Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Tripod Plank
Backstage Plank
Camel Hump Plank
Vagina Rock Plank

Supermarket CCTV Plank
Dinner Plank


So maybe ya'll have heard of this and I'm just behind on my internet fads. Normally I'm not one for completely inane webby fads (and I mean truly, in every facet, stupid, e.g., the majority of LoLcats), but there's something to the deadpan delivery of planking—stone-faced people in exhibiting themselves in a ridiculous, stiff-as-a-board horizontal posture—that I can't help but enjoy.

Rules of Planking:

When performing a Plank:
  1. You must always lay face down, ensuring your face remains expressionless for the duration of the Plank.
  2. Your legs must remain straight, and together with toes pointed.
  3. Your arms must be placed by your side, held straight and fingers pointed.
  4. You must make it known that you are Planking. Saying 'I am Planking' usually get this across. Sternly announcing it will ensure a good result.
  5. Your safety should always be considered. Properly thought through Planking procedures should always go to plan. Never put your self at undue risk.
  6. Every Plank that is captured must be named.

Not saying I would really ever do this though...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I realize probably a lot of people who used to check this thing regularly don't anymore and that's okay. It's nice to keep it around for times when I feel like rapping at the ol' qwerty. In considering the reasons this here doesn't get the regular attention it used to, I've come up with a few explanations:

1. I live a relatively drama-free life. Most of my concerns are domestic. And while I'm sure some of you are interested in how often the cat wakes me up at 8 am by batting me in the face, I'm not too interested in writing about it. And for the drama that isn't domestic—it generally isn't suitable for broadcasting over the intertubes.

2. I'm pretty stationary. I'm not traipsing about the Earth's underside or ricocheting around New York, doing all the fun and exciting things one does in New York—visits to the Met, MoMA, or dozens of other museums; seeing shows at the Lincoln Center; attending debates between the Economist and the Nation; sampling the goods of any of the dozens and dozens of quality pizzerias; even wandering around Central Park somehow seems significant. Really everything in New York seems significant while you're there... probably because it's a point of reference for everyone. There just isn't a lot of novelty to life in Portland.

3. Social networking. Need to know something? Facebook pro'ly has it covered at this point in pithier statements, or I've posted a link as my gchat away message.

So what news? Well, in the past few weeks I've started taking some hip-hop dance classes. It's a drop-in class, so I show up when I'm able and make an ass out of myself trying to learn a routine that other people seem to have pretty much already mastered.

I broke page 1000 in the Instructions. Only 100-ish pages to go and I can finally read something else (Maps & Legends by Chabon is on my list).

My dad sent me Papa Max's—my great grandfather's—fedora. It's a really nice hat. Facebookers can now see a photo of me in it. It needs a some repairs on the inner band, but otherwise, it seems to be in very good shape. It should go well with the suit I'm getting tailored from Duchess Clothier.

In addition to the hat, I also received a audio recordings of interviews he did with Papa Max and Grandma Ida in the late 70's. I'm learning some pretty interesting stuff about where at least part of my family came from. If I understand the tapes right, Papa Max came to the US from what's now Belarus via England and came through Ellis Island. It wasn't long before he owned a delicatessen and a purveyor of things like pickles, then became a farmer even though he knew nothing about farming. I haven't quite absorbed all the details, but it seems to have all the elements of a classic Jewish immigrant tale.

Friday, May 06, 2011

walk the line

Here's how it works:

One of the wait-staff brings in an order written on a ticket. They stick their copy of the ticket on the back side of the hot line window. The chef sticks his copy of the ticket on our side of the line and reads off the order, e.g., "Pick up: beet tartare, crostini, an arugula salad! Order in: two ravs, a marinara and a cashew cream!" At which point I would will scramble to get my stuff together, probably shuffling in place while picking up the wrong plate for bread, looking about for the ring mold to put tartare in and then overdressing the arugula salad (think Jerry Lewis in oversized shoes).

After bungling about there for a few minutes, I'll place the appetizers up in the window (a shelf above the cold line), call out something like, "Apps in the window!" They'll then get taken out to their table by the food runner, who will cry out something like, "Table four going out!"

From there we pick up other tickets that have come in or we dally about reorganizing and cleaning our work stations, prepping food for later in the evening or the next day, or just gaze into each others eyes longingly until we're told to fire the next course on that ticket. At which point I'll busy myself with some dough stretching, distribute some toppings, and try not to burn myself while shuttling pizzas in and out of the oven.

There are some nuances to this whole process. Different dishes take different amounts of time to make. My pizzas require between three and five minutes once they're in the oven, while most of the pasta dishes probably require between two and four minutes and portobello steaks need more time. So in order to make sure all the food is ready simultaneously, pizzas get started first and then once they're about half-way finished, pastas get thrown in the boiler. At this point our timing for stuff is pretty good, so food tends to get out relatively fast and grouped together properly. Of course, if we end up with a large table ordering, it can delay the orders for everyone else in the restaurant.