Tag Archives: Writing

The Spices of Life

I noticed this daily wordpress prompt, and was immediately inspired. Like the Ketchup prompts have instructed lately, I wrote this in exactly 10 minutes.

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Growing up, I was never a fan of spice. When my dad made his famous chili it had to be mild or no one would eat it. I would sometimes get into BBQ sauces and they were a little vinegary, but as far as heat, I didn’t even put pepper on my food. Even in college I wasn’t so daring. I do admit going through a bottle of KC masterpiece sauce every month during those days. In fact by the end of that time, I was also popping pepto-bismol and dealing with what would be severe acid reflux. I had to do on a bland diet and upgrade to Prilosecs for a while, and blandness became a habit. Pretty much was my personality as well!

Then I turned 30 and everything changed. Suddenly I loved pickles. And suddenly I loved spices.

My girlfriend at the time made a mean salsa verde. Essentially smoked jalapeno peppers cilantro and other ingredients. I went to Indian restaurants and insisted that the Shrimp Vindaloo be extra spicy, essentially not to tame it down for the white boy. One time after stressing that the Pad Kra Prow be cooked with extra chili oil, the Thai restaurant waiter ‘playfully’ taunted me with the pitcher of ice water, which he would pour into a very small cup.

To bring the point home, if the adrenaline wasn’t pumping and I was not getting a food ‘high’, it wasn’t hot enough. Even my father couldn’t believe it, and by that time, his own tastes had kept the chili milder. His signature dish, and my mother’s chicken cutlet batter began receiving spoonfuls of chipotle sauce, and sandwiches got a dab mixed in with the mayo.

In my recent trip to Chicago, I went to Frontera, and with the boldness of a blood orange margarita, I generously slathered the house bottled chili sauce on my tortillas, and while spooning up the last of the salsa provided with my appetizer, I belatedly thought – waitaminute, this is habanero sauce isn’t it. Survey says – number one answer. Or number two. Yeah WordPress you wanted to know.

I have calmed it down a bit these days, but I do like my spice. Pepper is now a friend. I make a nice buffalo sauce for wings (but really its easy) and a little Franks or Durkees is on hand for a slice of pizza.

It’s still about the flavor though, spicy doesn’t have to be deadly.

Then again, I haven’t taken the challenge at Brick Curry house. Doubt I will. The description I got from a friend was something along the lines of ‘hurting’. But hey, he got that t shirt.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, Writing Challenges

Trifecta 99 – Babooksha

This week we are giving you a page from the Oxford English Dictionary. The ninety-ninth page, to be exact. (Click to enlarge.) From this page, you can choose any word, any definition, to use in your post. (Please type your chosen word in bold, so we know.) And instead of our typical 33-333 word limit, we are asking for 99 words exactly.
babushka


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When commuting, reading helps avoid eye contact. Though these days, e-books prevent you from seeing what others are reading, I still love paperbacks.

My subway line passes through Brighton Beach, and ‘little Odessa’, so there are usually some babushkas on the crowded trains, sometimes even wearing the namesake scarves. One day, I caught the eye of one, who smiled warmly at me and my copy of “The Brothers Karamazov.” Some weeks later, we ‘met’ again, but my expected approving glance was met with a steely gaze and deeply creased frown. Perhaps they felt no sympathy for ‘Sofia Petrovna’ plight…


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Filed under Books, Creative Writing, Life, Life in NYC, Reading, Trifecta Writing Challenge, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #18: Those Lazy Crazy Hazy Days

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know what’s on your summer reading list, so that everyone can see it and we can all read those books and start a reading circle, which is an awesome excuse to get together and uncork some wine (though I have had some good screwtops!). As though you need a reason… Ketchup With Us


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It’s May already?! (the 5th Month), start making plans for building Castles in beach dunes, playing games in the backyard,  BBQing, then watching stars at night – it’s almost magical. Know that many days remain before the autumn harvests and winter in the city.

And download/ pick up a copy of Carrie Rubin’s The Seneca Scourge.

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Filed under 50 Books in 2013, Ketchup With Us, Reading, Vacations, Writing, Writing Challenges

Scintilla – At the End, a Smile

I have been a bit busy, but still working at this entry for a couple days. I want to get it all down and out.

Having actually forgotten what prompt this was for, it might be one of these, or a sum of them all.

MONDAY, 18TH MARCH
B: Write about a chance meeting that has stayed with you ever since.

WEDNESDAY, 20TH MARCH
B: Write about a time when your preconceived notion or opinion (about a place, person, thing, etc.) turned out to be wrong. What did it take to change your mind?

SATURDAY, 16TH MARCH
A: Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation: from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of a car on a family road trip.

It was probably that last one, and I was going to rant about taking the subway.

You know what, maybe for another time. As hilarious as my eye-rolling throat-punch resistanc-ing experiences with the humans can be, it dwells on the negative.

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When ‘coming up for air’ (my way of saying “leaving the subway station”) it’s the home stretch. Well, “work stretch”, which in no way sounds appealing, unless you’re the lead photographer for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, in which case there is no train or subway station that will leave you off at the beach of a tropical paradise.

Anyway, during the morning at just about every train station you’ll come across the AMNY or Metro newspapers. They are free and have just enough information to digest in a one way trip, and with various puzzles like Ken Ken, Soduku and the Crosswords, can keep you occupied on a round trip, so you don’t have to stand around reading dopey subway ads.

At some stations you will not just have the pile of papers, but a person in a company vest with an armful, handing them out. Like most handouts, people ignore or walk around them. Some vendors are aggressive, holding it out so the paper brushes against your chest or arm as you walk by them, perhaps on the off chance that you are wearing a duck tape tie or scarf (sticky side out). They don’t say a word to you or even look at you.

Some however, put that little something extra. Instead of just handing it out, they will pitch the paper’s headlines, much like the wily little rapscallions in old movies you think did that, but likely didn’t (they usually didn’t sing and dance either).

Then there is Rodney.

Rodney handed out the AMNY at one of the train stops I would sometimes head out from. He stood inside the station, usually during cold or wet weather. He always greeted everyone with a smile and ‘Good Morning!”, almost individually even when there were crowds. And that little effort got reactions. No one pushed past, some people would take it, or say politely, “No, thank you.”

“Ok, well you have a blessed/good day.” (You got that answer in either case).

So I took a paper a couple times. Then one day, he gave a glance of recognition as I approached.

“Hey there he is! How are you my friend?!”

Through the weeks I would stop and talk to him, he was accommodating, but still would have to pause the conversation for other greetings (who would take that as an affront?!). Turns out Rodney is a Veteran, and had been recently applying for his vendor license to get his own food or merchandise cart/stand. He was also looking for Section 8 housing. In other words, Rodney isn’t just a guy who hands out papers; he is a man working hard for a better life. I respect him greatly for that, and followed up with him on what was new and hoping for the best.

He did get the vendor’s license, so the next steps would be soon after. He didn’t get the housing initially, but he didn’t care for the terms they were setting. Good for him – everyone should have a little pride. During the summer 2012, he DID get the next housing offer.

“Oh it’s great! An apartment in the Far Rockaways. When I am done here and everything else in the afternoons, I go home and know that I am just steps from the beach.” Brilliant! I couldn’t be happier for him.

Rodney’s ‘station’ changed to one close by the other one (“they needed someone more dependable for a busier station”, he told me), and though I would go out of my way, I didn’t stop down his way a lot. Still he’d remember me every time, and ask how my weekend was or what not. Every time I walked past, I expected Rodney to give me some good news, that this gig was up and he was moving to something better. Hell, even if he just disappeared, I would have assumed the same thing, on his terms, and maybe he just didn’t tell anyone. It would be good, either way.

Then on October 2012, there was Hurricane Sandy. Locals may know, others might now, that Sandy wiped out Far Rockaway badly, particularly apartment buildings near the beach. Some co-workers of mine were displaced for several months, and even when they returned for short periods to their homes to pick up personal/valuables (which were not looted or destroyed) getting back into their daily routine has been a long, rough road.

Knowing that the AMNY gig is one where workers can be easily replaced, and that his living situation was surely uprooted, I have not seen Rodney since the Thursday before Sandy came upon us. This was not the way I envisioned it, (to say nothing of what HE must still be going through).

Rodney’s stations have since been taken by a rotation of others, sometimes it’s just that metal news tray that gets soggy when it rains or has papers flying around during the windy days.

I’ve re-learned a few things from this.

Don’t take a sincere greeting or the smallest friendship for granted; keep them close. Say “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome”, and mean it. Make it a point that you will stand out to some person as the one who shifted a bad day in a good direction, and let people know they are respected and appreciated for whatever interaction you have.

Thanks, Rodney.

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Filed under Commuting, Life, Life in NYC, Scintilla Project, Writing, Writing Challenges

SoC Sunday: I Don’t Do Mondays

I found this prompt through Erin Margolin, who linked up a post from Ms Nicola, who posted it on Jana’s Thinking Place. So hey, you and I have at least a couple new people to follow, thank and be told what to do, and don’t you give met that look, mister man prompted by. You’re welcome!

Anydoogiehowsers, the prompt is How would you spend your last 24 hours if that’s all you had left? It’s to be written in Stream of Consciousness, which is perfect for Sunday mornings; prompts for Monday morning should be written in annoyance and a brain still warming up like a 37 year old engine. Bangles songs nonwithstanding.

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24 hours and counting – will it look like this counter that I have set to make sure that I follow this rule? That would be more ominous. I wouldn’t have the sound or even vibration. As if it would matter. Well first I would start my day with a breakfast of a croissant and sausage. That’s what I had this morning. Well I would add an egg, this way I don’t get edgy all day. Then again, better to have it all end before MONDAY. I don’t have much to do so maybe a trip to central park and take some last photos. It’s a park by our standards, which doesn’t say much. Seriously how many of you see mountains and forests on your way to work. I treasure the sounds of the few birds that chirp sweetly on low mornings like this. Dinner. Would I make it my damn self or risk going to the finest restaurant in town and WAIT. Hell no. I could just pick up a steak and some friends. Let everyone cook together. A fine meal with fine friends, and a fine wine *Da Vini Chanti works every time. My bank account, well I would donate a chunk of course. Friends family, charities, and maybe along my adventure that day a little to those who would need it. (The salvation army buckets aren’t around, that might help things). A letter to everyone or a fond farewell in person recorded hell people whip out their cell phones for every cheesy concert. And I’m twice as awesome and will be remembered years later…2, 1…

BUZZZZZZZ

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Filed under Day In the Life, Life, Prompts, SoC Sunday, Stream of Consciousness, Wine, Writing, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #13: Sole Man

Ms Mel and ODNT want to know whose shoes would you like to walk in for a day? Ketchup With Us

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For one day each I would walk in:

-The worn out shoes of those less fortunate, so I can be humbled by need.

-The high end shoes of the fortuned, to realize what money can and cannot buy.

-The shoes of a random annoying jackoff, so I’ll know what it feels like to jump off a cliff.
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Filed under Creative Writing, Ketchup With Us, Life, Writing, Writing Challenges

Trifextra 51: The Fittest to Survive

We want you to choose one of the pictures below and give us a 33-word response to it. Your responses will be judged by the community this weekend. If you use the photo on your blog, you must include the attached accreditation (with active links)


I was inspired by this one:

ZeroOne / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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Despite every car, kick, insult, barbs and broken glass designed to maim/ kill, still you persevere. Dropping the occasional poop- bomb does well to remind us who truly defines and rules this city.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Life, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges