Thursday, October 28, 2010

Welcome Home!

Atlanta, it's a hell of a town. Too bad I am stuck in Alpharetta! It is never easy when you are looking to go from one apartment to another and you are stuck in a holding pattern. We have a great apartment waiting for us as soon as it is ready for us to move into.

Problem is, it is not ready and our old apartments needed the space back. So, out we go! All of our stuff is in storage or where we are staying at right now. So, where are we staying? My mother's house!

Who imagines they will be living at their parents' house when they are married and have two kids? It is a terrible situation to be in, yet here I am somehow. I could have stayed in an extended stay for the few weeks until we could move in, but that is not a good environment for a home life. Additionally, the room is only large enough to sleep in. Did I also mention it is pretty expensive to stay there?

So, instead we stay at my mother's house and I am reduced to feeling like a teenager again. Sure I can come and go as I please, but there are chores around the house and hurt feelings when boundaries are crossed. About the biggest upshot to the whole thing is at least there is a built-in baby sitter situation going on. That has taken a lot of stress off of the wife and I.

Still, the suburban living is not for us and we cannot wait to get back to the city. Anyone who lives ITP can understand how crazy it is to stay a few weeks OTP. For the uninitiated, ITP and OTP are terms in Atlanta which indicate whether you live inside (ITP) or outside (OTP) the perimeter highway (285) around the city of Atlanta. Most ITPers would rather have their thumbs cut off than be dragged anywhere OTP.

Soon we will be back in the saddle again and I will post you about the new digs. Until then, say a little prayer for those of us who all of a sudden have to mind our Ps and Qs around the parental figures once again. Peace!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Fine Parade!

This weekend past was the weekend which celebrated gay pride in the city of Atlanta. While I am not gay, I have had many friends over the years who have been gay. As a result, I show support by going to the parade which starts at the Civic Center Marta Station and concludes at Piedmont Park. I am happy to have been able to get my son and daughter involved in the celebration as I am fortunate to be raising two very accepting people.

I enjoy watching the different groups celebrate their pride as they march down the street. In the past the majority of the groups in the parade have been local groups of friends having fun by dressing up silly and marching down what is normally one of the busiest streets in Atlanta. Local busiensses get in the mix because they are aware of the power of the gay dollar. I understand the presence of the businesses, but I have to stop and ponder how much some of the companies really are accepting of the gay community.

One of the most annoying phenomenas which has happened in the parades is the flood of politicians, judges and church groups vying for recognition at the parade. While the parade has always been politically charged, it has been so because of the lack of rights for the gay community. I am disturbed to see politicians with no intention of pushing a gay agenda during their time in office. Showing up to the parade just to get a few votes is a cheap stunt in my book.

As for churches showing up to the parade, I am grateful for it. I know it might seem wierd to see a methodist preacher walking right behind a half naked boy toy, it does my heart good to see there are places where gays who have a religious belief system still have a place in which they are accepted no matter what. Too often groups like the Catholic Church will not allow those who are gay to be ordained.

So, while I got more sun than I would have liked I had a great day. I may have missed National Talk Like a Pirate Day, but there was no way I was going to miss the gay pride parade. I encourage all of you to support the gay community in your area as well. I guarantee if there is a parade it will beat the pants off of the Thanksgiving day parade.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Catering Weekend

I have just gone through a total catering weekend. This is where I worked three events starting on Friday through Saturday and also on Sunday. This is a stark contrast to the days when I spend all weekend every weekend on my feet in the restaurant. It might seem to you like 14 years working as a chef would have made it possible for me to be able to do three days in a row standing on my head.

Truth be told, I should be able to do three days in a row easily, but I am two years removed from my chef career. Being a full time freelance writer has added about 50 pounds to my frame and reduced my physical activity down to just about zero. When I do have to work long nights on feet now, it is quite painful on my knees and on my feet.

So, why do I do it? I say it is for beer money, but in actuality it is because my heart is in the restaurant industry. Ever since I was in high school I dreamed of opening my own restaurant. I even have the name picked out. I have worked just about every position there is to work in a restaurant other than head chef, bar manager, front of house manager and restaurant manager. The highest I got in the kitchen was to be a sous chef.

I would be remiss if I turned my back on the industry altogether even for a little while. Besides, the days I get out there and unload the trucks to set up my bar in some millionaire's back yard is about the only exercise I get other than walking my dog. My 50 pound gain might be a 100 pound gain if not for the long nights with the catering company.

So, while I was worn down by the weekend, I was happy to have had the work. I have already put in my schedule request for next week which reads, bring it on!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Planning for Summer

The summer is over and we are well into fall. Naturally it is time to start looking towards the next year. It is time to think about reservations and deposits and travel arrangements. Hilton Head has become a yearly tradition for my family. We enjoy the weather and the different activities which are available. We are also enamoured with the fact that being in Sea Pines Resort allows us to relax in a comfortable setting. This comfort is due to superior security, but it comes at a price. The price is well worth it so that you can almost feel good enough to leave the door unlocked at night - though you will not.

Our last trip to Hilton Head was for eight days and it still did not seem long enough. I would like to be able to stay there an entire month next year. This way we will not have to plan things out to make sure we do not miss out on anything. We will be able to completely relax without having to worry about anything. It sounds so good to go for an entire month without having to work or worry.

Can I do it? Can I go a whole month without working? It does not seem likely seeing as I am the guy who normally works seven days a week on multiple projects at once. Part of me is driven by the money. Part of me is driven from trying to keep from not being bored. I cannot even go a few hours with hanging out with my daughter at night without wanting to write something for a current project or making a post to one of my blogs.

It will be tough, but with everything there is to do at Hilton Head, I think I might be able to manage the impossible. I can go to the horse stables so that my son can ride a horse and maybe my daughter can ride a pony. I can climb the lighthouse again and see the view of the bay. I can walk through the miles of eco-friendly nature walks. I can ride my bike all over the island. Naturally, I can also relax on the beach or play in the ocean with my kids.

Where do you like to vacation at? I love to hear where people go for vacations and what they like to do there. I would hope that you are doing something more than what I used to do when I was younger and just stay at home collecting vacation pay. I would love to hear what you have to say about your vacation time. Post a message or shoot me an email and let me know where it is you like to go for your summer vacation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Until then, it is time for me to get back to my travel arrangements so that I can commit myself to a month of pure relaxation. Look out Hilton Head, trouble's coming back.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do You Like Fiction?

This is just my newest blog that I have. It will most likely end up being the blog that I keep up with the most, but it is still only the newest one that I have. I also have a blog about herb gardening, but I tend to stray from that one quite a bit because my blogs feel as if they should be fun for me rather than work.

The blog that I have, other than this one, that I recommend the most is my fiction blog. If you have any interest at all in fiction, the stories that I write there are short and somewhat amusing. I am sure that you will enjoy spending some time there and I invite you to check it out soon. Make sure to leave me some comments about what you find there and suggestions you might have.

Additionally, if you have any stories of your own or you know someone who wants to put something on a fiction website, I am always looking for people to make additions to the blog. I look forward to seeing you there.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Exploring the Possibilities

I just realized the possibilities which are available to me with this new blog that I have created. No longer do I have to limit myself to a theme. No longer do I have to only write when I have the best information or the inspiration to create something. I can be as informative or as commentary in nature as I want to be. I am excited about the ability to create something which will not only be fun for me. I am hoping it will be fun for you to dear reader.

These days, it seems like Blogs are split between personal blogs and professional blogs. I am hoping that mine will vary enough to have something for everyone without having to stop to think too much. While I know that I have already welcomed everyone to the new blog, it is great to welcome you again and invite you to explore this new and exciting blog.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Writer's Block: Common Myth

Look around the internet and you are sure to see many different people offering to help you to get through a writer's block. The information can include everything from changing your mindset to certain foods or drinks you should consume. The thing to remember here is that what you are encountering is not an illness. It is not even really a thing. Writer's block is nothing more than a common accepted excuse to not write down something on paper or on your computer.

Before you get in an uproar, allow me to explain my position. Everyone has sat in front of their preferred media and felt as if their mind was completely blank. It is frustrating and it makes you want to rip your hair out. So, what do you do? Do you give up? Do you throw in the towel? No, you look for a solution to your Writer's Block. You go through all of the common techniques including brainstorming. After a while of unsuccessfully being able to break through the barrier, you probably walk away in disgust hoping that the mood to strike you will return.

Here is the deal, most writers are tempermental. We like the idea of being an artist. We embrace the idea that we can only write when we are inspired. So, we only sit down when our minds find their own way to the things we want to write down. The problem is, when life gets in the way, you will allow yourself to make a lot of excuses which will keep you from your writing. Writer's block is less of a problem for those who write content as a normal 9 - 5 job. There is a reason for this.

Mental conditioning is the key to removing excuses. Since writer's block is nothing mroe than an acceptable excuse, removing this excuse is something you will need to work towards. Rituals are extremely important if you are lookiing to increase productivity. Do whatever it is which will put you into the mindset of writing and make sure that you have a set time that you regularly write. Choose a place where you can sit down and be free from interruptions and distractions. This will help you to be able to write.

If you cannot think of anything to write, it is because you are trying to force yourself into writing in a particular manner. Open your mind and just start writing. It is less important whether you write something which is pure genius or pure babble. The more important thing is the exercise. Stretch that mental muscle every day and you will condition yourself to be able to go the extra mile. The more you get into a ritual, the less often you find yourself stuck in the writer's block quandry.

Remain true to being a creative artist, but discard the whole inspiration based writing style. It is simply not conducive to being able to produce work on a regular basis. If you do not have the ability to dedicate yourself in this manner, than you will encounter writer's block or whatever else you might want to call it. No matter waht happens, never give up! Never surrender! You will prevail!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Side Hustle

Most people want to romanticize a point in time when everyone had a single job that they did for a living. Professionals would get up in the morning and go to work. They would work from nine to five and come home. Once home, they would simply relax and enjoy their personal life. Only those who only cared about industry were ever viewed as someone who would work from home or do anything extra outside of the normal work day.

These days, it is more than acceptable for you to work outside of normal business hours. In fact, with the recent state of recession in the United States, there has been an increase in what the expected hours of operation will be. People are constantly connected through their Blackberries and iPhones. They are expected to be available to answer work related emails even while on vacation. Conference calls are even completed on the back porch while the rest of the family is seated for dinner.

The point is that none of the traditional norms have been honored. Not even the concept that having only one job has been kept alive. In fact, the majority of people will have at least something small on the side as an additional source of income. Those with perfectly well paying jobs will have a start up that they have formed with affiliates. Those who work in a professional position with expertise in their field will offer their knowledge and advice for a fee. Blogs, websites and more have been established all throughout the web in order to offer a side project for people.

Ask around and you will see that the majority of people these days have at least something on the side. This was once considered something that only poor people would do. The idea of having to work two jobs to make ends meet was looked down on by the upper crust. More and more, those who have worked hard and scraped up the money they needed to get ahead were the ones willing to work additional jobs. These same people find themselves in good paying jobs and yet they still have something small on the side.

Whether the side hustle is for beer money, to save for the future or to make ends meet, it is no longer something to be ashamed of. There is even a term for it - multiple streams of income. True, entrepreneurs who have never known hard labor throughout their life are scrambling to set up their side hustles without a thought in the world as to why. It is time that honor was paid to those who deserve the respect that they deserve for working two jobs and establishing multiple streams of income the hard way.

So, here is to all of the hard working individuals who slave away at the dirty jobs which help to make other people's lives better. You may drink now if you wish, but I will raise my glass again to those who are in any field who have a side hustle. It is nice to see that more people are embracing the idea of working hard to get what they want once more. It is refreshing to see so many people willing to roll up their sleeves and take a chance so that they can have the lifestyle that they want. I salute you and I welcome all others to raise their glass in tribute as well.

Here's to the side hustle! Cheers!