Without any question, one of the worst things that can happen to you in life is to receive a poorly made chef's salad at a restaurant where you are for many reason led to believe you will receive a decently made if not an excellent chef's salad.

My work as an unqualified remedial science teacher in the Greater Baltimore School System allows me more than four opportunities per week to leave in the middle of classes and go out in search of some lunch or to chat playfully with dames over cocktails at a relatively close watering hole that is not close enough to the school to merit investigation by the authorities as a place where class jumping teachers might go to imbibe alcohol during the school day. All I have to do is say "Write a paper on Neils Bohr" to a class full of slow kids who have no idea what I am talking about, hand them paper and two or three number two pencils, and then slip out through a back door and go out for a meal and perhaps get a fairly decent shot at some oral sex in the front seat of an attractive woman's luxury automobile. When I return I simply ask that all papers be passed forward and this works even on those occasions when I go overboard and drink more than my lucidity will allow and have to stumble home or perhaps sleep on the grass somewhere near the proverbial middle of Old Baltimore and do not return to class until at the very least the next day.

Yesterday I went to a new restaurant that might have been around longer than merits the label of "new" but that I hadn't noticed around before. I was lured into it by the presence of a proudly flown American flag and a sign celebrating the troops abroad. I went in and was directed to a table and when the waitress came over, I did this thing with my eyes to show her my appreciation and then firmly grasped one of her buttocks, squeezed it lovingly and made some more interesting movements with my eyes at her. I then ordered a chef's salad and an extra large snifter of cognac. While the cognac arrived very quickly, the chef's salad was long in the tooth in time of arrival and as I grew more despondant waiting on it, I added seven quick shots of pure vermouth to my order in order to alleviate the pain of waiting so long. I called the waitress over several times, each time growing more impatient with difficult arrival times involving the chef's salad, and when she showed loss of patience with me I playfully attempted to grab at her bosoms in order to show her I was a good guy who was just disappointed in arrival times that involved chef's salads at this otherwise patriotic restaurant.

When finally the arrival time for the chef's salad arrived, the arriving chef's salad was not satisfactory and I was more than disappointed in what it was consisting of, the consistents being four pieces of limp and lifeless lettuce, two extremely overripe cherry tomatoes, a cucumber that had clearly seen better days that were likely located in the past, tallying upwards of three months hence, and a piece of luncheon meat that brought questions to mind, many of which involved whether a bite had been taken out of and whether any refrigeration had been involved in its time on earth beginning with the cow and olive and that had been rightfully slaughtered in order to provide it for eating.

Because of how my expectations were not even close to being met with the quality and presentation of this chef's salad, I called the waitress back to my table. Upon receiving my report and viewing the meal as it sat upon my plate, she informed me that my options stood at two. I could either have the chef's salad exactly as things stood or I could have it replaced with a sandwich. When I asked why these were the only options and why I could not have this plate of something that was not even close to being a chef's salad replaced with something that was much closer to what one would expect in ordering a chef's salad, she informed me, leaning in close and whispering into my ear that any sandwich I ordered would have what she called the bonus of having the chef bring the two pieces of bread for the sandwich into the men's room with him when he, in her words, "dropped a load off," and that the two halves of bread for the sandwich would be used to wipe his behind when he was done. This, she informed me, would be done before the application of mustard or mayonnaise and the addition of meats, cheeses and vegetables as required.

I told her in no uncertain terms that this was an unacceptable resolution to the problem that presented itself on the plate in front of me. She shrugged and shook her head at me, so I informed her that I was a businessman, an unqualified remedial science teacher, and a minor internet celebrity writing popular works on a website called Everything2. This turned her around quickly and she pulled up a chair and sat down next to me, begging me to tell her about some of the other popular minor internet celebrities on the E2 website. She was a big reader of the site and a big fan.

After I told her about how I was really tight with many of the site's big names, she told me about how she often got together with her dormitory mates at college and signed onto the internet using a broadband connection and a computer in order to read writings from the site to each other. This would cause them much excitement, and after many cocktails of different types, including ones that had more alcohol in them than others, and sometimes smoking some reefer, they would get sexually aroused by the writings here, and in fact had, on six different occassions masturbated in a circle as they took turns reading the works of favorite minor internet celebrity GentlemanJim. She also told me that in the past, during her freshman year, they had found the works of minor internet celebrity aneurin highly arousing and this was where the tradition had begun, except that minor internet celebrity aneurin's works had so excited them that one of their group who has since dropped out of college to do drugs full time had rubbed her pleasure button right off during one particularly exciting aneurin reading.

She took me post haste to see the chef, who was brandishing a butchery knife when he saw me, but settled down after being informed of my internet celebrity, but not in any way about my forms of paying employment. He put down the knife and excited began asking me questions, such as whether or not Jet-Poop was still employed as a minor celebrity by the Everything2 site and whether I had ever met him and what kind of meals he enjoyed because this chef would want very much to make a meal of great quality for Jet-Poop that would much exceed the disappointment of my paltry so-called chef's salad.

The chef then took me from his place of business and out to his car, where he opened the trunk and pulled out a large poster he had made himself using various colors of construction paper, a glue stick, scissors and colorful magic markers. He showed me how the poster highlighted and illustrated the major points of minor internet celebrity Jet-Poop's works. This chef also explained that discovering the works of Jet-Poop had guided his life in a new direction, and was responsible in many different ways for causing him to stop using cocaine, go to culinary school and become a chef.

Once back inside he called me into the corner of his kitchen where he kept supplies for making various dishes and handed me six pieces of fairly decent thinly sliced ham, three pieces of American cheese, four small slices of pepperoni and a Macademia nut. He put these in a reasonably clean waxed paper cup and bade me to add them to my chef's salad to bring it up to spec.

I was uncertain as to how satisfactory this was, as the questionable chef's salad on my plate still had many problems, with or without the Macademia nut and friends. Still I knew I had met a friend and there were a lot of Neils Bohr papers waiting to be corrected back at my place of employment.


This is my first daylog in a while. I’d given them up for some time because they seemed to get lost in the shuffle. It’s hard to tell a good daylog from a bad one by just the date.

Anyway, I’m going to start again, at least for a while, for this rather compelling reason. Yesterday, my contract as Special Counsel at the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (“OFHEO”) was not renewed. It was only a two-year contract, but I’d honestly expected it to be renewed for another six months, at least until the hearing in the matter I’ve been working on was completed.

It wasn’t, though, for a lot of reasons, many of which I’ll talk about as time goes by. Let’s just say that the most important reason was that I had spent over 12 years as a litigator and partner in private practice before coming here, and the culture clash with senior management just became too great to handle. I wrote probably the ten best papers this agency had ever seen, and dozens of the best letters they ever put out. But I wouldn’t kiss their ass. I’d show up late one day if I’d been working late the night before. I’d expect them to cut me some slack after I won a motion that essentially established the agency’s right to exist –- a principle they hadn’t quite managed to establish before I showed up. They were used to GS types who mindlessly toed the line, which is funny in hindsight, because they hired me specifically to take on the partners at Williams and Connally who had been eating their lunch before I started working here.

So, true to government form, I’ve been given only several weeks to get the Hell out of Dodge. Fortunately, my wife and I have already sold our house, and we have a bunch of places in North Carolina where we might be able to stay while we get ourselves set up. My problem is this: I have no idea what kind of Internet access, or free time, I might have at any new job. I mean, I’m sitting here at my work desk writing this now. A good 75 percent of my nodes have been written from work. So I can see my output, such as it is, dwindling rapidly in the months to come.

The thing is, I really want to make it to fourth level before that happens. There are a ton of nodes –- both old and new –- that I am desperate to honor with a C! They’ve been so important to me and my time here at e2 that it would be a shame if I was stuck merely tagging them with anonymous upvotes.

So in the next three weeks I’m going to make a concerted effort to node my way to level four. With my LU factor, I’ve got 14 nodes to go. With any luck, I should be able to make it.

But before I started, I just wanted to announce to one and all that I wasn’t simply noding for numbers. I have a very specific reason for trying to pick up the pace. If the quality of my nodes falls drastically, I humbly apologize beforehand, and I ask that you tell me so. I need to be kept honest. But for now I’m a man on a mission. Hope you enjoy the show.

Apollyon's Adventures in India

back to August 16, 2006

Goodbye Jalgaon! 3am sleeper train to Nasic. No, not the British philosopher who concidered anarchy to be the only just form of society, it's a city.
I have met Sanket's uncle and cousin, Suniel and Neha, Suniel sings all the time, which is ok because he has a great singing voice. I think Simon Cowell would like him but he is too old for India Idol, one of the biggest Indian shows. I caught the Independence Day special.
The amount of family and friends I have had to meet has become ridiculous. The worst moment came when I had just been through another barrage of about 15 photographs with everyone in the room. The matriarch of the house reached for the photo album and rummaged around until she found a picture. It was a photograph of the last white guy who had visited. He was sitting in the same chair against the same wall with the same over used respectful smile on his face. I had the horrible feeling of someone else five years from now seeing my photo and thinking the same thing. Ad infinitum; into the future.

Sanket's family won't let me thank them for their perpetual kindness anymore. Now if that's their custom then that's fine but the Brit in me screams to say 'thank you' after every cup of tea, in the same way that I say 'sorry' after someone steps on my toe or would say 'please' when asking for my executioner to take a good aim. I have only realised in the last year (due to my living and working with foreigners) just how ludicrously polite we are. I just wish we had kept other things from our former national psyche; I want to be like Sherlock Holmes; not like a bumbling apologetic Hugh Grant.
I have taken to saying ‘cheers’ instead.

I have visited a few remarkably crappy temples. You see Sanket's family has a vast array of differing religions. Sankets Dad is a seer, he predicts the future. Neha is an omni-theist, we get along very well. His uncle and grandmother on one side are harai Krishna (although they all it something else) most of the rest are Hindu (each with a different preferential God), and they all practice at least some yoga. Sanket is the odd one out being as he is, atheist. (There are no Jains or Muslims that I know of.)
It makes sense on a day-off that they all share a car to get to the different sights. Now I expected every temple to be a glorious example of architecture. However it is practical for them to go to 1960's concrete boxes. I think they picked up a vibe from me and took me to an awesome black rock temple at night. Candlelight and evensong. Gorgeous.

I have spent the next day visiting Solari vineyards the biggest, best and most successful vineyard in India. I tried their whole selection on a veranda overlooking the worlds largest clay dam. I was so lovely I ended up buying their three most expensive bottles.
Well that's the whole idea I suppose.

forward to August 19, 2006

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