Tuesday, October 1, 2013

As a follow up to the Dallas Morning News write up on the newly opened Truck Yard, I would also like to express my displeasure at my recent experience at the Lower Greenville establishment. *

* sarcasm

So I went to Truck Yard on a Monday afternoon.  I say afternoon but it was actually 11am.  Rudely, I was told that they did not begin serving food and beverages until the ludicrous hour of 11am.  I think this is very shortsighted on their part and discriminates against all the graveyard shift workers who just want something simple as a Philly cheesteak sandwich and an ice cold Lone Star beer at 6:30am.  Way to know your target demo, Truck Yard.

As I sat down at 11:01am in gloriously perfect weather, I was immediately struck by the lack of full service teppanyaki grills with fully trained chefs flipping grilled shrimp into their hats, capable and ready to create an onion volcano on a moment's notice.  It also bears noting that my birthday was last week and not a single member of the oblivious wait and bar staff took the time to either wish me a happy birthday nor had they even take a cursory look at my Target gift registry.  

Now this place is an outdoors place and is supposedly dog friendly.  Which is fine and all until I brought my friendly furry companion, D'Artagnan, with me.  Sure they had water bowls available.  Yes, they even let me take ol' D'Arty off the leash if I promised to watch him.  But not once did they offer to expel his anal glands nor did my server once offer to perform a doggie DNA test on my mutt to confirm my suspicions that he is a Malamute/Dachshund mix.  I mean, what is the point of telling people that they can bring their dogs when you clearly are not dog-friendly by not offering these basic canine services?

I had worked up quite an appetite by this point, what with all the unjustified rage coursing through my veins.  Time to eat.  What's that?  You only have two food trucks literally ten paces from where I am seated?  And one of them is sponsored by some sort of food company?  Listen, I'm not here to be fed your queso blanco propaganda by the Big Cheese lobby.  

The other truck available was the Ssahm BBQ Korean taco truck.  Now that might sound tasty but what they failed to note was that I've totally eaten at that truck once before and my culinary whims didn't blow in that direction on this particular day.  In a town with no less than 75 food trucks covering one of the largest and most sprawling metro areas in the country, I feel it isn't too much to ask that a selection of at least a dozen different cuisine options are placed feet from me.  

I know the owners may respond with something about how a truck is a big object and only a certain set number of large objects can fit into a confined amount of space.  So why didn't they have the forethought to purchase entire blocks of highly contested city land so that they could ensure that diners like me would never have to make the gut wrenching decision of choosing between the available options that were on offer on a particular weekday?  

Then someone reminded me that there is a permanent Philly cheesesteak window from which I can also order.  If I were a vegetarian, they even have a meatless cheesesteak option.  That's fine and all but what they didn't know is that my great uncle, twice removed, was once a trainer for the Dallas Cowboys and was hit by a D cell battery concealed inside a snowball during a particularly vicious Cowboys-Eagles matchup in the Jimmie Johnson era.  To be so callously oblivious to my family's history and the pain we still suffer when faced with vague references to the city of Philadelphia just goes to show that the Truck Yard does not care about its' customer base.

As I walked out in disgust with D'Artagnan tugging at his Juicy Couture leash, desperate for the bi-hourly steak tartare feedings to which he has become so accustomed, I passed by the Carnival Barkers ice cream window.  Ice cream...served from something that is not mobile in any fashion?  Well, that's just rich.  As rich as I'm sure the rice krispee ice cream sandwiches that they serve are and about which I have heard many people rave.  

But sadly, I'll never know.  I walked out, dazed and hungry, with the bright autumn sun and gentle winds mocking my pain.  Sure, there's a Trader Joe's across the street.  And there's Mudsmith right across the street in the other direction.  But who could ever find the courage to eat or imbibe after the trauma that I just suffered?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sorry Ted Cruz, But You Lost

Hey Ted,

I know you’ve had a rough 24 hours.  You stood on your feet and argued for something that was going to pass anyways.  I can’t imagine where you could have possibly gotten that idea from.  The only difference between your filibuster and Wendy’s is that she was harassed and threatened when she dared to veer ever so slightly off message while you took a good 30 minutes to read a Dr. Seuss story to kill some time.

But the bottom line is that you lost.  Even those in your party distanced from you.  But I’m not here to gloat.  Ok, I’m here to gloat a little.  But more than gloating, I’m here to share with you what your defeat means to me personally.

I recently became self-employed.  How did I do that, you ask?  Well, here goes.  I had an office job that I loathed with a company that was dubious at best.  Every single day, I contemplated fantasies of how I would one day be able to leave that office and never come back to it again.  I got called names and had to put up with sexism and rampant disrespect.  And I took all of it because it provided me with one (and only one) thing that I couldn’t provide for myself:  health insurance.  

I had clients reaching out to me, asking me to take them on.  And I did.  In fact, because I could not be available to them during the majority of their working hours, I had to turn down work.  All so I could have insurance.  I’m lucky enough to not have any major health problems but the prospect of being left penniless if I were to get into a car accident or have a health issue was enough of a fear that I kept that job.  And hey, I could always use that insurance to treat the ulcer I had developed from the stress of being belittled every day at work.

What I really wanted to do more than anything was to be my own boss and to be an entrepreneur.  Surely you remember the entrepreneurial spirit that made our country the kickass place it is, Ted?  Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and Bill Gates?  Those dudes?  People who took an idea and made it into a viable business plan and then employed hundreds of thousands of people to make that dream a reality.  

I am lucky enough to know dozens of absurdly talented creative types who can write their asses off, who can take a few scattered thoughts and turn it into a visual masterpiece, who can code like their lives depended on it.  And you know what?  Most of them are working at jobs where they are underpaid for their skills because they made the horrible mistake (jokes!) of starting families and wanting to do silly things like provide their families with basic health care coverage.  

I found myself at a crossroads where I don’t have dependents who will have to just ride out colic, frontier-style, without health insurance.  I had the freedom to be able to take risks.  And by risks, I mean finding a way to monetarily provide for myself and better my own future instead of coming home from a job I despise, crumpled and defeated, to weakly crawl into bed and wake up and dance the same limp, half-hearted dance the next day.  

I can’t promise I’ll be the next Bill Gates or Mark Cuban but I can promise one thing.  That bill you so valiantly tried to stand down, the Affordable Care Act, means that I can be self-employed and start my own business while paying less than I did at my day job for health insurance coverage.  I don’t know what you have against Texans like myself, your constituents, becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own small businesses that might one day employ other creative and talented Texans.  But it seems to run completely perpendicular to your Tea Party “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” schtick.  

In short, I’m pretty happy you lost.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

When the News is More Than Just News

I am a news junkie.  Always have been since I was a little girl.  I can't remember a single evening where my mom and I didn't sit down for dinner and watch the evening local and national news.  I loved reading old Newsweek and Time magazines for fun.  There are certain niche stories that capture my attention which are probably not of much importance to other people.  But then there's the big ones. 

As I navigate my way through a thorny patch of my personal life, I watch the news as I always do.  Which is why, after hitting another patch of rough seas personally, hearing about the bombing in Boston on Monday hit me pretty hard.  Seeing pictures of an 8 year old boy holding a sign pleading for peace, knowing he was killed by ruthless cowards drove me to tears.  Just as they did everyone.  They'll find the people that did this, I told myself.  Though, if I'm being honest, I don't know that I believed that 100%.  They could be out of the country already.  And how do you track down such a human needle in a haystack?  I just had to trust in justice and fate.

Then I heard Pat Summerall died.  Being a Dallas Cowboys fan is at the core of my being.  Pat Summerall was an NFL commentator but he was our guy.  You knew that, no matter how impartial he had to appear to be, he secretly wanted the Cowboys to win.  He was older and it wasn't completely out of the blue but it was another rattle to the cage.  I was glad that he had found sobriety and got to live 20 more years with a clear head, able to help those who sought solace in the bottle just as he had.

Next was ricin-laced letters being mailed to elected officials, including to the White House.  To be completely honest, that story barely pinged my radar.  I heard the guy was an Elvis impersonator which, considering no one was hurt by his actions, seemed like a perfectly good waste of comedy material on a week like this one.  Any other week and we could all roll out memes and hasty Photoshop jobs.  But it's hard to laugh at something so ridiculous when there is so much tragedy swirling around for no apparent reason.

Then came West.  If you had asked me if the week could get any worse than seeing the graphic pictures of a young man with his legs blown off for the crime of attending a marathon to support his girlfriend, I clearly would have said no.  But when the first reports of "fertilizer plant fire in West" started popping up on Twitter, I knew that this week was not the week of false alarms and narrowly averted disasters.  I watched social media morph from jokes about the Czech Stop being okay to seeing the horror of reality slowly wash away the sarcasm.   This was not the week to tempt fate with comedy.

I heard the early estimates about casualties and I prayed they were wrong.  Luckily, they were.  But that doesn't change that people did die and a small town will never be the same.  It also made me incredibly proud to be a Texan, though not by birth.  As corny as it sounds, I knew that when someone in Texas is hurting, there's millions of Texans ready to do what they can to help.  It take the edge off the pain to know that West is currently asking that people donate money if they want to help because they were immediately inundated with supplies and donations.

By last night, like most of you reading this, I was just ready to crawl in bed and hope that either quick Armageddon was finally here or something would turn this whole thing around.  When I woke up, I heard the news of the overnight standoff in Boston and learned that an MIT police officer was killed for merely sitting in his car and being a police officer.  Another transit cop, only a year older than me and father to a 6 month old, was badly wounded.  One of the bombing suspects was dead and the other was on the loose. 

I honestly didn't know if I could take another day of this stuff.  Being a news junkie seemed like the fast track to pure heartbreak at every turn.  I didn't care about the pictures of cats that people posted as antidotes.  I wanted news and I wanted some goddamn good news at that.  So I was glued to the Boston police scanner and to Twitter all day.  At 5pm CST, the Boston police seemed to be waving the white flag.  I put a load of laundry on and braced myself for whatever the next wave of atrocities would be.

Then I heard something on the police scanner.  They were rushing to a boat.  My first thoughts were that the guy was on the water and trying to escape and probably just offed himself.  We wouldn't ever know how this whole terrible chain of events started.  And we still don't know that we will ever find out.  But at 7pm this evening, I was sitting on my couch just listening to the police scanner.  It seemed excruciating to hear the police, wisely, inch up on a suspect who was seriously injured and perhaps armed to the teeth.  If only we could end this week with some glimmer of hope.  If only Boston could sleep easy tonight.  If only we can prove that bad doesn't always win over good.

Then I heard it.  "Suspect captured."  We still have no idea what shape the guy is in or how all this will shake out.  But after this week from hell, the entire country needed to hear something good.  They needed to know that we, as a country, took him in alive and will give him a fair trial because we are cool and democratic and fair like that.  More than anything, we needed something good to happen.  The town of West has the entire state of Texas behind it.  And Willie Nelson, don't forget him.  Boston can hit the bars hard tonight, knowing there are no longer two maniacs on the loose.

Next week will be better.  Let's just forget this one ever happened, ok?