I've known this woman. She's wrong for me in so many ways. I know I could do better.

Yet, I can't stop thinking about her. I almost always follow my heart more than my head, whether or not it's a good idea. But in this case, my heart is winning out. My head tells me there is no future. My heart is screaming otherwise.

My head tells me it's a waste of time. My heart knows something I don't.

I'm not scared. Not of being hurt, not of her. I just need to know it's worth it. And I know it's not. But yet...

:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 7:53 AM [+] :: | 2 comments
:: Thursday, May 27, 2010 ::
:: Leavin'... ::
... for Los Angeles in about an hour's time. It'll be my first time back in over four years. My little brother, who's getting married in July, is having his bachelor party in Vegas and we're flying in to L.A. and road tripping over. While that'll be huge fun and all, it'll be good for the family since my brother, our parents and I haven't sat down to a family dinner in a long time.

I'm viewing this trip with mostly anticipation but also some trepidation.

Not so much about Vegas. Even though I talk to my parents once a month I'm not exactly looking forward to the barrage of question I'm going to be inundated with. My dad, who's never been one to give me the benefit of the doubt, asked me a few weeks ago how I was doing. "I'm well. Everything here is good."

"How's your health?"

Wondering where this is going; "I can't complain."

"Are you... [pause to search for the right word] chubby?"

[My own "WTF did he just say" pause.]

"What? [My own "WTF did he just say" pause.] Are you kidding me dad? The hell kind of question is that?!"

(For the record I'm only 5 pounds heavier than when I left. I've been working out, dammit.)

[Laughing] "I'm just asking how you are."

"By asking if I'm chubby? Seriously? And you wonder why I haven't been home in four years?"

(I may not have actually asked that last question out loud.)

And my Mom, don't get me started.

It'll be good to see my family again, regardless. And it'll be especially good to see my little brother again. I feel like I've missed out on a good chunk of his life and at least this is one way to catch up.

It's odd that even though we're anticipating a pretty good time in Vegas, for me the main thing on my mind is our first family dinner together in four years.

I can't wait.

EDIT: Apparently, it's been six years.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 4:31 PM [+] :: | 2 comments
:: Monday, April 26, 2010 ::
:: How We Met ::
Every time I become friends with someone who's already married, I always ask them how they met. I love listening to these stories, always have.

The writer of one of the blogs I frequent shares a similar love. He takes it a step further and linked to a beautiful "How We Met" story in the Washington Post that moved me more than I really care to admit.

It moved me because of their fearlessness; their willingness to dive headfirst into unknown water despite the precarious circumstances circling their lives. It moved me because it made me wistful for my own stories to tell.

Enough about me, enjoy the story.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 3:03 PM [+] :: | 2 comments
:: Saturday, April 17, 2010 ::
:: That Wasn't there Before ::
One of my co-workers invited me to her place for a wine tasting/dinner party at her place last week. We both share a love of good wine and since Lynn is studying to be a sommelier (where as I just like drinking the stuff) we became friends through the many conversations at work about wines.

Her husband, K, is also a wine connoisseur and sports a rather impressive collection at their place. The first hour or two involved some tasting and discussion, along with some pretty good food. After a few bottles tasting and discussion became drinking and loud talking. We somehow managed to polish off a double magnum (4 liters) of sparkling wine along with quite a few bottles of whites (there were a few reds in there though I can't recall clearly).

Through it all I remained fairly sober right up until a latecomer showed up with a bottle of 23-year old rum. Knowing my love of scotch, K also broke out a bottle of Macallan 12. "Neither of us drink whiskey," he stated as he handed me the unopened bottle. "So go nuts."

"Sure, twist my arm."

I only had one (rather large) glass after which I started getting a pretty good buzz. Still, none of us didn't get drunk until K had the bright idea of heading over to a nearby bar. A round of shots and a glass of bourbon later, we stumbled back to their place, after which I grabbed my stuff and somehow made it back home.

I was fine the next morning, though Lynn seemed somewhat tired that night at work. When I return home after work, I head to my liquor cabinet to pour myself a drink when I noticed a new, barely-drank bottle of Macallan 12.

Umm, shit. Did I steal that?

I quickly send Lynn a text; "Um... I may have accidentally stolen a bottle of Macallan last night."

A few minutes later: "I told you to take it. We don't drink scotch :)"

"Oh, good. By the way, thanks."

I'm thinking I need to attend these wine tastings more often.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 4:30 PM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 ::
:: Merry Irish Christmas ::
I did what any self-respecting Irishman would do on St. Paddy's day: I went out for sushi. (Seriously. Every Irish themed bar is going to packed with drunken jackasses drinking green beer and puking said beer on the floor later. No way I'm going to one of those places.) Don't think for a second that I didn't have my pint of Guinnness, however.

As for the rest of you enjoy some of this...

...or this...

...but before you drink, toast with this:

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 11:27 PM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Thursday, March 11, 2010 ::
:: Too Loud ::
I received a noise complaint for the first time ever last week. I was cooking myself dinner after work one night and since it was a recipe I wasn't familiar with, I had my laptop perched on top of my microwave, right next to the open window, with the recipe on the screen.

This worked out well since I love listening to music while I cook. My laptop speakers aren't the greatest but they'll suffice. About 20 minutes in I hear a knock on my door. At 1:30am. I open the door - still holding my knife - and this scruffy looking guy is outside.

"Could you please turn you music down? The entire building can hear you."

"Sure. Sorry about that."

I head back to the kitchen and turn the volume down. Just to be sure, I even changed the music to something mellower, after which I couldn't help but laugh at the situation. I annoyed my neighbor with my crappy little laptop speakers and it wasn't even something obnoxious like Van Halen or Pearl Jam.

I was listening to Beethoven.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 2:58 PM [+] :: | 2 comments
:: Thursday, February 25, 2010 ::
:: Why I Cook ::
I've been racking my brain trying to think of something to write. I have yet another four half-written posts saved up, yet it took almost two months before I found something worth writing about, and it wasn't even my idea. I read this great post from a blog read regularly and he got his inspiration from an enthusiastic food writer.

So why do I cook. I almost have too many reasons to list and while long posts aren't exactly new to me, I'll run down some of the more important points.

- I cook to eat. Seems like a resounding *DUH* right? But I love to eat and if you were to ever meet me, you can tell I don't miss meals often. Or ever. But other reasons range from my general disdain for most processed foods and microwave meals (it's been literally a decade since I bought one) all the way to health concerns. I also know what I like and therefore it's easy to make what I like.

- It's a hobby that I have a great deal of passion for. I love it, plain and simple. People I work with have asked why I don't pursue cooking as a profession. I think if I had to do it every day as a way to make rent, I would lose enthusiasm for it, having to grind away behind a hot line 8-10 hours a night, 5 nights a week. As it is now, if I don't feel like cooking I just stop by Five Guys or if I'm broke, whip up some eggs. Besides, I work in a restaurant where I get along with the cooks, it's also easy for me to pick up tips here and there.

- Cooking is an excuse to buy myself some great new kitchen knives. Also got a bamboo cutting board, a new honing steel, a cast-iron skillet and many entertaining evenings playing chef. (Ironically, as one of my goals for this year is to be more social, I'm wondering if this is a good thing.)

- Many waiters, after a long shift, like to drink themselves into oblivion or light up a joint. While I do love a good drink, cooking helps me to relax as much as a night out with friends and I get more of a kick from fixing a good meal.

- On that same note, If there's anything I love more than cooking, it's music. Few things make me happier than cooking while I have my favorite songs playing in the background. (I'm even happier when sipping on a good whiskey.)

- Personal fulfillment. I rarely cook for people and when I do, it's only for the closest of friends or a woman I'm dating. Even if I'm dicking around with a recipe and I need guinea pigs to sample my dish, I only invite the few friends I can actually spend more than 30 minutes with without needing booze to keep me interested. Along those lines, I've never cooked to impress a woman hoping she'll date me. As much effort as I put into my dishes, if a woman wants me to cook for her, she has to show me something. (And I don't mean her tits.)

(Though it might help.)

- I love trying something new and experimenting with ingredients. I remember how intimidating it seemed the first time saw Alton Brown butcher a whole beef tenderloin. I also remember trying it myself the first time and thinking to myself, "that's it?" and enjoying beef dishes the rest of the week. I remember the elation of braising lamb shanks for the first time. I especially remember finally learning how to precisely slice salmon into equally thin pieces with my new sashimi knife and the look on my buddy's face when he saw and sampled my hamachi.

- I enjoy the challenge. I'll make the best steak tartare you'll find outside a fine restaurant. My espresso-rubbed short ribs braised in chocolate stout and served over vanilla mashed potatoes is amazing. So is my own homemade tomato sauce. I received moans of approval from people who tasted my coriander crusted snapper with tequila-lime sauce and jalapeno parsnips puree. I can make my own salad dressings. And I've said many times; I make the best guacamole on the East Coast. But none of these came out great the first time and they all seemed difficult at first. And while I have these and a few other dishes I rotate through, I really don't know as much as most home cooks. I don't know the first thing about baking. I couldn't make a dessert from scratch other than opening a pint of Ben 'n Jerry's. And even though I'm good with red meats and fish, I can't do that much with chicken beyond frying up buffalo wings. That's the next hurdle I'm looking forward to.

- I cook because life is better those few minutes I spend in the kitchen. As much as I enjoy a good dining experience, food tastes just that much better when it's earned.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 12:08 AM [+] :: | 1 comments
:: Friday, January 01, 2010 ::
:: Looking Back on 2009 ::
I don't even know where to begin. This year has had so many ups and downs that I feel like 2009 couldn't end soon enough. Reading some posts this year was a somber experience. I've had some great highs but there was a disproportionate amount of lows; enough that I can look back and say this year wasn't one of my best.

There have been good things. I made some great new friends. I'm good financially. I've eaten at the great restaurants and cooked some great meals. Like every year, I've learned new things.

But I had to change jobs again. One in which I'm grateful for having, given the economy but I've had to deal with more stress than seems rational for a waiter.

There have been some women in my life but there is has been no intimacy. I went on some nice dates but there's something left to be desired if all I can say about a date was that it was "nice." I've pushed myself to grow and I have, but one thing I've learned is that at age 35, I still feel like I have so far to go, so much to learn.

Things don't magically change just because the clock turns to 12:00 but there is some truth in the old axiom "new year, new beginnings." Things will be different in 2010. Hopefully for the better but things will be different.

I already have something to look forward to. My younger brother is getting married this summer. Hopefully I'll meet my new sister-in-law before then. I already know she's going to be a good for him since he usually attracts quality women (unlike me).

But I need something good to happen to me this year. Whatever inner drive I had that provided the initiative to make the move to Miami six years ago, I need to find that again.

No matter what, things will be different.

To all my readers, Happy 2010.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 11:02 PM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Friday, December 25, 2009 ::
:: Naughty or Nice... ::
...Merry Christmas!

If I still believed in Santa, I'm pretty sure I'd get coal in my stocking this year. And my regret about that would be that I don't own a grill.

My best to you readers (seriously though, is there anyone left? Hello? *echo*).


:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 6:13 AM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Sunday, December 20, 2009 ::
:: Great News ::
My little brother got engaged last week. It's the best news I heard in quite some time and I couldn't be happier if he told me he bought me a lifetime supply of beer and bacon. I've yet to meet his fiance though I have seen photos of her on his Facebook page. She seems like a sweetheart and they do make a great looking couple. Just as important (to him anyway, she seems like the kind of girl that his mother would absolutely adore.)

And yet... as happy as I am for him, I can't help but feel bittersweet at the same time. I haven't seen him in over three years. I'd love for to go out for beers, catch up on life, and watch a Lakers game for old time's sake.. I want to meet his fiance and welcome her into our dysfunctional family and warn her that if she ever breaks my little brother's heart, I'm gonna put a hit out on her (inside joke: when mom was pregnant, I was sure he was going to be a girl.) As much as my parents drive me crazy, I miss them (and mom's homemade spaghetti sauce).

He's only 28 years old. If he was playing baseball he'd be entering his Prime years and as far as his life is going now, it seems like he is indeed. He'll be finishing up his Masters in a little over a year (his second by the way, that overachieving prick). He found someone to share his promising future with.

Being the Black Sheep I've always been somewhat distant from my family and for the most part I'm okay with that. But this is such great news that it's not enough just to hear it. I want to be there with everyone to soak it all in. For the first time in a long time - perhaps because Christmas is around the corner - I feel somewhat isolated.

... and I want what he has. (There I said it.)

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 10:20 AM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Thursday, December 10, 2009 ::
:: Ladies? ::
I was enjoying dinner with a friend from work at one of my favorite new spots in South Beach. It's a cool little burger and beer joint, named Burger and Beer Joint appropriately enough.

(Actual conversation: Me: We're going to this burger and beer joint that just opened up.

Friend: Cool! What's it called?

Me: Umm, Burger and Beer Joint.

Friend: Staring at me funny wondering if I'm being a dork again.)

Back to the story. We had finished our burgers (or rather, I finished mine and ate some of hers) and while waiting for our deep-fried Twinkie dessert, I'm leaning in towards her as she's showing me an app on her new Blackberry. The food runner comes up behind us and sets the Twinkie down and says "here you go ladies."

Upon hearing that I raise and turn my head towards her and say, "thanks" with a wry smile. She has an amusingly surprised look on her face and scurries back to the kitchen. Maybe my hair is getting a bit long.


By the way, the Twinkie was delicious.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 7:27 PM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Thursday, November 26, 2009 ::
:: Happy Thanksgiving! ::
It's been a long year but despite it all, I have plenty to be thankful for. Sure I have my friends, being employed and all but there's other stuff

- My guitar Lill-E.
- Air conditioning.
- U2's new album.
- The new kitchen knives I bought this year.
- Looking ahead.
- My adorable cat.
- My relatively high alcohol tolerance (unless I'm trying to get drunk).
- It's November and warm, which mean hot latin girls still wearing midriffs.
- The Lakers
- Many, many more things not the least of which, my favorite bourbon:

But I'm thankful for you, the few loyal readers I have left. I have no idea who many of you are (and please introduce yourself I you've never done so, and if it's been a while since your last comment, just say "hi") but if you're still here, thanks for sticking around. I hope you have many things to be grateful for as well. Happy Thanksgiving.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 11:19 AM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 ::
:: Humor ::
Having turned 35 this year, I spent a good part of my birthday reflecting on what my life was about. Where I've been, where I'm going, what I need to change (some of the details are hazy as they can be when a night of drinking involves pints of Guinness preceded by three Manhattans). I'm content, for the most part, with where my life is now but "content" isn't the same as "I love my life."

I don't think huge changes are necessary. Just some behavioral and habitual tweaks that could push me in the right direction (for example: keeping nights of drinking involving pints of Guinness preceded by three Manhattans to a minimum). Living in South Beach, I'm often told stories and anecdotes of people my age and older who underwent some sort of cosmetic enhancement in an effort to stay youthful. With anything ranging from Botox injections to liposuction, the elusive search for the Fountain of Youth is a popular expedition.

No, I'm not considering any sort of plastic surgery. I still look young for my age. Most of my fixes are mental and emotional. That being said, it seems my subconscious has resorted to its own form of Botox in that I've noticed a distinct degradation in my sense of humor. What I mean by it's become more sophomoric and puerile.

Maybe it's my young co-workers. It could just be that I'm trying to mentally stay young. It's not so much what I find humorous (I always enjoyed bathroom humor) but it's some of the stupid shit that comes out of my mouth that sometimes gets people in stitches and occasionally, me into trouble.

It's not like my humor was particularly sophisticated but there was at least a modicum or intelligence in my quips and comments. There will always be that but at the same time there are these examples (none of which I'm particularly proud of) what I'm talking about:

- I taught one of the young hostesses what "dropping the kids off at the pool" meant and enjoyed it a little too much, like I'm bathroom-humor Yoda or something.

- Last Tuesday was spent telling my co-workers various facts about Chuck Norris, which was met with either laughs, confusion, or hostility. (Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its decendants are known today as Giraffes.)

- I can't go more than two days without ending someone's comment with an out-of-context "that's what she said."

- During a busy rush at work, a co-worker asked me if I needed anything and my reply was "a nice, sloppy blow-job. Oh you mean right now? Umm, I'm good." (She's still laughing.)

- Stupid shit like this.

- And this.

- One of the managers was telling us how it's our duty to help each other when it gets busy, and a co-worker and I started giggling because he said "duty."

There are other, better (worse?) example but I think I lost enough respect as it is. Remind me again why I'm still single?

Then again, at least I haven't resorted to puns. I'll never stoop that low.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 8:18 PM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Sunday, November 08, 2009 ::
:: This Thing On? ::
I know. It seems I write one of these posts every few months or so saying "I'm still here" after going a few weeks without posting anything. Well, I'm still here.

It's not that I haven't tried blogging but I I've had more false starts than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it's disconcerting how the drafts in my Blogger Dashboard have started to pile up. I've finally figured out that it isn't so much that it's writer's block, at least not in the traditional sense.

I used to blog frequently enough and practiced writing enough that I developed my own style. Probably because I haven't been as prolific lately but I think I've lost that crucial feel for writing. There's also the possibility that having both a Facebook and Twitter account might be distracting me. (Then again, it's not like I update those pages all that frequently either.) It's certainly not for lack of material.

I've been reading some different blogs lately; not the ones I have linked on my page (which reminds me: update links); many of which I enjoy the content but a few other, while the topic itself isn't the most scintillating, they possess a very distinct, very elegant voice that I enjoy. It makes me wonder if I should try to tweak my writing or just try to keep hammering away until I get it back.

Either way, I'm still here.


:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 2:40 PM [+] :: | 0 comments
:: Sunday, October 04, 2009 ::
:: Moments when You Should Enjoy a Great Drink ::
One of the blogs I've been enjoying recently has a great philosophy on drinking;

"I have long said that great wines are for really good or really bad days."

While I appreciate a beautiful wine, I'm not a wine connoisseur. However, few things make me happier than a good pour of fine whisk[e]y. I've also long believed in this line of thinking but I've never articulated it quiet so simply and elegantly. It's a great philosophy, not surprising coming from a pretty damn good blog.

Getting back to the point: Last night I treated myself to a glass of 21-year-old Balvenie Scotch. Tonight I dipped into my stash and am currently sipping on a glass of Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Nothing good happened today. Or for that matter, recently.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 2:23 AM [+] :: | 0 comments

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