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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Water Garden

A few pictures I took today:

Say Cheese!

We are redoing the catering menu and wanted to get some shots of some of the catering foods that we sell. A team of us met at the studio and spent the day setting up the perfect shots to compliment our food. I haven't received the final professional copies of our photos yet, but I took these with my camera. I'm sure there will be some touching up and editing in the final version, but I was pretty happy with these as they are.

It's always fun working with the food stylists-- you wouldn't believe how much work goes into taking just 1 picture. We only did 2 pictures yesterday and it took us about 8 hours. I didn't get a copy of the breakfast platters picture. In that one, we had breakfast sandwiches (bacon/egg/cheese, etc.). The food stylist actually used a small pair of scissors to trim the eggs into the perfect size and shape. I won't even go into how long it took them to make a fruit platter! Each piece had to be trimmed to the perfect dimensions.

The pictures I am showing today are of the Power Breakfast (scrambled eggs, rosemary potatoes, white cheddar grits, turkey bacon, chicken sausage and biscuits). I really love the closeup shot, because it contains all of the foods in one picture, without the distraction of the tablecloth and chafing racks.

This will be a great tool and it's got to increase sales. When I suggest a Power Breakfast and can show a picture of it, I think it will sell itself! I'll post the edited copies when I receive them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Day in the Park

This weekend was the 37th annual "Inman Park Spring Festival & Tour of Home". Michael & I got to play Daddy for the day, and got to take our friend Sophie to the festival yesterday. We met up with our friends Lucia, Jeff and Stephanie and had a great time shopping the booths. I really had my eye out for one specific item-- a decorative brass sprinkler. I've seen these sprinklers at the festival every year, but could never afford one. This year I saved up and was bound and determined to buy one. It turns out that the sprinkler dealer didn't participate in this year's festival. Damn! Maybe next year!

I did get a nice stained glass window that I installed in the sunroom. It's really old and came from a home in England. That's all I know about it's history, but I do like it. I also bought a couple of picture frames made out of antique wood. Just what I needed-- more frames to add to the shrine that I sometimes call the living room!

Sophie had a great time. We got her face painted and I bought her a toe ring that actually fits her little finger! She had fun in the play area, and enjoyed watching the "most talented people that she's ever seen " (as she described them). They were a trio of fire-eating acrobats from Kalamazoo. Funny story-- after watching the ladies perform for a few minutes, I left the group in search of the brass sprinklers. A few minutes later, I called Michael on his cell phone to let him know where I was. Michael happened to be standing in the front row with Sophie and one of the fire-eating acrobats from Kalamazoo answered his phone during the performance. She asked my name and I told her. Then she said into her microphone: "Everyone sell hello to Brian!". I was a few blocks away, but I heard the crowd with no problem: "HELLO BRIAN!". Funny!

We ended the day by watching our friend Heather perform with her band on the Delta Park stage. Of course, Heather was incredible as usual. The best part of the day, for me, was when an elderly lady got up to dance to Heather's music. She was your typical Southern grandmother-- she had the wardrobe and everything. She was probably in her late 70's or early 80's. I would've never predicted that this Southern granny would get up and dance to the music of Heather Littrell, but she did and she put a smile on everyone's face. She reminded me a lot of my grandmother, Mema. I immediately flashed back to the night that Mema was doing the Charleston at our house-- she was so cute doing her little dance-- until she fell down and broke her hip (or maybe she broke her hip and fell down, according to Michael). My smile quickly faded as I remembered the sight of the paramedics taking Mema out of the house on a stretcher, while my grandfather was threatening to sue my parents for damages (ok, that part never happened, but wouldn't that be a funny story?). But all was well with this lady-- she didn't fall, and no one got sued. Instead, she enjoyed a big round of applause from the audience. What a way to end an incredible day in the park!


If you were a fan of the "Roseanne" show, you'll love the clip that follows. I was a big fan of the show, until the last season. At the beginning of the final season (or maybe the end of the next to last season), Roseanne and Dan won the lottery. The show began to take wild and crazy turns (Dan had a heart attack but survived... Roseanne & Dan separated (maybe divorced?)... Roseanne and her sister, Jackie, took wild trips to swanky hotels and partied with the rich and famous... Roseanne imagined herself as Mary Tyler Moore in one episode, and as the star of "I Dream of Jeanie" in another. Nothing made sense, and I finally gave up and stopped watching. Fast forward several years--- I was talking to a coworker one night and the subject of Roseanne came up. I told him how disgusted I was by the entire last season. "You didn't watch the finale, did you?", he asked. Well, no I didn't. It turns out that he had the finale on tape and loaned it to me. It turns out that Roseanne explained all of the wild twists and turns of the last season in the final episode. She wrapped it all up and everything made sense. In reality, Dan didn't survive the heart attack. Everything that followed was written from her imagination and her attempt to cope with the uncopable.
The clip below is the last few minutes of the entire series. Watch it and try not to cry! I think that this is one of the best final episodes out there- almost as good as the last "Newhart" episode. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Speaking of GREAT finales!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Boys!

Here are a few pictures of King and Max, and one of Clara. They helped me cut the grass yesterday and had a fun time running around in the backyard chasing me and the lawnmower. King really enjoys having another boy to pal around with.

Around My Yard

Here are a few pictures I took around my yard this week. My favorite part of the yard is the snapdragons that line the front walkway. I planted them last Fall and they looked nice all Winter. But the best part happens in the Spring-- they start going to seed and shoot up huge stalks of flowers. They will be beautiful for a couple of weeks, and then they will dry up and die. They are in the "beautiful" stage right now and I love them.

The ponds are looking nice, too. We planted lots of flowers around them, and some of the pond plants from last year came back to life this week (water lillies, cannas, etc.). Unfortunately, the fish I purchased a few weeks ago are no longer with us. I don't want to suggest foul play, but I do find it suspicious that all of my fish (in 2 different ponds) died on the same day. Adding a little more fuel to my suspicious fire: it just so happens that my neighbor and 2 of his friends sat outside drinking beer in the street until dawn the night before they all died. Michael and his Mom suspect that they poured beer in the pond, but I can't prove it and I won't go there. All I know is that I tested the water the day before and it was fine. I think I've learned my lesson and I will now start calling it a Water Garden, rather than a Fish Pond. I'm not having any luck when it comes to fish, but the pond plants are flourishing.

Speaking of the Water Garden--- I bought something new for it today! I had a couple of "spitting" turtles and a "spitting" frog as part of the filter system. Today, I replaced one of the spitting turtles with a trio of "spouting" miniature elephants! It's really cool-- each of the elephants shoots it's own stream into the pond. Michael thinks it's tacky, but it really makes me smile when I see it-- and I don't really mind tacky! I really want to find one of those "peeing boy" statues some day. Like I said, I don't mind tacky!

Here's a strange one for you. When I was cutting the grass the other day, I found something that looks like an animal's den. The picture isn't too clear, but what it is is a hollowed out cave beneath a dead tree stump. I don't know what kind of animals live underground like this, but I suspect it's a family of oppossums. Ugghhhh! Creepy, huh?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oh, Really?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Chain Gang at Work

Earlier this week, I got a wild hair and decided that my pond was missing one important feature-- a waterfall. I looked everywhere for a preformed pond with a waterfall feature, but I struck out everywhere I went. I did find a kit at Lowe's that included a large preformed pond and a smaller pond with a waterfall feature. I couldn't buy them separately, of course, so I bought the whole kit. I spent the whole day on Wednesday installing the small pond. I put it just behind my existing pond and it looked great after I got the rocks in place. The larger pond from the kit sat in the backyard for a couple of days. I really had no use for it, and didn't know of anyone that would want it.

It finally struck me-- why not go ahead and install it next to the other two ponds? Easier said than done! Michael and I worked on the newest pond most of the day on Friday-- digging the hole, carting wheelbarrows full of rocks from the backyard, spreading mulch and planting flowers. I am very happy with the outcome, though. Thanks for the all of the help, Baby! I owe you one!

Today, I installed lights in all of the ponds-- I can't wait til it gets dark so I can see the whole thing illuminated. It's going to be so cool! The neighborhood cats were the first to give me their approval! I'll have to have a dinner party sometime soon-- maybe a garden party so I can show off the pond! It's going to be even cooler once the canna lillies and black-eyed susans start filling in.

I know-- I'm a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to my pond. I spent most of last Summer standing in the yard admiring it. Now that almost all of the front garden is filled with ponds, it'll be a full time job!

Road Trip!

After a full day of hard labor, Michael and I cleaned up and went to dinner in Villa Rica to celebrate our friend Marie's birthday. I had never met Marie before, but I've talked to her on the phone several times. Michael met Marie at work one day. She was a guest dining in his restaurant with her mother and her daughter. Michael and Marie hit it off that day, and they've enjoyed numerous marathon phone conversations ever since!

Villa Rica is a cool little town-- it reminded me a little of East Point and College Park. It's a little hike to get there, though-- it's 26 miles from the Georgia/Alabama state line! We ate at a Cajun restaurant named "Gabe's". I had a hard time deciding on an entree because everything sounded like something I would love. On the other hand, Michael was pretty limited with what he could order-- he's allergic to shellfish. Every item on the menu included shellfish. There were several chicken selections, but they were all topped with, stuffed with, or served on a bed of some type of shellfish! I got the Yellow Fin Tuna w/ Wasabi dressing and Michael settled for the only item on the menu that wouldn't kill him, a fillet, and we both loved our food.

It was great to finally meet Marie and her husband Owen. I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the future!
Happy birthday, Marie!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

OK to Exhale...

I did it!!! I can't believe I pulled this job off successfully! Today's catering sales beat an all time record! In addition to my huge catering order at GA State this morning, I also fed all of the guests of the Residence Inn and hundreds of hungry folks at the wedding. As I mentioned yesterday, I had a staff of 5 today, and they really buckled down and performed their duties perfectly.

The wedding was incredible-- it was held in the Fulton County Government building's atrium. I would've never thought of that space for a wedding, but it worked. The bride and groom were extremely happy and satisfied with our food and service, and tipped accordingly!!!

We had nine 8' table to work with. When I saw the empty tables lined up, I was afraid that we could never fill them and our food would look skimpy. But it turns out that we filled every inch of the buffet line, and even had four more tables of food in another section of the building-- plus a coffee/ tea station located nearby. They were a hungry crowd too! There were very few leftovers!

It was a long day and I'm exhausted. I worked 18 hours nonstop today. I was around food all day long-- did I eat anything? No-- I was way too busy! I did sample one bite of our Broccoli Medley, but that's the only nourishment my body was treated to.

At least now I can mark this one off as another success. I don't have any more wedding miracles to pull off until late August.

Congratulations, Kendra & Brock!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some Day Soon!

Thanks to Kevin for this rendition (and total makeover) of my new store! I love it!!!


Someone is hacking my Blog!!! It is safe to read my Blog, but if you read the comments sections you might find short embedded messages that encourage you to "click here" to see the comments. If you follow their advice and "click here", you WILL get a virus on your computer! We accidentally clicked on one of the hyperlinks a couple of days ago and the virus worm took over my computer. I have Norton and McAfee installed, and somehow this virus got past both of them.

I purchased a new protection program (XoftSpy) and it deleted the virus and restored everything. It cost me $40 (a lot cheaper than the last virus cost me to fix, the last time I had to buy a new computer!) to repair the damage.

I've seen this same message pop up in my comments section at least 6 times in the past week. I don't know of any way of stopping the comments from appearing, nor any way to protect you from this threat of a virus. I could change my security settings to not allow anonymous posters to comment, but that would take away most of the people that do post comments, so I won't do that. All I can say is DO NOT click on any hyperlink contained in any of the comments posted on "Life of Brian".




I've been battling my weight for all of my life. Okay, it's not the battle that you might imagine. I have never been overweight. Far from it. I've been the "98 pound weakling" that Charles Atlas told us all about 50 years ago. I've always struggled with being skinny. I've done everything I can think of to gain weight, and nothing has helped. I used to drink Gain Weight formulas. I'd drink a couple of glasses containing 1500+ calories (with whole milk)-- I'd weigh myself often in hopes of gaining a pound or two, only to find that the bathroom scale would reveal a decrease in poundage. I started adding eggs, peanut butter and ice cream to the Gain Weight mixture-- but it didn't help. My weight didn't increase, and who knows what shape my arteries and stomach are in after ingesting (or should that be "digesting") these concoctions!

For the past couple of years, I've been working out. I try to eat better. I take supplements and vitamins and drink meal replacement shakes when I don't have time to eat... and nothing happens! I don't get any bigger, and this bothers me!

There isn't a lot of sympathy for people with my problem. There are no support groups for people with high metabolism. There is no "Under Eater's Anonymous", that I know of.

To top off my "problem", my friend Christian visited last weekend and he left behind a set of bathroom scales. I've been weighing myself morning, noon and night since he left. Every time I lay on the sofa and watch TV, I eat chips, salsa and anything else I can find to munch on. I stand on the scales afterwards and watch the needle flutter somewhere between anorexia and bulimia.

Mom used to say: "Wait til you turn 20, you'll gain weight". Later it was "Wait til your 30...". followed by "Wait til you're 40...". Hell, I'm getting close to 43 and I can still wear the same clothes I wore in high school! Maybe it'll happen when I turn 50.

(My apologies to anyone reading this that struggles with weight issues. I know it's not the same-- but it bugs me anyway!).

The Eve of the Day That I've Been Dreading!

Kendra called me last August and asked me to plan the menu for her wedding. I met with her and consulted. She told me that the wedding would be in April of 2008. Well, that seemed so far away-- the pessimistic side of me wondered if they'd still be a couple, much less still engaged in 8 months! Hell, 8 months is a long time! We had a couple of meetings about the menu last Summer and then I didn't hear anything from Kendra until early this year. She announced to me that the wedding was 93 days away and she still wanted me to cater it.

A lot has changed since our initial meeting-- there is a wedding planner from New York and some future in-laws (AKA: Parents of the Groom) involved in the planning process. The guest list has doubled and the menu has evolved to reflect the ethnic hungers of the hundreds of people that are traveling to Atlanta from London, the Middle East, Australia, China and God knows where else! Oy Vay!!!!!

Kendra and I originally agreed that 2 attendants would be enough. Later in the process, she agreed to pay for 4 attendants. As the date got closer and I became more nervous, I hired 6 attendants (plus myself) to pull this thing off! Kendra requested that all of the attendants be dressed in black. I thought this would be an easy request, but it turns out that the people I hired have never purchased black clothing (except for Aja- who said that she had a black T-shirt). I went shopping and bought matching shirts for all of us to wear. Some of the girls thought that the shirts I bought were too large, so I had to exchange them. Today, Alex told me that he didn't own any black pants, so I went to Macy's and got some for him. I found out later that he doesn't own a belt, but that's just going to have to be OK, unless I can find something in my closet to fit him.

I was really impressed with how our kitchen manager, Jesus, took over when I presented him with the order last week. He created spread sheets for all of the prep team to follow in the days leading up to the wedding. Everyone was on task today and we completed everything that Jesus assigned. I'm bringing the prep team in early at 3:00am tomorrow to complete the order, and the attendants will arrive at 9am for a dress inspection and to load the van. A couple of days ago I really had my doubts that this would all come together--- now I'm feeling more confident--- we can do this!

The price of the catering job is over $6000. This is the biggest job I've ever done and I'm still afraid that I've bitten off more than I can chew. What can the staff of the Biscuit do that would warrant a $6000+ price tag? How can I expect my staff of Larry, Curly and Moe to pull this off? What was I thinking when I accepted this job? I'm going to be a nervous wreck for the next 24 hours. Did I mention that the Bride is a co-worker of my boss's wife? As if I didn't have enough pressure on me already!

I just want this experience to be over and done with as quickly and as easily as possible! Please send positive vibes my way & if you're so inclined, go ahead and say a prayer for me, I'll need it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Catching You Up!

A lot has happened since I last posted on the Blog-- I'll try to recap it as quickly as possible! I guess I'll start with the Dogwood Festival. We now have a brand new Flying Biscuit tent to use at festivals and other events. It's bright orange with our logo on top! We also got a new purple tablecloth with our logo on it. It's very impressive, especially compared to what our old tent and banner used to look like! We even have professionally printed menu boards! Beets the heck out of the dry erase board that I've brought to many events in the past! We'll get a lot of use out of these items very soon-- on the horizon are the Inman Park Festival, the Kirkwood Festival and the Candler Park Festivals.

Christian came by and visited for a couple of days, en route from Florida to California. While he was here, we went out to his storage room in Cartersville and cleaned it out. We boxed up everything and made a run to Fedex so he could ship some stuff home. We loaded everything else into my car. My car isn't' very big, but we filled it to the gills. In fact, it was so full that we could barely see Chris in the backseat-- he was buried underneath luggage and other items. His head was sticking out a little, so we were able to take a picture of him!

I've got some big news for you too! I'm getting my own catering store! The building behind the Biscuit (formerly Salon Red) is vacant. I found out last week that I will be allowed to rent that space just for me and the catering business! It's a two story building with lots of office space and storage space in the basement. The upstairs is pretty much one large room (with a nice office behind closed doors). It has hardwood floors, exposed ceiling, spot lights and lots of big windows. I'm going to be able to use the upstairs as an event space. We get lots of requests for large parties (bridal showers, reunions, etc) and we can never accommodate them on weekends. Once I have this space in place, I can offer a catered event on the premises. I think it'll be great-- the business that we've been turning away will now stay in-house, and will go towards catering sales. I'm going to have my work cut out for me-- the upstairs will need to be cleaned, painted and decorated in a Biscuit motif, but it'll be worth it. Plus, I might actually get some work done once my office isn't in the restaurant! The building will be mine as of May 1st. I can't wait to change that awning and plant flowers in the window boxes!