Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Religion, Etc....

I'm not a big church-goer... mostly because I've worked on Sundays for most of my adult life. That doesn't make me an Atheist or Agnostic. I still worship in my own way.

When I was younger, I was very active in the church. At one point I was the the President of the Youth Group. The highlight of my term was the spend the night party at the church. It got a little out of hand. My first sign that things were going wrong was when I realized that the youth group had converted the church's nursery into a bar. There were 12-packs in the cribs, covered with blankets! The next morning, the sun came up and revealed empty beer cans all over the front yard of the church. As President, I was forced to make a formal apology to the congregation during the annoucements portion of the following Sunday service.

Although, I never knew who brought the beer or who drank it-- I had snuck out with the Vice-President and the Treasurer to go to the Midnight Movie-- Rocky Horror was showing!

In 1982, me and several friends of mine joined together with some of our parents and created a group known as "Pass It On- Teens Encounter Christ" (PIO TEC). Our plan was to have a three day retreat- gathering about 50 teenagers, a few clergy and a team of adults to keep an eye on us for three days. We had a retreat 4 times a year, once a quarter. Teens would be assigned different topics to talk about concerning Christ. We were all Lutheran, so we would learn more and more about Lutheranism each time, as well as other religions. It was very succesful, and often moving. After a couple of years, we joined with some people in Florida and started Sunshine TEC. I only attended a couple of their retreats, because of the distance and travel expenses.

I got an e-mail today from a friend of mine that helped me plan TEC #1. We lost touch decades ago, so I don't know how she got my e-mail address, unless she did a little searching! Anyway, she wanted to let me know that on Labor Day weekend, PIO TEC #95 will take place. I didn't even know it was still going on! It's still the same format- 50 kids get to participate at each session. That makes 4750 teens that have followed in my footsteps since those early days of planning the first retreat.

I just think it's amazing how many lives you can touch and not even realize it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Do you Remember where you were?

It was 8 years ago tonight-- August 30, 1997. I invited my family to my downtown loft to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. We all walked across the street and had a celebration at one of the restaurants in Underground Atlanta. We came back to my loft afterwards and someone turned on the TV. Breaking news: Princess Di was involved in a car accident. At the time it didn't seem like a big deal... poor Di had a car wreck. Big deal, huh? Angie opened her gifts, we had cake and ice cream and they went home. I was cleaning up and the TV was still on and I was barely listening to it. All of a sudden they announced that Princess Di didn't survive the crash. I found myself glued to the TV for hours. I felt so sorry for the people in London- most of them were asleep and didn't know anything about the car wreck. I tried to put myself in their place. I kept thinking that in a few hours they would all wake up and find out that their Princess was dead. I felt like I had a big secret from the whole country of England and any moment it would be revealed.

At the time I still worked at Rosenbluth International. Across the street from my office was a statue that Prince Charles had donated to Atlanta, in honor of the 1996 Olympics the previous year. The site of the statue was turned into a shrine to Lady Diana. All of a sudden flower arrangements arrived, candles were burning, stuffed animals and sympathy cards littered the small patch of land where the Olympian statue stood. There was even a guy with an organ at the foot of the statue, playing soft music while the mourners gathered and left their prayers and momentos.

It was a week that I'll never forget-- stamped on my brain along with the explosion of the Challenger, the plane crash of JFK, Jr., and September 11th. Some things stay with us forever .

Monday, August 29, 2005

Things I Bet You Didn't Know...

Thank God that you are only required to include the last three jobs on your resume! Over the past 39 years (ok- almost 40!), I've some interesting jobs, and a few might shock you!

  • When I was 16, I went to work for a construction company, Forehand Builders. My boss, Jimmy Forehand was a great guy & very successful. He was only 32 years old when I met him, but I was impressed. For one, he had the biggest house in the neighborhood. I think it had at least 5 bedrooms! He and his wife Mary didn't have any children at the time, and they treated me very well. After school, I'd go to their house and drive one of their big trucks to the site where Jimmy was building a home. He built lots of them, even a huge subdivision named "Mt. Laurel Plantation" (or something like that). I would dig and sweep and hammer and basically wear myself out for a few hours each day and on weekends. Jimmy also owned a real estate agency, and he put me through real estate school. I took the exam twice before passing it. I was only 17 at the time and I had to wait a year to activate my license. I never did sell a house- would you buy a house from a teenager? I worked for Jimmy for about 3 years before I graduated and moved away to school.
  • While in school at UGA, I got a job at Express Pizza. My first job there was as a pizza delivery guy. I quickly learned that college kids don't tip, even when you're wearing a shirt that said "the hottest box in town"! I spent more money on gas than I earned in tips, so I decided to transfer jobs and work in the restaurant. I tended bar there-- easy job since they only sold beer by the pitcher, and there was only one brand of beer to choose from. So basically my bartending experience amounts to the fact that I could pour beer in a pitcher and make correct change.
  • After a couple of years, I left Express and got a seasonal job in the mall, at Spencer's Gifts. I had always loved that store- it was cool and hip and fun! I worked my butt off for a couple of months. Then the holidays were over and the seasonal help was let go. Except me. They offered me the Manager position. As luck would have it, UGA had sent me a notice between quarters that I wouldn't be welcomed back to school, due to the fact that I hadn't received a passing grade in several quarters. As luck would have it, I also totalled my car on New Year's Eve in a freak accident. Mom and Dad flexed their purse strings and I moved back to Atlanta.
  • I got a job working at Upton's department store, in the shoe dept. My best friend, Chip, worked there, too. We ended up becoming roommates and spent all of our time partying. I no-showed at work a couple of times and they let me go.
  • Next I went to work at Peachtree Pest Control as a termite exterminator. I loved the job and the people, but I didn't like crawlspaces-- I only ran into one snake in a crawlspace, but that was enough. I only lasted there about a year.
  • Jimmy Forehand called me and offered me a job as his assistant. He furnished me with a truck and paid me pretty well. I had a lot of duties including supervising the crews. I really enjoyed the fact that he put so much trust in me. But at the time, I was still in my party mood and didn't take much seriously. I don't even remember quitting the job, but I think we were on good terms. I saw Jimmy a few years later at his birthday party and all seemed ok, so I won't fret over that too much. It was fun and I loved working with and for Jimmy and Mary.
  • Next came Gillespie Dental Lab. I loved this job! I ran the office and scheduled the deliveries. I even learned how to make and repair dentures. I stayed there for about 7 years, but it started looking like a dead-end job for me, so I had to go.
  • Then came Midtown Travel. A friend of mine owned a travel agency and he put me through a one week school. I learned a lot and got to go on some pretty incredible trips. I stayed at Midtown for a couple of years before moving on to a huge international agency- Rosenbluth!
  • I LOVED Rosenbluth. It was my introduction into the corporate world. I started as an agent and then became a trainer ("Leader in Learning"). My brother, Joel, came to work with me, and soon I became a Manager ("Team Leader"). I was picked to be a coach at the Orientation class in our headquarters in Philadelphia. I got to go to PA once a month to teach a class. One time while I was there, I was picked to participate in a training session for a new computer program named Amadeus. Only a couple of us attended the class. As it turned out, many of our offices changed over to Amadeus and I got to go around the USA, and even a couple of stops in Europe, training everyone on the new systems. I loved job-- the money, the prestige, the travel! But all good things must come to an end-- Rosenbluth closed the Atlanta office on September 15th, 2001.
  • After Rosenbluth, I moved on to two other travel agencies- Carlson Wagonlit (closed a year later) and ESC (I stayed a year, but the commute was about an hour each way).
  • Then came the Flying Biscuit, and I've already talked about that!

So did you learn anything new about me today?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

My Culinary Skills Under Attack!

Beverly invited me to join her at the Tavern tonight and I declined. I was cooking supper at the time (Chicken & Brocolli with Alfredo Sauce) and she acted shocked- even accused me of getting it out of a bag!

In reality, I am a pretty good cook, though I don't attempt it very often. When you work in a restaurant, and share desk space with an Executive Chef in a prep kitchen, you pick up a thing or two. I never understood people when they said that they couldn't cook-- hell you get a recipe book out and follow the directions- it's not rocket science!

So, tonight I made the Chicken/Brocolli dish (which is sitting on the counter getting cold as I write this). Last Wednesday, I made a cucumber/snow crab salad with green onions, carrots and sesame seeds. Last Monday, I experimented with sliced ham-- I put Monterray Jack, Swiss Cheese, canned chicken and a spoonful of Cream of Mushroom soup on the slices and rolled them into tubes and baked them just long enough for the cheese to melt. Yummy!!! I ate the "ham-roll-ups" with beans that I strung and snapped and stewed corn that I cut off the cob and cooked in the slow-cooker (Mom's recipe).

I like to cook, but I'm just as happy eating a Krystal burger or some Ramen noodles (I could live on those!). Once in a while though, I like to try out my cooking skills and have a nice home-made meal for a change.

So you see, I have a little domestic side. I wonder what else people don't know about me?

Big Weekend!

I decided to postpone my list til later-- too many things I want to do, but I can't put them all down on paper. I'll think on this topic for a few days. I got the idea for the list after reading the same topic discussed in another Blog that I've become addicted to lately- "boys briefs" (see link).

Yesterday morning, I auditioned for the role of Jonathan in "Arsenic & Old Lace", at the Jefferson Park Rec Center. Johnny is an interesting character- he's a criminal that escaped from prison and hooked up with a plastic surgeon, Dr. Einstein. Each time Johnny commits a crime, the doctor will operate on his face to change his appearance which keeps Johnny from getting caught. Unfortunately, after so many face augmentations, Johnny is beginning to look more and more like Frankenstein- in fact he killed his last victim because the guy told him he reminded him of Boris Karloff.

The audition went well, and I think I got the part. Unfortunately, not enough people auditioned so there weren't enough people to cast in the 14 different roles. More than likely, the play will be scrapped and we'll try again in the Spring.

Last night was my friend, Beverly's, birthday party at the American Legion in East Point. There was a big turn out and she received lots of great presents. Happy Birthday, Beverly!

This afternoon I'm going to the Atlanta Underground film Festival (AUFF)- a Celebration of Emerging Independent Artists (www.auff.org). They'll be showing lots of short movies, and a few feature-length films. I was invited to it last year, but didn't make it. Some friends from work encouraged me to go with them this year and I'm looking forward to it. It's a weeklong event, and today is the last day.

I'm still working on the webpage here-- I figured out how to add pictures (kind of), but I'm still trying to figure out how to add links and favorites to the homepage. I'll do a little homework this week and hopefully I can make this site look a little better soon!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Flashback Adventure!

I went out with some friends to a new club (Flashback) in East Point tonight- they had kareoke and I swore I wasn't going to participate. I ended up singing 4 songs and closing the place down. God, I love performing on stage- it doesn't matter if the crowd hates me, or even if there isn't a crowd there to hate me.

Tomorrow's topic: My list of things I want to do before I die. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Maiden Voyage to the World Of Blog

This is the first time I've ever Blogged (is that a word?), so forgive me! I'm still creating the website, so please have some patience as I figure it all out!

I guess I should introduce myself first. My name is Brian and I live in East Point, GA (a suburb of Atlanta). I'm 39 years old and I'm an Atlanta native-- grew up in Decatur and Stone Mountain. I work in a restaurant named The Flying Biscuit- I'm the Operations Manager. I wear many hats at work. I do: payroll, human resources, bookkeeping, accounts payable, accounts receivable, catering, merchandising, advertising, web site maintenance, guest relations and charitable donations. Once in a while, you'll see me bussing tables or running the cash register in the Bakery!

The Biscuit is a fun place to work- there's always something new and exciting going on. Right now, we have two stores and a third is in the works- hopefully by the end of 2005. Our original location has been open for 12 years. We have recently received a lot of press- in the last couple of weeks we've been featured on Good Morning America, $40 a Day with Rachel Ray & the CBS Nightly News. As for print, we've had two articles about us in the Creative Loafing and one in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (all of these were in the month of August).

I'm a single Dad. Well, I guess you could call me that! I am single, but my kids all have four legs and are furry! I've got 4 dogs: Betty (14 yr old doberman mix I got from the pound), Shelby (7 yr old golden retreiver mix I got from a rescue group), Clara (2 yr old white lab mix- a stray that found her way into my fence and never left), and King (7 month old white lab/boxer mix and Clara's son). Clara has two other babies that occassionaly stay with us, and often visit- Cletus and Lady. Cletus was adopted by my friend Beverly, and Lady was adopted by my mother, Harriet. More about the puppies and the hell they put me through later!