Light! Must remember the light

Finally a sunny day that’s warm enough to go outside–and I have to stay inside for lunch. The application server for the stupid VOIP phones was down, so I had to stay in the office during my lunch break to transfer calls to another coworker. We’ve had terrible, buggy service and poor technical support from 8×8 since installing their service. I understand that systems fail sometimes, but not even being able to get hold of a tech there frustrated the hell out of me today. This wasn’t just a work inconvenience–this affected me personally, being unable to get out for some much needed sunshine and exercise. Grr.

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A little wine for the cook . . .

One thing I really respect about food service is its meritocratic nature. Unless you’re selling very cheap food to lots of people, the only way to survive is to consistently put out good food. You can’t bullshit diners into thinking that bad food is OK or OK food is good. It doesn’t matter where you went to culinary school, where you’ved worked before, how much people like you, what awards you won in the past, or who your relatives are–dry chicken is dry chicken.

I think this emphasis on quality has a lot to do with the high proportion of drunks and druggies in the restaurant business. It’s one of the last industries that pretty much never does drug testing, maybe because it’s increasingly become a haven for skilled people who lead legally suspect lives. I’ve got really old fashioned ideas about this. I’m happy so many big companies have employee assistance programs to help workers in trouble, but if someone shows up on time and sober then it’s not any of the boss’s damn business what they were doing before they showed up. Don’t get me wrong, a cook shooting heroin on the line and fucking up orders is a big problem, but until he’s so far gone that he’s actually incompetent THERE AT WORK, no one wants to train up somebody else. If the diners are happy, no one’s stealing much, and cops aren’t raiding the place, then the kitchen staff can be the biggest pack of high, drunken malcontents you ever met.

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A very Barre moment

At the stoplight just where you get into Barre, there’s this really well done statue of an Italian granite worker. When high-quality granite was discovered here in the 19th century there weren’t nearly enough skilled laborers in the U.S. to handle the stuff, so lots of immigrants came over from Scotland and Italy . They mined the stuff and shipped it all over the U.S.–if you’ve got a big stone statue or imposing mausoleum near you, there’s about one chance in three that the rock came from this quarry. The town has a rich history of working class struggle, immigrant pride, labor activism, and craftsmanship. I often think about it passing this statue.

Of course I couldn’t enjoy any of that this evening because a loutish sideways-cap-wearin’ degenerate apish meth-addled douchenozzle was angry at the car behind him for some dumbass cracker reason. He hopped out of the beat-up Honda, threw out his chest, flipped the driver the bird, flung a beer can at the car, and generally acted like an adolescent silverback who is afraid he will never be inside a female silverback’s vagina. For all intents and purposes he looked like the guy to the left. In fact, I cannot conclusively prove that the guy in this picture I randomly found on the Internet (I just Googled “wigger”) was not in Barre this evening. It was a nice reminder of why I’m so very, very glad I no longer live in what is now a run-down, skanky, tired old town.

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