31 March, 2010

This is the end ...

Can you hear Jim Morrison singing? Me either, but that is because I am listening to Dash Rip Rock sing I Saw the Light. Very different, but still apt in this case.

Today is my last day at work. As you have read earlier. I quit my stable job in internet marketing to dive head long into ... well, nothing really. I have no real designs on anything beyond Easter. (Thanks to Esther, for the ultra-creepy image of Zombie Christ. That is going to carry me through)

I am headed to Phoenix, AZ to visit the family and get some Vitamin D. The lack of sun in London is giving me rickets. In the great American Easter Tradition, we are planning on coloring eggs and getting hammered. Last year we drank Skittles Vodka Martinis while we colored eggs. Whew. That is something you should all try once, be very careful though, they end up tasting like liquid candies and after your 5th or 6th one, you might be puking the most beautiful, technicolor vomit you have ever seen. Try it out, but you have been warned.

There is a new baby girl in the family this year. My little brother just had one (Okay, it was his wife. Get serious) a couple months back. Her name is Quinn and this will be her first Easter. I spoke to her dad the other day and was told that the men in the family get a couple hours to take care of her while the ladies have some spa time. I think the plan is to dress her up and go get her picture taken. As the proud uncle that I am, my plan is to get her pic taken not in the typical "look how cute I am in my bonnet" style. I am thinking we dress her up like a little zombie and take pics of her. Personally, I think that is hilarious. Even Zombies get to go on holiday right?

I will check back in after the Holiday. I have my fingers crossed for some time to cook in the coming weeks. I have heard tale of a roast pork belly recipe somewhere on the webs. I am sure I will have to try it out. The world is a better place thanks to pork and thanks to good friends for all the words of encouragement. I promise to keep in touch.

29 March, 2010

A begining of sorts.

I did it.

I am not talking about inventing the greatest tool in singing technology since yodeling*, that has been done. I am talking about quitting my job. I did just that. On Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010. I sent an email to my boss and my boss's boss outlining my intent. Starting on April 1st, I will be joining the other 7.8% of the population that is out of work. I am not sure yet what I am going to do for a job. I am pretty certain I need to find something to do with my time. I am not good enough to go busking yet -- although if they just let me play About a Girl, Blister in the Sun and Baba O'Riley, I could do it -- so I am certain I need to find a new job. Maybe the Times needs a restaurant critic for two weeks. I happen to know theirs is getting married this month. 

I am taking suggestions. If anyone feels like they know what is best for me. I am willing to hear them out. Until then, I am going to be practicing my guitar skills. Maybe add in a little AC/DC to the Mix. No one can resist the power of Back in Black.

* Inward Singing is the greatest tool in singing technology since yodeling. It was invented by Jack Black of Tenacious D. Warning before you click the link. He curses a little. Shhh....

11 March, 2010

Eating (you're doing it wrong)

Most people get teeth when they are about one, right? I know you lose that set and get another, but for the most part, you have teeth your whole life. You start using them, figuring out what you can and can't bite through pretty early. You gnaw on the sofa, you get yelled at. You bite your sister, you get grounded. Chew through a lead, you get shocked. That sort of thing is normal for people.

So why is it, that after 34 years of using these 'teeth things' that I have in my mouth, I still don't know how to use them. Here is what I mean; Last night, I was loading the dishwasher after dinner and nibbling away on the bits that I had left out while I ate dinner. --For the record. Dinner was actually cooked by me and was not a Ready-Meal. I read Recipe Rifle, I know my way around the kitchen. It might have just been Stir Fried Veggies and with Noodles, but still.-- There I am putting dishes in the washer and crunching on some veg that were still in the pan, when I forgot how my teeth were supposed to interact with the rest of my mouth parts.

As I leaned over to add the last yellow plate into the machine, a jolt of fire shot through the left side of my face. Oh SHIT! am I having a stroke? That is on the left side, right? Strokes are on this side? Maybe I have been shot? What happened to me? What could cause me this much pain? It all seems to be coming from the corner of my mouth.... Probing with my fingers, I found the source. I had bitten a hole in my lip large enough to slot a coin into.

And this isn't the first time. About twice a month, I bite a hole in my face but normally it isn't this large. I don't have Freddie Mercury teeth. They are normal, American teeth. They wore braces a couple of times to get nice and straight, so they don't poke out in a funny way. I am fairly certain my lips are not too small for my mouth. They cover my teeth unless I am smiling a lot. I also think they are not too big. They don't stick out like Bubba's from Forrest Gump. They aren't in the way or anything but for some reason, every so often, when I am eating, I forget to not take bites out of my own face parts.

That can't be normal, can it? I know lots of other people and they aren't eating themselves as an after-dinner treat. And the worst part is this. Now that I have eaten half my lower lip, it has swollen up to almost double, but just on the one side. Not only does this make me look like I have half a Trout Pout, as if I got scared after the first injection and told the doc to stop. Like a 1/4 Lindsey Lohan. Not only that, but BECAUSE that part of my face is now fatter than the rest, it sticks out and gets in the way of that same flesh-hungry tooth. I have bitten the same damn spot three more times.

On a brighter note, I am embarking on a mission to try all the pub nachos in my neighborhood. Because I am certain that is the secret to getting thin for the summer. Eating Nachos with loads of Sour Cream, Guacamole and melted cheese and washing it all down with two pints of the finest bitter in the pub. Why two pints? Because I will forget the nachos if I have four. Or I will bite through the fork, or my upper lip, or the glass because I am still not sure how these "teeth" work.

P.S. Thanks Esther for adding me to your blog roll. Hope the hen party was fun.

01 March, 2010

Visits to my Kids. (and by kids, I mean clients)

I am sitting on the train on the way back from a great visit to two of my client sites. Well, I am not sitting on the train just now. I was sitting on the train while I was writing this. I am sure you made the distinction; I am only making certain you were aware.
Today, (see above) I was lucky enough to tour the properties of Limewood Hotel and Whitley Ridge.  They are nestled in the New Forest, just the other side of Southampton. If you get off at Brockenhurst, just ask the cabbie at the station to take you there. He knows right where they both are. Limewood is a brand-new, five-star, uber-awesome* property with a kitchen run by Alex Aitkens and the nicest staff. Also, I am not sure if is the company uniform, but jeans tucked into tall, brown, leather boots and a cropped, brown blazer seemed to be the order of the day. And it was working for the ones I saw, let me tell you.

Limewood is the epitome of relaxed elegance. Deep, cushy sofas that swallowed your bum, placed in just the right spots around the common rooms. Multiple fireplaces were softly smoldering away, filling the whole place with the warm scent of wood smoke, sage and flowers. Although I think the flowers were doing their own thing and just got roped in. The meeting room I was in for most of the day was professional without being stodgy with a massive flat screen for me to plug into and (GET THIS!) free wifi. Let me back up and say that again. Free Wi-Fi. The last time I was in a hotel that had free Wi-Fi, the signal strength was only rivaled by the water pressure in the shower. Which was a lot below "great". This was AMAZING!

Lest it sound like I was only at one place today, at the end of the meeting, I hung out with the lovely Lora from Whitley Ridge. She and I share a love of great food, great wine and brown liquor. As I told her, we are going to get along great. Lora is the GM of Whitley Ridge and she gave me a lift to her property that is just down the road from Limewood. It is actually closer to the Brockenhurst station. She drives a hot little MR2 that she zips around on the twisty, country roads. Exhilarating, not scary, there is a difference. Whitley is in the middle of some changes from What it Was to what it is Going to Be. The main areas of the property have been renovated and the rooms have been updated. Lora has a larger vision she is working on and we are going to get there.

Whitley really is its own place, relaxed to be certain, but in a very different way to her sister property.  Whitley sources its food locally. Not local as in, “I bought this from the Tesco in town”. If you order eggs for breakfast, they will have been from the chickens that live on property.  The coq au vin will be as well (The cockerel gave his all for the dish.) Veggies are coming from the garden out back and the menu gets tweaked every few days based on what they have on. They don’t get everything from the property, but it all comes from nearby. When you go, order the pork dish and then ask what the name of the pig was. I bet you James will know. It will have come from the farmer up the road and butchered by another local. Your salad will have been grown on site and picked by one of the staff. The Mother's Day Menu looks amazing.

I am looking forward to staying at the properties (just need to book my rooms) so I can sink into one of the massive beds, lounge in the courtyard with a cup of tea –or a glass of whiskey-- and read a book, far away from the worries of my Monday-Monday job. I know, I know, escaping your job at a client site is probably not the best idea. But I am willing to try. From what I saw of the properties today, and from the people I spoke with, any time spent in these properties is going to be sheer joy. I am going to have to fast for the week before I go. Otherwise there is no way I am going to be able to eat everything I want to. There are 20 different after dinner drinks I need to try in the drinks cart at Whitley. I better pack my English liver. My American one won't be able to keep up.

*You try stringing three hyphenated adjectives together; I know Uber-Awesome is redundant.

**Oh, and thanks to the properties for letting me steal images off  of the sites.