Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Story Of The 3 Chefs & Our TV

I was a little slow on the uptake on this but I've only just realised that our weekly tv viewing habit seems to have been slowly taken over by chefs with accents. If I were a more insecure man I might think my wife was trying to tell me something.

It's no secret that I love my food but I cannot cook. And its no secret my wife loves her food and loves an accent too.

I'm starting to think she feels hard done to by the fact that the country that gave the world Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares also gave her a husband that can't cook. Slowly but surely she's sneaked into our viewing habits chef's with accents into our dvr viewing schedules and I didn't even know there was a search button for that. I just thought we both liked Kitchen Nightmares for the same reason, mine was of course watching poorly run restaurants being transformed into profit making enterprises. 

I should have known something was amiss when we just had to watch the new series of Celebrity Apprentice because the Australian chef Curtis Stone was on it. I mean there's not even any cooking on that program, but I thought maybe she just wanted to see him doing some charity work. It didn't cross my mind that she was just waiting for him to say something or watch him being photographed again, and again, and again.

I didn't even think anything was amiss when we had to add Jamie Oliver's new program to our list of shows. That was until I saw the disappointment on her face when she saw him crying at his perceived rejection by America to his idealistic ways. I had to laugh then, because those of us brought up in the UK know he's a wuss. I have to say though I admire his gumption and his ideals though he seems to have learned nothing from the time when he tried to do the same thing for school lunches in Britain. And judging by one experiment he tried he might have an even harder time of it going by when he made some chicken nuggets from skin and bones. He had all the kids going "ewww thats disgusting" and yet when he was done every one of the kids wanted to have one. Jamie was left scratching his head wondering if his ego had bitten off more than he could chew.

And another thing, all the chefs are blond, what the hell is wrong with that picture? She gives me crap for Michelle Pfeiffer for heavens sake.

2 Blogs in one day, I think I might need some chicken soup. What do you think?

Beating The Drum Once Again

I feel like I've said this already but I'm ready for a little bit less of this

And a whole lot more of this.

Its about time the skies allowed me to make some real money, dammit.

It seems like every time it looks like a little work might come my way a snow storm blows in and says not today.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

"Ah say boy....Ah ain't no chicken! Ahs a rooster!"

Sometimes I forget where I am before I open my mouth. As a result the words come flying out my mouth like a bow on a fiddle playing a jig. Sometimes its only when I take a breath and see the glaekit look of confusion on the face before me that I realise that I might need to slow down a little. However slowing down what I say doesn't come easy to a man like me. I do try to remember where I am and adjust my the pattern of my speech but that usually only lasts as long as I don't get myself excited.

Anytime I get excited I become more Scottish not less. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my food. That means any time I am ordering food I have to catch myself, or just let the wife order.

I also get excited when I'm having a disagreement with the wife, not that I enjoy it you see, just that I am a passionate person. And when the passion is aroused words come flying like the chords on an accordion. Anytime we have an argument the wife has a great deal of trouble understanding what I am saying, and keeping her face straight.

I've phoned up for jobs excited because I've seen an advert with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate my skills and carefully held back any Scottish words that would normally come in to my vocabulary only to hear "Speak English, If you can't speak English why would I give you a job!" coming from the other end of the phone. It took all my levels of control that day not to reply in perfect Glaswegian "fuck you in a pear tree by the way" because I realised then that guys like that don't want me to speak English, that is what I was doing albeit with an accent, they want me to speak American, a totally different beast.

It's guys like that though that make me not want to apologise for who I am, I am Scottish and proud to be so, but if I want to work in business here I have to control my excitement. When I am speaking with a potential customer I have to remember not to fire off my words like a Scottish reel. I certainly don't want to have to resort to faking an American accent. The only time I've managed it I sounded like a cross between George W Bush and Foghorn Leghorn.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Waiting For Spring

In a couple of months from now no doubt you will be able to scold me for my complaints about how I cannot handle the 95 degree fahrenheit weather but right now a little bit more heat would be nice. It's a beautiful early Spring day outside, lots of bright sunshine, but its deceptively cold. Winter seems determined to hang on by its fingernails here in Utah.

Back home in Scotland I would hate winter, because not only was it colder but the days were shorter which meant because I worked outside I would make less money, just when I had Christmas and the taxman to pay, as a result I'd be desperate for the dark days of December and January it always seemed such a long winter. By mid February though winter would be past its worst, the early bulbs would be long out and leaves would start to form on the trees. The weather here has been noticeably warmer now for the past three weeks, all week long it likes to kid you on that its Spring and but then it goes and snows at the weekend. Last week I had the kids to look after because they were on Spring break, finally Friday came and I was able to do a little bit of work. I started the day at 7:30 in the morning in Spring by 20 minutes to 8 it was a full blown blizzard and I was back in Winter.

In Scotland I would often be found wearing the wrong clothes because every 10 minutes the season would change, I didn't think when I came here that that was going to continue. Truth is though I don't mind the cold, I don't even mind the snow, but I really would like to see some leaves on the trees. It's almost the end of March and there's very little sign of Spring in nature here and I miss it.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Wemyss Bay

Even though I like the movie of the same name I'm not much of a train spotter. Even though I do like riding trains and would love to ride a steam train through the Highlands of Scotland with my wife by my side or a Bullet train in Japan I couldn't care much for standing in a train station scribbling away in a note pad writing down the numbers of the trains passing through. That said I do like the design of some of old train stations like this one found on the West Coast of Scotland.

It's a shame when so much was put into the architecture to offer something different for the weary traveller to enjoy that the same sort of thought couldn't be put into its upkeep in the way of regular paintwork.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


As much as I miss the sense of history of back home I love the fact that the US has such a sense a of geography. Now that I am living here I find myself wanting to see so much of it, from the Giant Redwoods of California to the Everglades of Florida and from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone. I am lucky enough to have two areas of natural wonder right here on my doorstep of Utah in Zion National Park and Moab.

As of yet we have yet to make time for Zion but we surely will, we have however visited Moab. Perhaps next time we go we'll be able to swap the rain clouds of the approaching thunderstorm with the blue skies that are more common to Utah. And maybe I won't have any dust spots on the lens of camera.

Monday, 8 March 2010


Two of my favourite subjects at school were geography and history, along with maths, they were also among a select few classes that I was any good at. So it was a sad day at the end of my second year of my secondary school education that I had to choose between the two. Had I had my way I would have continued both and dropped French which I was beyond hopeless at, instead I chose to continue geography where my French lessons allowed me to enjoy the geography class trips to Switzerland and France. I can't remember exactly if it did or not but the chance to go on at least one of those trips may well have had a bearing on my decision, certainly I know I had no interest in going on the history trips to Auschwitz or Flanders both of which the thought of visiting these places, even today, makes my spine shudder.

I do know that at that age I wanted to learn about the world and if I was lucky enough get to see as much of it as I could but I also had an appreciation for history. I find it ironic now that I am getting to see some of the world from this side of the pond that I am missing some of the history that I took for granted that I previously had on my doorstep. I always loved visiting new places and learning the history behind it all and had an appreciation for the old buildings, gardens and stories when I lived in Scotland but I didn't realise until I moved to America how lucky it was that I had that amount of preserved history just a short drive away. The USA of course has its history too, but with it being such a huge country in comparison to Scotland and being much younger too its not so easy to enjoy what history there is to offer. It's especially difficult to enjoy history in this part of the country because anything that's not owned by the Mormon Church tends to last 30, 40 or 50 years before being demolished and rebuilt or made way for something new.

I was looking back on my old hard disk of photographic images that I brought with me from Scotland and remembered day trips that were just about an hour or two's drive away. One such trip was the Necropolis, Glasgow's version of the Pere Lachais Cemetery in Paris. Its the burial ground of the uber-rich of a country whose main population probably would have little thought about what sort of casket or headstone they might want because they were so poor that getting by from day to day was what occupied their thoughts.

 This tomb makes me thinks more of Morocco or Moorish Spain than Glasgow

In some cases even those who weren't buried there had a monument designed by one of the best Scottish architects of the day and placed in the cemetery looking down on the city just because they could. The ultimate pompous act of a dying inflated ego?

I find it remarkable that people would want to make such a statement about themselves after they are gone when surely contributing the money to say a hospital wing could do so much more good. Of course its easy for me to say that, as I am unlikely to have the kind of money lying around that could make such a contribution after I have kicked the bucket.

As much as I find it crazy that people would spend so much money on covering a few bones I also find it an amazingly beautiful if a somewhat strange legacy to leave behind for a city.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Starting Over

It's a year ago today that I got on the aeroplane that took me from Scotland to London, to Amsterdam, to Chicago and finally to Las Vegas.

It's been a busy year. It's been a fine year in many ways, I got married for one, buts its also been difficult. I found it harder than I thought it would be to start over from scratch. I thought I had a fairly realistic grip on how hard things might be. It turned out that I didn't give my impatience enough credit. Timing probably didn't help. If I had made such a move any year before or after things might just have been a little easier. What's done is done, and cannot be undone.

Yesterday I got the first response from the advert I placed last week, another 39 customers like that and 2010 should be a good year for the two of us. I say that like its going to be easy. When I started the first time around I had 5 or 6 people in the first 2 weeks because I knew people in the area. That in itself was able to give me a fairly easy start in business, from there I was able to get new clients from word of mouth by the standard of my work. This time though, in part from not knowing anyone in the area and the bad economy its definitely going to be a harder start.

That said I'm a 'the glass is half full' kind of guy. It might just be one customer today but from little acorns mighty oaks do grow. I'm definitely the optimist in the relationship. I dream of the future that we can have some day, she acts like the balancing rod that reminds me its not quite happening yet. My impatience is getting the better of me now.

I'm anxious for my American Dream to begin to unfold. Funny that, I never much believed in the American Dream before. I didn't see why the USA should have a monopoly on that particular dream. I always thought that dream could be transplanted anywhere. Of course I never saw myself coming to these shores, funny how life turns out.

Now that I'm here I want to be able to buy us a cheap little house. A place that we can do up, maybe put in some nice wooden floors, a new kitchen, change the bathroom, paint the walls, plant a few trees in the garden and raise some chickens so that the wife can have some eggs in the morning. Maybe if I'm still writing, and you are still reading, you'll see that happen in around 3 years or so. Right now though I'm getting ahead of myself. But damn it feels good to dream. Now for the hard work - making it happen.

Listening to: Paul Kelly - From Little Things Big Things Grow