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J sits across from me with concern, desperation and regret passing across his big mug like semaphore flags on a sunny day.  He's not hiding a thing, which assumes that he ever could. J is the proverbial open book.  "I have more to offer and since I'm about to be fifty I figure I need to move forward with whatever opportunities are out there. I mean opportunities here. I'm not looking to go elsewhere."  J's voice is a booming bass that echoes in this high ceilinged echo chamber of a room tagged onto the end of the Communications building like a silo attached to a barn.  J has the sort of voice that lends itself to singing Johnny Cash tunes at Karaoke bars, which is exactly what he does for fun with his wife on their days off. I hear they do a spot on version of "Jackson". I'm all for J getting ahead, and yeah, he could contribute. Maybe.  Trouble is, nearly every time he's been put in a position of responsibility beyond supervising a couple guys on a shift, he's fallen apart.  But this time it'll be different he tells me. This time he'll be ready, more prepared. Sure J - we'll get you more training and the next time something comes up that looks good, you throw your hat in the ring and we'll see what happens.

It's yearly employee review time and I am spending my days listening to all manner of stories, both guarded and completely open, about people's lives at work. People I work with every day. It's not my favorite time. Everyone wants something and no one likes to hear why they can't have it.  Or at least some of it. Some of these people are pains in the ass who need to grow up, shut up and just work. Others just put their heads down and grind through the every day. And a very few, take it as a challenge and point of pride to do their work above and beyond anyone's expectations including their own.  The thing is, I'm doing these reviews and handing out these raises with virtually no guidance or direction from my boss. He's trusting me to get things right with the staff. A staff of about 70 people. It's daunting if I think about it too much, but then I realize that I'm the one manager that has the most exposure to all of these folks, so actually I am the best one to do the evaluating.  Doesn't mean I'm wholly comfortable with it though. Not by a long shot.

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Alright Alright Alright  

Here I am, like the Little Prince presiding over planet B-612 rocketing through space after running from man-eating snakes on planet Earth.


I'm hunkered down here in the studio. Far away from the Dark Side. Taking the equipment out for a shake down cruise. Full of things to talk about so let's get on with it, shall we? Let's spin a platter, trip a deck, slide a disc .....

So much has happened and so much is happening. I'm hard pressed to know where to begin, but here goes. As some may know, my life and my work are intertwined. I have been a chef at a small, private liberal arts college for several decades. Decades which have contained a panoply of life's changes. And as much as my life has been full of changes, my place of work has been one of the things which has been unchanging, immutable. Until the last 18 months. My work space, the canvas for my life's work, the space which has hosted hordes of undergraduates seeking food to cram in their maws is finally, after 35+ years of near total lack of serious funding, is getting a 5 million dollar makeover. As if the shock of that development wasn't enough for my aging sensibilities, my job has recently changed from chef in charge of banquets and catering for a million dollar catering department to chef in charge of all student dining for an average of 3000 hungry undergrads. What do 3000 undergrads want to eat, you ask? You'd be surprised. Suffice to say, university dining's not like it used to be back in the day. Whatever day that may be. Much more to say, but that's for later. What's it like working in an office with jackhammers right outside the door? What's it like having to use a bathroom two blocks away because your building's toilets are a pile of rubble? What's it like riding herd on a gaggle of summer interns when you don't know what's going to happen from one day to the next? All in good time.

My kid's a junior in college and I'm still adjusting to the empty nest. I'm also still a single parent cliche. I'm married to my work and haven't had so much as a movie date in an embarrassment of years. Truth be told, I haven't tried much. Combination of fear, apathy and resignation. Although, there are times when I wistfully daydream about how nice it'd be to have a like minded member of the opposite sex to come home to and shoot the shit with. And sex. Sex would be good. Good ole sweaty human contact. Ah, but then there's all that messy relationship stuff and entanglements and junk. Singlehood has it's charms by comparison. I'm still figuring it out, but I know the clock is ticking. Still, I'm good either way and if the bashing together leading to permanent togetherness doesn't happen for me well, there's always Pornhub...and single occupancy rates at the assisted living facility.

And everything else.
Besides my movie and TV obsessions I'm probably going to pick up a few more shortly just to keep things lively. My kid's boyfriend keeps trying to get me to join him in his craze for trains, but I just can't get into it. I like cars and planes better. I'll start out small with some model building, Maybe. do some remote control airplane flying, until the money gets too serious or I crash too much. My buddy Steve loves it and my niece's hubby is actually in a model flying club, which is just going too far IMO. And writing, I write too much for a buck and I need to just write for fun. I need to write with no ulterior motive and no deadlines. I like writing reviews. Usually smart-assed,didactic and nasty reviews. I'll start with TV shows, and movies then go to restaurants. Reviewing restaurants would be like shooting fish in a barrel for me. I know all the tricks those fuckers try... I AM a chef after all. I've recently re-kindled an earlier love for cigars. I only smoke once or twice a week, but I love the ritual. The choosing of the cigar, the cutter, the lighter, the ashtray. The whole routine of prepping the cigar, lighting it and enjoying the smoke. Blowing rings as the tension melts away. And craft beer. Which isn't really a good obsession for me. My digestion doesn't react well these days to the joys of a well crafted stout or porter. And the buzz? Well, I'm at the point where the hangover's too high a price to pay. But. Buuuut. I still like a pint of good beer with good company. Drinking alone isn't a good idea for me any more. So that part of life is in the take it or leave it side of things. Mostly leave it if no one wants to share an after work brew with me. And taking pictures. I've always done that, so it's not really a hobby or obsession. It just is. Taking pictures with whatever I can lay my hands on. Pictures of most anything, although I like pictures with no people in them. Mostly. I'd like to figure out how to post Snapchats here or Vines. I love both of those apps. I make 15 second snapchat vids nearly day. So much fun. And Vines. Haven't made those vids yet, but such a fun time-waster of a site to go through. Just like this Dreamwidth. In a way...


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