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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Voter Registration

Here's a sad example of a Voter Registration booth in East Point, GA. This "booth" is located in the parking lot of the East Point Package Store, about 3 blocks from my house. You don't think the lady is endorsing any particular candidate, do you? This has got to be illegal, but no one seems to notice or care.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, RIP

WESTPORT, Conn. - Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as an activist, race car driver, popcorn impresario and the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money," has died. He was 83.

Biscuit News...

It's been a great week to be a "Biscuiteer"! The results of City Search's "Best of" contest were announced this week~~ we got the "Best Breakfast" award for Atlanta!

A couple of days later, Creative Loafing issued it's "Best of '08" awards and we swept the breakfast categories: Best Biscuits, Best Grits, Best Brunch and Best Breakfast! Wow, 4 awards from Creative Loafing this year! I can't remember ever racking up that many at one time! We should be getting a plaque for each of the categories.

I figured that the awards would start dwindling out after it was announced that we were purchased by Raving Brands and that we were franchising. A lot of people don't really support franchises or consider them "real" restaurants. I think the fact that we are so involved in our communities helps a lot and gives each of our locations a special home-town feel.

Another highlight at work this week- the Pre-K Biscuit Tours! We had 15-20 kids each day this week. Once again, they got to see biscuits being made, got to cut out their own biscuits, spent time with the dishwashers and line cooks. They are always amazed by the cooks! This is my 5th year leading these tours and it always amazes me that the kids are so well behaved and appreciative of the time we spend with them. I got so many hugs and "thank yous" from about 100 kids this week-- it's magical!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Michael and I were playing on the computer when we were at the beach a couple of months ago. We found a game on the TNT website-- "Charmed"- based on the TV series. It's basically just a new version of Pong. You really don't need to know anything about the show to play and win. There are only 9 rounds to the game. I've played the game several times a day, every day, since August 2nd. One day last week I finally made it to the 9th round, but I messed up and lost before the round was completed. I'll post the link below- give it a try and see how far you can get!

They're Everywhere, They're Everywhere...

I was sitting at my desk this afternoon, trying to catch up on a little work. Through the window I noticed two ladies walking past the house. I didn't think much about it. I barely noticed it when they walked past a few minutes later. By the fourth or fifth time that they passed, I was beginning to wonder what they were up to. But-- I got busy with other things and forgot all about them. A few hours later, I had to run to the grocery store to buy some supplies for a catering job. When I got to the stop sign, the two ladies were standing there. They ran to my car and bombarded me with questions about my car-- what is the Biscuit? Are you hiring? Do they pay you to drive around in that car? Even though they both seemed to be pretty intoxicated, I answered their questions like the good PR man that I am. I put them out of my mind and went about my day.

Well, a couple of hours later I was out in the garden finishing off on planting the 200 tulip bulbs. I saw sitting on the patio planting when I heard their voices somewhere behind me:

"The Biscuit man is home".. I heard one of them say.
"I'm gonna go ring his doorbell and run", said the other.
"Don't bother that man, he's gonna think we're stalkers-- he'll never hire us".
"Yes he will. I'm gonna pick some of his flowers, too. After I ring his doorbell and run".

I'm hearing all of this crazy talk and it suddenly dawned on me that they didn't see me sitting there. The toothless one ran right past me, up my stairs and to the doorbell. She rang it and then ran right back up the walkway laughing and spilling her drink. In a loud voice I announced "I'm right here!"

I shouldn't have said anything, because they proceeded to join me and learn all about planting tulip bulbs. They asked questions about the restaurant, they discussed the healthy dishes that they like to prepare, they drank their drinks and even offered me a shot of their bourbon. I learned that they had a full afternoon of going to the liquor store, buying bourbon and drinking it as they made the walk around the block. They had already finished off several bottles. Each time they passed the liquor store, they stopped in, got another bottle and made the loop around the block again.

I finally got rid of them, but a little while later the toothless one returned and told me that she didn't like my Hibiscus plants and she didn't think that they would go well with the tulips. She told me that she was a decorator and that she knows these things. She also didn't like my flower pots, my mums or the idea of growing irises. She told me that she didn't have any training in decorating; it's just a gift.

I hate that Michael missed this interesting afternoon, but he'll have a chance to meet them this weekend-- they plan to stop by with their "old men"~~ they want to sit on the patio with us and plan a neighborhood potluck dinner. They said that they would bring the wine.

One thing I can say about this street--- it's never boring!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pictures From Yesterday

We had a great time at brunch. Michael and I made quite an entrance! About a block away from the Tavern, I decided to put the top down and blast "One Day More" from Les Miserables on the stereo. This effect wouldn't normally draw any attention, but when you're having brunch with a crowd of theatre majors and musical buffs it can pay off. I was also betting on the fact that our friends would be on the patio and would notice the grand entrance. I can't tell you how many times I've approached the Tavern with my top down and the stereo blasting my entry song only to find that the patio was empty and no one noticed my efforts, accept for the crickets that I heard chirping in the background.

This time my efforts paid off. As I applied my parking brake, I saw Jeff standing on the railing of the second story dining room. He later confessed that he was ready to end it all because I made a better entry than he did. I don't know what Jeff's entry was like-- we had timed it so that we were fashionably late and the last to arrive. It's not intentional that we're always late-- I guess we operate on GST (Gay Standard Time). The only thing that could have made our entry any better would be if I had Michael riding in the back seat of the convertible, waving a huge red flag along to the music, as the cast of Les Mis had done the night before at the Fox.

Anyway, the brunch was yummy and it was great to see all of our friends again. Hell, it had been 3 days since we'd seen Stephanie and Lynn. Where does the time go? We hadn't seen Jeff and Lucia since the Inman Park Festival in April, so at least there was a reunion of sorts. I was so busy basking in the glow of a perfectly planned, last minute entry that I forgot that I had my camera with me. I didn't get a group shot until after Stephanie and Gina had departed for the Braves game. Sorry Steph!

After brunch, we came home and had a couple of hours to kill before we had to leave for Sophie's birthday party down the street. I finished off the Lawrence Sanders mystery that Michael encouraged (forced) me to read. I figured out the reason I don't like to read books-- I hate for them to end. I get so wrapped up in the characters and their dilemmas-- when I read the last paragraph/ sentence, I feel like I've lost a few friends. I wonder what ever happened to Jannie or Nick or Clara or any of the characters that I've invested months in (I'm not the fastest reader). That's what I liked about the V.C. Andrews series ("Flowers in the Attic")-- the characters evolved from book to book. They were sick and demented and full of incestuous acts, but at least the books flowed and I didn't have to say goodbye to any of the characters, except when they died from syphilis (all the inbreeding) or homicide (usually at the hands of one of the relatives).

But I digress.....being a forty-something gay male, I haven't been to a 9 year old's birthday party in years. We were only there for a little while (Michael had to go to work), but we had fun sitting on the porch with the "other" parents and drinking pink lemonade out of Hannah Montana cups. Before we left, Sophie opened our card and gift. She opened the box containing the tiny Biscuit shirt, but didn't seem to notice that her card was actually a "Get Well Soon" card. I didn't have time to go shopping for a card, but I had a stack of Get Well Soon cards, and a few Sympathy cards. I figured a Get Well Soon card would be the best choice. Hell, when I was 9 I didn't give a flying flip what the card read-- I was more interested in the gift. Sophie followed suit. When she opened the gift and realized it was clothing, she kind of threw it to the side. I wasn't offended-- I remember being a kid and getting socks, underwear and V-neck sweaters from my grandparents each year. Any type of clothing is pretty much an unacceptable gift at a Hannah Montana themed birthday party.
It just hit me that I really don't know who Hannah Montana is or what she's famous for-- I know that she's Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter (remember "Achy Breaky Heart"). I know that one of the dads at the party informed me that Hannah doesn't play any musical instruments and the she lip-syncs all of her songs. I guess she has the talent of a drag queen crossed with Milli Vanilli. I would probably like her music, come to think of it. I never understood why so many of my friends felt betrayed by Milli Vanilli when they found out that they were only front men and that they weren't actually singing the songs that they were famous for. We had all watched Charlie Brown and Lillie White lip sync other artist's hits for years at Backstreet and there wasn't a hint of a scandal.

Anyway-- I had only planned to show a couple of pictures from yesterday and leave it at that, but I obviously got carried away on a tangent or two. Thanks for joining me on this ride from my childhood birthday parties to Cabaret performers in Atlanta's finest gay bar (may it rest in peace). And Happy Birthday (and possibly "Get Well Soon") to Sophie. I wish you a speedy recovery!

Pushing the Envelope Just a Wee Bit...

I visited Lowe's yesterday-- needed to pick up a few more bulbs for the gardens. You can imagine my surprise when I stumbled into an indoor Winter Wonderland!!! Yes, you guessed it-- Christmas trees are already on display! Not just trees~ no, they have all types of holiday decorations: lights, wreathes, ornaments, etc.

I can understand why craft stores like Michael's start displaying their holiday merchandise early~~ if I was going to needlepoint a quilt of the Nativity scene, I'd need to purchase the pattern months (if not years!) in advance. If I was planning a down-home Christmas where everyone is required to make their own gifts for their friends and family, I would want to start a little early. But artificial trees? Who in their right mind is out shopping for an artificial Christmas tree in September? Maybe if they were priced at 50% off or something like that it would make sense. But no, these trees were at full price. I don't get it.

I stood there in my flip-flops, shorts and tank top gazing at the array of Christmas trees before me-- some were flocked, some were tinsel, some were pre-lighted, some were on a revolving wheel, and some even spewed tiny Styrofoam balls through the base of the trunk up to the top to create a snow flake effect.

I was reminded of a letter that my father wrote to the Editor of the AJC (click on the image to the right to see an enlarged version). There is no date on the clipping that I saved, but I would guess that it was published somewhere around 1983. My father really meant it when he said that he would boycott any business that displayed Christmas decorations prior to Thanksgiving. God bless his soul, but I don't think I could ever go that far-- boycott Lowe's??? Impossible!!! It's part of my daily ritual to shop there! It would be like giving up coffee, cigarettes or sleep!

I don't know how effective my father's "rebellion" was-- probably not too effective, sine 25 years later I am blogging about the same thing my father wrote about. Oh well, he tried! And let's just hope that Dad wasn't looking down from heaven when I purchased the cutest "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" welcome mat yesterday. I couldn't resist-- I've always been a Rudolph fan!

Merry Christmas!

Jesus Appears on Ceiling

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan -- He's popped up on trees, sandwiches and even a Cheeto and now Jesus is leaving his mark, so-to-speak, on a ceiling in Arkansas City, Kansas.

The image appeared at the One Stop Body Shoppe, a low-impact weight loss clinic for women, after a rain storm."A client was laying here looking up and told me, Michelle, you have Jesus on your ceiling. I just kind of looked at her, and she said you do, Jesus on the ceiling," said Michelle Beech, Manager. "I think its the silhouette and kind of a partial beard," said Dominique Sartin, Body Shoppe staff member. "She said if it had leaked a little more it would be a beard on the other side too."

So is seeing believing?"Believing is believing. Regardless of what you see," said Sartin. The tile has been there for three weeks, and whatever they decide to do with it, they say it won't be hard to say good-bye. "We're tired of cleaning up the water. Maybe he'll be the only tile we won't replace."

They're considering selling it on E-Bay. You may remember that the image of the Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich sold on the site for $28,000 in 2004.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One of Those Weeks...

The old proverbial social calendar was totally filled up this week. We did our usual trivia night at Oz on Thursday (won 1st place!), and followed that up with a celebration at the Tavern- complete with drop in visits from one of Michael's co-workers, and also from the waitress that waited on us on our first real date! We were both off on Friday, so it was ok to stay up late and have a good time for a change.
After lots of sleeping in late, we got dressed up and had dinner at Le Cordon Bleu with my family. We were getting together to celebrate my brother Joel's birthday. We had happy hour and gift time at Mom's house and then headed to LCB for a great dinner. Happy Birthday, Joel-- damn you're getting old!

On Saturday we had another opportunity to get dressed up~~ Michael surprised me with tickets to see Les Miserables at the Fox. We had a tapas dinner at Mitra and then walked a couple of blocks to the most incredible show ever. I've seen Les Mis at least five times, and each time is better than the time before. The soundtrack is on my Ipod, and we listen to it a lot, especially in the car when we're on a road trip. Michael and I both know our roles and sing our parts to each song. It was hard to sit in the audience and force ourselves not to sing out loud, although we both caught ourselves mouthing the words a few times!

On today's agenda~~ we're having brunch with some friends that are visiting from Columbus, followed by a birthday party for our friend and neighbor, Sophie. It should be a lot of fun.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gas Crisis 2008 Hits East Point

The Bad Guy...

It was a bad weekend. I was forced to do something that has never felt comfortable to me-- I had to play the Bad Guy. I had to fire my assistant. I really should have done it a year ago, but I kept hoping that he would shape up. It became blatantly obvious last week that his heart wasn't in the job, and after a couple of major SNAFU's, it was time to bite the bullet and do what I had to do.

The night before the termination, I reflected back on all of my years of management. I tried to remember any time that I had to fire someone. My mind was a blank. I remembered all of the times that I sat in on a termination meeting, serving as the official witness; but never did I have to say the words "You're fired"~ translation: I am taking away your income and you will have to start over again. I have never been fired myself (knock on wood), but I can imagine being in that position and hearing those words. I would crumble.

It's funny that I've been in a management position for so long, and up until recently I never had anyone that directly reported to me. At CWT and ESC, I was an Operations Manager. I oversaw operations-- I didn't have the power to hire or fire. If I thought someone was doing a bad job, I could tell another Manager and they would handle it. My first couple of years at the Biscuit were the same. I didn't report to anyone and no one reported to me. I kind of liked that scenario. After catering sales took off, I needed an assistant and that's when the whole game changed. I hired a 20 year old-- I saw a bright future for him and took him under my wing. I hoped that he would flourish and I would be a great example to him. I wanted to be someone that he looked up to~~ a role model~~ someone that he would aspire to be someday. Instead, I ended up carrying him. He did help me, he did make it possible for me to take some time off here and there. But he never fully bit into the idea of being the caterer. He was less of an assistant, and more of a delivery person. But he was a friend.

So, I beat myself up and agonized over saying the two words that I dreaded. It happened Saturday morning at 5am. He came into work, I took him into the office. I told him that I had to let him go and needed him to sign off on the write-ups/ termination papers that I had drawn up. It couldn't have gone better in my wildest dreams. He signed the papers, hugged me and thanked me for the past year. He said that he was mad at himself for the stupidity that he had shown recently. And then he drove off on his scooter, wiping a tear from his eye. I went back to my desk and cried a little too.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Porter

My friend Molly just opened her restaurant/bar in Little 5 Points this weekend! I was invited to the Grand Opening on Saturday. I was also invited to another party that was there last night. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to either of these events due to some schedule conflicts. I have peeked into the windows of The Porter and it's very impressive~~ Molly has done a great job pulling this project together in a very short time! After perusing the menu and extensive beer/wine list on their website (http://www.theporterbeerbar.com/), I can't wait to check it out in person! Best of luck with this new adventure, Molly!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

An Historic Week!

Two GREAT things happened within the past week:

  • Sarah Palin was nominated as McCain's running mate at the RNC. Great news-- I love her spunk!

  • My roommate, Matilda, moved out. Nothing against Matilda, but since she moved in, I've been sharing a closet and a dresser with Michael. Now we have our own clothes storage spaces, and we can now enjoy the right to walk around the house naked again!

What a Bargain!

I saw a sign today advertising children for sale. I've been wanting a kid for a while now, so I took interest. I almost bought one today~~~ but then I figured that it'd be smarter to go to the sale tomorrow when they are half price.


We finished installing the edging on the patio this week, and started edging the walkway. We got one side finished a couple of days ago, and started on the other side today. It's a long a tedious project, but it's almost finished.

Today's pictures will show a close-up of the finished part of the walkway, and a couple of distant shots so you can see how the walkway garden continues around the new patio.

I know that most of my recent blogs have been about the patio-- sorry, I've been obsessed with this project for a month now! I promise that this phase will be over soon and I will move onto something else. I'm just looking forward to the day that we can sit on the patio and not notice anything that we've left undone. That day should come very soon!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Patio Update

The patio is just about complete. The contractor has finished his part, and I've almost finished mine. I added the edging to the flower bed, removed the grass, added dirt to raise the beds, planted some mums and added the mulch. I put the finishing touches on it this morning and I'm very happy with the outcome. Of course, this project will never be finished, the flower bed will be a work in progress for years! I want to plant bulbs, pansies and snapdragons this Fall-- it's a little too early for that, so the mums are pretty much temporary, but I wanted to give myself and the neighbors the feeling that the project was finished!

I had a great idea for the patio today-- there is a big space beside the walled garden-- it's kind of a dead space right now. I had it built this way so that I could add a brick walkway leading to the backyard (someday). Today I had the great idea of putting a whisky barrel pond in that area. I think it'd be cool, and would add the water element and sound that I love so much to the patio. My other ponds are not too far away from the patio, but you can't really hear the water noise from that distance-- I'd love to have a little pond nearby, with a water fountain and some pond plants to create a little ambiance!

Speaking of the other ponds-- I have a new resident in the large pond... another frog has found it's way into my yard. He's a little shy and mostly I only catch a glimpse of him as he dives into the water as soon as I come into sight. I wasn't even sure if it was a frog, or my imagination until a couple of days ago when I spotted him actually sitting on a lilly pad! Hopefully I can get a picture of him to share with you soon.

The Wedding

I'm sure you've all been sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear about the wedding I catered this past Saturday night. Maybe not~~~ but here goes!

It was a HUGE success! I have never received more compliments at a catering job. The bride and groom stopped me several times to tell me how pleased they were with the food, the staff, etc. The bride and groom were the first people to eat, and the bride enjoyed it so much that she even came back for seconds.... and thirds!

The most heard comment was "This is the best wedding food I've ever had!". I heard this from many of the guests, and from the celebrating couple several times. Even the photographers stopped to tell me that they "do" lots of weddings, and that all of the caterers try to do steak, but end up overcooking it to the point that it becomes tough. They told me that my steak was perfect, and the best that they've ever had at a wedding! Believe it or not, this was my biggest concern. When I did a tasting with the couple last month at the restaurant, the steak was indeed overcooked- it still had a good taste, but was a little too chewy. I assured the couple that it wouldn't be overcooked at the wedding. I said this with my fingers crossed and with a prayer, because I knew that we would have to cook the steak several hours in advance and keep it warm in a cambro, prior to transferring it to chafin racks. Although the steak was to be cooked to rare, it would continue to stay hot and cooking in the cambro and in the chafin rack-- we wanted the steak to be served medium rare, and that's exactly how it turned out. It couldn't have worked out more perfectly. Luckily, there were some leftovers, and we've enjoyed steak and chicken at every meal since the wedding!

I can't thank Michael enough for his help with this event. We never got together and discussed a game plan for the wedding, but we both just fell into our roles and made a perfect team. I had a staff of 7, including Michael and myself. Michael helped to keep everyone on task more than I could have imagined. I didn't hear any of the servers complain; even after 9 hours of arranging furniture, serving and cleaning. Actually one of them did make a comment that they were getting tired--- I reminded them that I had started working 10 hours before any of them arrived at work. I always try to lead by example, and even though I was dead on my feet 19 hours into my workday, I didn't complain and I guess the example I set must have worked-- that and the evil taskmaster, Michael, making sure that no one had a chance to slack off! Thanks again to Michael for standing by me and supporting me with this project... I couldn't have done it without you!

I brought my camera to the wedding, but didn't get any pictures-- my battery died as soon as we got there. One of the servers took some pictures with her phone and hopefully she'll share them with me soon, and I can post some pics of the best wedding reception ever (in my humble opinion!).