Monday, May 7, 2018

2018/05/07 - Pie Business

It all started when Val lost her job as an architect in downtown Denver a couple of months ago. She was starting to hate her job.  It seemed like in every job she’s had in Denver, there’s always one or two racist bitches that make her life miserable. She was ready to try something new.

We have always talked about starting a small business, and this was the perfect time for her. During this time, she had made a delicious Brazilian meat pie for me, and started dreaming of selling Brazilian meat pies.

Knowing a little something about selling food, I didn’t latch on to her dream right away. But like a little girl, she kept pleading and bugging until I finally said yes. I was more impressed by her enthusiasm, then her idea. Ultimately that’s the kind of business partner I want. 

We decided that I should handle the administrative side of the business, whereas she would handle the product. 

I chose the name “A Taste of Brazil”, and registered it as an LLC with the Colorado Secretary of State. I got a Federal Tax ID. I opened up a business bank account. I purchased a URL. I registered with the Colorado Department of Revenue for taxes. I listened to podcasts and read everything I could find on starting a business in the food industry. 

We were on a roll!

Then one morning, in the middle of my bike ride, while I was dreaming the dream, Val call to say she got a job offer that she couldn’t refuse. I was hugely disappointed, but I didn’t let on. What disappointed me most was how quickly she dropped the dream, and went on to something better. But I knew she was doing the right thing, as this could easily turn out to be another of Steve’s follies, and it really was an offer she couldn’t refuse. 

It took me about a week to recover. I can always find the silver lining in every cloud, but this took a lot of searching. Finally I decided to move forward alone. Val would still be a partner in the LLC, but now I would have almost complete control. There would be no more arguments over the color of the packaging, the size of the pies, etc. She would no longer have time for these little decisions. I could be decisive and move forward quickly. 

I knew I couldn’t move into production alone, but I figured I could get the business ready to produce product whenever we were ready. It was not like we were counting on making money from the business yet. 

At this point we have an appointment with a commissary in Arvada next Saturday, and I need to get the necessary business insurance, and licenses. I also need to start paying quarterly sales tax returns, even if we don’t collect any sales tax. And of course there’s the final product, packaging, and distribution. 

It’s funny how the more I learned about the food business, the more our product has changed. We started out making delicious 5” beef and chicken pot pies. I didn’t like the size. I personally felt that it was too much for the average person as a single serving. I can easily see someone overeating them and getting tired of them quickly, and never having another one. I know I’ve done this with foods I once thought were delicious, for example pan cakes. As a boy I got sick from eating too many pan cakes smothered with syrup and butter. I haven’t had one since. 

I learned that I have to use a commissary (an approved commercial kitchen) to cook, package, and store my product, the economics started to change. Then I found out that I could not cook meat products if I planned to sell to restaurants and grocery stores. 

All of a sudden, we switched from meat pies to organic vegetarian pies. So we had to change our recipe, and to be honest we haven’t come up with anything as good as the meat pies. 

Regardless, we have plenary of time to come up with the ultimate organic vegetarian pie. In the meantime, I’ve been testing my competition, eating at least one every day. The bar is low…

Sunday, April 8, 2018

04/08/2018 - Way too long

It’s really been way too long since I’ve written in this blog. I’ve probably driven everyone away except Jeff, he has a new post alert set up. Good idea, but I think you may have to join something to get these alerts. 
Anyway lot’s going on, almost too much to know where to begin. 
Wow... I’m already getting tired of writing, so I’ll just mention one thing, our new business, “A Taste of Brazil LLC”, with 2 members, Val and myself.
We are at the very beginning. So far we have a registered business name, a Federal tax ID, a business account, a URL, and the beginnings of a product, mini Brazilian meat pies. We still have a very long way to go, but it gives me something to do while I’m caregiver/prisoner in my own house. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018/03/11 - Who’s back?

I think I’m back, but I’m really not sure.

I’ve been wanting to share my latest audio books, but I keep forgetting.

Tangent time: “I keep forgetting” by the Doobie Brothers.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Norm Macdonald. Oh my god, he’s the funniest guy! Who else can take a super sensitive subject like rape and having you laughing out loud?

You really need to get his book “Based on a True Story”.

2018/03/11 - The meaning of life

I’ve spent my entire life trying to figure it all out. You know, the meaning of our lives. Where did we come from, where are we going, and all that shit. 

I’ve never been too good at religion, but I did give it a good try. Hopefully, if I’m wrong,  I’ll get some credit for trying. 

But I think I finally figured it out!!! And it was was right in front of my face all the time! 

We are a Netflix original series in the future!!! 

Let me explain... Have you watched Sienfield? Almost every episode was created around a real life story that happened to Larry David. In fact, part of the reason for him to leave the show midway was because he felt he was running out of his stories.

Ok... so real life stories (according to Larry and Jerry) are the funniest. 

Did I go off on a tangent here? Excuse me, I’ve had a few glasses of wine. 

Ok let’s get back... 

Your life is a story about nothing, just like Seinfeld was a show about nothing. 

Some of our lives are interesting, some are BORING! (But let’s just let the future audience rate us)

Ok sorry, we are human, but we are really stories about nothing. 

And the good ones are being watched as entertainment in the future as a Netflix originals series. 

Philosophy? No way, not me!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018/02/19 - Steve at 19

This picture was taken in Aspen after hitchhiking fom NYC in 1970:

What? Me worry?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

2018/02/08 - “Lucky’s”

“Lucky’s” was the last liquor store to close at night in Queens, NYC. 

There was one night, I think it was my engagement party, that at 11:15 PM, I discovered we we running out of booze, and realized that the only liquor store still open was... Lucky’s. 

It was also no coincidence that Lucky’s was located in the absolute most dangerous part of the Queens at the tome, South Jamacia. 

We broke all speed limits to get there before midnight, closing time, and in fact just made it before the iron curtain went down, closing the door for the night. 

Unfortunately while we were inside buying many bottles of boose thru a 1-inch plexiglass window, a crowd of latecomers, many of whom were already severely intoxicated, were litterly hanging on the iron curtain pleeding for a chance to come inside. 

Now we weren’t exactly stupid and we anticipated the scene, so Joey (my best man) was right outside the door in his suped-up  Oldsmobile 442 with the engine running, and both passenger side doors open, waiting for me and Tommy to run in. 

As you can imagine, when Tommy and I came out of the store with liquor bottles, we had a lot of new friends who became more and more aggressive as we approached the car. 

This was a dangerous moment, but the thrill was intoxicating, which will explain Part Two. 

By the time Tommy and I were able to get inside the car and close the doors, the drunken zombies were all ove the car and holding on as we sped away, leaving many skidding on pavement. 

Coming back to my party, bottles in hand, I was a hero. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018/01/11 - Comedians in Cars getting Coffee

Have you seen any of the short online episodes of “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee“? I haven’t seen any in a while, but just found out yesterday that Netflix released 20 re-edited episodes. 

Each episode is now about 25 minutes long, and contains a lot of funny dialog that was edited out for the shorter online versions.

This is now the second TV series that I’ve binge-watched. I finished all 20 episodes in a 24 hour period. Yo Netflix!

I like the way Netflix automatically plays the next episode within the next 12 seconds, unless you stop. It really facilitates binge-watching. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

2018/01/05 - Dark Mirrors

I know that I’ve only a half dozen listeners, but I can pretend that I’m reaching hundreds. And I’m hoping you few will recommend my blog to your friends, if only for my photography. These are my best shots. 

I’ve never “binge watched’ any TV series before, but yesterday I laid on the couch all day watching three of four seasons of “Black Mirror”, a new original Netflix series. And afterwards, I realized that’s I haven’t spend all day on the couch watching TV in over 30 years. How about that for a recommendation?

The show is futeristic (but not too far into), and totally believable. It’s like a “Twilight Zone” of today. All the actors change in each episode (and lots of good ones like Jon Hamm from Mad Men), and each covers futeristic topics on hardware devices, cool software, and futeristic social apps. 

But beware they are dark and scary. And they will stay in your mind.

I recommend starting at the beginning, but if you just what a taste, I recommend starting with epesode 3 of season 1, titled “The Entire of Life of You”, starring Jon Hamm. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018/01/04 - Frank... Go get the Gun!

I was 20 years old. I had a girlfriend Liz living in the women’s dorm at Farmingdale State College in Long Island NY. It’s a long story, but after leaving her room “unescorted” (which was against the rules), I got charged with a misdemeanor, “Criminal Tresspassing and Harassment”. 

It seemed like I was always in some kind of trouble in those days, probably because always was. 

Luckily I got off with an “Application for Consideration of Dismissal”, which meant that if I stayed out of trouble for one whole year, the charge would be dismissed.

Fast forward 11 months, only one month to go. It was hard, but I managed to stay out of trouble. 

On this night Frank, Tony (aka “Jaggerdog”) and I went out to a club on Long Island. As we pulled into and parked our car in the upper level lot, we noticed a crowd and some kind of commotion going on in the lower parking lot. Like moths drawn to a flame, we walked down to check out what was going on. 

When we got there, we watched this big drunken fool yelling and kicking the driver side door of a car, calling for the driver to come out. Instead the driver sped off, but not before the drunken asshole threw his beer bottle at the car, hitting the rear window. 

With nothing left to do with that guy, the drunken fool surveyed the croud looking for his next victom. Like a recurring nightmare that I had as a child, he focused on me, and shouted “And who the fuck are YOU”

I replied “Hey man, l not looking for any trouble”, to which he replied “Well you just found trouble”.

Now my friend Tony wasn’t the biggest guy, nor the strongest guy in the crowd, but what he lacked in size and strength, he more than made up for in balls, quick thinking, and the ability to bluff.

So when he saw what was about to happen, he shouted, loud enough for all to hear, “Frank... Go get the gun in the trunk of the car”, There was no gun in the car, but Frank, playing along and  obeying Tony’s orders, started for our car. 

Hearing this, one of the drunk’s friends shouted “No guns... No guns”, freezing the scene, and within a few minutes we were all stacking hands, and making peace. 

This wasn’t the first time, nor the last, that Tony’s quick thinking saved my ass. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018/01/03 - The Stuffed Mushrooms

The year was 1974.

I was working in Texaco headquarters, in the Crystler building, in Manhattan. If I’m not mistaken, I had the lowest pay scale job in Texaco. I was a mail carrier. My fellow mail carriers used to joke, and refer to us as carrier pidgins. This was the best job that my bachelors degree in Psychology from Queens College afforded me. So much for college. I should have excepted the job offer I got from the NYC Sanitation Department. I could have retired after 20 years with full pension and medical benefits, but I had my pride.

I worked hard and within a couple of years got promoted to Mail Clerk, and then Administrative Clerk in the Pattent Department. I was still delivering mail, but only within the department, but I got to do some clerical work in between deliveries. Eventually they realized I had a brain, and started giving me data-entry work for their new computer system.

This brings me to my story...

Liz Grabaldi was my supervisor. She was an Administrative Secretary. We got along very well.

Liz had family coming to visit for a holiday, and spent the entire week before they arrived making hors d’oeuvres. On the Friday morning before the event, Liz brought in a Tupperware for me with samples of each hors d’oeuvre. They looked delicious!

Fast forward to the next Monday morning. I was usually the first one into work in my department, and my desk was in a room right outside the Men’s Room.

When I opened my desk draw, I smelled something foul. OMG!, I forgot to take the Tupperware home, and it sat inside my desk drawer spoiling all weekend.

I felt so bad, and I didn’t want to insult Liz with the news, so I devised a plan. I would go into the men’s bathroom before anybody else arrived, flush the contents of the Tupperware down the toilet, clean it out in the sink, and then return it to Liz before she arrived. The best laid plans for mice and men.

So I went into the men’s bathroom, emptied the contents of the Tupperware into the toilet and flushed. Unfortunately it caused the toilet to overflow! I panicked as I saw the contents spilling out onto the bathroom floor and hors d’oeuvres gliding across the room. I distinctly remember seeing the stuffed mushrooms lead the way.

I ran out of the Men’s room and back to my desk, called Offfice Services and reported a mess in the men’s bathroom on the 27th floor, hoping they could clean it up before anybody else arrived. Not so.

As the men in my department arrived and went into the Men’s Room, from my desk I could hear shouts of  “What the hell”, OMG, Yuck, etc.”  But luckily the mess was all cleaned up before Liz arrived.

When she did, I gave her back the clean Tupperware, saying “Thank you, everything was delicious! To which she asked ‘Which one did you like the best?”

I replied “The stuffed mushrooms!"

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018/01/02 - The Beach Ball Story

I was 18 years old. 

Have you seen the movie Saturday Night Fevor? I’m actually a little embarrassed to admit that my friends and I were a lot like the guys in that movie. We would go out to clubs on Friday & Saturday nights, with the sole purpose of picking up chicks. 

We weren’t rich kids, so we would party on the way to the clubs, to save money for inside. 

On this particular night I needed to piss real bad, so I asked the driver to drop me off at the front door of the club, while they parked the car. I told them I’d wait for them in the lobby.

After relieving myself, I went to the lobby and sat down in a comfortable couch to wait for my buddies. 

I was totally wasted, high as a kite. All of a sudden I noticed a huge striped beach ball rocking back-and-forth on the arm chair of my couch. I smiled as I watched it and wondered how they did this. But the all of a sudden it stopped rocking!

So I started pushing on it with both hands, trying to get it rocking again, when it stood up turned around and screamed “What the fuck!”. I suddenly realized that it wasn’t a striped beach ball, it was the ass of a fat woman wearing striped pants. 

I was totally embarrassed and speechless, especially when her large boyfriend confronted me. 

What could I possibly say? How could I explain that I thought his girlfriend’s ass was a giant beach ball?

Luckily my four friends appeared in the lobby to rescue me from getting my ass kicked by her boyfriend. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018/01/02 - The Dream Has Become a Nightmare

Sometimes I question how all of you can take this life straight, whereas I’ve always preferred to do it a little bit “high”. Now before you judge me, let me say, I’ve done it both ways, so I consider myself an expert. 

But for this arguement, let’s drop any political correctness. Most of us have jobs the we can’t wait to go home from. Many of us are struggling financially to get by. Many of us are working longer hours and can’t spend hardly any quality time with our kids. 

Life has become very busy with little time for relaxation. 

I realize I’m in a bubble. I live in one of the  richest middle-class bubbles in Colorado, but I can clearly see that within only a few miles away, people are in trouble. 

The “American Dream” has turned into a nightmare. 

When my father (not even a high-school graduate) returned from WW2 (the big one), his future was wide open. The government was going to help him get a loan for a house, give him money for re-aducation, and and the ecominy was such that it enabled a family to live comfortably on ONE average middle class income.  

A man coming home from WW2 was encouraged to open up a small business, like a grocery store, or gas station,. This was truly a time of opertunity for a person who wanted to get ahead. And most everybody wanted to better themselves. 

But today those opportunities are all gone, Chains have taken over all the gas stations, groceries stores, etc. Nowadays you need a million dollars to open up a small business. 

The dream is gone. The dream ‘Only in America, the land of opertunity, can a poor boy like me grow up to be a millionaire” has waken up to witness all those who did succeed, pull up the ladders, preventing everybody else from climbing up. 

So the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.