Saturday, September 22, 2007

Top Chef: Season 3

I'm enjoying Season 3 of Top Chef, the reality television show/cooking competition. A full season has nearly finished, and we're down to four contestants: Hung, Casey, Dale, and Brian. My money is on Hung, and my wife has picked Casey. All I can say is thank goodness my wife roots for the same sports teams as I do!

One of the things that make watching Top Chef so pleasurable is the "additional content." The judges on the show have blogs that are lucid and helpful in understanding what happened during a particular show. It's must reading for fans. And Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential, has been writing about Top Chef, which is the equivalent of reading how Curt Schilling might break down your favorite baseball game.

Bravo constantly replays episodes of Top Chef. I encourage you to watch and get on board!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Last month, my office building held a mandatory fire-drill. When the insistent alarm began its ringing, it took some of us by surprise, and people had to be reminded that this was a mandatory drill. Everyone located the stairwell exit, and my floor began to descend down the stairs.

I work on the fourteenth floor, with only four more floors to the top. The stairwell was filled with office workers making the usual jokes and remarks. I was no exception. I quipped that the exit stairwell should have murals to break the monotony. The buzz of people talking seemed louder in the enclosed space. In a few minutes, the slow-though-steady walk took me down a few flights.

I think it was around the tenth or ninth floors that I had a flash recognition: this is what it was like in the towers, in the World Trade Center, on 9/11. Once that thought entered my mind, my imagination filled in the rest: How silent the stairwell would be. How quickly we'd be walking. Maybe we'd hear the building beginning to groan under the strain from the crash.

At this point, I couldn't get out of the stairwell fast enough. All of a sudden, I felt slightly claustrophobic. What floor was I on? These floors need some labels! The narrow stairway opened up to a slightly larger hallway. More floors. Then the first floor. Then outside.

I stepped away a few steps, then looked up. Of course the building was still there, intact. I was reminded of that terrible day, which has its sixth anniversary tomorrow.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Daze

I hope everyone out there takes a brief break from all the hard work they've been doing. In America, it's well documented that people take fewer vacation days, and work longer hours than many many other nations. It's downright frustrating. In my line of work, it's easy to overwork, to "over"-produce. I have to remind myself that rest is just as important as work. There's a balance that needs to be kept. I have to remind myself to take the break. Take the rest. I hope you'll join me!