The Most Navel Gazing, Self Important Post I Have Ever Written

29 January 2010

While some of you may debate the accuracy of the title, I am certain that an entire post about the fact that I have finally succumbed to the gravitational force that is Twitter qualifies for the slightly hyperbolic statement.

My opposition was first rooted in the inanity and drivel that were the limited tweets that made it into my Twitter-free world.  That line of thought was muted when a friend boxed me into admitting that if I consider haiku the most difficult poetic form, it was illogical to not consider tweeting or micro-blogging the most difficult blogging form.

The more lasting opposition was born of just not finding a purpose to it.  Whenever the subject was broached I would simply state “I’ve yet to have someone make a convincing case on why I should.”  I would sit and listen and I was not swayed… until last night.

My friend, LiLu and I were talking and she was, yet again, trying to convince me to just make the step.  After a few minutes, she gave up trying to penetrate my too thick skull.  Forty minutes later the subject had changed multiple times, another round of drinks had been ordered, and she handed me her phone with the simple preface “This is what you’re missing with Twitter.”

brandyismagic: HAD’s having his first radiation treatment tonight.  Then I’m going to make him watch The Bachelor. I think he’d prefer more radiation.

For those of you not familiar with Brandy and her Hot Awesome Dude, she and her manfriend are dealing with his recent diagnosis of multiple myeloma.  They are the reason that a great number of bloggers loaned our corners of the internet to Brandy to tell their story and ask for positive thoughts.  They are the reason that even more bloggers gave their time and, ahem, singing to create the Love Harder video.  They are the reason that people all over the world have donated thousands of dollars to research a cure for this disease through the Love Harder Project.

Through all of this and against a backdrop of serious medical hardship, Brandy found a way to be funny, and poignant, and encouraging, and it made me a little misty.  And that’s what I was missing with Twitter.

While Lilu still needs to teach me the ways of Twitter, you can now follow me @restrntrefugee.


What Else Are You Gonna Do in 9 Days?

2 December 2009

There are too many reasons to get together with friends in early December… the top five off the top of my head:

5. You survived Thanksgiving with the family, or the in-laws, or the new partner’s family, or without any of that.

4. Closer to Christmas and Hanukkah no one has time with the shopping and the parties, and the other random obligations that arise.

3. Because on this date in 1960, Aretha Franklin gave her Big Apple debut performance at the Village Vangaurd – how do you not honor three legends?

2. Drinking away your holiday presents budget is a great way to keep costs down.

1. Because LiLu, Maxie, and I decided it’s been a while since we got the band back together.


Some Random Housekeeping:

I’ve consolidated the posts in which I offer advice/opinions into a section of links on the right.  It is either a hopeless exercise of my own vanity or something slightly helpful for a reader or two.

I Know / I Wish

19 September 2009

I know your boyfriend is an asshole and I haven’t even met him yet.  I wish I knew you well enough to say.

I know you don’t like me and that I wouldn’t trust you to make oxygen into carbon dioxide.  I wish that you would stop pretending.

I know that we’re back on friendly terms, can bend an elbow together even, but I’ll never be with you again.  I do wish that I could bottle that look from the first time I rejected you.

I know that you and your fiancé are happily ensconced in your life and you know that I love both you and her.  I do wish that you and I still had our great friendship.

I know that you mostly mean well when you keep offering me that gig.  I wish that I could take you seriously.

I know that you’re married and I am no threat to you, your husband, or your marriage.  I do wish I didn’t enjoy being around you quite so much.

I know that you’ve loved me since before I was born.  I wish you didn’t have such a fucked up way of showing it.

I know you’ve been sober for five years now and your sobriety is more important than our friendship.  I wish the two weren’t mutually exclusive.

I know that you’re a gentleman and a stand up guy.  I wish you hadn’t placed me in a position that asked me not to be too.

I know that I am a deeply flawed man.  I wish I spent more time trying to fix the fixable flaws and made less excuses to place flaws in the non-fixable column.

The Fall Meme – My Answers

16 September 2009

This is my third attempt at crafting my own meme – eventually, I’ll get one really right and it will go viral… right? No?  Whatever, I’m going to keep trying until one does or I get bored.  So this is the official Dirty Dozen Fall Meme, I won’t tag anyone; however, should you choose to participate, I’d appreciate the courtesy of a link back.  Feel free to tag people if you wish.

  1. It’s not fall in DC (or your city of origin) until _____________? It’s not fall until I can wear cashmere, the mosquitoes are gone, and I’ve switched to a Manhattan as my drink of choice.
  2. Kelly Preston’s character in the movie For Love of the Game expresses her need to escape NYC because “Summer’s almost over, and I feel like I missed it.”  What do you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? I need to feel some sand between my toes, eat some crabs & drink beer, and have one more picnic.
  3. The person I know is wrong for me but about whom I frequently think after a break-up is _____________? For me it isn’t one particular woman who keeps coming into my head when I am in a romantic doldrums.  It is usually a revisiting of many failed relationships that I can’t quite understand why they failed.  This is particularly problematic for me if I encounter one of these women.
  4. The US Tennis Open, one of four Grand Slam events in that sport, is currently in the quarterfinal round.  If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be? I needed to do some reductive thinking to answer this question.  After eliminating all contenders, the last event standing was March Madness – preferably the first two weekends.
  5. Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar? If you notice a seemingly overdressed guy who is scribbling in a journal or pecking on a computer, that might be me.  If that guy is wearing antique cufflinks and smoking a cigar, then the odds get much better.
  6. Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc.  What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche? I am extremely passionate about politics and would love to write more about it.  I do know that I lack the discipline and patience to research and document all of the things necessary to write about that subject in a manner that would be satisfactory to me.
  7. If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you? To the eight year old Refugee, don’t try too hard to fit in with the kids at that school; they will never accept you and neither will their parents.  You will have more fun without them.  To the twenty year old Refugee, there really is no need to rush through undergrad.  To the twenty four year old Refugee, please take that job at AOL; you can deal with the commute and will retire in four years.
  8. Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared? One of my favorite bartenders would be a terrific blogger.  She is insightful, funny as all hell, and works behind a bar on Georgetown Saturday Nights which I am know leaves her with plenty of stories.
  9. If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? What would you miss the most, the least? If the e-cation occurred at the same time as an actual vacation, I could last at least a month.  I would miss the late night emails from clients the least and I would probably miss my relationships to the blogs I read the most.
  10. On September 11th of this year, I will be attending a couple of parties and am somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts? I think I answered this question within the question, however, to expand a bit more… I did what I could to embrace the Day of Service concept by volunteering some time with one of my favorite charitable organizations.
  11. How high are your walls?  Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt? My walls are tiered and have increasingly sharp barbed wire the higher one climbs.  They have gotten higher in the last year and that is not a source of pride for me.  The recommended tools for scaling them: patience, optimism, a well turned phrase, a love for rainy Sundays with Coltrane and Neruda, an appetite.
  12. The sexiest thing a wo/man can say to you (or has said to you) is _____________? This tastes amazing.


Other Lovely Bloggers Participated:

Just A Titch

Hannah Just Breath

Dorothy’s Not Dead

Life of Planet Dan-E

Skrinkering Hearts

Elle Dubya

Was It for This

The Kristen Chronicles

Are You Really Interested

Is There a Doctor in the House

Seeking John Galt

I There a Dr. in the House

Bikram Yoga Chick

An Open Letter to People Who Took Issue with an Open Letter

2 September 2009

I had intended to post something else today.  A post with a bunch of mini restaurant reviews was scheduled to appear two minutes after I received another thoughtful comment taking issue with my last post.  This is an amalgamation of emails exchanged with a few readers who took particular umbrage with what they perceived as the smallness of calling women names in this space.

I hate to give one of those political apologies which are generally devoid of meaning as it is apology without acknowledgement… but I apologize for any offense I might have caused, it was not my intent.  I respectfully disagree, however, with much of the characterizations levied in both public and private.

With regard to the pettiness of the post and the outsized nature of my indignation, I gave considerable thought to that interpretation.  My initial reaction was to agree with the supposition; however, after some more mental marinating, I have grown to think that position is largely the result of interpretation through personal experiences.  Through the prism of women who have surely been the recipient of unwanted attention, my indignation might seem to have been an overreaction, but how was it really?

As some acknowledged in comments, my blog is a space for me to bitch about any number of topics.  How much did I really bitch though?  I wrote that accusing a man of wanting to “check out [your] ass” in a voluble tone was conduct not befitting a lady and I contend that it is not.

I described a woman as Plain Jane which can be read as a pejorative, but I solely intended as a descriptor.  Had it been a man that had been rude to me I am sure I would have written something about his corporate khaki and polo uniform.  I further wrote that her response made me doubt the existence of a man that would marry her – that would have been a bridge too far if stated to her in reply, and admittedly may have been in this context as well, but I still don’t think it an egregious thought to express anonymously (both author and subject) in this space.

The past her prime platinum blonde line was inspired at least as much by my affinity for alliteration as it was an effort to describe a woman who was far too old to wear a skirt that short, a top cut that low, and generally looking like a 50 year old club kid wannabe.  For the record, I would have described a man dressed in equally age inappropriate attire in similar ways.

As I noted and some graciously acknowledged, empathy is tough for men here. But the converse applies as well.  I don’t think there is any value in comparing the difficulty of having one’s motivations constantly questioned versus receiving unwanted and or crude sexual attention.  But it is worth considering how it might have felt for me on that day, on the many days that this has occurred.  How many women can empathize with the frustration associated with the accumulated indignities from the tactic and implicit questioning of one’s integrity in that manner?

“Get over it” was the suggestion from more than one reader, and I should be flattered that readers consider this place somehow above such pettiness.  I don’t think it was anything extraordinary that I ranted about a slightly shitty day, as I have ranted about far less.

Many of you may still disagree with me on the merits of that post.  In fact, I know some of you still do.  I will concede that the post could have been more artfully written to have avoided that reasoned perception but I hope that this missive finds us all on more common than divergent ground.


P.S. New Recipe on My Recipe Blog – Braised Short Ribs with Truffled French Fries

A Brand New Baby Blog

16 August 2009

I am a sufficiently good cook that people pay me, happily and handsomely, to make food for them in their homes, but I suck at writing down recipes.  Often my clients will ask me for a recipe and I will give them some bullshit excuse explanation about giving away trade secrets and a wink.  The fact of the matter is that most of them exist only in my head and I am often too lazy busy to write them down.

To give me some direction in an effort to change my shiftless-ass habits a place to structure this effort, I started a new blog.  Recipes from the Restaurant Refugee is designed to force me to record dishes so I will have a compilation of things I have created when my booze addled brain can no longer recall them.  Having them handy for clients is a nice bonus too.

Currently there are very few pictures of my food as I neither posses a digital camera (have I ever hidden my happily Luddite nature?) nor the time when I am cooking to stop and take pictures*.  I will do my best to remedy that in the future.

I will be migrating recipes listed on this blog to the new place, and my goal is to post at least three original recipes per week.

Thanks for visiting.

Eat well, drink well, be well, my friends.

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* In early September, I plan on having a “Media Dinner” with the express purposes of having a great time with friends and taking pictures of some of my cuisine.  If you are a good photographer, interested in trading a good meal for photos, and most importantly interesting (I care more about the quality of the dinner party than the photographs but only a bit more,) or you know someone who is, send me an email – restaurantrefugee(@)

Blog Reader Bingo

11 August 2009

Blog Reader Bingo

Simple rules: when blog posts appear in your reader that have the following themes or contain the items listed, mark your box and include a link.  The first person to send me an email or comment with their winning card has way too much time on her/his hands but will receive a gift to be named later.






Navel gazing Post Ended a relationship Started a relationship “Dude, I was so wasted!” Link to a major newspaper
Bi-curios or bi sexual experience I just got a new ________ and I look fantastic in it Use of the word blogosphere or blogiverse without irony A weekend summary that’s not navel gazing Contains song lyrics
New post from someone who hasn’t posted in a month or more A meme so interesting that you want to do it A post so mind numbingly dumb you are forced to end the relationship with the blog Tear jerker Includes an invented word that you plan to include in your vocabulary
Contains a link to a new (to you) blog that is dipped in awesome sauce TMI and not on a Thursday Cheating partner Guest post Post from a blogger you used to date and whose blog you really should have stopped reading
A post that makes you want to date the author A conversation that is written in script format A blistering rant about an intractable problem An annoyingly high number of multiple posts on the same day Contains a flaming comment

Wanna play along with readers at your joint? Feel free to repost, but please give a courtesy link.  The person for whom that statement was written knows exactly who he is.