Thursday, August 27, 2015

Get in my Belly

Hey there!

I just had the Best Professional Experience.
And it was Unintended!  

I'm a Union 26 chef at MIT.  
Yet I keep my Culinary Edge sharp by being a Brunch cook at Highland Kitchen, one of the Boston area's Best & Brightest.  I was given Providence and followed my feet to this humble kitchen where everything is done from scratch, and it shows in its popularity.  

I've been covering vacations at HK!
While we're all laid-off at MIT this year, I got the opportunity to pick up as many shifts as HK offered me.  For the past 2 weeks...I've been in a high-stakes summer camp for cooks at one of Boston's premiere restaurants.  

So I'm not going to give anything away in terms of recipe.  
You can't.  
HK's food is all about Soul.  It's Gnosis.  It's knowledge passed on.  It's a Tactile Knowledge.  
I loved every minute of it.  Was asked to cover a sick linecook on Monday.  What an experience.  I got no pics, was too busy.  Well....I got two!  =)  

Cooking at a pace.  Wow.  Three prep cooks.  8 hours.  One Clipboard brimming with different things, to prep with different techniques, at different scales, at different times...
ahhhhh.  
To be part of it.  
I worked 6 days in a row yet the Monday after Sunday Brunch was unintentionally a 13hr test that I passed with a smile on my face.  On Tuesday AM, I was noshing on the fried chicken I prepped as my last task.  Butcher a number of chicken.  Leave ready-to-fire.  
"Yes, Chef"

That's It.  That's my Life.  
Lots of "Qui, Chef" 
and a lot of happy guests.  

ReTweet: Tao of Sully Supplement

I wanted to bring in yesterday's context. I was up late on a day off, about 8:30AM.
I read the newsfeeds.  I followed a link and got a New York Post page that included a YouTube of someone phone-filming the 6:45am live on-air Gun Violence in Virginia.
I watched the YouTube before they took it down.
I actually watched this several times over.  Especially for the segue back to the studio, the look on the anchor's face and the Next...
whew.  wow...  Why?  Why did I watch the 30 sec video over again?  The Sound.  It brought me back.  The ambient audio.  The sound of the gun reports & the screams.
To a day when I was 15 years old.

So yesterday I got all fire & brimstone on the subject on Twitter.
So in context for my thoughts on the Death Penalty in the Next Blog, what I think should be the consequence for such choices.  For Gun Violence in 2015 & Beyond.
It involves Gun Culture.  Gun Reform.  It might involve a New Deal.
Walmart stopping sales of the AR-15 and such firearms is the steps in Gun Control. The next availability of firearms to a General Public.
in 2013, this source claims that a believable number of 310 Million firearms are in civilian hands.

Thanks and if you agree with me, do something about Guns on a Local level.
Ask questions, if you are a bonafide civilian gun owner, what are you doing with it on your person?
Why is it off of the property that you're protecting?
If someone is caught with a gun on a local level, what are you doing in my town with an unauthorized firearm?  Why are you armed within the City Limits?  Why is your rifle out of its unlocked case?  What is your sidearm doing on your person?
Make Gun Crime a "Severe Offense" on a Municipal Level.  A criminal can only be caught with an illegal firearm.  And getting some of these 310 Million firearms out of any hands. Yet keeping Gun Control on a Local Level, it can respect the differences region-to-region and legitimate need for a firearm.  You could need a rifle in a county known for hunting, sport & game.  A blanket reform on Guns cannot help Americans in these regions.  But I'm from an Urban environment.  And nobody needs a gun in a city unless you're up to no good.  Or expecting it.  It's a heavy decision for a "normal American" to buy a gun and the needs ownership truly addresses.  Need to Power, Culture, Given Right...
On a Local Level, in Cities & Towns like cigarettes before it, perhaps we CAN make a difference.
We are blessed with an Armed Police.  Why do you need a gun?  Why are you carrying a gun?
We can't let guns fall into the hands of Cowards who are going to cause suffering & harm.
Gun laws need to become tighter than Good Credit.
Ownership needs transparency.  About 10 Million new guns are produced & sold in the USA per year.  Sure we have the Given Right...yet Why do we need so many?  Do we live in the Sudan?  No.

There needs to be a new Compromise about Firearms.  An armed, paid, Local & State Police Force should shift the Need for Firearms and their ownership into a more-insulated category.

Once you see what a gun does to a Human, it'll forever change their Coolness & your ability to tolerate them.  They're not a necessary evil, they're a mass-produced product with the blessing of some elusive feeling of Security that can't exist while armed such.
Having one admits how scared you are...and you've already given yourself permission to use it.



















The Tao of Sully

The Tao of Sully
On Capital Punishment

Hey everybody.

Recent news on gun violence gets me especially thoughtful, having witnessed it myself as a teenager.
You'd think that after seeing Traumatic Violence
and Being an Ordained Minister
and being a self-professed Pacifist in the vein of Gandhi
and being a Spiritual Person that I'd be a bit more "Evolved" on the Subject of the Death Penalty...

But I'm Not.
I support the Death Penalty.
I'm all for it.
It's rooted in Justice, Consequence & Ethics, literally Public Right from Public Wrong.
It's not attached to feelings, such the grief of Loss, or the Thrill of the Kill, or the Righteousness of Condemnation.
I believe in our U.S. Society.  And Our Evolving Culture.  Yet, Americans are a Kaleidoscope of Views and are allowed to be, which makes America one of the best Cultural Ideas Ever Still.

The idea of "letting someone to rot for life in Prison" is Cruelty.
Think about it.  Wait for it.  Let that notion settle in and invade your mind for a second.
Why would that please You?  Choosing that notion.  Allowing a Human we've judged as Evil or Wrong to Suffer?  It it Right for Anyone to Suffer?
Being a Spiritually-Motivated Person, I am responsible for My Suffering & the Suffering of Others, especially those around me both Near and Distant emotionally, be they friend or foe...
And the Cessation of All Suffering.  I can Choose That.

Staying on the subject of Capital Punishment, we've come a long way as Societies go.
I find the Quality of Life in History as Real Important Turning Points.
How we've treated ourselves, the Good Guy but also how we treat the Other. And especially how Great Societies treat their Imprisoned & their Condemned.
These notions are part of People Living with People throughout History.
There have been Dignified Eras and Cruel Ages, finding room for everything else in between.

As a child growing up Irish-Catholic, daily we had to look at the Crucified Christ.  I feel guilt for thinking about Daily.  About a Human Body so torn & displayed.  The idea of Crucifixion is a major trope in the Story of Christianity.  And the irony of its current usage to represent a group ethic of Peace & Forgiveness but iDigress...
I, among many, many Catholics over the past 2,000 years have thought a lot about Crucifixion.
It's Cruel.  It's Odious.  And It lacks Dignity.

Over in Japan, in Samurai books, the subject of Life and Death is a well-thought of subject.  In the Hagakure, it is remarkable how earnestly, respectfully and dignified the Subject of Beheading the Condemned is handled.  It is Solemn.  One Samurai states, "Last year I went to the Kase Execution Grounds to try my hand at beheading, and I found it to be an extremely good feeling. To think that it is unnerving is a symptom of cowardice."
Feudal Japan was indeed a Warrior culture.  Yet as Americans, we admire this in ourselves as well.  Founded in Revolution, Galvanized by Civil War and Made Profound by a Century of Armed Global Conflicts, American Identity is based on Gun Violence.  It's Huge!  We embrace the Gun as Cultural Icon & Great American Right yet waffle on the subject of what to do with the inevitable number of killers produced, who're Amended to the choice to give great grief with amazing access to an array of arms. 

Even the method of American Capital Punishment has come to a Simple Solution.
No longer do we use Public Gallows, we choose to execute society's worst killers their earned sentence with lethal injection, like putting a pet to sleep at the Vet.  Instead of the last thing a condemned sees is the blue sky as the noose goes over his head, like in a Johnny Cash song, the killer is in a hospital-style room...probably not too unlike the room he or she came into, so We The People so ordained by Our Creator...We're sending them back.
Also I'm not talking about botched executions.  I'm not bringing in the Appeal System or Wrongful Convictions.  Right now, that's all Red Herring.  What Matters Most is Suffering.  And Americans have found a better way to dispatch the condemned in what appears to be a method lacking suffering.  Lethal Injection has the verisimilitude of Being Evolved versus the humane methods of  a bullet to the heart or 13 Stair Steps to the crueler Electric Chairs & Gas Chambers.

I think the point of Justice is that No One Needs to Suffer.  And What to do With Those Who Inflict Suffering?
What to do with Murderers?  In 2015 America.
We come together in Societies; in one part We Run and on the other hand Run Us.
No one needs to suffer in our Now.  By Choice & By Public Policy.
We have come a long way since the Old West when we'd Hang 'Em High.  Yet that is the Great Granddaddy of American Justice.
Every society throughout History apparently & unfortunately have had their Murderers.
What do we do with them?  What is Right?  What is Just?
I'll choose Dignity.  And a course that Respects the Suffering of All in the case at hand.

Namaste.
Kriya Shakti,
Rev Sully
Hub O'The Multiverse

Eric O'Sullivan
Boston, MA USA

PS I was inspired by two very dear people in my life who I feel I owe a better explanation than "Embrace Conflicting Values" as a Mumbo Jumbo blanket to cover my argument.  To Emily & Peter & that night debating in the hotel room in Chicago!  Arguing just like old times!  It got heated!  Yet I always felt my argument that night was weak.  I had a hard time verbalizing my feelings, finding the words to support my POV.  Thanks!  I love yiz!!! ;P

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summa Our Books

One of my favorite Apps is the Audible Audiobook Reader.  

I am a voracious "Reader".  I have a great subscription: I get 2 Credits a Month for about $25.  This Credit can apply to a quick "thin" novel with a relative cost of about $10 to a Massive Tome in the $60 range.  I have bought "3 Extra Credits" a few times since they're only $11 =) 

I take suggestions for Books again.  If it looks alright, I can throw it on my list until it's turn comes round.  I love Historical Non-Fiction.  I love a well-spun sci-fi novel still.  I've rekindled the teenage love in one of my Greatest American Authors, Stephen King.

I just wanted to make a few Bold Book Suggestions not from the Deep End of My Pool but a few read & unread suggested by Peter, Eliza and Posty.  Add me "The Thing" and we get the Best Fantastic Four tales but iDigress...

From Posty:
I'd never read this author and was looking to include some contemporary American authors I might have missed in the past 30 Years.  Posty is all glowing about Mr. Stephenson so I dived into this Massive Insular World and it was just what I needed.  To get lost in a huge fictional place, a dangerous Global game of Tag versus the workings of one of the World's Biggest MMORPGs, playing off & with the other Earth deftly.  International Espionage, Terrorists & The Agents that Chase Them.  The Interesting Ensemble of Hackers Collected by Russian Gangsters Looking to get their Money Back yet Millions was Embezzled by a Gamer within the World of "T'Rain".  It's smart and doesn't flinch.  It was a fat, long book.  It was my Summer Read of the Year, as Summer Reads Go.  

From Eliza through Peter:
Hugh Howey is a bit of a modern phenomenon in the publishing business.  Mr. Howey self-published on Kindle and he's got a viable Literary chance out the draw.  Great stories.  Do you need something to suggest to a teenage girl and above?  Great female leads.  And creating a World we can slip out of our skins and into some color-coded overalls to work our Shift.  Come for WOOL, stay for the rest of the Series.  
Howey's latest serial recently concluded, called "BEACON 23" and it's about Lighthouses in Space.  I'm really looking forward to getting that when it's collected & available!

From Peter:
This next on my bookshelf.  I've got it waiting for me in my library.  I love History!  I love Non-Fiction!  I was rambling on & on to Pete about the book I was reading.  I'll list it next and save the words for later...yet Pete then turned open his faucet and gushed about his recent read into the Real New World of the Pilgrims, their voyage, their culture and their Story through Mr. Philbrick's acumen.  I love a Good Story, Well-Told.  Peter knows what I like & like to talk about over pints at the Pub.  

From Sully:
Forty-Eight College-Style History lectures about the titular subject.  I got a bunch of different subjects: Financial Literacy, Argumentization & Rationalization, Basic Particle Physics, Analysis & Critique -How to Engage & Write About Anything, etc. 
Serious Input.  Let's bring on Alex Trebek!!  A good, refreshing reset on my American History in this subject.  One we still get into serious Sociological debate today with the Confederate Flag, its Public display & its Modern Legitimacy.  I guess my opinion on this matter is now as static as it is going to get, deeply feeling the Last Time the Rebel Flag Was Ever Cool was on the General Lee in Dukes of Hazard.  The 3 Flags of the CSA nonetheless represent the Losing Side & the Values that Culture Represented.  Yet I'm flattened by the subject and was telling Pete all about it.  Wherein Pete started on about how I'd just love "Mayflower".  

And the Wheel Turns...
Got a Book for Us?  
I got on my Short List for What's Next:
NEUROMANCER by William Gibson, my first of his.  This was Suggested as Well.  
Got anything for the Coffeetable?  
Cheers!  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Get in My Belly!

"I'm a Little Bit Country,
I'm a Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll."
It's a line from an Old Song yet it's my thought as I share these plates.

A Little bit Professional Kitchen...
A Little Bit Homecookin'.
Get Inspired.  Make something delicious...then share it!  With friends, guests & everybody in between.  Cheers & Namaste!

The Comics Gnome Poots!

A Day in the Fields of Cosplay.
My 2nd Foray into the War Against Seriousness.

Welcome to Boston ComicCon 2015!
I was happy to Suit Up and Check Out my Local Nerd Prom.
I had a great time.  I only spent a few hours, between Noon & 3PM until I figured I sweated enough.
Lots of people asked I was Hot under the Vinyl Cowl & Leather Motocross jacket and I simply replied, "I'm a chef.  I'm used to the heat"

I savvied from now on:
Only go in a Group. It'll be more fun with more people!  And...
Go Later in the Day.
Saturday is my usual day off so I'm like a horse chasing the stuffed bunny when the gate opens!  I need to temper my enthusiasm with Gnosis.  Mostly none of the creators I wanted to meet were available until later in the Afternoon.  The event on Saturday runs until 8:00PM.
So I was overall disappointed I didn't get my stack of funnybooks signed.
I did get one!  Yeah, the writer & the artist of one of my favorites.  So it wasn't a complete wash.
I think I can't go in broke either.  Summertime is when I suffer from Low Budget-itis and it's good to have a few free bucks.  In hindsight, I should have paid the $30 to say hi to Elvira, Mistress of the Dark yet I was saving that for Lunch but iDigress...
So pull up a chair, grab a sodapop & check out my slideshow of Sheer Geekery as Sully goes to ComicCon in Cosplay!  =)  Cheers!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Ticket

Drawing for the Dead

Jill and I had planned to mail order for tickets to the final Grateful Dead shows on 4th of July weekend, and decorated our envelope together in the hope it would improve our odds of being selected. As the time came to mail it, we did the math and realized we probably shouldn't spend the money... with preschool payments, architects designing an addition, etc. It just didn't feel responsible.

I took the money orders out of the envelope, stuck in a note that simply said, "It turns out we can't afford the trip. We hope you enjoy the art.", and said, "Oh well, if I'm meant to go, the universe will send me." I had it postmarked and mailed on my way to work, and promptly put it out of my mind.

Months later, I got a phone call from Frankie at Grateful Dead Ticket Services. She told me they wanted to use our envelope art on the 4th of July mail order tickets, and that if we signed and faxed the license transfer paperwork she was emailing me, they would be thrilled to send us complimentary tickets. It turns out this was not a practical joke.

On top of that, our envelope was on display at a Grateful Dead retrospective exhibit at the Field Museum across the street from Soldier Field while the shows were in town!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Save Ferris!!

A few weeks back I had a nigh-perfect whirlwind "weekend" in Chicago with Pete and Emily.
We dubbed it a Ferris Bueller's Day Off Occasion!
See?



We even saw a Ferrari driving down the street!
It was a sign!
=)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Get in My Belly

I was ridiculously honored to be asked by some MIT Grad Students to give them a Cooking Class.
I am a Union 26 cook at those hallowed halls of academia and I interact with Students, Faculty & Staff on a daily basis.  They know me as "Eric the Enthusiastic Cook".  And I love taking care of them all.

Now we come to last Saturday.
I was a little nervous at first but as soon as I saw my class of 22 Grad Students & Opened my Mouth...it was smooth sailing.
It really reminded me of one of my All-Time Favorite Batman phrases from INFINITE CRISIS #6...
"Booster.  You have no idea how to talk to kids."
But iDigress...

I had about an hour which spilled into two!
My mission was simple.  Show these brilliant young people how to cook a few favorites without relying on recipes.
I chose to use RATIO instead.
I've learned that simple Culinary Ratios will save you from being a slave to a recipe card.
And with a Ratio, you can make as many things as you need, to just fit the occasion whether it's for yourself or a 100.

As we say in the Kitchens, "K.I.S.S."
Keep It Simple, Silly.  Well, to be honest we usually say "stupid" yet that did not apply with this crowd.
My Demonstration Menu: Simple.  Three Things.
Crepes
Cookies &
Omelets.

What I knew would really "stick" with perhaps the brightest young people on the Planet was this.
Math!  Ratio!  And I had a lot of help...
This book forever changed my life as a professional linecook and added a few fathoms unto my Skill Set.
Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.
There are Simple Everyday Codes behind Cooking.  And to be able to share them...wow!

So I started with Crepes.  The crepe shell is a simple ratio I learned.
2:2:1
2 parts Liquid (it could be water, chicken stock or orange juice on however you feel yet we used water)
2 parts Whole Egg
and 1 part AP Flour.
I demonstrated how to use a kitchen blender to achieve an awesome crepe batter.
I then used another ratio for the crepe filling.  A simple sweet cheese filling
2:1.  2 parts Mascarpone cheese to 1 part Cream Cheese, add a little powdered sugar and a cap of vanilla extract.
I showed them how to make the crepe shells, fill then roll them.
Then had them make the shells & fill them as well.  Very hands-on.
Me flipping a crepe shell to show off. =)
We blew through the crepes.  That was a huge hit.

I then taught the "kids" how to make a basic foundation simple cookie dough using a Ratio:
3:1:2
3 parts AP Flour (sifted, of course)
1 part Sugar
2 parts Fat (we used unsalted butter, softened at room temperature)
We added some walnuts, raisins, a capfull of vanilla & chocolate chips with using only a mixing bowl & a wooden spoon.  I made about 2 dozen cookies in my demonstration yield.
They came out really decent.  Not the best yet elaboration comes after the brass tacks of technique.

I then shared the gift of the perfect One Egg Omelet with a little shredded cheddar cheese.
This is perhaps one of my favorite things to cook & to eat.  This was the Big Winner, even over the amazing crepes!  It was all technique too, not getting mired in recipes and cooking times.  They cook in literally a minute!

I then oversaw the knife skills demo where they learned the proper way to hold a Chef's Knife and to make julienne/batons to a consistent dice.  I'm happy to report there was no bloodshed =)
At the end, the "kids" gifted me with an apron that was embroidered with "Chef Eric"
Man...I'm so honored.

I'm very lucky & very blessed to have the confidence of my guests to be asked to perform such a class.
They offered to pay me too yet I refused.
It is truly my honor to have part of this.
Thanks "kids".

Station Ident

Hello and Welcome to CHANNEL OCHO!
My Contribution to Helping Write the Internet.
Image above: The "SuperOm" aka The Supermantra, a stylized Om within the iconic Superman diamond & a variation on the classic color combo.  
I drew it...then I put it on a Cafe Press tee-shirt but iDigress...

What do I do here? I blog.  Along with the help of my friends who occasionally chime in.
Why?  I'm into writing, sharing stories & experiences and also want to turn you on to something cool or delicious whether it be Music, Fiction, Hockey, Spirituality or a Well-Made Dinner.
Channel OCHO is the Magazine on the Coffeetable of my Life.  The Coffeetable was where my friends & I would gather, share stories, good meals & company.  Time & Geography have split a lot of the corps up, yet we hold it together with the glue of our love & interest in all things cool & fun.

Come check out the Archive of Articles:
And much much more!
Joie De Vivre!  And write it down.  You'll never know who you could inspire next!
Namaste & Good Luck.

Eric O'Sullivan
Boston, MA USA
@revsully on Twitter