Saturday, June 21, 2008


Man -- it poured like heck today.

Had to buy some khaki's for my upcoming PBA tournaments.

Went to see Get Smart. While a lot of people might like it, I thought it sucked. It was like watching Naked Gun, without being funny or having a plot.

Had some great falafel at Sula's cafe in Ybor City.

I see La Casa Dolce is shut down. I guess "La Casa Dolce" means "The doors are closed" in Italian.

Went to Gameworks today, and they had the coolest interactive fishing game. Also, there were two guys that played Dance, Dance Revolution like it was a sport - impressive to watch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Been a long time...

Haven't blogged in a while. Here goes.


State Bowling Tournament (6/14-15) -- very disappointing:
* Team Event: 195-171-189 -- 555 (Really could not get lined up, found something late thanks to my friend Clyde but did not carry. There was some great energy with bringing two teams.

* Doubles (even worse): 191-130-175 -- 495 (I honestly can't remember that last time that I did not hit 500 on house conditions). Too many splits and very dumb with lane condition and ball selection. Probably some of the dumbest bowling I have done in a long time. I feel really bad because my bowling partner was lights out, hitting 700. My apologies Clyde.

* Singles: 179-256-215 -- 650
In the first game, I started out with 4 strikes, then got 4 opens (three splits and a chop).
Second game was good. XXXX9/XXXX7/X
Third Game was eh: X 9/9- S81 81 X X X X X X X
Very hard to get 22 strikes and bowl only a 650. I turned a potential 725 series (huge cash) into a 650 series (minimal cash)

Hopefully I can use this in the future. I learn more from bowling bad -- and I got a PhD in one weekend.

I practiced on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday....
* My accuracy and repeatability are both improving.
* I am using my straight ball on all spares. Getting more confident in that approach.

Looking forward to my first PBA tournament on the Fourth of July weekend. I look forward to my first tournament as a professional.

Kept the workouts pretty basic this week.
Presses, Get Up, Swings and Snatches.

I have really put on some weight -- looking to cut from 199 to 185 (again).

Getting my ISSA certification on July 12th (finally)

Hell's Kitchen:
Bobby's elimination -- Corey said it best, he is just looking to play it safe.
Jen's elimination -- To selfish to be a leader

For the last three:
* Christina has impressed me with the last two challenges and her services.
* Petrozza is a solid chef, but I have no idea how is does it because he "works dirty."
* Corey has had it rough, but I like her credibility and sense of team.

The last challenge was interesting. "Create a meal for 80 people in one hour or less." Sounds simple enough. One thing that you have to manage in kitchen (or any project) for that matter are the constraints on scope, schedule, and resources. It this case it was TIME. What I feel that Christina did, and the others did not, was create a dish whose cooking time did not increase linearly with the number to be made. In other words, her dishes were SCALABLE. This is very important in a restaurant. Think of it this way....Can you make a better hamburger than McDonald's? The obvious answer in yes. Can you make 1000 hamburgers better than McDonald's, almost definitely not. Can you make 1000 hamburgers that cost (including labor and fixed cost) less than $1.00/each - definitely not (and it scares me to eat such a thing).
Christine's dish was more scalable than others, and that is why she won. If it was me, I would have made lasagna or something similar and would have kicked everybody's ass.

The part about the pan's handle being hot was a little over the top. You always assume a pan is hot if you get it from someone else. That is why the chefs always handle the pans with towels. Metal conducts heat. If the pan is hot enough to cook something, good chance the handle is hot enough to burn. While burning Chef Ramsay makes for good story, it is his own forking fault. As they used to say in professional wrestling school -- you are responsible for your own safety.

Tune in next week, even though you know that Christina can't get eliminated because them damn near intimated that she would be (stupid FOX creative people) . The episode where each chef runs the pass is always a good one.

I was in Seattle on Friday. Not really looking to eat anything, but I did hit upon an excellent spice store. The people working there were all professional cooks (and they had the burn marks to prove it). The name is World Spice Merchants -- check 'em out.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wow -- it has been a long time.....

Wow, has it really been 3 weeks since I posted? Well, I have a lot of stuff to post then.

1) Speech Class: I have been really busy with work and a Speech Communications course that I took at the local professional college. Public speaking is something that I used to dread, so I decided to take a 1 month/3 credit course. I have to say, I learned so much. Here is just a sampling:
* There is a "process" to creating effective public communication, use it. I will break it down for you:
a) Decide what you are going to talk about.
- Research what you are going to talk about.
- Decide what you are going to say.
- Repeat until satisfied:
b) Practice what you are going to say
c) Tweak what you are going to say
- Delivery your speech
* You need to rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse.
* What comes out of your mouth is not the only thing that is important in your speech.
* Use the video camera to record what you are doing. How you feel on camera is nothing compared to how you look (which is important). This is true in other things where you can't see yourself, like kettlebells and bowling.

2) Work: I had to give a presentation (to about 25 people) at our trade show in Orlando. Even though I felt non-plussed about it, my boss said that "I can tell you worked hard at it." That made it all worthwhile - to all you bosses out there, if you appreciate the effort that someone puts into a job, let them know. My boss rules.

3) Bowling: As many of you know, I have been more serious about bowling since about mid-January (start of the second half). I have increased my bowling average to 210 and qualified to join the PBA. While I won't make a lot of money doing this and 210 is hardly elite, I look forward to testing my ability against the best on the PBA Regional Tour. Competition and Expectations are the strongest motivators for success.

I put all my Men's League's games in Excel and did some graphs and calculations (yes, I am a dork!). Here are some things that I came up with:
* In my men's league, I averaged 200.6 in the first half and 209.5 in the second half.
* In the second half, my lowest series were (560 and 565), so I averaged 187 even at my worst. Being able to stay around 200 when you are not lined up keeps you in tournaments. Also, since all games count the same, bringing up your bad games is just as important as improving your high games when it comes to improving your average.
* In the last 18 weeks, 16 of those weeks I had a game if 214 or over. That means that I am learning to find something every week.

4) Kettlebells: Over the last two weeks I have really been more focused on work and class - and then I went out of town on vacation. Unfortunately, I could really tell the difference. I was able to create some quick hit workouts that I may use in the future.
* Really Quick: 30L/30R as fast as you can
* Less than 15 minutes: 30L/30R/25L/25R/20L/20R/15L/15R/10L,10R,5L,5R
==> 210 snatches in about 11:15
==> "/" indicates putting the bell down, "," indicates a hand switch

5) American Idol: I am glad David Archuleta did not win. He is just not very versatile. Also, when they do the "variety show" type segments - he stinks! I think that should also be part of the competition and something that the judges critique. Why do it if it doesn't matter.

6) Hell's Kitchen: I can't believe that Matt is still on the show. Here is my argument:
* Did you see what he made on the initial episode, the "exotic tartare." He had raw venison and scallops. Even someone at works at McDonald's knows that venison is very gamey (sp?) and does not work in for raw cooking applications. Also, deer run are fast, cows run much slower. Which meat is going to be more tender and have better marbling (and thus better undercooked?

Now for the scallops, probably the simplist ingredient ever to cook with. It is also delicate, why would you mix it with white chocalate. While Gordon Ramsey's vomiting was over-the-top (which reflects the intelligence level of the average FOX "reality" show viewer), it makes me sick just thinking of it.

* How about when he cut his thumb. He actually cut a dime-sized chunk out of the top of his thumb and may have lost it in the pancetta. If you saw how he was cutting, he had his thumb pointed straight towards the knife, so that the tip of the thumb was under the knife (it should be curled under the palm). This has to be the most aggregious rookie kitchen safety mistake that you could make. For all you kiddies out there, repeat after me and fix it in your mind: Never let any appendage get under the blade of a knife. Also, move the food to the knife, not the other way around.

* In the episode with the Sweet 16 party, he suggested a sushi pizza. Think of two things that you never see in a sushi restuarant: tomato sauce and dough. What a dumb ass!

* When he successfully made a risotto (cooking time: 6 minutes) he thanked his wife, best friend, Gordon, and Chef Scott. I did not know they had an Emmy for "Best Impersonation of a Douchebag".

* In the latest episode, during the relay -- he made a mention of "Mise en Place". Mise en Place is a method of organizing your cooking space to be able to cook things over and over again, which would be completely irrelevant in that kind of relay. Unintelligent name dropping and dorky use of jargon should be punished.

My expected winners have changed:

* Jen is to whiny and immature to win. She is someone that makes everyone around her worse (re: preparation of the Blue Team menu). I replaced here with Corey. I really liked how she handled Matt on the last episode.

* Second place is between Petrozza and Bobby. Bobby is more talented in the kitchen, but Petrozza is more mature. Bobby is not immature, but I believe that Petrozza's experience (Catering Director) is more well-rounded than Bobby's (Executive Chef). Note: Last year's winner, Rock Harper, was an Executive Chef at a very well respected DC restaurant.