I have nothing to say, just got back from the beach and am rejuvenated as I hit the ground running.
I just discovered this guy’s blog, “Wait but why” through his post on procrastination. And its sequel. It’s awesome. He is also awestruck by stars, but that’s another topic. Squirrel!
It’s weird; when I saw the two rather long posts on procrastination, I wanted to drop everything I was doing and read the entire thing. OK; maybe not so weird. Actually, tragically normal. One strategy he proposed was making little victories in the battle against self-defeatism through attention-deflection. Not grand plans; just little victories that become habits. One way to do this is what I’ve told other people for years: creating deadlines for one’s self is a great way to have that panic which creates productivity. He said, If you’re trying to write a consistent blog, put “new post every Tuesday” at the top of the page… Hence the title of this blog post.
It reminds me of this beloved cartoon I clipped from … I think The New Yorker about 10 years ago and stuck it to my wall.
In addition to the “New post every Tuesday” however, (I paraphrase so it sinks into my brain in my words) “people who plan to write a book don’t. People who write just a page a day, after a year, have a book.” It’s funny because the day before I read that, I met my dog-walking friend John who thanked me for advice I’d given him a year ago. He was having trouble getting his second novel written and I told him, “write just 10 minutes a day.” After a year, he’s way into his second book and all I have to show for it is being able to say, “good for you.” It seems I give great advice, but don’t take it unless it comes from someone else.
So, this time, two someone elses have given me similar advice. I have a novel to write. I have a show to write. I have clients to call. I have paintings to finish. I have a couple of to-do lists to get to. I doubt I’ll get it all done in this lifetime, so I’d better go find a religion that guarantees I’ll have another lifetime or two. I’ll get right on that.
So, looking at the top of this blog, you will see a new blurb: “Updated Every Tuesday.” That is, if I can figure out how to change my WordPress settings before I see another shiny, pretty thing. Stay tuned.
In May of 2013, I decided I wanted to learn to better render a human’s face. So I posted a simple query to facebook: “Please name a celebrity.” Within 30 seconds, someone responded with “Neil deGrasse Tyson.” So I drew/painted a portrait. It was rough, but somewhat recognizable.
The next night, I did the same again, and then again. They say you get better with practice? As of this writing (day 35, I’m merely a month in and already feel like I’ve had a couple of semesters of art school education. I’m learning from unlikely sources: the lady I walk dogs with, a musician at a party who has “tried to draw, but can’t,” and a forensic sculptor. Just the perfect way for me to learn: random amalgamation of information.
One of my favorite quotes is, “all art is subtraction.” You take the Universe and boil it down to a few lines, a few colors, a few notes, a few words, or a few motions. This album is a sampling of some of my favorites. I’ve “subtracted” some that didn’t quite hit the mark. Enjoy!
The end of the story I find more disappointing. Basically, they put the onus of checking each and every dish on their vegetarian customer. Their suppliers will change ingredients in their products without notice, so they can’t print permanent menus. One ingredient changes; they’d have to reprint all their menus.
Perhaps I’m coming across like the whiny, spindly high-maintenance grass-eater. But consider were you to be traveling in a foreign country where everyone eats dog (insert your own personal abhorrent foodstuff as for all I know, some of you would enjoy eating Petey). And then you go into a restaurant which boasts it caters to non-dog eating foreigners. The menu has listings of “Dog meat… Dog meat … cheese sandwich … dog meat…” You order the cheese sandwich. Halfway through the sandwich, you discover a piece of medium-rare Dalmatian snout. That’s kinda what it’s like being a vegetarian: I live in a foreign land where eating meat is the custom. Someone tried to accommodate and accidentally fed me [dog]. I let them know; they told me I should be more careful.
Again, Cheesecake Factory’s head office was responsive enough to call me directly within 48 hours of my suggestion. They did give me a list of foods on their menu that are (or can be special ordered to be) vegetarian-friendly. However, the bottom line? They’re not going to change anything. You can not trust their menu if you are a vegetarian, and in my case, the new waiter, upon hearing my wife say we are both vegetarians, made no mention of the corpse-juice that would be on my plate. Apparently I should have known to distrust not only the menu, but also the waiter.
I give the responsiveness of customer service an A.
The result? I’ll be generous and say C-minus.
They did send me a gift card. I’ll probably go back since hey; free food. I’ll just have to be extra careful to ask specifically of a manager whether the fettuccine contains braised armadillo chitterlings.
Update: They responded. Importantly for veal-haters, the waiter was mistaken; it was chicken stock, not veal stock. About the same thing to me, but don’t want to misrepresent.
Dear regular readers, I’m sorry about the diversion from my regular blog, but I want this public and I want the Cheesecake Factory to give me a response that everyone is happy about. I’ll get back to writing about creativity and productivity soon.
Dear Cheesecake Factory corporate offices:
I want to open by saying my wife and I have enjoyed our Cheesecake Factory restaurant experience for nearly 20 years. The food is good, the atmosphere is nice, and the staff is always friendly and attentive.
As vegetarians (ovo-lacto; we eat cheese and eggs), we have generally been happy with the choices for us, and the willingness of the waitstaff and kitchen to work together with us. Your company is even celebrated by this vegetarian’s article from 2007:
Imagine my disappointment about six years ago when I ordered my then regular favorite dish, the Sweet Corn Tamales, and the waitress (also a vegetarian) informed me they are made with chicken stock. There is no mention of boiled animal remains on the menu; the dish is otherwise APPARENTLY for vegetarians. As a cook myself, I know it is ENTIRELY unnecessary to put chicken stock into a vegetarian dish. As I said, it was disappointing since it was a beloved dish. There is no option to have the chicken stock omitted and I haven’t ordered that dish since, somewhat upset by the apparent oversight on your part. I’ve since found other things on the menu, but I’ve really missed those tamales.
Last night, history repeated itself. I ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms Fontina and Parmesan Cheese, Garlic and Herbs in a Wine Sauce. I thought it was entirely unnecessary to even ask if mushrooms stuffed with cheese were slathered in the drippings from an animal corpse. I ordered them and after eating a few, I put one on my wife’s plate. She, the more sensible of the two of us, asked the waiter if there was any meat in them. The waiter didn’t know offhand, but dutifully checked. Granted, he should have known, but even more so: WHY IS THERE VEAL (correction: Chicken) STOCK IN A MUSHROOM DISH?! I feel like someone who sets your menu is either a) ignorant of vegetarian needs; b) doesn’t care about vegetarian needs; c) hopes nobody will notice; or d) wants to mess with us in some sociopathic way.
I would like to mention when I spoke to the manager, [A.F.], he did everything within his power to make things right. He did a stellar job in mitigating an uncomfortable situation. My problem is not with the restaurant at all. It’s higher up. I don’t know who approves ingredients on your menu, but …
Seriously, VEAL (chicken)? That is one of the most abhorrent foods for anyone who cares about animals. I feel the lie by omission comes across like a personal attack: a second betrayal. I should have learned from the tamales that I can’t trust an apparent vegetarian dish at your restaurants to be made for vegetarians.
Whoever sets your menu, and its ingredients needs to understand these things better. This whole situation reminds me of the McDonald’s fiasco in India:
I do intend to let my nearly 2000 friends on Facebook and Twitter know about this, many of whom are vegetarians. I will also let them know how your company responds to my letter.
Needless to say, I am more than a little outraged! I like your restaurant. Please either label animal ingredients, label your menu items which are “not vegetarian friendly” (including the cheesecake, which surprisingly has pork gelatin in it) or just simply change your policy of adding carrion squeezings into otherwise good food.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response.
How many projects are on your to do list? How many are really important to get done next week/tomorrow/right now?
I’m not going to talk about those today. You certainly know the panic of the last minute brings that adrenaline rush to get crap done. The jolt of natural amphetamine that brings that focus, and falling by the wayside are all those unnecessary tasks — like food, sleep, and personal hygiene. No; I’m talking about those *other* projects. The “I should’s.”
I bet you have dozens of things on your to do list that you “should” do. I should clean off my desk.” “I should do the dishes.” “I should do my taxes.” or even “I should stop eating so much candy corn.”
Here’s the thing: by whose or what’s authority should you do these things?
I ask again. Pause for a moment to answer this question. Who or what is telling you you should?
I know the answer: You. Or at least the guilt-inducing you. Sure; your boss may want your desk clear, your dwelling mates want the dishes reasonably clean (ask my wife). The IRS wants your taxes paid, and your dentist may want you to cut down on the candy corn.
But if you really cared what they thought, you’d just do it. The “should” is a voice from inside you. It’s a guilty word. It’s a word that chastises you and threatens to send you to your room or sit at the dinner table till you’ve finished your disgusting overcooked okra in chicken-snot marinade.
The word “should” lives in the back of your mind, and basically, “shoulds” all over you. How about these…
Four alternatives to should-ing all over yourself:
I need to …
I want to …
I get to …
I can’t wait to …
Listening to your self-talk can embarrass and enlighten you. Adjusting your self-talk will reveal the pleasures of moving forward and getting all the “should” off your to do list, and strangely, this small change can make it easier to tackle your list.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get up early so I shou– I mean, I can’t wait to get to bed. Ta!