Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saving Scotty Jacobs

In the last six months I found myself immobilized by depression's dark shadow. My goals and ambitions had faded away along with any self control. I am proud to say that I've finally got my ducks in a row, found my focus and I'm looking forward to my future - A new sales career to fund my long term goals of being a writer and entertainer. However being down and out has physically done its damage. One of my passions in life has always been food, but in difficult times it is my vice. The spell of depression has left me fat, winded and out of shape (more than normal!). I have always loved physical activity, but despised a fitness regiment...how stupid is that? Wheelbarrow gravel up a huge hill, chop wood or play tennis all day - hell yeah I'm down for that. Lift weights, jog or do sit-ups for an hour...not a damn chance. Well, I am declaring it is time to make a serious change!
This quote reaches well beyond only "science" and "religion".
I am guilty of hating things about which I know very little. Exercise has always been one of them. I now realize it takes three simple things: drive, self-control and the willingness to feel better. Certainly, I have always had the time for physical activity and now I am going to utilize it. How many mornings have I had the chance to do some sit-ups or push-ups, but chose to eat two-and-a-half breakfasts sitting on my fat ass instead?? I have seen enough Law & Order SVU and NCIS marathons to last a lifetime; and though I love Benson and Stabler, as well as Gibbs and the gang; I can spare a few of those hours in front of the television for a trail run a few times a week. A couple of adjustments to my social agenda and I can spend more time with friends on a tennis court and less time in a drunken fog. It is not only these activities I plan to embrace, but to open my whole world up to new physical feats.
Damn these addictive shows with their clever formulas always sucking me in!!!!
There are so many things to do out there to keep my body in balance; fun adventures to be had everyday. When I was in middle school I spent countless hours exploring the woods and wetlands behind my house. I currently live five minutes away from the 50,000 acre Allegan State Game Area and look forward to bundling up for some snowy hikes. My good friend, Frankie Domino, is a "fitness machine" and wants to introduce me to kettlebell workouts (I have been passing up on this for over a year! ...I'm such a bonehead!). Boxing and other forms of hand-to-hand combat have always been very appealing to me, yet I have never taken a lesson. I'd say thirty and a half years of procrastinating has been enough, it's time to sign-up these dormant fists of fury. Now in my case, all of this activity is going to be great, but it will not be enough.
This is Ray Jackson. My favorite mythical fighter from the cinematic masterpiece known as Bloodsport.
Remember how I mentioned self-control earlier? I FUCKING LOVE FOOD. When I really think back, it's my "first love". When I was a little kid eating breakfast, I would always ask my mother about what we were going to have for lunch that day. It has always been something on my mind. When I socialize, I eat. When I am bored, I eat. When I celebrate, I eat. When I am depressed, I eat. I am also fascinated by food's origin, various styles of preparation, and the way cooking it affects all five senses. However, that would have never been the case if I didn't love eating food so much. I hope admitting to all of this here on Brass-Knuckle Love Butter will trigger my self-control and my accountability to all of my readers. 
This might actually be what my heart looks like, as of today.
I have to create healthier options to have readily available; breaking me away from homemade decadence and processed restaurant garbage. I also plan to avoid pop all together. The caffeine is a nice boost, but the pop makes me feel bloated and uncomfortable. I love the way it tastes and fizzes, but from now on I will only stick to coffee for a pick-me-up. For a while too, I will have to give up things like biscuits with sausage gravy, alfredo sauce, country fried steak and candy (some of my favorites!). I know it won't be easy for me, but I will make this work. My mind and motivation are in the right place and I am looking forward to feeling even better.
That's more like it!
My perspective of health and wellness have positively shifted. I have searched the depths of my soul for half of a year and came to many conclusions. One of them being that I must "live it up" in everything that I do. It is not just about being a better person, but also being a better human being. I owe it to myself to use this body the way it was supposed to be used. Since this is my one chance at life; I want my body to feel good while I'm using it up! It makes perfect fucking sense, doesn't it?!? I have been shown where to dig, what to dig for and now I must do the digging myself (which is so ironic, considering how much I actually love using a shovel.).
I'm not religious, but "Searchin'" by Matisyahu helped bring me some clarity. I suggest listening!

As of today, I am weighing in at 300 lbs...damn that's embarrassing! I have to confess this though, so I can be motivated by it. In 2007, I quit smoking cigarettes by telling the people (who suggested I should quit) the date I would be quitting and to hold me accountable to it. On August 19th, 2007 I smoked my last 46 cigarettes (yes, over 2 packs that day!) and since August 20th, 2007 I haven't even taken a puff of one. Please, hold me accountable. I apologize for being co-dependent here, but I could use everyone's help and encouragement. My goal is to lose no less than 60 lbs. I plan to write about my progress and keep everyone informed on the different physical activities I encounter. Anyone else that has been searching for this kind of motivation is more than welcome to embrace the essence of this prose. There is no better time to start than the present! Albert Einstein said it best, "There are only 2 ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." Honestly, I think it's a miracle I finally feel this way and miracles are not to be wasted!


Scotty J. ~ "A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can't go anywhere until you change it!"



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hurricane Erik, Mother Nature Just Called

I had a conversation with an old buddy of mine, Hurricane Erik, just the other day. He said he had been enjoying the posts here on "Brass-Knuckle Love Butter" and I appreciated the support. We haven't really caught up in years, so it was nice to chat. His relationship with his woman has sucked the life out of him over its duration. Whatever it is they had has unraveled and left him in a state of complacency. As we chatted, he referred to one of my earlier blog posts "...And We All Fall Down". We shared a moment of suffering, philosophized about the effects of being broken by a woman and came to the conclusion that the shattered pieces of life are better off discarded for dead. It takes a lot of self exploration to reach such an honest conclusion. No matter the circumstances, never give up on YOURSELF.

Yeah, I'm an asshole for making this.

Hurricane Erik graduated from college a decade ago with a degree in creative writing, yet has written nothing in years. Obviously with a moniker like "Hurricane Erik" one could only imagine the incredible approach to life this man possesses. When we were younger men working and socializing together, he took this world by storm on an hourly basis. Though there was the occasional path of destruction left behind him, this nickname was more about his powerful presence of life - a natural zest for testing his own physical and intelligible limits. He was kind of like "Beast" from the X-Men comics. His animal instincts were perfectly symmetric to his human intellect. When we spoke recently, I encouraged him to write about anything. He said he often thinks about putting his recent tales down on paper, but needs a good push.

I didn't know Beast had a Mac.

His rebound story apparently, "..involves death metal, dank beer and two women.." and I believe it partially takes place at a sex dungeon. My review on the cover would simply read, "A renaissance man full of logic, revels in sexual chaos and unveils the difficulties of Man's most challenging quest - Woman (or in his case, Women.)". That's some hardcore visceral shit right there! Hurricane Erik's journey, warding off life's woes through primal experimentation, would easily navigate a common man through the uncharted dark waters of his own soul. I realize "Self-Improvement" seems like the wrong genre to classify this story, but Hurricane Erik is very much himself and easily laughs at the thought of being uncomfortable in his own skin. He is a gifted thinker and storyteller with a gusto for striking a nerve in people. The more controversial someone finds him, the more they could benefit having him in their lives.

Pain is pleasure... Flogging looks dangerous. What is that brush for??

Self discovery sustains creative expression and in Hurricane Erik's case, he is well equipped. I had planned to passively encourage him to start writing again, but I reconsidered that approach when he brought up the sex dungeon. Clearly he likes it rough, so instead I decided to spread on the "Love Butter" and hit him hard with the "Brass-Knuckle". Hence this blog post. It is about time he sees the forest for the trees and embraces the big picture. Writing is a gift and just like his namesake, Hurricane, it comes naturally. Not only do I want him to get inspired, but I look forward to collaborating with him in the future. Lets make it rain, Brother!

Hurricane Erik originally introduced the colorful insights of Charles Bukowski into my life. His eyes would light up every time he spoke of him. It especially affected him when he felt his life coinciding with Bukowski's words. Hurricane Erik connects with people this very same way, so I thought I would end this bizarre prose of encouragement with a few of Bukowski's famous quotes:

-"My ambition is handicapped by my laziness."
-"What matters most is how well you walk though the fire."
-"If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose"

Well spoken.

(ERIK, THIS DRUNK BASTARD DID IT HIS WAY. IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU DO IT YOURS. FUCK COMPLACENCY! GET MOTIVATED!)

Scotty J - "When push comes, fuck shove. Bum rush someone."






































Monday, November 11, 2013

Confessions, Thoughts and Observations of a 30 Year Old Man - Real Life Revelations of Scotty Jacobs

This is a compilation of my own randomness. I have said this before and I don't feel like I will ever abandon this philosophy, "Nonsense makes the most sense.". Others, have their own rigid lives. Everything is planned out and that works for them. To me, that seems very boring. Like, maybe it lacks a wholesome reward, emotionally and spiritually. My goals are less tangible and more focused on the experiences in life and the way it makes us feel. My Dad describes this as being "sensitive" and he's probably right. In a past life, I was one of "The Lost Boys". Today, my lifestyle choice would probably be diagnosed as "Peter Pan Syndrome". I don't blame Toys R Us for this occurrence (Remember? "I don't wanna grow up! I'm a Toys R Us kid..."). It's simply just me being me. I did not attempt to filter my thoughts and feelings today. I stayed true to myself, there is only raw emotion and personal beliefs. So let's go deep, take a glimpse into my soul, keep an open mind and read at your own risk...

  • The thought of being skinny scares the shit out of me. My girth never limits my worth. 
  • Really muscular women do not turn me on. I also hate Jillian Michaels. She is a lunatic. When she dies, she has a room reserved next to the furnace in hell. She IS the BIGGEST "Loser". 
Ruthless Bitch.
  • Birthdays are my favorite holiday. Celebrate them always. 
Some of the best memories are made while celebrating someone great in our lives.
  • When someone uses the term "Jew 'em down", it takes all of the energy inside of me to keep myself from ripping their lips off of their face. (Ignorance is bliss, if you like being a redneck schmuck.)
  • Love is much bigger than any relationship.
  • A dog really is man's best friend.
See what I mean? Actually, this might be more than friendship.
  • All food items are acceptable at any meal. Any time of day, period.
There is no such thing as too much bacon.
  • Mexican heritage, traditions and families have the most incredible dynamics. We should take a lesson.
  • America worries about the safety and emotional well-being of its youths so much nowadays, that we will never let them grow up.
  • I am going to pull a woman's hair while doing her doggy-style. I am not sorry about this.
  • I love my Dad. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever known, yet I'm scared as fuck that I will end up just like him.
He is a handsome guy, it might not be so bad.
  • I have always been able to rely on my fists when words could not come to my rescue.
There's a southpaw in the house, keep your guard up.
  • A broken heart mends faster than shattered pride.
  • Being scandalous is not for me. In fact, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. 
  • When dogs squat to poop, they remind me of a kangaroo.
Striking resemblance!
  • Bruce Lee made more of an impact on this world in his short 32 years than most men could make in a thousand lifetimes.
There is so much more! He was truly remarkable.
  • Listen to R. Kelly, feel sexy and don't be afraid to get a little freaky from time to time.
"I don't see nothin' wroooong, with a little bit of bump 'n' griiiiiind.."
  • I hate how much "work out clothes" cost. I mean...what the fuck? They're no different than pajamas, don't pay for that shit. It's not a fashion contest. (This has to be Jillian's doing...damn it.)
  • Some people make excuses and point fingers. Others seek therapy. I smoke weed, take long walks and go fishing.
If you don't like this one, you can kiss my bass!
  • Religious recruitment is a no no. Seriously. 
  • Shaquille O'Neal is a tremendous role model. Just look at his life since he's been in the spotlight. Rick Reilly wrote about it in the year 2000 and his words still ring true.
  • The best hangover cure: Grab a shovel and keep digging a hole 'til the hangover is gone. Then, go eat a bacon cheeseburger. (You're welcome for this one.)
  • Being drunk is no excuse for: having a shitty attitude, leading someone on, being brutally honest, cheating on a lover, picking a fight or sharing careless words. When the booze wears off, be responsible for your actions.
  • Funerals make me cry. Not only from feeling a loss personally, but especially when I watch the people closest to the Departed.
I love your strength and never ending support, James. You're my brother...always.
  • One of the most amazing transformations I have ever witnessed is a man becoming a father. Something I have yet to personally experience. Truly powerful.
Super Dad Status.
  • Ignoring a woman pushes her right off the edge of sanity. 
  • Mayonnaise. That's right.
  • I have earned a fortune in friendships just by being myself. However, sometimes I am careless with this wealth. My best intentions aren't always good enough and that leaves me uneasy at times.
Nothing, but trouble.
  • Everything worth while has a cost. Financial, physical and/or emotional. Never fear the expense.
  • It makes my day to compliment a stranger. Hopefully it makes their day too.
  • Football is a sport that I love and the media is fucking that up for me.
  • True happiness can only be found within ourselves. It is not achieved by running errands and crossing things off of a checklist. Though doing so is satisfying, it really is moot in the grand scheme of life. 
  • Did I mention mayonnaise? Let me be more specific, Hellman's Mayonnaise.
Brings out the best!
  • Creative Expression. Aside from a random act of kindness, is the most admirable thing a human can do. Not only for themselves, but for those lucky enough to experience it.
It can happen anywhere, at any moment.
  • In high school, I briefly dated a young woman my senior year. She still (to this day) makes me laugh, think and feel like only a handful of people in my life can do. I am grateful for her friendship. No matter the distance I will always have her back, regardless of the circumstances.
I promise she's classier than this when I'm not around her, but not by much...
  • Heart and Soul will always have an upper hand to the Brain. To feel something is much greater than understanding it. An I.Q. is really just a number.
  • I write "Believe in Yourself" on post-it notes and stick them in places where I can't miss them.

Perfect reminder.
  • I have been provoked to the point where I have said a lot of nasty things to someone important in my life. Someone I loved very much. The next day, I felt awful. Alcohol poisoning would have been a walk in the park compared to this emotional hangover. Know yourself and don't let anyone else's actions make you forget who you are as a person.
This is EXACTLY what that feels like.
  • I love the word "fuck" in all of its possible variations.
  • The best time to awaken is just before dawn. I step outside to be in the moment when the sun is rising and the moon is setting. it is beyond euphoric. There is this genuine sense of hope and clarity. It feels like all of the world's problems could be solved in that very moment.
Good morning.
  • I like hash browns, hashish, hashing out details and corned beef hash. I hate hash-tag, it's called a fucking "number sign". Thanks for ruining it Twitter...jerks. (I know it's here to stay. I am just having a rough time embracing this one.)
  • A woman's imperfections are quite the contrary. I love when a woman is unique and different, it's sexy as hell.
  • At the same time I'll admit, I have a weakness for cinnamon skin, dark espresso hair and dangerous curves. Honestly, who doesn't?
Can I have a sip of that?
  • I love the ditch diggers, baggage handlers and burger flippers of the world. You're my kind of people.
  • There is nothing more rewarding for me than writing. I've been doing it for myself since I was a kid. Only recently, I have found myself sharing it with the world. My focus is not only to stay inspired and be entertaining, but to be inspirational. Dreams do come true. Tell me about yours and hold nothing back. I will encourage you, look for answers with you and be by your side to overcome any fears or doubts about pursuing them. I am willing to be a stepping stone on your path to reaching your own dreams. (Even though I still believe you can do it on your own.) 

My life is a work in progress. These statements are merely a reflection of my current inner-self. At any given time they are subject to change. Moses certainly did not come down from Mt. Sinai with these carved in stone (However, I have seen a burning bush once. Please remember to always put out your cigarettes.). On the surface, there is no rhyme or reason to all of these. I haven't traveled the world over, but I have visited the hearts of many individuals (my own included.). It's there that I've witnessed indescribable beauty, darkness and misdirection, a higher purpose, sincerity, compassion, addiction, empathy, hate, sadness, the battle of good and evil, will power, fight or flight, comfort, fear, gains, losses, selfishness, selflessness, content, happiness, the "light" and most importantly, love (and that's my short list.). All aspects of human capabilities and emotions derive from the heart. It is our life force. When it stops beating, the rest of our body shuts down and life as we know it expires. This is not morbid, it's simply the truth. Live life to the fullest!


OCEANS by John Butler kept me inspired while writing this post. I was absolutely speechless the first time I watched this video. It's an acoustical journey like no other. His ragged jeans, his old beat up guitar and his amazing talent are perfect. I found myself smiling while I watched and listened. Please, enjoy!

OCEANS - John Butler - 2012 Studio Version


Scotty J ~ "My elders said shine your light on the world. Shine your light for the world to see." - Mos Def



















































Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To Whom It May Concern

This morning I woke up thinking about my future wife. Do I already know her? Nope, and I am not jumping to any conclusions about who she actually could be either. When we reach thirty years old and become single, we tend to get jaded about relationships. For those of you that know me well... This potential woman of my future will, undoubtedly, be the most understanding woman in the world. That, or I will just have one hardcore bitch of a Labrador Retriever named "Tumbles". Regardless, here is my parting love-letter to the fictional, future "Mrs. Scott Jacobs":

Dear Love,

   I knew it was meant to be the day our eyes met. There has always been something magical about the produce section at the market. If it weren't for the eggplant you fumbled onto the ground, we may have never even noticed one another.
   We both laughed as we knocked heads, trying to snag it off of the floor before anyone else noticed. I tried to apologize, but you grabbed my wrist while looking into my eyes and beat me to it. I didn't even hesitate after that, I asked you out for coffee. You obliged.
   Once our shared hatred for $5 coffee drinks came to light, we held nothing back. Stories of our past experiences in life consumed the next couple of hours. We talked about sunsets over the lake, friends that we had lost, and the "little things" that inspired us. I wouldn't trade that conversation for the universe. We were higher on each other than any drug could have ever taken us. You invited me over for dinner. I obliged.
   We walked up to your apartment, our hands clasped together. We kissed before you could even turn the key. To question that action would have surely meant this would not last, but we never looked back. Together we made dinner, took a long walk and let our hearts meet under the moonlight. Our heartbeats amplified with a warm embrace and spoke to us both that night.
   Love has no boundaries. And, as long as we've been together, neither did we. We've reached for the stars, swam with the dolphins, panned for gold, fed the homeless, got lost in the woods and played in the rain. There was nothing in our way. As we grew older, the world had changed. However, our love had not. It grew stronger and so had our bond.
   In our twilight years, we have had nothing to confess. Except for the fact that we have had no regrets. As I reached my departing hour, you were here by my side. Your hand on my wrist and your eyes locked on mine. Remember? It's just like the first time we met. We laughed like always and saved our tears for sadness, refusing lament. That very moment our souls lit up the sky. This love of ours is eternal and we'll meet again soon. We have shared our last "I love you", but we could never say "goodbye".

We are the dream that came true.

Always and Forever,
Scott

p.s. I always loved that you kept the name "Aniston". Oh and don't forget to give Tumbles a belly rub after her walk, she's crazy about it!
 






Friday, November 1, 2013

Music and Me

   My blog entry from last week created quite a stir. Friends and strangers alike, sent messages sharing their stories of lost love and words of encouragement. Honestly I didn't expect it, but I absolutely appreciate it. Unfortunately, there was one person who found my post atrocious. My former lover unleashed a wrath of emotions, disapproving of my topic choice.
   I fell back on the one thing that has always carried me through tough times, music. I don't make it. I can't play any instruments. However, I am always listening to music. The two universal languages in the world are love and music. We all can relate to both. Music has the ability to provide answers to the most difficult questions we ask ourselves. When I'm not discovering new music, you can find me jamming out to ALL of the classics. Every genre offers something unique. Over the last week of my travels I've listened to an abundance of music.
   FUNKtion's "Whatcha 'Gon Do" has been one of the most powerful remedies to my current life situation. Lead singer Andrew Schrock brings comfort to his listeners' ears by helping them move on from lost love. He pours his heart out about the shortcomings of people in failing relationships. In the chorus he asks, "Whatcha 'gon do when love is lost?" He then follows up with the simple and obvious answer, "Pay the price and accept this cost." There's no better to move on, than to believe in these words. After he gives us the answer we need to move on, he asks, "Will you be lost?" My answer... Not anymore Brother, thank you for the guidance.
Click here to listen:

   I have always been in awe by how well we relate to music. Currently at the top of my news feed on Facebook, a friend posted, "As I was pulling into the Parkview campus parking ramp, Sweet Emotion came on the radio. Now all I need is to be driving "The Judge". It's a Dazed and Confused kinda day." That just makes me smile. Every time I hear the song "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith, I think of that movie too. If I could pack all of my buddies into a car and head for the Moon-tower, trust me I would. Most of us that know the movie "Dazed and Confused" probably feel this way too. It is such a great flick with an amazing soundtrack.

Trailer for "Dazed and Confused"

Reminiscing about this movie makes me wish that I kept this mustache:


Pucker up ladies!

   Have you been listening to music today? Did it remind of you someone? Motivate you? Mellow you? Make you sing and dance? or even make you feel like yourself? I am willing to bet it did and I hope it always will. Let the music play and enjoy the soundtrack for life my friends. 


"MUSIC FOR LIFE"

HI-TEK featuring J-Dilla, Nas, Common, Marsha, Busta Rhymes

Scotty J - Music is for life.




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

...And We All Fall Down

   Yesterday, the person inside me died. Leaving nothing behind, but the shell of a man. My heart was infected by the loss of a woman's love, who I sought for many years. The last few months hollowed me out, I forgot who I am. I forgot how to live.
   We ceased living together months ago and during those first few, I was strong. I ignored angry, threatening and sad text messages. The kind sent with hurtful intentions. My days right then were spent in the sun at my family's cottage. I've never felt lonely in the hot sun. The heat rubbed my shoulders and warmed my heart. The light always made my soul glow. I made new acquaintances as old friendships rekindled. Everyone came to visit me. We fished, drank, sat around the fire and got stoned. It inspired me to write and I applied for school. Life was good.
   As the seasons turned, so did my attitude. I wasn't being honest to my heart. I broke down and responded to my former lover's "summer's worth" of texts with an email. I still had many feelings for her and let her know the messages she sent did not make it simple to communicate. She was my best friend and I didn't want either of us to be hurt by one another. We both let our guards down and began to text message back and forth. She made me laugh. My heart then slapped my brain and said, "Hey, are you awake up there? If you haven't noticed, we're in love. We could really use your help, man!". Unfortunately, my brain didn't take the kinds of actions my heart expected.
   I still had things at our apartment that I needed to retrieve, considering I don't live there now. My grand idea was to drive forty minutes there, fetch my stuff and hopefully get to spend some time with her. It worked out great. We decided to go out for the evening, one thing eventually led to another and we had a "sleepover". I left the next day feeling high-spirited, even though the car was full of my shit from our life together.
   Over that week, we lightly chatted and I was happy to have her back in my life. The week after was different. In an unconvincing tone, she told me that she just wanted to be friends and didn't want to carry on an intimate relationship. My heart dropped and knocked the wind out of me at that moment. Our conversation ended awkwardly and I hung up the phone.
   After a couple of days, I wrote another email. My love for her is the truest I've ever known. I could never bare witness to her in the arms of another man. A real life friendship could not exist for me with her, under those terms. I poured my heart out and hoped she would reconsider working on "Her and I" as an "Us". A few days passed, no response. I was feeling crushed. I began making plans to get the apartment we have together off of my plate completely. I sent her a text and to my surprise she responded with concern. She even apologized for not replying to my email. I had caught her off guard and she did not know what to say. We planned to meet up and talk about it. My brain had the bright idea, to throw in there, that I would grab the rest of my stuff that didn't fit in my car the last time.
   This week, I came to our apartment in the middle of the afternoon. It was nice to be "home". She had passed a test she was worried about for school that morning and we were happy to see each other. She asked me if I could explain my feelings about us only being friends together, better. It only took few words, but was difficult to spit out. I said, "If we can't work on us, I can't be your friend.". We sat on the couch and verbally disagreed, but our actions did not.
   We made love, went out to our favorite restaurant, watched movies and continued to make love the rest of the night. We had coffee early in the morning and she gave me a kiss before she left for a class she was required to attend. I told her I would stick around to fix the headlight on her car and have lunch with her. When she returned, we curled up in bed one more time before running our final errands. We both felt amazing when we left the house.
   At lunch, I finally asked her about a response to my email. She told me she didn't think she could try working on "Us", I lost my appetite. When we left the restaurant it was beautiful outside. Michigan's infamous autumn colors made it feel less chilly. We got in the car and she turned on her Pandora radio. The song that played was "First Day of My Life" by Bright Eyes.
   I stared out the window and listened to the lyrics. He sang about true love. Just after a minute into the song he sings these words, "...but I know where I want to go. And so I thought I'd let you know, that these things take forever. I especially am slow, but I realize that I need you and wondered if I could come home..". I lost it right then and started to weep. All of the feelings I was experiencing were exposed with those few words. I cried like a bitch, it was not manly of me at all. She noticed quickly, placed her hand perfectly into mine, held it tight and cried right with me.


   As the song requested, I made it home. However when I got there, I ended up grabbing the rest of my shit and loaded into my car. I told her I am sorry I couldn't be her friend. I also told her if she found the will in her heart for "Us", to never be afraid to let me know. She walked down to the car with me and we passionately kissed. I drove away as she walked up the stairs back to our door, excuse me, her door.
   From there, I drove an hour to a friend's house and got drunk on whiskey. I ended up making an ass out of myself, put a strain on a great friendship and came back to the cottage. This morning I woke up, started writing and soon felt the bottom beneath my feet.
   I've finally hit it, the bottom. After a summer of free-falling, I can finally stand. The future, for now, will be only mine. I still long to share it with my lost Love, and I know that may never happen. I am going to hit the road for a little while and be the man that I long to be. I once stated, "Living is fucking cool no matter the age.". Maybe my brain was right after all and just perhaps today is the "First Day of My Life".




~Scotty J. - That really says it all, thanks Mr. Fitzgerald.


 
 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bravo! Unplugged

   When fall butts into summer, our Michigan days turn windy and dismal as we cuss out our favorite football teams every week. Seasonal micro-brewed beer is what's done best in these parts. Michigan is 5th in the nation when it comes to its 131 established breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. These places are all about reaping what we sow, making harvest time a brewer's dream. I was undoubtedly down, when a buddy of mine and his wife asked me to grab a beer with them. Little did we know, our evening would take quite an exciting turn.



   Nick Chard, a mutual friend of ours, is the manager and brew master at Bravo! Restaurant and Cafe in Kalamazoo, MI. We met here to try his brand new seasonal brew, Pumpkin-Pie-P.A., and it was phenomenal. As our friend so cleverly described it, "Just enough spice, to make it nice!". He was right, the spice was so nice, the pumpkin prominent and yet it still quenched our thirst like a refreshing beer. My hope was to enjoy this beer, a couple of other craft brews, take some notes and blog about this booming industry in our great state. However, Bravo! Restaurant and Cafe had more to offer than just delicious beer on a warm fall evening.

   Executive Chef and partner at the restaurant, Shawn Hagen, was hosting one of his many themed cooking classes. Without hesitation, we accepted the offer to join the group for the night. My buddy, his wife and I immersed ourselves among 20 or so strangers. Everyone seemed adventurous and enthused by the "Spicing Up Your Life" theme for the night. Then again, it could have just been the wine service. Chef Shawn commenced with his spiel. He discussed each menu item and the recipes in their entirety (mainly focusing on the spices and marinades used to prepare them.). A half hour passed and it was time to start cooking like an All-Star Chef. 




   We broke down into small groups, each taking on a food prep station. We were making 8 different gourmet recipes all at the same time. The menu was chocked full of flavor: Cajun Beer Shrimp, Grilled Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Roasted Corn Relish, Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Soy Wasabi and Sesame Seeds, Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sliders, Oriental Salmon with Bok Choy Slaw, Sauteed Beef Tenderloin with Bearnaise Sauce, Blueberry BBQ Chicken Thighs, and Sauteed Whitefish with White Wine Reduction Sauce. Needless to say, when it was all over, we didn't go hungry.
   The next 45 minutes were hilarious. This was a hands on cooking class with the perfect mix of casual supervision, kick-ass recipes and plenty of wine. Chef Shawn busted out the Weber Grill for this class and even walked inside to show everyone the chimney full of hot coals. As he so enthusiastically put it, "It's like a jet-engine!". It was great to see him walking around with that flaming hot apparatus. Everyone worked as a team, laughed off any mistakes and made some delicious food. I know I wasn't the only one that worked up a sweat in there. 


(Damn, I look creepy right here. Note the glisten.)


   We portioned the food when it was done cooking and plated each item on a heavy white platter. Chef Shawn congratulated the whole group and addressed the flavors we should be tasting in each dish. After that, we served ourselves up buffet style. We sat around a few linen covered banquet tables, wearing aprons, admiring the delicacies we just created and made friends with our new cooking partners. We all had a blast and learned something while we were at it. You know, it was really just like "home-ec" for grown-ups. My friends and I agreed, we would definitely do it again.
   It made for the perfect impromptu evening. We came there to enjoy one of Nick's handcrafted seasonal beers. Only to have left with our thirsts quenched AND our culinary skills sharpened. Bravo! Restaurant and Cafe has always been a favorite of many people. They are a staple in Kalamazoo and all of Michigan. Recently, they were voted the "Best Italian Cafe & Brunch" in the state. Damn good work guys!
   I believe Chef Shawn holds these classes a couple times a month, all with different themes and focuses. My friends and I agreed, it would be a great change of pace to get a larger group of old (and new) friends together for some socializing with a twist. Throw some of those delicious micro-brews into the mix and it's a party for your palette too!
   Thanks Nick. Thanks Shawn. Also thanks to your helpers Joe and Angie for keeping us in line and cleaning up after us. We can't stop bragging about all of you, and we'll be back to see you really soon!

Scotty J ~ Bravo! ....Bravo!



Bravo! Restaurant & Cafe - Best Italian Cafe & Brunch - Michigan 2013


https://www.facebook.com/BravoRestaurant

http://www.bravokalamazoo.com/
   

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is There Anymore Room for Me.. In Those Jeans?

   Have you ever had one of those moments where you've made somewhat of a regretful discovery? You know what I mean... like walking in on someone going to the bathroom, seeing your buddy's girl out with another guy, or sharting yourself. It's nothing catastrophic, but it makes you uncomfortable nonetheless. I had a brief moment of this earlier in the week. It happened when I was pawing through the glove box in my folks' car and I came across this eloquently titled compilation of music:
   That's right... "Get UR Dick Wett". I'm assuming the extra "t" on the word "Wett" implies an overly abundant amount of moisture. Either way, I was a touch mortified at first. 
   Upon reading this title, a very regretful mental image came to mind. I know we all don't really want to think about our parents like that, but due to the creatively graphic name of the album.. I was caught off-guard. After a moment, I took a deep breath and loaded it into the stereo. I don't know what prompted me to do that, I'd guess my love of music is responsible for making that decision. I had to know if it was an album worthy of its moniker.
   This was a soulful mix. Romantically charged with the sounds of D'Angelo, The Roots, Ginuwine, OutKast and The Temptations. I'm talking about some serious "baby-making" music. A couple of candles and a bottle of wine was all it needed. Forget dinner, you'll be busy "Surfin' and Turfin" your woman all night to these tunes. Listening to the CD in its entirety actually made for a grand experience.   As much as we don't want to think about old people "doin' it"; when I get older I still want to be knockin' boots. I'm sure you do too.
   Lovemaking, taggin' or just boring (and literal) ol' sexual intercourse. No matter what you call it, it makes us feel incredibly human. It's hot, passionate, a little dirty ( or a lot... if you're lucky), natural and gratifying beyond words. These notions shared with someone else at the very same moment make life so real on a whole different level. I'm pretty sure it's the original inspiration for "teamwork". Maybe the best way to describe it is, "Sex - naughty and necessary.".
   After listening to this mix one more time, it dawned on me that a roommate of mine had actually made it. We were only 19 years old and I'm sure just about anything would've helped our game back then (except for that blatant title, maybe.). Who knows how long it's been in my parents' possession, but clearly they didn't find a need to get rid of it. Hopefully, they enjoyed the music and maybe felt a little inspired by it all. 
   We all deserve to enjoy someone on this level. There is always a time between two people where words do not suffice, so let the music play. Go ahead, put in your best "Get UR Dick Wett" mixtape. Listen and relax. Let your guard down, forget the drama and just be as physically human as possible. Make love today, define love tomorrow.

-Scotty J-  "If you don't like sweets, eat something salty."
   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Doggy-style

   For the last couple of months I've had the joy of bunking with Bailey. She's my yellow Labrador. I got her for the holidays during my junior year of high school. She's just shy of 14 years old now. That's damn near ancient in dog years. Her sight isn't what it used to be and her breathing is rough. Yet, she still wakes up every morning happily wagging her tail with a smile on her face.
   She's always been with my folks for all of these years. Her days have been spent eating fancy cheeses and dry aged meats with Mom and Dad. Living the high life, traveling back and forth between their townhouse and the cottage. It's safe to say, she could make a spoiled dog jealous.
   A dog's companionship is insurmountable, even to the heartbreak we face at the end of their short life. They say a dog is the only animal that loves you more than it loves itself. In my experience, this couldn't be more true. Dogs want to please and be shown affection. They want to be a part of your "everyday" and are always sad to see you leave the house (I always tell Bailey, "Don't worry, I'll be back in just a little bit," and then she'll lay her head down. Showing her disapproval of my departure without her company.). I'm sure you know what I mean.
   A dog's sense of adventure is what I think is its most admirable quality. Every moment of everyday is an adventure, no matter how strict of a routine. Just the daily rounds of incessantly sniffing the yard and marking their territory never loses its excitement. They make us proud for being so dedicated to our homes. Some dogs are so adventurous they even eat their own poop. It's completely gross and they're aware of how taboo it is for us humans to witness (Bailey does this too. She always trots away with her tail between her legs, but licks her chops so proudly at the same time. BAD BAILEY!!). Really though, think about it. A dog's life is so awesome, she will happily and willingly eat her own poop when she has plenty of other options on which to snack.
   I hate admitting this, but Bailey's days are numbered. She can hardly breathe when she's overly excited and her stiff hips make it difficult to stay mobile for too long. The cottage is the perfect place for her to live out her days. These last couple of months, for me, would have been much more difficult if my parents had not left her to keep an eye on me. Her and I have gone fishing, moonlit booze cruising, watered the flowers and occasionally shuffled over to the neighbors just to say "hey". We both wake ourselves up when we snore and we love eating a midnight snack. This morning we split a New York strip at breakfast (I know what you're thinking... "Spoiled Bitch".). I'm going to miss my buddy when she's gone and I'm grateful for all of the time we've spent together this summer.
   Dog is man's best friend. Bailey is most definitely mine. Earlier, I wrote about a dog's sense of adventure being its most admirable quality. Well, now that I think about it; their ability to make humans happy is most admirable. All of our secrets are safe with our dog, food dropped never goes to waste, and we dream freely knowing our dog is here to protect us from "the things that go 'bump' in the night".
   Bailey and I would love it, if you would do us a favor when you get home to your pooch today. Throw a couple chunks of cheese in their supper from us and thank them for always being there through the good and the bad. If there's one animal that deserves to live forever, it's our pups. Bow-wow-wow-yippee-yo-yippee-yay!



Scotty J. & Bailey ~ We'd both do just about anything for some damn good cheese.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Lake Makes Me Wet

   "The Lake". Now, what comes to mind? Swimming. Fishing. Floating. Winning. Here in Michigan, it's a way of life. The term itself holds a special place in our hearts. We use it so casually and yet it means so much to us. "The Lake" offers us endless fun and relaxation. Usually leaving us wet and refreshed with a positive outlook on our lives. 
   My most memorable experiences in life revolve around The Lake. We lived in Dallas, TX when I was in elementary school. Natural lakes were hard to come-by in those parts. My mother is from Michigan, so we made a trip to 'The Mitten' every summer. My parents, older brother and I in the car for 20 hours. Laughing, farting and jamming out to the first 2 volumes of Cruisin' Classics on cassette tape. Talk about your ultimate pre-game session (Ooohhhhhh The Jacobs!). Upon arrival, we would change into our swim-suits at record-breaking speed. We would take to the water twice as fast, blazing a path to The Lake. We didn't need the world at the palm of our hands because we had the lake at our fingertips. Simply put... It was perfect. Eventually, we relocated to Michigan.
   Once we settled into our house, fishing became a weekly event. Dad would take us to my Grandfather's place less than an hour from home. When we got there, the fish always seemed to be waiting for us right at the end of the dock. Grandfather was a retired educator, therefore The Lake was his massive classroom that he shared with us. We learned how to appreciate The Lake over those years. He taught my Dad, brother and I that the best venue for bonding was The Lake. At that point in our lives, fishing became tradition. The Lake started to become OUR way of life. 
   Nowadays my folks have a cottage out in the country on a quiet and rustic lake. I've been fortunate enough to spend the last 6 weeks living here. I've been having a blast with friends and family when they've come to visit The Lake. Hell, I've been sitting lakeside the whole time I've been writing this blog.  I'm looking forward to the rest of my summer feeling inspired here on The Lake. To this very day, one look at the water still makes me feel like a rowdy-ass 8 year old kid. My heart can't help it. The Lake is my first love and I'll never get over her. However, Her and I are open to threesomes and the occasional "group" thing because she's beautiful like that. The Lake is never a selfish lover. In fact, I've got to go. She's calling me now.... and we hope to see you soooon!

Scotty J. ~ I hope I got you with this one. Hook, line and sinker.
   

   
   

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Patriot Act

   Last week, here in America, we just had a birthday. I always look forward to Independence Day. The good American people love to celebrate. Most of us seem to celebrate the entire week. Spending our days fishing, golfing, exploring, playing horseshoes and barbecuing 'til nightfall. After soaking up the sun all day, we relax around the fire. Fireworks, s'mores and strong drink fuel our entertainment into the wee morning hours and we rejoice as patriotic Americans. I'm aware there are variations to celebrating, but I'm not getting into that.
   I mostly celebrated floating on a boat last week. Bourbon in my hand and the oddly enjoyable aroma of bottle rocket fog filled my nostrils. I had thought to myself, this is the most remarkable holiday we celebrate in this country. We put all of our petty shit aside for the meantime. We even make eye-contact, smile and have a long-forgotten respect towards our fellow Americans. Proudly acknowledging our common denominator and moving on with our celebration. I then wondered what kept us from being like this all year long?
   There's a part of the Declaration of Independence that reads like this...  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Did you read that? "...the pursuit of Happiness.". It's our duty, as American citizens, to find our happiness. Not share with others how we have such miserable lives. Misery is a fucking plague. Its toxic to our happiness and our existence.
   I'm sure when Thomas Jefferson and the gang were drafting the Declaration of Independence, they did not anticipate future Americans being heavily medicated. All feeling too fat, ugly and depressed to carryout their duty as American citizens. Damn, we're some vain assholes. The "Declaration" was so eloquently written. It has such a thoughtful tone toward respecting our fellow citizens' as individuals and human beings that vanity should have been a feeling long since forgotten in this great nation.
   The 56 courageous men that put this document together all made serious sacrifices to bring their shared vision to fruition. Some of them were even tortured and killed by the British. This is so we could float on our boats (cocktail in hand), be neighborly, respect one another's Americana, and pursue the things that make us happy as individuals. (This does not mean resort to Facebook posting "woe-is-me" statuses when your perception of self is weak and you want to blame everyone, but yourself for it. That is just being down right un-American. If you're considering making posts like that, I'd appreciate if you went ahead and renounced your citizenship, packed your shit up and moved elsewhere. You're just shitting on what a great way of life we're intended to live.)
   Come on Americans! We are better than being only part-time patriots. Let's take that mutual respect we all shared last week as proud Americans and maintain it. It is the foundation to our happiness. It trumps vanity and misery. In fact, it's the foundation to everything American. Our forefathers empowered us to believe in ourselves. How fuckin' cool is that?? Hey, thanks Tom, you guys rock!
   Now I'm sure what I just wrote here will ruffle some feathers. Well.....good. Some of you will say, "I have freedom of speech and I can say whatever I want." or "Fuck you, don't read my Facebook posts then." and that's fine by me. However, this is just my interpretation of our situation. It's an intentional kick in the ass to hopefully jump-start "the pursuit of Happiness" our forefathers expected of us. Don't just be grateful to be American, but show it to your fellow Americans. Spread the positives and abandon the negatives. Lead by example, it's up to all of us. This is our home and it's the greatest place on earth. I love it here. AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!

Scotty J. ~ "My favorite American is a proud American."

Here's a link to the Declaration of Independence. I thought we could all use a refresher:  http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

 
 
 
 
   
 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Singled Out

   There's no good feeling about initially breaking up with someone. That is, until you have a moment to reflect on the relationship. My girlfriend and I have had a few breakups throughout our time together, but have always found the means to get back together.
   She had a daughter and a cat when we first started to date. We eventually became a family and, of course, added to the excitement with a puppy. As time had gone on in our relationship, less things brought me joy. We eventually just became roommates instead of lovers. We were even incapable of agreeing on what to eat for dinner. This is when we both had to stop lying to ourselves. 
   Last week we didn't break up, we broke free. She gets to live how she wants with all of her own terms and forever changing conditions (daughter, cat and puppy included.). It won't be easy. I will miss them all, but I certainly won't miss feeling like I'm never doing anything right for them. More importantly, for myself. I can no longer walk around with a heart full of fear.
   I don't have a typical view on life. "Nonsense makes the most sense", that's just how I see things. I love fishing, art, music, things built from stone, urban exploration, fighting, cooking, eating, laughing and fucking swearing. I'm great at being silly and having a cow. Life deserves to be discovered everyday. I had completely lost sight of that. 
   One thing is for sure, I've always found it easier to capture the attention of a crowd than of an individual. Which makes me believe that I'm not necessarily cut out for the typical relationship. I love just putting "it" out there for everyone. I'm not hung up on personal discretion. (Now I do believe, when two people confide in one another, discretion is imperative. That is altogether a different situation.) I want to shower the masses with words and thoughts; laughing and making love to everyone. Hopefully someone out there will be inspired to do something great because I reached them. I'm not intending to be selfish, but I need the whole world in my life. From the terror in the Middle East to the majesty of the Great Lakes... I want you all.
   I know there's a lot of people out there that think they want to be in relationships. They suffer from long lonely nights, thinking about someone special with whom they could share their life. Well guess what... the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fucking fence. I'm glad I won't be spreading unhappiness around my house anymore. I will undoubtedly miss them, but they will have a better life without me. It's strange coming to that realization, but for the first time (in a long time) I'm looking forward to my future.
   So here's to us discovering life, making mistakes, using our hearts and finding our way. We have only a short time allowed here on this planet and we all deserve to enjoy the experience. 

-Scotty J ~ Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes, and shame on you if you don't believe it.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

If Cancer Were a Man, I'd Kick His Ass

   In January I walked away from a promising job opportunity for something much more important, family. My cousin had fallen ill and needed some help running his business....immediately. Thus making my departure unique, yet unprofessional.
   I went to work the morning after my cousin called and asked for my help. I started the day like any other, unlocked the doors, shoveled the sidewalk, mopped the showroom, and coordinated deliveries and pick-ups with my co-workers. I shot a message to the owner regarding an important conversation we needed to have with one another. He showed up late morning after a meeting, and I dropped the bomb.
   I explained to him that my cousin had cancer and was in the fight for his life. I also explained that my cousin's wife was pregnant with their first child and his soon to be growing family needed my help. I thanked the owner for the job opportunity and apologized for my abrupt departure. After an awkward handshake and a couple of careless words of frustration from him, I was out the door. I started working for my cousin 30 hours later in the Grand Rapids area.
   Fortunately for all of us, my girlfriend was already commuting to Grand Rapids for med school. After only working for a week, we signed a lease and moved our family. This was to make life presumably easier on us all, but there was one thing for which I was not prepared to handle...chemotherapy.
   The overwhelming feeling of helplessness I had when I first saw him after a treatment cannot be explained. I could easily adjust to the new hours, learning how to deliver bread around greater Grand Rapids in an unreliable truck, shitty weather, having a new home in a new place, and lending my cousin and his family a helping hand. However, witnessing my cousin go through chemo was a challenge I hadn't anticipated. He is only a month older than me, intelligent and most of all, hardworking. He doesn't condone violence, loves sports, music and relaxing at his cottage. He lives a good and honest life. Making me ask myself, "Why him?". There's no real answer to this question, it's just a part of being human. Some of us are more at risk than others. One thing is for sure, life is too short to waste time looking for that stupid fucking answer. The cancer was here, chemo was the route..end of story, time to be positive.
   During the treatments it would sound like they were just sucking the life right out of him. His voice soft and weak without an ounce of enthusiasm. Most of his down time between treatments was spent in bed. The shades drawn, TV volume nearly inaudible, and what little conversations he had were prolonged by rounds of vomiting. The kind of ralphing that makes your whole body lurch, straining every human muscle to just work up a little bit of spittle. It seemed like the world's worst dry-heaves. He said going through chemo makes you feel like a zombie. I would pay him a visit and think to myself... "This is what getting better looks like? Damn it cancer! You're a real motherfucker!". Seriously, if cancer were a person; I would give him a wedgie, put gum in his hair, kick him in the balls, and throw him down the stairs....then I would proceed to kick his ass. Nonetheless, I never shared my fear for my cousin's fight with him. Instead, I tried to do what I think it is that I do best, make him laugh.
   Even through all of those weak moments he still found his smile. He still found a way to follow up my cheer with intelligent comebacks and quips. He would even make ME laugh. We found our way laughing through the treatments, laughing through his recovery and laughing last weekend at the lake. In April, on his birthday he got the 2nd best gift ever, his cancer was in remission. Just a week and a half ago he got the best gift he could ever have, a beautiful baby girl. Words can't even begin to describe my excitement for him and his new adventures. Just this week he finally got back to work on his own, giving me more time and energy to spend on a few neglected things.
   All of the time spent these last few months on being there for him and his family has put other occurrences in my life on hold. I missed a handful of loved ones' birthdays, a chance to sign-up for men's league softball, mending an old friendship that's long overdue, and writing for this blog. Sorry everyone, I had some shit to do!
   One week from today, I will be turning 30. Wholeheartedly after all of this, I'm looking forward to it. People say it's all down hill after 30 (or insert any age.). Well... fuck them. I don't have time for that negative shit. If it is downhill, then I'll make sure to pack my "saucer" for my 30th birthday party. It's going to be the downhill ride of my life! Seriously folks, stop tricking the youth with these cryptic statements. We're better than that. Living is fucking cool no matter the age. How we choose to perceive life is up to each and every one of us. Find your smile!

Peace and Love,
Scotty J. ~ Travel with a knife and a smile.
 
 
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Declaration of Cheeseburger

   Cheeseburgers.....let's talk about 'em. Juicy meat...mmmm....creamy melted cheese, oozing with every bite,  all on a bun baked in heaven. Eating a delicious cheeseburger will make your soul glow as bright as the flames that cooked it to perfection. I have a serious passion here folks and it's been lifelong. The beauty of this delectable dish is it's willingness to be personalized to the liking of your belly. The possibilities when it comes to building a burger are seemingly endless. Let's just travel down this path for a bit, starting with the basics. Our beloved cheeseburger has 3 obvious components: meat patty, cheese, and bun.
   The meat is what we slap between the buns. Ground beef is what I would call the traditional meat choice. It's how a burger came into existence and deserves to be enjoyed first and foremost. The beef alone can differ from ground chuck all the way to filet (for those fancy-pants burger lovers.). How the meat is prepared is entirely a separate element from the type of meat itself. Grilled, broiled, cast ironed, George Foreman-ed (yes, I know people still using these things.) to the temperature of your liking and thickness all bring the meat a different kind of flavor. Cheeseburgers have evolved since the early days, offering other variations of ground meat too. Turkey, Chicken, Pork ground and given a good hand patty have slipped their way between the buns as well. Leaving me pleasantly surprised. Odd, I know.
   Cheese. Goddamn. By itself can make or break a man. Some so sharp, sticky, and pungent. Others creamy, nutty and smooth. Cheese (when paired with anything) is like a designated driver for other foods, safely guiding them into that happy place we call our stomachs. Applying this element to the meat will give it some direction. For example, American cheese will add a subtle creaminess and leave the meat simple yet rich. While a pepper-jack cheese will spice things up creating a level of excitement with every bite. Blue cheese's robust flavor is delightfully mellowed by the hearty meat and swiss just gives it a loving hug while it gently melts around it. Shit, I can hardly contain myself now and we're not even through the basics! I will NOT pardon my gastronomical arousal folks, we're talking about cheeseburgers here!
   Whew! Alright, we are on to the buns. Fluffy, fresh and delicious. The bun is extremely underrated and personally I believe is what "makes" the cheeseburger. We could have the most perfectly cooked meat, complemented by an amazing cheese and get robbed by a poor quality bun. For those of you who have never considered this, you've been cheating your cheeseburger. The regular white bun has it's place in the world of burgers, but doesn't maximize the burger's potential. From there it's kaiser rolls and sesame seed buns (now we're moving in the right direction.). For some extra flavor, get into the onion buns and poppy seed buns. These are great for supplementing a cheeseburger that may have limited access to other toppings. There's rye bread, grilled of course, for all of the patty melt lovers out there...mmm. To go above and beyond in the "realm of bun" I highly recommend hitting the bakery. Their signature buns, breads, and rolls will turn the cheeseburger into a love machine for our mouths. If you couldn't really tell, I'm fuckin' obsessed over here. It's almost gross.
   The toppings, oh sweet Jesus, soooo many toppings. Simply put though, we've got proteins, the garden, and spreadable sauce. Bulk-up the cheeseburger with some extra protein. Bacon, ham, black bean, chili, shaved steak, fried egg, smoked salmon, peanut-butter, etc. all have their places between the buns. The garden keeps it fresh with its lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, avocados, olives, pineapple, mushrooms, peppers, herbs and all of their earthly buddies. The spreadable sauces create depth and bind all the components of the cheeseburger together. Mayo, ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, pepper jam, alfredo, garlic spread, and ranch are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to spreadable sauces. Honestly, the kind of sauce and how it's spread, is between ourselves and the cheeseburger. It's an intimate moment when the sauce gets spread, it's always right before you touch the cheeseburger to your tongue.
   Lately I've been asking people about the cheeseburgers they prefer to eat. I tell you what, I'm impressed. Cardiac arrest aside, we have discovered truly impressive ways of channeling our cheeseburgers through our hearts. I will eat a cheeseburger in all of its possible variations. My approach is loving yet fearless. From the fast food quick pick me up cheeseburgers, to diner style comfort cheeseburgers, sliders to get a fix or fresh off the grill - cheeseburgers are perfect. Casual to gourmet, monogamy is not an option when it comes to this amazing finger food. I have to have them all!
   I realize there's absolutely one kind of "cheeseburger" I left out of the mix. It's the damn veggie burger. Seriously people, veggie burger? I don't care how the veggies are prepped, they will never become their own burger. I respect that you vegetarians are trying to claim a piece of the greatest food on earth, but you're not bullshittin' me on this one. Veggies go ON burgers. There, I said it. Now go back to enjoying your "veggie patty sandwiches" and ogle in envy our real cheeseburgers when you see 'em. (I still respect you as a people, and you hope you come back to our side someday. You're missing out!)
   Enough ranting already, here's the perfect cheeseburger for a guy like me. A half pound grass-fed beef patty seasoned with kosher salt, cracked pepper, garlic and teriyaki sauce. Grilled to almost medium, leaving me a deep pink and juicy inside. Alpine Swiss is my cheese of choice, melted. Topped with thick-cut bacon, grilled marinated portabella mushrooms, onions and garlic both caramelized. A thin slice of tomato for good measure. All stacked up on a brioche bun, both sides slathered with a fresh herb mayonnaise. BOOM-ski! Now lately I have been fantasizing about a burger topped with bacon wrapped shrimp or smoked oysters. What kind of burger inhabits your dreams? The world wants to know.

Scotty J - No cheeseburger ever gave up on me.
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friend-wich w/ Extra Mayo

   I received a topic request for Brass-Knuckle Love Butter the other day. A damn good buddy of mine asked me to write about myself...specifically..my personal approach on making lasting friendships. Over the years I've made a lot of great friends, or even more so, a lot of great friends made me. That last statement really says it all. Here are a few things I've learned from the great people I'm honored to call my friends:

  •    Accept people for who they are. There is an easy way of going about this...people are HUMAN, just like YOU. Humans have many different tendencies. There's good and evil. There are the selfish and the selfless. We, in each other's eyes, may not be perfect. However, we are perfectly human.
  •    Everyone has an admirable quality about them. It's up to us to give them the chance to reveal it. Don't allow yourself to get caught up being jealous or envious of someone. Those are deceiving feelings that have a negative effect on our outlook of them and life. Admire peoples' talents and be inspired by them.
  •    You're allowed to hate someone for whatever reasons. You just have to remember you can't blame them for it. Hate comes from within ourselves. (Forgiveness does too.)
  •    When doing a good deed for someone, don't expect anything in return. If you do, well then you're not the great friend you thought you were. You really just forced yourself into not appreciating your friendship. Do nice things for people because it makes YOU feel good.
  •    Have an open heart with others. This doesn't mean you have to be all sappy about it. We tend to be more genuinely social when we're comfortable with whoever is listening.
  •    Be open-minded to the fact that others have opinions different from your own. Love them for this. It makes for great conversation and helps you gain new perspectives on life. 
  •    Do your best at being a friend. Be there for them when you can. Apologize to them when you can't. Understand we all have our own lives to live and never hold that against them.
   I'm sure there are 10 billion other things I could add to this list. None of these things just happen. We all have to work at it, all of the time. I still have my moments, as does everyone else. There is something I want to make sure to add. I never have a conversation with a friend with the expectation that we will no longer be friends afterwards. If you have a concern about a friend or yourself, share it with them. Talk as friends and make it count. We may not be here tomorrow.
   Laughter has been the best avenue for me to get to know people. When we laugh, we bond. It's the foundation of my lifestyle. I bridge my "sense of humor" to my "sense of human" and somewhere in between is where I forge friendships.

Scotty J. - i'm not wearing any underwear.