Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chef Worship

The early religions may have been an unguided confused experiment with personality. Did the earliest upright humans have personalities? How did these evolve? 

The natural world; geological, botanical, and animal perform unpredictable behaviors.  The observing man casts these things, based on his emotional reaction, onto people in his life. A dangerous man is like a wolf. The ill-tempered man is a volcano. The animal may trot with a certain tempo, may have a mouth curvature like a smile. Our minds fill in patterns, things are compared to things. 

We of course ate these animals.

Flavor can be used interchangeably with personality.

Plants may have distinct smells, infusing a set atmosphere on the senses.

Things geological, botanical, and animal could either support life, or take it away.

Flavors tasted and fears provoked churn a spectrum of feeling. Feeling works its way into expression. Into story. Into tapestries and mythology, fueling the feeling and regurgitating power into worship. 

Taste gives a distinct character to something life sustaining. This has a most powerful effect on endorphins compared to any character one may read in a story. 

Things that sustain life, they are divine, right?

Flash forward to our "rational"-esque culture. We like to think we're objective, we're not savages worshiping sun and thunder gods. We have refined tastes. We eat at nice restaurants. And we celebrate personality. 

The chef tends to have a large personality. As we see on TV shows. The chef, like a fine renaissance artist, cultivates flavor through concoctions of foodstuff, life sustaining foods, and when flickered as an image in fire, or the TV set, invoked is a tendency towards reverence. The burning bush. Moses may have snacked on the mountain. We poke our plates in front of these intense cooking competitions.

We don't fear the character of lightning anymore. Unless we're out swimming. We're too busy practicing chef worship to concern ourselves with the elements. We're inside, eating, mmm, fucking good.

The ancient Gods were full of personality. Yahweh, what a loose cannon. Chef Gordan Ramsey, boy can he rip into you.

God is more-so a little tepid and faceless now, to balance monotheism with a touch of scientific reasoning. But we're back to our roots. Like a religious ceremony, food brings people together. And that bad-ass chef is on a higher plane, a colorful human being that is more holy than average office man munching.

Celebrities that make damn good food; our new pantheon.

The old testament God may have been a little too pissy for many to swallow (If only he made food though, we could all still swallow his presence). But a raging restaurateur on Iron Chef or the like is one that we fear. The parade of Instagramed pics of complex cuisine is a sign of devoutness: A commemorative kaleidoscope of foodie photos is a digital crucifix dangling necklace or Jesus fish young adults can get behind. An icon they'd proudly hang in their living room and adopt into their newly reinvented heritage. 

The styles, airs, ambiances and renderings of ethnic cultures may be a bleed over, an aftertaste influenced by native spices and seasonings. The early cooks that collectively contributed to the Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine, Mexican, and other food styles we love, were they revered in their communities as so?

We are what we eat; goes deep into our blood.

A mad respect, yes, is deserved though by the chefs. They bust their asses and appease our taste buds. 

Recently I learned how to make a sushi roll. It was a sloppy attempt, tasty however, and I felt like a creator. I was high on my own power and feeling full (of it).

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Biker, the Blood Spiker

I like to think of my legs as part machine. When they're pushing against the spin cycle that gets me around.

My Uncle John found an old bicycle in his garage, asked if I wanted it, I said yes, he fixed it up. I've had two fairly nice bicycles in the city that have been thieved from me. The more recent one, two years ago, I believe I spouted off about it here. So I've been avoiding. Yet wanting. Then avoiding, wondering if I should invest in such a vehicle, and if were to, I'd imagine the ways I can make it into a beater with duct tape and spray paint so it looks less desirable to the pro bike burglar to pawn off on the market for cheap bikes. I had often thought about going about buying a cheap bike, then wondering if I'd be inadvertently buying someone else's stolen bike, so it put the whole thing on hold.

But this opportunity, this garage bike, this ancient machine from my Uncle's college days, having spun him around Houghton, Michigan up there in the upper peninsula, yes back in the day, this is the beater. 

I've also been itching to ditch CTA for awhile. Sometimes you need a break from public transit.

I've been biking to work for a few weeks and though I look like a bike messenger these days with my pants rolled up and bike gloves wrapping my hands, there's a ton of positives about this. 

I feel more energized in the morning, more focused, ready to get down to work.

I feel less anxious in the morning. There's always this anxiety I seem to absorb when riding the subway, like everybody's stress and worries about the day are wafting up and I'm inhaling this and it makes for an odd and inexplicable nerve wracking first hour of the day. I don't have that with my bicycling. 

It's 4.2 miles to work. So each day, I'm getting 8.4 miles of spin cycle cardio.

My commute has gone from 45 minutes to 22 minutes. 

It's a lot of damn fun.

Doing errands after work is kind of easier, as you can propel yourself in and out of different neighborhoods more fluidly than with transferring buses and waiting and transferring. 

It's a healthy thing, because in running some recent blood pressure checks, my blood pressure is on the high side. Biking is an integrated way to make sure I'm getting some exercise in the day. And as mentioned, feeling more energized in the morning, is putting me in a position where I can feasibly ween myself off coffee. Cutting back the 5 or more cup a day habit is, I think, a big step in getting this beast of a blood pressure score down. I'm 30 now, so this is the kind of thing I'm supposed to worry about. It is time.

Let's spin things morbid for a second. I've been thinking a bit about my own mortality, especially while riding my bike. For all of it's pluses, taking a spill could very well end it all. Yet, I don't feel frightened by it. I'm putting myself out there, getting where I need to go in an efficient, enjoyable way, that's life, yes? In fact, part of my lessened anxiety may be due to the notion that in comparison to the dangers of the road, whatever professional challenges I come across in the day are puny. 

So while riding to work on Friday, I was thinking about spooky stuff since it was the 13th. I thought about what if I wiped out and became a ghost. I thought about a prank I'd love to pull if I had the chance. I'd hang out in the kitchen when someone was baking something in the oven. Then I'd turn it off while they walked away to do whatever they do in between. When they come back and wonder why it's still cold, they'll notice the oven isn't even on. Then they'll think they're losing their minds! When they turn it back on, I'll turn it off again. Until they catch on. This may sound mean, and I do have a bit of a latent mean streak, but it's also harmless, and I think, hilarious.

Point is, we're all just messing around. Bikes. Blood. Ghosts. People. Getting around and getting ahead.