Monthly Archives: April 2008

Who Needs Paxil?

Seems to me that of late I’ve been a bit of a hermit. I don’t really get out much since I work at a restaurant literally hundreds of feet from my front door, and that job doesn’t really include a legitimate social outlet, unless you include old gay men, white trash tourists, and stoner college dropouts with whom you wait tables. Save for my alcohol-induced coma of the past weekend, my social life lately has been…how do you say? Non-existent. I’m not trying to sound like I’ve developed social anxiety disorder, but my life has shifted significantly in the past two years. I went from one of the social elite of a school with a population of almost 6,000 to something of a social pariah. I used to be a staple at parties, bars, events, philanthropies. Now I pretty much stay in on my days off, as can be evidenced now as I blog at quarter to three in the afternoon, still in my sweatpants and eating chips and dip while watching Arrested Development DVD’s.

But tomorrow I’m making a change. I have a birthday happy hour to attend where I’ll meet some new people and hang out with old friends. I’m looking for a new job that will give me nights and weekends off. I’m planning road trips to see best friends, and putting together plans over the next few months with people who will spend the summer in DC. I’ve even started to get excited about the move to Nashville and the requisite drive down through three states, stopping along the way to see awesome people. What it comes down to is I only have three months left in this city. And as great and shitty as these past few years have been, it’s time to embrace what I have. To fully understand what it is to live in DC and savor the blessings you have at the moment. I’m tired of holing myself up in my apartment for days at a time and seeing movies by myself. May starts tomorrow and so do the last three full months of District living. Here’s to enjoying life, enjoying friends, enjoying the city. Break out the pastels, kids, it’s almost time for summer.

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Passing Moment Gone

Not to be confused with Tom Wolfe, Thomas Wolfe wrote the hugely successful American novel Look Homeward, Angel. It dealt heavily with his own upbringing in Asheville and what he thought of the people around him when growing up there. The title alone I have a problem with, considering my trek home this past weekend for the first time in six months; I quickly realized there are a shit ton of emotions involved with going home. I never really thought of myself as someone who would look homeward, but I quickly realized that I’ve been dwelling in the past for far too long.

I watch the stars from my window sill,
The whole world is moving and I’m standing still.

To clarify, going home for me is going back down to school to see fraternity brothers and good friends who are still in the area. My parents currently live in the midwest in a house I’ve never seen. I don’t want to make myself out to be a self-induced orphan, and wouldn’t want to portray my family as dysfunctional or tumultuous. At the same time, claiming we’re a close-knit, loving group simply wouldn’t be the truth. It’s not that we actively dislike each other, we just don’t enjoy spending time together. So when my friends mock me for being in a frat and talking about my college friends so much, I let it slide off my back. Most people don’t understand that my friends are my family, and my brothers are, in fact, brothers to me. They always have been and always will be, but explaining to people generally tends to not go over well. I’ve pretty much stopped trying to explain that my fraternity brothers are family to me, that my two best friends will always be closer to me than my siblings, that there, as a good friend once told me, is a significant difference between “family” and “relatives.”

Falling out of touch with all my
Friends are somewhere getting wasted,
Hope they’re staying glued together,
I have arms for them.

My trip started on Friday morning as I left Union Station at 7.30. Soon enough I was in the snack car with my twenty ounce Coke bottle filled with Stoli and another bottle of Sierra Mist to make the drinking more believable. If this sounds a bit like, well, the behavior of an alcoholic, I assure you it’s not. Friday was the last day of classes and our entire student body would be plastered by noon, so I was merely cementing my relative level of intoxication would mirror that of everyone else. Turns out, I was so rushed in the morning that I barely ate. A slice of pizza and two hard boiled eggs isn’t much of a meal. Add to that the fact that I had to get up at like five to get all of my laundry done, folded, packed, and then shower and get my ass over to Union. So after the equivalent of twenty five shots (I had a flask of Makers, too) and a few beers at the house with the brothers, I was gone. The black out had started and remained in full effect for most of the day. Little will ever be remembered of that day, short of a massive amount of hugs, a fight at a bar, another fight later that night outside the football stadium, and a 4.00 AM food run.

I just got lost and slept right through the dawn,
And the world spins madly on.

Here’s the thing – I can’t sleep in. After passing out (sober, I’ll have you know) in our basement at around five in the morning, I woke up at around nine or so, and finally got up and started getting my shit together around ten once I realized I couldn’t fall back asleep. I put on my iPod, took my bookbag to the campus bookstore, grabbed some soup and tea, and tried to make sense of the world. Since I knew no one would be awake in the house until noon at the earliest, I took some time to myself and thought about life after college. As I finished up at the bookstore, I started on my way back to the house. Four songs randomly came on in a row on the fifteen minute walk, and they all perfectly encapsulated my feelings right then and there.

“World Spins Madly On” – The Weepies
“Green Gloves” – The National
“In the Sun” – Joseph Arthur
“Chicago x 12” – Rogue Wave

And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen,
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in.

As I strolled back through campus, on a perfect, warm, crisp Spring morning, I felt odd. The campus that I had spent the best and worst four years of my life on hadn’t changed. Sure, there were some new buildings and a hell of a lot of new people, but it hadn’t really changed. Yet, it seemed simultaneously a familiar and a foreign place to me. I had thousands of memories of every building, every tree, every sidewalk. On the other hand, I didn’t recognize this place that I was navigating. I could walk by the B Complex or the Stadium or through the paths in the woods and it was as if I had never been here, but I knew every part of the school. It was as if déjà vu was fighting the feeling you get when you’re somewhere completely new, and there was a back and forth between nostalgia and bewilderment.

And you can’t go back now, just a passing moment gone…
Cause I couldn’t let go of a passing moment gone.

Even more surprisingly, it was as if a calm moved through me, and I felt as if I had finally moved on. My school is notoriously hard to escape, be it through people or physical visits, and the emotional concept of moving on from undergrad is something with which I have definitely struggled. It wasn’t like anything else I’ve ever dealt with, because I’ve never been closer to a physical space or to such a huge group of people before. For four years the tight-knit school is all you have, and some of the best people you’ll ever meet live a five minute walk from you, if not across the hall. The extreme well-being and sense of serenity that I usually feel there is something I can’t fully describe. On this walk, though, I felt like I had finally cemented myself in the real world; I knew my place was, for the time being, in DC.

Gone are the good old days of painting young courtney pine,
Listened to the taunts and the shouts of celebration wine.

I headed back to our house and assembled the troops for a day of mocking Foxfield and drinking on the back porch. We bought eight cases of Keystone, a box of Franzia for the classier folk, and a ton of disgusting, bargain-priced burgers. What followed was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. And I think that’s what the charm of going home is. In DC, there’s a certain amount of pressure to impress and be impressive. There’s such a sense of entitlement, of arrogance, of self-consciousness that seems to drive most people’s actions. Back home, it’s just about having a good time with the people you’ve known for years. These people know the real you and love you anyway. They’ve been there when you were on top of the world and when you were puking in the bushes. There’s no intimidation to be in control, to present yourself in a certain light, to compete with anyone.

Now I hardly know them and I’ll take my time,
I’ll carry them over, and I’ll make them mine.

So after I had experienced this epiphany, the nostalgia of home returned with a vengeance. I lied to my boss when I called him, and said that I had injured myself and wouldn’t be able to work on Sunday. I made up some bullshit about my knee and how it was swollen from wrestling with my brother. He said it was cool and just to call Monday afternoon if I could work. I bought myself another day to fully come to terms with what I was feeling and, obviously, to get plastered with my best friends. We finished off all of the beer and the wine, and the partying went on for about fourteen straight hours. The next day was capped off mostly with recovery, as they prepared for their final exams and I prepared for my trip home to DC. The thing is, I knew that I was moving to Tennessee in August, and I assumed that I would never be coming back to see these guys.

Please slow it down.
There’s a secret magic past world that
You only notice when you’re looking back at it.
All I wanna do is turn around.

— “White Daisy Passing,” Rocky Votolato.

But then one last song on the train home hit me, and I knew I’d have to visit my last boys’ graduation. I know that to some it seems pathetic, but I have an incredibly strong tie to these people and that place, and I’m sure that once my last class graduates, I can finish this. As it turns out, even Thomas Wolfe had problems with what I was and still am going through. After he wrote Look Homeward, Angel, his hometown was none too happy with him. He had used some very real people as the basis for certain characters, and some of them weren’t exactly portrayed in a flattering manner. The fallout from this eventually led to an estrangement between himself and his beloved Asheville. Most people consider this to be the reason that he eventually wrote the material that would become You Can’t Go Home Again. In my case, I thought that leaving the area would change my affection and lessen the burden. And to be honest, it very well may. But I’m pretty sure that I’ll be on at least two more flights from Nashville to see these kids. Meeting new friends is a wonderful thing; keeping old ones is even better.

So I dedicate this last line to my school. To my alma mater. To the place that birthed me as a full person who understands that I will never be completely realized, and that the rest of my life will be a constant struggle, a constant education, a constant quest forward. Thank you all for making me the person that I am today. Thank you even more for being there with me as I grow to be the man I will become.

[ ‘Cause when you showed me myself, I became someone else ]

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Seafoam Ennui Jicama

Time for Top Chef episode 7, and this one promised to be a doozy and was kind of a let down. The drama and entertainment of this show always has the potential to be more than it is, but at the same time, I can’t turn away. Maybe I have faith that it will eventually reach its full potential, or maybe I just love relishing my snob slash asshole personality and running with it. This show definitely indulges that part of anyone’s personality. Anyway, the title of this post represents the Elimination Challenge and the complete lack of concern I felt for the contestants.

And one more thing before we start. While I love Jordan Baker and tend to consider her one of the funniest people in the world I have yet to meet, that triflin’ ass ho straight up jacked my words. She claims she’ll start to judge the dishes based on VOM and NOM, which I totes invented a few weeks ago when I started regularly blogging about the show. Has she been blogging about this forever? Yes. But has she been as awesome as I? Debatable. What’s not in question is the fact that I was cool enough to mix vom and nom in the same phrase (see my reaction to Aisha Tyler in the same room as Richard Roeper). I expect a round of drinks for when we go out. Or else… I’ll challenge her to an all out blog war.

We wake up with the contestants in Casa de Chef. Andrew is still as obnoxious and clingy as ever, whereas Antonia is freaking out about being in the bottom a few times. She starts the blatantly obvious theme of tonight’s episode – “No Room For Error.” Which is odd, because you’d think someone would go home for a technicality or misinterpreting the rules since they hit you over the head with this theme so many times. But no, the judges just didn’t like someone so they sent them home. In other news, Optimus Lez is still missing Zoi and wants to win the entire thing for her. Her desperate attempt at a story line is starting to grate on me, and I had a tiny inkling she was in trouble. Let’s stay tuned to see if I’m right.

The chefs head to the Top Chef kitchen and see a mountainous table of desserts. Nikki, in typical fat ass Nikki fashion, talks about how whenever she goes out, she has to order dessert, and sometimes orders several. Way to make yourself look hot on national television there, Niks. Great call. Our guest chef slash judge this time is Johnny Iuzzi, and he seems like kind of a tool, but in the toolish way that gay guys and girls would still totally want to do him. He hasn’t slid in to Rocco DiSpirito territory yet. But he’s teetering…he’s standing right on the line. The Quickfire is to make a dessert – no twist, no extra layer. The thing is, most chefs have no dessert training whatsoever, since most fine dining restaurants have pastry chefs, so there’s no need to train the head chef in that regard. So the challenge of creating a dessert out of nowhere is challenging enough in its own right. Lisa bitches on and on about how when one is cooking a pastry, if one measurement is off or one ingredient is wrong, the entire thing is crap and tastes disgusting. I hate that she has to whine about everything, but she’s totally right – pastries are more about math and science and less about merging flavors. Then Spike goes on and on about how awesome he is – he memorized a recipe for molten chocolate cake but is totally chucking it to do a pineapple slash rum slash raisin slash shit flavored soufflé dessert. The thing is, who can’t make a molten chocolate cake? And do you really want to memorize that particular recipe when previous contestants have been called out on it for being boring? It’s one of the most clichéd desserts you can make in 2008. Would we expect anything different from Spike, though? Richard goes toward actual talent and makes a banana scallops dessert with banana guacamole and chocolate ice cream. Holy shit, that sounds good. Jenn and Andrew seem like solid choices with a chocolate cake and frozen chocolate banana bits and a banana and chocolate ravioli with coffee and nutella pudding, respectively. Dale makes his own twist of a traditional Filipino dessert named halo-halo – he used shaved ice and mixed it with avocado, mango, kiwi, and nuts. The rest are forgettable or just plain gross, so the bottom three are Antonia, Spike, and Mark. Antonia’s didn’t come together, Mark’s had no composition, and while Spike is commended for trying a soufflé, he’s still in the bottom three. In typical selective listening Spike mode, he talks about how Johnny complimented his balls, when really Johnny wanted nothing to do with his balls or his desserts.

The top three are Dale, Lisa, and Richard. Dale’s halo-halo was praised for bring so many flavors together, Lisa’s shitty yogurt/fruit puree and fried wontons (which she totes stole from Steph in the Block Party episode), and Richard for his kick ass scallops and guac mixture. Richard wins the contest and immunity, and is bestowed with the honor of being the only Season 4 chef in the official Top Chef cook book. His immunity should come in handy in the next challenge, which Padma refuses to announce, but strangely tells the chefs about attending Second City Improv that night. Just like Jeff Sebelia said on Project Runway, it’s never a party, it’s always a trap. And the only part weirder than Padma telling them about it and them not figuring it out immediately is Mark, the foreigner, reading off of cue cards a list of famous SC alums to show its significance. Sorry, but claiming Steve Carrell at this point is like saying that Michael Vicks played football for your high school – he might be talented, but his career is practically shit.

The morons that are this season go into this date super jazzed about what’s in store in a night of hilarity. After some clearly out of context jokes that, most likely, would not be funny in context, the performers ask the audience for suggestions. First up is colors. Then emotions. All of a sudden, they want people to list ingredients. What’s that you say, Nikki? You’re a super genius and you figured out this week’s Elimination Challenge? You don’t say! Well aren’t you the smartest girl ever? My notes literally say, “I can’t believe the mental power that is Nikki; she blows me away.” I love that my notes have semi-colons. It makes me feel better about myself when I sleep at night.

Five courses are put together, and people choose their pairs, and then pull a number out of a hat for their course. Spike and Andrew team up and name themselves “Team Douchey McFucktard Attention Whore,” or the easier to digest “Team My Worst Nightmare.” The only other pairs to be noted, since they are the only other ones to comment on their teams, are Dale and Richard, and Steph and Jenn. So basically, my favorites team up in two pairs, and my least favorites pair up in one team. And they’ll get a lot of screen time. Fantastic. Here are the courses and pairs –

Yellow Love Vanilla – Team My Worst Nightmare
Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage – Lisa and Antonia
Orange Turned-On Asparagus – Steph and Jenn
Purple Depressed Bacon – Mark and Nikki
Green Perplexed Tofu – Dale and Richard

Essentially, the crowd at this showing was excessively homosexual and inebriated. Doesn’t turn out with a great mix of words or range of colors, but we’ll deal. The pairs have a budget of $150 and 30 minutes at Whole Paycheck to figure out what they’re going to do. Jenn’s personality starts to emerge more when she discusses the ménage à trois that she’s planned with orange, asparagus, and goat cheese. It’s nice to see her become her own person. I’ve even started calling her Jenn and not Richard’s Lesbian Twin or Queen Elezabeth. That’s proof that she’s cementing herself. In other news, Richard is taking the perplexing tofu to full tilt and rendering beef fat to marinate his tofu in. Tofu that tastes like meat? Sounds perfect.

Lisa continues to be her usual cunty self by refusing to dumb her dish down and use Polish sausage. The thing is, they only have three parameters here to use. Color. Emotion. Ingredient. When you throw one out, you’re kind of fucked from the beginning. When your dish is supposed to be Magenta Drunken Polish Sausage and you throw out a Chilean Sea Bass and Purple Potato Puree with a Tequila Chorizo, you have obviously not paid attention. Way to go, Lisa and Antonia. Meanwhile, Spike and Andrew are literally making it up as they go at the cashier, and Spike is insisting on a squash soup. Antonia says she’d vomit in her mouth if he won for that dish since he threw Zoi under the bus over the same dish earlier in the game. I think we’d all like to vomit every time we heard Spike speak, but that’s not really going to help anyone.

The chefs all have three hours to cook in three hours, and quickly learn that there are no electric machines in the kitchen. The improv theme is going a little far, especially considering the next concept they come up with. Some more time is filled until my superstar comes on screen, and Jenn and Steph discuss how their dish will have sexual connotations and phallic symbolism. I love them. F’reals.

At around ninety minutes into the three hours cooking time, Colicchio walks in and tells them that they have twenty minutes to pack everything up and finish their dishes at Casa de Chef. They’ll be given one last hour to finish everything at the house, which throws most people into a bit of a frenzy. Most people does not include Lisa, since her greasy sixth sense figured out the trick light years before everyone else. It’s so weird – I thought we were watching a reality show on chefs competing for bragging rights, but we’re actually watching several species of White Trash contend for America’s Smartest Retard. Who knew?

The best part of my notes for this episode is next – “Ew. Rich is wearing pink clogs.” I think that about sums it up.

Nikki then goes on and on about how we can’t make a mistake at this level. Then Spike discusses his Second Coming some more. Eventually, the teams finish their dishes and start to present them to the judges. I’ll list them since I’m lazy as shit.

Yellow Love Vanilla – Team My Worst Nightmare comes up with a squash soup with vanilla crème fraîche. I hate them with every fiber of my being, but I can tell they did an incredible job with this soup, and the judges agree. Padma even volunteers to lick everyone’s bowls. Because she’s a dirty, filthy, pot-smoking slut.

Orange Turned-On Asparagus – Team Adorable brings out a ménage à trois of orange, asparagus, and goat cheese. Their presentation is phenomenal, but the problem is, it’s not a ménage à trois. It’s an orgy, as Ted puts it, since it includes a salad olive tapenade, almonds, and a huge chunk of bread. The judges hate how difficult it is to eat and access – too many flavors and overly complicated. The three main ingredients they focused on are three of my all-time favorites, and I didn’t want anything to do with this dish. I think that says something. I love these girls and these flavors, but this dish was a trainwreck.

Green Perplexed Tofu – This team not only worked well together, they complimented each other when it came to presenting their dish. Not to get all technical or anything, but they also made an amazing dish – grilled beef tofu with green curry. Tofu that tastes like meat in a mean green curry sauce is genius. The judges are head over heels.

Magenta Drunk Polish Sausage – Their ingredient may have been Polish sausage, but they presented a final dish of Chilean sea bass with purple potato puree and tequila chorizo.  The girls not only missed the boat completely, but they took tequila shots in front of the judges and then awkwardly refused to share the Mexican wealth. When you already broke the rules of the challenge, don’t refuse booze to the people who decide your fate. One of the diners claimed that these girls saw the dish’s title as more of a burden than
an assignment or inspiration.

Purple Depressed Bacon – Mark explains that the bacon is depressed because it has to share the plate with brussels sprouts. Okay, two things – this is kinda cute, but it’s also a throwaway comment that is a little too ethereal to justify their usage and it demeans their dish. What the fuck? Nevertheless, their mix of pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes, grape sauce, jus, brussels sprouts, and bacon ends up saving their asses. Seems pretty boring and bland, but the judges find it comforting and claim it would cheer them up if they were depressed. Lame.

My notes call the bottom two as Steph/Jenn and Antonia/Lisa with the top two being Douche/Asshat and Dale/Richard. Then Jenn notes that, as she’s cleaning up the kitchen, she’s packing up her knives and that’s a bad sign. Then the editors play that irritating thump that’s come to mean foreshadowing, and I’m convinced Optimus Lez is going home. Shit. It’s blatantly obvious that I’m right with the placings, though. As the two top teams get called in, Spike is almost unbearable as he talks about how amazing he is for coming up with the soup concept and how his mother told him that only real chefs can make soup, when really it was Ming Tsai who told them when they had the Four Elements challenge. At the last second, he throws Andrew a bone and mentions that he helped. Dale and Richard compliment each other perfectly and the judges rave over their dish. They are the winners (FUCK YES – not only did two faves win, but Douchey McFucktard lost) and they go home with $2500 worth of Calphalon cooking products. Also, how did Dale shift so quickly from hated piece of shit to one of these season’s faves? I guess we’ll never know…

The bottom two are called in, and while I would be most happy with seeing Lisa slash Sunshine go home, it’s clear that Colicchio isn’t happy with either team. Team Magenta didn’t follow the assignment and kind of went their own way, whereas Team Orange added too many flavors and overpowered their simplistic dish. The judges go back and forth on which is the bigger flaw – completely ignoring the rules of the challenge or simply making a bad dish. In the end, the bad dish and not the blatant rule-breaking is what matters, and Queen Elezabeth goes home. Jenn, we were just getting to know (and love) you, and now we have to say goodbye. Tis a shame, tis a shame, indeed.

Next week, we see kids working in the kitchen and Spikes tries to murder one. Anyone who doesn’t already hate him should quickly follow in suit.

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Sorority Girls WORSHIP Me

As many of you may recall, I was invited by my brother’s girlfriend to a sorority date party a few weeks ago. Despite my age, I decided to go and actually had a great time. In fact, I had so much fun that my date called me the next day to thank me for being the best date she had ever had. She proceeded to ask if I would like to be her formal date. Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but here is what some of you may think would never happen – Date Party: The Sequel – Formal Night in Annapolis.

The night started a little too early, as we were dressed and chugging cheap beer and SoCo in College Park by five thirty. Since we arrived late to the party, we shut ourselves in a room with two of Princess’s closest sisters and drank straight liquor almost nonstop for twenty minutes in an attempt to catch up with the people who had been drinking for two hours. We made our ways to the buses and ended up on one without any air conditioning. How charming. On a night when we get dressed up to look our best and take pictures for the seniors’ last formal, we get stuck on a bus with no AC for a 40 minute drive on a day that topped 75 degrees. The Princess and I took it with stride, talked shit for the entire ride, and drank Makers from a flask.

Fact.

The real drama this time, however, was exclusively at the formal. We pulled into Annapolis around seven or so, and waited patiently in line to get our magic drinking bracelets. After some of the drunker sisters took the majority of the crab dip, Princess and I sat down to enjoy the most food we could horde before the masses took over. I learned from the first outing and ate before I even headed to Maryland. But with a full spread this time, I took advantage and grabbed a heaping plate of cheese, crackers, fruit, yogurt dip, broccoli and ranch, penne with chicken, and a massive separate plate of just crap dip. After we had stuffed ourselves to ensure controlled inebriation, we wandered around the hotel a little before the real party began. I headed to the bar downstairs with two of the seniors, and we tried to get drunk on the water with random people our age who weren’t white trash. To be sure, this feat was infinitely more difficult than it sounds since the bar itself was swarmed with cougars, douches, sluts, and Midshipmen. After we finally found some acceptable drinking buddies, our ever charming friend Buzz spilled a beer all over them. Apologies followed, and we sped back upstairs before she embarrassed us again.

By the time we got back to the blow out, the party had started to pick up, and my date rushed to me so that we could start everything off on the wrong foot. Clearly what needed to happen was an interpretive dance to “Bleeding Love.” We both approach parties in the sense that we’re there to get wasted and entertain everyone. We aren’t there to be wallflowers and slow dance our way through obscene rap songs. The Princess and I fully realize that our responsibility at these things is to make complete asses out of ourselves by pulling off the most ridiculous dance moves ever seen. “Bleeding Love” was soon followed by bleeding foot after I rubbed several inches of skin off of my foot during a knee slide to “Since U Been Gone.” But was it worth it? Obviously.

Keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding...

The Princess slices me as I highlight my uncanny ability to, in fact, bleed love.

Our shenanigans continued and even escalated. At one point, a table of five girls and their dates simply sat down next to the dance floor just to watch us. Having an audience just goaded us even more as we flew all over the place. We treated the carpeted floor of the hotel ballroom (classy, I know) as if it were the stage of the Met, scurrying back and forth as we became more and more over the top in our attempts to entertain those around us. To be honest, our focus was just getting people to have a good time, so we made a conscious effort to get the wallflowers to dance, and I danced with a girl who had mentioned earlier that her date had stood her up. At the same time, we were drunk and having a good time, and the spotlight certainly didn’t hurt our egos.

The night started to wind down and Princess started to tucker out. A senior’s boyfriend and date commended me on a job well done, and another senior asked me to take her boyfriend on to the dance floor just to teach him a few things. We ended on a high note, with an inspired and impromptu interpretive dance to “Piano Man.” As everyone headed towards the buses, a few scuffles broke out, some people lost their dates, and the hotel staff was pissed that we were loud. As if booking a sorority formal for your hotel on a Friday night would ensure the best quality sleep for your guests.

This in no way captures how outrageous we actually were.

So as we hopped on the bus back towards the District, the Princess and I rested a little while we planned our next excursion. We briefly flirted with the idea of going out to CP bars, but nixed it once we realized we didn’t especially want to fuck anyone from CP, since she has a boyfriend and I have taste. The night ended with us eating cheap Chinese food, watching Fatal Attraction, and having a few night caps as we laughed about what we had pulled off. All in all, what we pulled off was a damn good time.

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I Served a Porn Star Last Night

Before I write anything else, I’d like to clarify that the title of this post is “served” a porn star last night and not “serviced.” As in, I brought him a salad and a sandwich and did not, in fact, perform fellatio on him.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the story. It was a rainy Monday at the good ol’ restaurant, and business was pretty slow. We had a lot of two tops, and no one was really making that much money off of their tables.  As the night continued to drag on, the most exciting thing that had happened was the fact that a waiter had received digits from a man the staff had considered straight up to that point.  Then the host sat a porn star at my table.

Please, let me elaborate.  I, for one, had no idea he was a porn star.  To me, he was just a short man eating alone on a rainy Monday; to me, he was a creature to be pitied.  He sat down, I brought over his bread, and greeted him to the restaurant.  He was incredibly humble and downright nice, so I went out of my way to make him happy.  To be honest, when someone is sitting alone, I feel some overwhelming sense of sympathy for them since I can’t fathom the concept.  Eating is such a social experience to me, so I tend to look out for my one tops.  As I was grabbing his salad from the back, one of my coworkers ran up and told me there was a porn star at our restaurant.

I’m not sure if this is a trend in DC in general, but a significant amount of our staff is gay.  This particular server has been known to be a slut on occasion, and has seen a disturbing amount of porn in his 32 years on this earth.  When he claims someone has done porn, we tend to believe him.  It’s as if he’s the walking, talking, porn version of IMDB.  He was absolutely convinced that my one top had been in porn.  As a result of his outrageous claim, more and more of the staff performed walk-by’s to check out the situation, which doesn’t really make sense to me.  It’s not as if porn stars have some sort of secret tag, like one or their ear lobes is marked or there’s a tattoo on their wrist.  Little Mr. Porn Star started to sense something was up, and while I was still as professional and courteous as usual, it tends to undermine your efforts when your coworkers are collecting in the corner and staring.  By the time it got to his check, he only asked if he could take the receipt and then threw cash at me.  I felt so bad to scare off a nice porn star, especially considering that he was by far the most considerate customer I had the entire night.

So if you’re out there, Mr. Porn Star, who ordered the salad at half size and the sandwich with no cheese, I’m sorry.  You were a wonderfully kind man and I apologize for my coworkers’ behavior.  I couldn’t care less how many cocks you’ve had in your mouth…..or ass.

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The Final Countdown

So as I sit in my room on my whopping 45 minute break from a 14 hour day at the restaurant, I start to realize how much time I have left in the District. Now that I’ve accepted the offer for graduate school, I have a little over three months to do everything I’ve meant to do over the past few years that I’ve spent here. A few of these are repeats that I’d like to get in before I leave. Some I can do myself, but most I’d rather do with a friend to make them more ridiculous slash memorable. Here are the ones that I came up with, but, by all means, add to the list as you see fit.

– Go to the Holocaust Museum. I know, right? Mwong mwong…

– Tour the National Cathedral, even though I lived across the street for three months.

– Go to several more Nats games.

– A few more trips to Annapolis.

– Some more 9.30 club concerts.

– Another White House tour, since I was 8 the last time and a different Bush was in power.

– Food from three new ethnicities or countries I’ve never tried.

– Kickball on the Mall.

– Visit Mount Vernon.

– Go to Medieval Times and/or Piratz Tavern. Wasted.

– Eat at several restaurants, including but not limited to – BLT Bistro, Acadiana, Palena, Makoto, 2 Amy’s.

I’ve got to have a better list than this, right? Help me out.

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My Love of Tailgating Resurrected

After last week’s clusterfuck of an epic novel for Top Chef, I’m going to scale down this week.  I don’t need to comment on everything on screen.  Welcome to the condensed, edited version of awesomeness.

Spike is convinced that people want him gone because he’s a threat.  People most likely want him gone because he’s a cunt.  Richard’s Lesbian Twin is finally able to fully cement her personality outside of being Zoi’s lover, and all she can talk about is how she’s in love with Zoi and will win this show for her.  Vom.  Meanwhile, Ryan says people are stewing over Zoi leaving, which gives him an advantage since he doesn’t give a shit.  I wrote in my notes, “Ryan goes home tonight.”  I quickly realize that I watch too much reality TV.  Dale and Lisa have a mini-confrontation to discuss how Lisa doesn’t want confrontations.  Dale calls Lisa out on always being negative, and Lisa responds with the maturity of a 12 year old.  I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I agree with Dale.  Fuck, I’m even starting to like Dale.  But he will never beat the True Dale in terms of perfection.

We move on to the Quickfire Challenge, and it’s one of the best they’ve ever done.  The chefs have to pair a dish with beer, one of my all time favorite things – they have sixteen from which they can choose, but they’re only allowed to sample three before they make their choice.  Beer is so underrated in America, it’s not even funny, so I’m stoked to see them use it as part of a challenge.  Unfortunately, in true Top Chef fashion, they forgo beers like Arrogant Bastard, Magic Hat #9, and Flying Dog’s Tire Bite for…shitty beers like Michelob Ultra.  The guest judge this go-round is Koren Grieveson from Chicago’s Avec.  I get the silent lez vibe from her, and she barely says a word through the entire challenge, which totally pisses off the chefs.

Andrew is insane like usual, and it totally creeps out Koren and Padma.  Spike gets his ass handed to him by Koren, but since he never takes responsibility for anything, he says she didn’t understand the dish.  Not that he screwed up, but that she didn’t quite get it.  Go fuck yourself, Spike.  Once the bottom three are announced, my notes say this – “SPIKE’S AT THE BOTTOMMMMM.  WHERE HE BELONNNNNNGS.”

The bottom three are indeed Spike, Nikki, and Dale.  Nikki’s shrimp were too large and unseasoned, Spike’s dish lacked unity and because he stupid enough to attempt tapas in 2008 when they’re sooo 2004, and Dale’s miso/caramel pork tenderloin with a faux pretzel crust since it sucked and was too dry.  Sorry, but that sound like way too many sweet versus salty battles in one dish.  Then Lisa redeems herself by showing she’s actually 8.  She called Dale a bitch for losing – so not hot.

The top three are Richard, Stephanie, and RLT/Jenn.  I’m easing myself into typing Jenn, but she has to stop referencing Zoi to fully lose her moniker of Richard’s Lesbian Twin.  Unless she wants to be Optimus Lez or Queen Elezabeth.  Those are definite possibilities.  Anyway, Richard had a tuna sandwich with pickled vegetable, mustard seeds, and coriander.  Steph did a steamed mussels dish with a cilantro vinaigrette, finished off with some Hoegaarden.  There are so many reasons why she’s my favorite, and this just adds to the list.  This girl is solidifying her place in the finals early on.  RLT picked Landshark beer since her fauxhawk resembles a shark fin.  She made shrimp and scallop beignets, and both of the girls loved her.  Queen Elezabeth just wanted to win something, and she finally got her wish – she’s now immune from the Elimination Challenge.

Spike is yet again a misogynistic douche by calling Optimus Lez out on winning from a lesbian judge and how she should feel like she’s on top of the world.  For someone who’s been in the bottom twice and seems to be a pretty mediocre chef, he sure gets a lot of airtime.  At least Ilan, Marcel, and Hung made it to the finals, and two of them even won.

Back to the Elimination Challenge – make a tailgate dish for hungry Bears fans at Soldier Field.  Hot damn, this shit is on.  Tailgating is a sport in and of itself, so I expected some great things and the contestants really delivered with this challenge.  Dale is beside himself, since he’s from Chicago and seems legitimately stoked about participating.  On the other hand, Mark says he knows nothing about American football and only came here to cook.  The fans will place the top and bottom three, and the judges will decide from those groups who will win and who will pack their knives and go.  Finally, after five episodes that claim the other diners have a say in the challenge, this one actually will.  Before we head to commercial, Queen Elezabeth comments that she’s winning for Zoi, which is getting annoying, but she also calls Spike out.  Spike still being in the competition is “bullshit,” which I think we, as a country, can get behind.

The chefs have 30 minutes and $350 to get their stuff together at Whole Foods.  In typical douche fashion, Spike runs to the meat section and buys the entire stock of chicken wings, partly to make enough for the fans, but mostly so no one else can cook wings.  How many ways are there to say that you hate one person?  Richard, on the other hand, is doing a paté melt because he’s a wise ass – love it.  Ryan hates sports and would rather buy nice clothes.  He then calls two heterosexual men babe/baby within ten seconds of each other.  A few more points in the Gay Ryan column, and the assertion that he’s doing California style tailgating further alludes to his exit tonight.

The next part in my notes point out that Lisa is talking about how she likes to beat her meat and how the unnerving and cacophonous music in the background highlights her awkward personality.  Spike continues being a douche, Antonia continues to bring some humor, and Jenn is really attempting to establish her personality, and she’s winning me over.  Ryan’s dish sounds disgusting and anti-tailgate, and he whines about how he’ll use his time the next day.  Going home, going home, going home.  I have no comment on the scene of Mark getting drunk and making poor life decisions of whom he chooses to befriend.  However, the fact that Steph seems to be double fisting red wine (not white) is added to the list of Why She Rocks.

The Elimination Challenge starts when the chefs get to Soldier Field and Richard does the awkward fat man run to his lot.  They all have an hour to prepare and can choose between gas or charcoal grills.  Mark is the only to choose charcoal.  He claims it’s because he has testicular fortitude, but I think it’s more like he’s a moron.  Koren doesn’t make a repeat appearance, and is replaced by Paul Kahan, who is owner of Avec and Blackbird.  What, you can have the lesbian chef judge a quickfire, but she isn’t allowed near the EC?  I call bullshit.

A few of the dishes start to roll out.  Steph is making a pork tenderloin with bacon, heirloom potatoes, and pears in a salad.  She then tops with rosemary vin, and everyone loves it.  Everyone, that is, except for Gail because she loathes rosemary.  Dale geeks out over the Bears, and serves them ribs marinated in tandoori, with a potato salad mixed with golden raisins and mango.  Sounds delicious and everyone seems to love it.  Spike continues to suck at life, insults the Bears and their fans, and then somehow turns it on them.  He’s serving jicama and pineapple slaw with lime dressing and some fired wings on top.  A mentally challenged Redskins fan (really? In Chicago?) says “Spicy! Awesome!”

Antonia is serving jerk chicken sandwiches with pickled onion and grilled banana and pineapple on the side.  They go over well with the crowd, except that they’re messy to eat and Tom thinks the sides go better on the actual sandwich.  Ryan is trying to charm his way out of a horrible dish and working the crowd like there’s no tomorrow.  With this dish, there won’t be.  Steph adds that he’s a “full of shit schmoozer guy” and “I’m not here to be pretty and talk really well, some of us are just here to cook.”  Love.  Ryan’s dish is a bread salad with marinated chicken, a poached pear dessert, and some spiced brandy cocoa.  Too fancy, too hard to eat, not tailgating fare, and way too many plates.  Are you trying to get eliminated?

Andrew is either extremely socially retarded slash an attention whore, or he legitimately suffers from Asperger syndrome.  He’s running around in a helmet and insulting Gail, but his food seems to be pretty decent.  Beer and dijon glazed shrimp with potato/parsnip puree, bacon, and apple chutney.  Is this season sponsored by a bacon conglomerate or something?  What’s up with all of the bacon this year?  Lisa serves a skirt steak and corn cake with salsa verde to top.  Optimus Lez serves chicken marinated with harissa and quinoa tabouli.  Richard made his paté melt with spicy mayonnaise and picked cucumber.  Since none of the three received any face time, none of them will place.

Mark, on the other hand, is a trainwreck.  He’s serving chicken and scallion skewers with a soy and onion glaze and a side of New Zealand corn chowder.  His station is a mess, and the judges go on and on about how disorganized and weeded he is.   Obviously going to be bottom three.

Nikki is making sausage and peppers, and adding a random grilled shrimp to everyone’s plate, which doesn’t make any sense.  Then we discover that she’s been giving out seconds all day and barely has anything left for the Big Four.  One of the first rules of this game, besides not mocking your judges, is to make sure your judges can actually taste your dish.  She’s running out of food quickly and the judges aren’t able to eat her full dish.  My notes are crazy prophetic – “Nikki thinks she’s going home, but I think it might be Mark or Ryan.  But she’s definitely near the bottom.”  How awesome am I?

The top three end up being Steph, Dale, and Antonia.  Tom calls Steph out on being in the top so many times, and I wrote “get used to it.”  The bottom three are, in fact, Mark, Nikki, and Ryan.

Nikki sucks because she ran out of food, didn’t make her own sausage, and had an irrelevant shrimp on her plate for no reason whatsoever.  Ryan’s dish was completely inappropriate for a tailgate and it wasn’t even that tasty.  When you misinterpret the challenge AND miss the mark on your food, then you shouldn’t count on staying around.  Mark sucked because his dish was overwhelmed by the sauce and his soup was too coarse.  His presentation was horrendous and his habits were downright unsanitary.  Yet again, I call Ryan going home, and he is the one that gets sent packing.  Ryan Scott is decently humble and mature about leaving, but then refers to himself twice in the third person.  Mixed messages anyone?

Next week looks hilarious and involves improv, Second City (!), and Ted Allen’s polish sausage.  Should I be scared or thrilled?  I’ll go with the former choice.

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