Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wiggle While I Work

I know I'm supposed to write about my cakes, but last night was the last night of my 19 cake stretch, and I'm exhausted. No sleep till Brooklyn, right?

I can barely string together my sentences so I'm just going to post some of the media I play while I'm working. I'm moving my old TV down to the Dungeon, to join my old dvd/vcr player. Since I haven't done that yet, I usually just have a portable harddrive hooked up to my netbook and I listen to movies or music or audio books. Here is some of the stuff I usually listen to:

My all-time favorite Pixar film, followed by Monsters, Inc. I know this movie almost word for word, and it gives me a time frame on how much time I have left to decorate. If I'm not wrapping things up by the time Linguine is giving his press conference, then I'm in the weeds. Besides being executed exceptionally well, as is the unwavering style of PIXAR, this movie does indeed detail the real kitchen experience. Besides having the stations worked out perfectly and explained without fault, Collette's badassery is spot-on as it is the attitude of any successful woman in a male-dominated field. She can't just be good at what she does. She needs to be the best, have the biggest balls, and trash any sense of female wiles in her. My favorite thing about her, besides her perfectly cut purple-hued hair? The very faint burn scars I spot on her wrist- the mark of any real chef that works in a real kitchen. Well done, Pixar!

This is my other movie love- Tim Burton. He does have many other movies that are in this style of  stop-motion film making. Why do I like this while I'm working? Well, I've seen it so many times, I also use it as a gauge for time. If I'm still not nearly done when Emily says "Hopscotch" then I'm going to be in trouble. (I usually am in trouble.) The music, another particularly recognizable score by Danny Elfman, is catchy. It keeps me awake while I'm working in the crazy night hours. It's peppy. And call me a mush, but I just dig Johnny Depp's fake English accent. Around the holidays, I'll put this film to the side and put on the Nightmare Before Christmas. Why not? While I'm punching out holly leaves and rolling berries out of fondant, I may as well get in the mood. Tim Burton movies are lovely company to keep in the bowels of the Dungeon when I have no one to help me work in the wee hours of the morn.

I love audiobooks. I love books. If I had more "me" time, I'd be laying in bed with a super-long starw dipped into an endless glass of ice-cold Coke with a box of Cookie Crisp cereal handy, with mountains of books surrounding me. I'd never have to get up for anything....Well. Almost anything. Audiobooks have been my Godsend. I've gotten most of my "reading" done because of them. I never used to like them, until someone gave me a copy of the audio version of World War Z. With a star-studded cast of actors doing the reading, this book came alive. Since then, my late-night activities have included many audio versions of very long, time consuming books being downloaded onto my hard drives. My buddy Mal turned me onto the Dresden Files while we were wandering around Comic Con 2010. We were at the Buzzy Media booth, and I was having a good laugh at the witty tee shirts, when he told me I should really give the Dresden Files a spin. Described as an Urban Fantasy about a modern-day Wizard For Hire making his way through Chicago, battling supernatural forces, it was not my first choice. Later that day, the group of people I was with was leeringly enjoying James Marsters in the flesh (That would be Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) He was nice enough, and I downloaded the available 12 books in one shot. WOW! Awesome. Enthralling! James certainly brings this series to life. I've been painstakingly listening at a snails pace. The 13th book was just released (read by a different actor, much to my consternation), and I'm up tp book 7. I hate waiting for a new book to drop, especially when they leave you at a cliff hanger. Right now, this is my favorite audiobook series.

Speaking of audiobooks, I'm sure you've all watched the Game of Throne series on HBO. "Game of Thrones" is actually the first book in a series called "A Song of Ice and Fire". After watching the first episode on HBO and seeing it was based on a book, I googled and found this audiobook series. Luckily for me, the 5th audiobook was just released as I finished up the 4th one. They are loooooong. It took me several hours to listen to them all, and there was a change in actor doing the reading, as well, which I did not like at all, but what can you do about these things? Long road trip? Maybe you've got a ton of hours in front of you where your mind needs to be occupied with something else other than music. I say, give this series a spin. It's gotten me through many tedious cake nights in the Dungeon.

I'll do a separate post about music another time. "Wiggle While I Work" kind of referred to the tunes I listen to while I'm working, but I'm pooped and I want to go home and pass out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Still Here

It's been a crazy week!

I personally baked and decorated 15 different cake orders over the last 7 days. That's a new personal best for me!!

I can go into each individual account of each cake, but that's boring and some of them were pretty easy compared to the interesting ones. I'll start this post off by saying that I learned a lot about myself.

  • When I really do hunker down and prep properly, I am fucking amazing. My cakes bake perfectly. I have fewer waste because I'm not tossing out overcooked or under-baked food. And there is less time spend cutting down the cake to make it perfect for stacking.
  • I'm getting better at multitasking, often handling three different tasks all at the same time. I mix up a batch of batter. While the Kitchenaide is going, I'm prepping pans. After it's in the oven, I'm cleaning the area and loading the dishwasher. Once everything is cleaned, I'm mixing frosting and cutting out fondant decor. My brain doesn't really function on a list-like system. I have to work really hard to focus on the task at hand, without being distracted off the job. It's been harder the last year or two to keep my concentration in check, but with a little more effort, it's doable.Who knew?
  • When I know what I'm going to do to a cake, I can decorate the bitch pretty damn fast. I had a four layer red velvet, cut, filled, stacked, frosted, and covered in less than 10 minutes. Do you know what kind of feet that is for someone like me who can take damn near an hour just to roll out the fondant to the right thickness? I've also gotten to know my product a little better. Weather is NOT my friend. If it's too cold, the fondant won't be elastic. If it's too hot, it won't stay solid. I have to manipulate the temperature in my Dungeon, and if you have ever been down there with me on a hot summer night, you KNOW how fucking unbearable it is down there.
  • I can charge more money for what I do, and I don't need to feel bad about it. After all the work I did, all the materials I bought, I'm only walking away with a marginal profit and that's just unacceptable. Seriously, my time is money and it's time to charge more money for my time.

I'll write a separate post about each of the special cakes I did with more detail, but I can't do it now. Fucking day job.

All I can say is that I did it. I didn't think I'd be able to, but I fucking did it!!!! Holy balls!!!! =)

I'm still here.....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Off to a Rough Start

Last night I baked two 6" round cakes, two 8" round cakes, five 10" rounds cakes, and a small teddy bear for a baby shower cake I need to decorate tonight. I made two batches of fresh macerated strawberry filling and 8 batches of decorators white frosting in vanilla and in almond. I rolled and pressed 20 purple fondant pansies, and I managed to mop the floor when I was done decorating the 8" cake that I had to deliver today. (The one that the purple pansies were for.)

When I finished at 3:30am, I thought I could sneak in an hour nap before I had to get up to shower and jump on the bus before rush hour, but after waking up at 4am, and just sneaking in another 30 minutes, I awoke to see it was 9am.

Late? HA! After getting reamed out last week for my shoddy work performance, you'd think that it would light a fire under my ass to get to work on time. How can I when I cannot fall asleep at night, which then has me lagging into a coma-like state around 4am every single morning?

On top of that, I have a date at Veselka before the Garbage concert at Webster Hall with my new friend Michelle. She's cool people I happened to meet per chance on a wing night out with my cousin and her people. I've had this nagging headache since Friday. I don't know if it's coming from my teeth and radiating upward or if it's just some stress. I'm breaking out like a 13-year old, and NOTHING is making this headache abate.

I don't know if this is such a great start to my cake week. I have to decorate the 10" and the 6" cake tonight- in baby shower mode. I wanted to post the pictures to my website so I'm trying to come up with something original. I don't know if I can pull it off. I anticipate getting home around 1am, if I'm lucky. Thankfully, the strawberries and the icing is ready to go, but the creativity is sort of stopped up.

Since I'm transporting two cakes via subway, I really do need to get on before the rush hour. There are just too many people for my comfort. Leaving any later than 5:30am is just asking for trouble.

I'm going to switch to Motrin to see if that does anything for the headache. The Advil only managed to upset my tummy, and who the hell goes to a concert with a headache and an aching tummy?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Maybe with this weather, I should aptly call it Summer Cleaning.

I spent the better part of this weekend really scrubbing down the Dungeon. Sometimes it's just cluttered with stuff I haven't had time to put away, like ingredients. And sometimes I run out of time, and I go through the area like a tornado, taking out everything I need without putting it back. So, besides tidying up the stuff, I also took apart my actual food area, gave it a good scrubbing and ran the dishwasher like 5 times on things I haven't used in a while and needed a good cleaning.

By the time I was done, I smelled like bleach and soap. I used up a can of oven cleaner just to clean my oven door. It didn't do the job well enough, which means I need to make a Walmart run again in the near future. Sometimes I just get in these weird moods where everything needs to be perfect.

I most definitely am not the Martha Stewart of cleanliness. I'm a little lazy and cluttered. While I do work with food and my food area is always bleached down after I cook and my work surface is bleached and rinsed before I do any fondant work, I am surrounded by clutter.

In my past, I've been known to do a whirlwind cleaning job when I'm in times of stress. Unfortunately, it usually happens in other people's houses, moreso than my own, which sucks for me. My psychologist once labeled it as an erasure. I'm wiping out any trace of my existence in this person's world. It's kind of like saying, "Don't worry. When you open your eyes and look around, you won't see any hint of me."

This week is going to be crazy. I have 5 HUGE cakes to make, two of them in the middle of the work week. A work week where I have a date with Garbage at Webster Hall on Tuesday night, and another IMAX showing of the Avengers on Wednesday. This really isn't the smartest schedule, but sometimes I have the feeling that I'm not using my downtown very productively anyway, so I may have well burn that fucking candle at both ends.

Going through the stuff in the Dungeon, I came across boxes and boxes of stuff people have bought me throughout the years. A lot of it is baking related things that they thought I'd love. Unfortunately, a lot of the kitchy decorative baking things are not really useful in terms of function. I also have a mini pie maker by Emeril and my own ice cream cone maker. Why would I ever use these things?? The problem I have is that someone took the time and the money to buy me these things, and I wouldn't dream of getting rid of it or throwing it out.

But, they don't serve any function and they take up space. So, what do I do?

I often find metaphors in everything. I was a little upset this weekend over something that chapped my ass just a few points above annoyance. Without getting too personal, I had asked someone if the annual plans we had every year would still happen, and she said no. She didn't bother to tell me she made the same plans with a different group of people. Through the annoying world of social media, of course it got back to me in the most annoying way.

I tried not to get too personally upset about it. If someone doesn't want to waste time with you, then you just have to accept it and move on. Who wants to press their company on people who don't enjoy it? It sucks, but life isn't always roses, is it?

As I scrubbed the sugar off my Dungeon floor and sprayed the bleach mixture over every surface visible, I thought about the kitchen gifts people bought me. I can't get rid of them, but I can't use them. So, I keep them in neat little boxes and try to put them in a place that won't get in my way.


This person who pissed me off, I can't get rid of her, but I will box her up and put her away in some corner out of my way. That way, I won't see things I don't want to see and my stupid little feelings won't get hurt over silly little rude comments. Through the genius of privacy controls, I can essentially put this person in a place where they are still there, but won't be visible to hurt me anymore.

I don't do this for everyone. In fact, my delete and block finger makes it very easy for me to eliminate people as quickly as I can delete a spelling error. It's not hate. I don't really hate anyone. Hate ends up eating away at the hater moreso than the hated. I think I'm just at a point in my life where I can identify people who only bring pain, and rather than let them stay there and keep causing pain, it's best to just let them do it as far away from me as possible.

When I was done scrubbing my Dungeon, I had three garbage bags full of junk. I had three empty containers of cleaning products and two empty paper towel rolls. I felt good. My Dungeon smelled of clean. My boxes of useless gifts were neatly piled out of the way, but close by for the reason of sentiment. 

Growing up sucks sometimes, but I realized that not everything can be trashed and forgotten. Sometimes you hold on to things or to people because they did make you happy at one point, and it's better to remember them in that light rather than hate them because of their shortcomings. We all have shortcomings. I've had my victories as a cake maker, and I've had my failures. There are some people who will swear up and down that they will never order from me again because of one reason or another, and I don't blame them. I'm only human, afterall.

Because I couldn't do my supply run this past weekend, I'm going to have to do it tonight at the supermarket, and probably spend more than I intended. That sucks, but when you don't have a license or a car, it's hard to sit there and feel slighted by people who don't come through for you. Just another reason I really need to get my shit together.

Well, get this! I have signed up for some art lessons. Nothing formal or anything, but a local artist agreed to help me "draw" in order for me to have an easier time with my cake designs. I've bitched more than once about my inability to draw hindering my cake skills. He insists that I have talent, and I just need a little training. I doubt I have HIS talent, but if he can help me make better cakes, I'm willing to give it a shot and do the homework and everything. When someone is offering to help you improve your craft, you don't say no!

I've also signed a personal running trainer, something I didn't want to do, but it's part of my payment towards the art lesson. He told me it's easier to get a routine to get back in shape when you have someone else beside you trying to motivate you to stop being such a fatty.

I excited with my subtle little changes. I'm not really looking forward to the art lessons, because I know what my limits are as an "artist". I do believe that there are some skills you are just inherently born with, and when it comes to art- either you have it or you don't. I only have it up to a certain point. Any improvement he can help me make will be awesome, but I doubt I'll be working for Pixar anytime soon. (Because we all know Pixar gives out free Coke and cakes shaped like the characters in their movies to their employees every 3rd Friday of the month.) Man, what a gig!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

No Slacking At Home

So my meeting was short and sweet, and it was easy because the dude yelling at me does not have a mean bone in his body. His reason for calling me in? He was fighting for a work-at-home schedule for my team, but he was shot down because it was perceived that we were not working all day long.

People see my double screens. They're big and bright and I sit in a high traffic area. People walk by and see me browsing the net. They see me typing on blogs or on social network unnamed. Sometimes they even see me watching movies. That's very seldom now, because I do a lot of audio books during the day. Either way, all the beating around the bush he did boiled down to him asking me to be a little more diligent at work and more aware of the people lurking around me. He even hinted that supervisors are allowed to tap into our screens and watch what we do on the network all day long. Yes, the fuckers that be around here really do have all day to do nothing but sit there and spy on employees.

Like I said, he's a nice guy who's in a little over his head when it comes to being a hard ass. He wants me to help him out with his workload, under the guise of "showing them how productive I can be at work". Productive in getting HIS work done, is what he's trying to say. He wants me to take off my large cans (I've upgraded to headphones which are as big and gaudy as DJ cans) because the perception is that I'm not working when I have them on. (I'm probably NOT working- whether or not I have them on or off.) Like I said, my work is tedious, but anyone with a working brain can get it done.

I smiled, apologized if I have been unaware of my goofing off, and assured him he could send any work my way and I would get it done for him in record time.

I walked out of there, and I heard his sigh of relief, glad that I didn't put up a fight.

I was glad that he didn't bring up all my latenesses or the days I take off without letting anyone know. However, I know I'm skating on thin ice. I know I'm working on borrowed time. I'll do my best to do better around here, but let's face it. This isn't the place for me. I just need to hang on for another year to clear the debt. I'm nearly there.....Just one more year!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spite Success

They tell us that our successes are ours, alone, and are not due to the influence or the benefits of others since we are the ones that actually perform what needs to be done in order to achieve the goal. It's not to say that there isn't gratitude due to those who have helped us along the way, but to look at your success and feel indebted to another is sort of benign.

It's a running gag in my family. No matter what anyone does, a certain aunt always steps in and preaches about people not being able to be where they are today if not for her help. Bow down and kiss the ring, because a simple thank you will not suffice.

My father subscribes to this backwards logic. He spent most of our lives here kissing his family's ass, making himself a bloody martyr all in the name of paying a debt he feels like he still owes them for having helped him get my mother and Troll here from the Philippines all those years ago. He's given them the time he should have been home with us, his health, his sleep, and I'm surprised he didn't offer up an offspring as an offering to their insatiable appetite for accolades.

There isn't much I don't do for my family when they ask it of me. There aren't many times I've turned my back when my help was needed or when a favor was wanted. However, they don't appreciate any of it, and at the end of the day it's as if I should be the one thanking them for the opportunity to do something nice for them.

I've already written about the rift I had with my father and his sibling after my uncle's death earlier this year. I felt how cold all those fuckers were when I went down to VA for my cousin's baby shower this month. I knew a lot of them didn't show up because of me, and I felt bad for my cousin because of it. But, my dad's family is full of assholes and he's one of them.

I know my work with cakes has come a long way since I started with my first lopsided catastrophe. I know I've learned a lot over the last few years and I've held myself to a higher standard since I started. In the beginning, I was grateful to my aunt for thinking of me when she heard about the culinary school program. I was happy they tried to encourage me, even when I felt like my efforts were useless.

I charge a lot more now. My cakes are written about on blogs and local newsletters. Strangers who have never met me pay me a couple of hundred dollars for my efforts. I get more gratitude and respect from 6 year olds who love their Yo Gabba Gabba cakes, than I do from my own family.

My family is a family of psychologically fucked-up, emotionally crippled vampires. They take and take and take and offer not one note of thanks or a nod of gratitude for any of my efforts. I don't need a stamp of approval from these fuckers to know I've done well, but their snide immature comments still bug me.

I don't mean just "bug" me where I get a tick of annoyance. I  mean, I'm really so annoyed I want to take a closed fist to their mixed-race white-ish skin and summon a big, purple mark to let them know I was there.

No, of course violence isn't the answer. It's not like they would even understand the act anyway. They would be sitting there, with a black eye, bitching about how right they were about how low-brow I've been brought up by my "bitch mother".

Still, knowing they are a lost cause who will never see the light, part of me wants to do well in spite of them.I don't just mean, open my own place and be successful. I mean, I want to rule the fucking pastry world. I want my name and my picture on every fucking billboard on every fucking road they drive on when they come and go. I want commercials on every television time slot. I want my own show. I want my stuff in magazines so that when they're waiting on line at the grocery store buying their fucking Stop and Shop pound cake, they know that my hard work turned into something good.

I fucking hate my family. I'm surprised I have such loving cousins who were spawned from the loins of these assholes. Before they die, I want to prove that I managed to make life work out for me- DESPITE all of them. And as cold and as shallow as I sound, it's important to me.

I know they look at me like some sex-crazed emotional failure due to the divorce from the mistaken marriage and the two or three subsequent relationship failures after that. They knew about the miscarriage with Joel. I don't even know if they know about the abortions, but let's face it. Do we really need another generation of "Raffy's" crawling around out there (despite my awesome DNA)?

I may die unmarried and childless, but I know my business will thrive long after I'm gone. I know that will be my only burning reason I want to do well- to slap it into all their fucking faces that I may not be a college graduate or hold down a 6-figure salary from some accounting job, but I am more than they will ever hope to be in this lifetime, and I'm a better person than them.

I don't need to be richer. I don't need to have cuter kids. I just need to be a better person than they will ever hope to be. They can click their worn rosary beads together and kneel down before a clay statue of the Virgin Mary and do their prayers until their lips fall off- they are horrible people, and will I never turn out like they do.

At least, I hope I don't.

Book Club: The Hunger Games

I was talked into a book club at work, and naturally I picked the book I most enjoyed reading. Out of 15 women, only 1 person was a negative Nelly about it. When the month was over and it was time to meet again to discuss the book, this is what I put together as my contribution as Host of the Month. (The esteemed title the person whose book we read gets to hold for one meeting.) That person is responsible for snacks for that meeting.

You know how I roll. ;-)

If you read the book, you know the Tributes are given gifts from their sponsors via parachute packages. Each one says: "May the odds be ever in your favor!"

I brought snacks mentioned in the book: 3 different types of goat cheese, fresh basil leaves, 2 different types of berries, and some nuts & trail mix. I added little toast points to eat with the cheese, as well as a quince jam just to add a little something extra. THEY LOVED ALL OF IT AND FOUGHT OVER THE LAST BITS OF CHEESE!!

The cookies are supposed to represent the cookies Peeta's dad gave Katniss when he said goodbye to her.

Inside the parachute packages are mini loaves a bread, like what District 9 sent Katniss after what she did for Rue.

They are actually mini loaves of banana cake and crumbled walnuts across the top.
This was the first book club meeting, and since I went first I needed to set the bar high. The Hunger Games was an easy book to draw food ideas from because they spoke in detail about the various foods in the book.

The extra touches I added like the mini parachute packages and the cheese platters are just things I like to do. When you like doing something, it's no longer a chore. Everyone seemed to enjoy what I put together, and I had a really nice time thinking it all up. It kinda makes me wish it were my turn again!

Luckily, the other ladies told me they would be contracting their "turn" for host snacks out to me. Let's see if I can make a little money off this. To be honest, though, a lot of the books these other women picked were pretty boring. I'll see what food ideas I can pull out of them as I read.

As for me: SUCCESS

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Where's My Motivation?

Have you ever had days where you just couldn't find your motivation? I'm having a month like that. I've been pushing things to the very last minute, which then has me rushing to finish and not do the best I can. I'm finding myself scaling back on my original ideas just to get the cake done, rather than doing it to the best of my ability.

I don't know if I am coming down with something which is cutting into my energy moreso than usual. I don't know if I'm getting ill and just too bummed to go to a doctor because I have to find a new one ever since mine left. Or maybe it's all just in my head.

All I know is that I'm laying in bed finding a million reasons why I don't want to get up and back right now, rather than sucking it up, pouring a Coke, and doing my thing.

I suck.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I am always tickled when someone comes to me with some fantastic cake idea that no one else has really approached me with. My Ghostbusters Cake and my "Why U No Like" cake have been two of my most popular pop culture cakes with links and constantly daily hits each day from all around the world.

That same creative mind came back with the biggest challenge I've been handed so far in my Pop Culture Cake career. The Buddy Christ.

At first he wanted a two foot tall cake structure with all the bells and whistles the Buddy Christ sported in the movie Dogma. Dogma is certainly up there in the list of my cinema faves. Snarky view of Catholicism. Kevin Smith. Chris Rock. Jay Mewes. Ben & Matt. And mother fucking Alannis Morrisette as GOD. How the fuck can you NOT love this movie?

I was honest with him and told him I've never done a cake like this before and I doubted I had the talent to pull it off. He came back and asked for a flat, 2D pic on a cake. I agreed. After doing my cake research online I stumbled upon a pretty badass cake done by another baker. I don't know how much of it was actual cake and how much was structure and support. I decided that my cake should consist of a rice crispy treat & fondant Buddy Christ atop an actual cake painted as a pedestal. That seemed pretty fucking badass to me, and I priced it for him and pitched my idea.

My friend went wild. He fucking loved it.

The ball is in my court again. Shit. Did I mention I'm not an actual ARTIST- you know; someone who can look at something and render it well enough to be recognizable to the original? My own shit- sure I can come up with some pretty cakes that I made up in my own head. However, trying to emulate a popular icon or image is hard for me. Certain things can be traced or stenciled easily enough, like Ghostbusters. I struggled with "Why U No Like Me" because even though it's drawn badly- it's still stylized and drawn badly in a very specific way. I can't just go and draw some round head with a big nose with a furrowed brow my own way and just assume people knew what I was trying to copy. It took me two hours to free hand that fucking image, and it still wasn't prefect. Thankfully, it was recognizable enough to be successful.

Buddy Christ. I will have to build an armature out of wire and floral tape. I will have to make some rice crispy treats and slap them onto that armature to built enough support for the heavy fondant, and hope I made the wire part strong so that it won't bend and buckle under the weight of everything.

I've never built an armature before. I've not worked with rice crispy treats. I've never made a one-foot-tall ANYTHING to go on top of a cake. Man, how am I going to do this???

Monday, May 7, 2012

Good Deeds

I'm not one who can forget a slight easily. I can hold onto a grudge like a dying man grasping at the last wisps of life, as he's on the cusp of death. When it comes to slights of the heart, I can smile, bury the hatchet, and agree to be civil, but the hurt is still there; sort of festering like black mold.

Through my old friend's in Cali, a really old friend contacted me this morning asking if I knew someone who would be willing to do a mural in their nursery in preparation of their arriving bundle of joy. Their theme? Anime. Baby anime. She named a whole bunch of characters and such that I have no knowledge of, but they were directed at me because my Cali friends told them I was fucking an artist.

Correction: I WAS fucking an artist. (A few, in fact, over time.) Times have changed.

Anyway, they asked if I knew anyone who would be willing to come out to TX to do the deed because they had already spoken to a few potential artists from some local art school and they weren't too happy with anything they saw. At first I didn't think I heard her correctly. They were going to fly someone out to draw on their nursery walls? Seriously? Yes, they replied. All expenses paid. (I guess it really does pays to be a Republican in TX). However, they would prefer someone already in-state or near the West Coast.

As soon as they said it would take place in the Lone Star State, my stomach clenched in knots. I mean, holy hell! Why do I always end up in these moral predicaments?

I know 2 artists in TX. I have, indeed, fucked both of them at one point or another. And they are both fantastic artists, regardless whether or not they were fantastic for me. I put on my big girl panties, and told her this. Although both men have very distinct styles, they are both really awesome at what they do, and personally I leaned more towards the art of one rather than the other just because of personal preference, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and they would ultimately have to make that decision on their own. And ever after that, getting either one of these guys to agree to the gig and hammering out payment was all something she would have to do on her own. I really wanted as little to do with these transaction as possible.

I sent her links to both artists, prefacing that I didn't really know what either was currently up to, and whether or not they would take the job is between her and them- but I would send along a "head's up" note to let them know she would be contacting the one she liked better.

Within 5 minutes, she was calling me back gushing that her husband and her had really liked the one, and they saw a drawing of his that they would like to utilize in the design of the nursery, and if I wouldn't mind contacting him right away. Also, the fact that he would only be in San Antonio for another month lit a match under their ass to try and grab him as soon as possible. She said they were only half an hour away from San Antonio, and she took that as a sign that they made the right choice.

Personally, I would have gone with the other artist, but that's just my point of view. And really, considering that his network connection was coming from the likes of me would have probably earned them a very brisk refusal anyway.

The one they chose does lean more towards a Japanese style when it comes to his drawings. I mean, even the portrait he did of me back in school resembled sexy anime women moreso than me. If Anime is what they want, I understand why they wanted him. It's just not my cup of tea.

I sent a text to TX, and within an hour the artist and expecting parents were connected. San Antonio (as I will affectionately refer to the chosen one) was so stoked about the offer that he told them he would do it for free if they would just pay for his gas and meals and  some beer while he worked. I guess he doesn't get many calls for this sort of thing considering the type of work he ultimately went with as his chosen line of employment.

They are meeting up tonight for dinner/drinks (none for the mommy-to-be, of course), and a view of the nursery so he could get started on sketches. They both keep thanking me, and in my belly I have a guilty rumble because it was one of those things I had to talk myself into doing to begin with. I could have easily said I lost touch with them, and I couldn't help her out. It wouldn't be a lie.

But, then I thought about all the jobs I had this weekend. My Avenger's night, Joe Rogan, and all the eating out I did was all paid for by gigs I got by someone being nice enough to connect me with a customer. No one had to give out my name or my card or my website. But, they took the time out and did so, and because of that I got paid and that money went to a lot of things I either needed or wanted.

What kind of a cold bitch would I be to tell a flat out lie and refuse to make a connection for someone else all in the name of avoiding an unpleasant interaction with someone who has been unpleasant towards me? Maybe this one mural will lead to other people wanting murals or end up in some local design look-book. Maybe he ends up meeting someone else who hands him a heap of artsy jobs that finally gives him the go-ahead to leap back into art; something he's always wanted to do. Or maybe he does one awesome mural that makes one family very happy; and his selfishness will ease away just enough for him to be a little less self-centered. That, in itself, would make it all worth it.

I try and do good every day I'm out and about, but the opportunities don't always present themselves, or doing "good" means doing something I really don't want to do. I think that's what makes the deed more meaningful; when you swallow your pride, put aside petty grudges, and do what's right- NO MATTER WHAT.

How many people can honestly say they can do that? Well, today, I did!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


My friend's apartment, although quite swanky and lovely, was about 100 degrees and this interview was taken at about 12:30am after scrambling to shoot the stunt cakes and find a new location. I look like ass and my cake is far from perfect, but I think my friend did a really nice job. I hope she gets a good grade....even though I look like ass!


Hiya, readers. The baby shower was a success, but the cake was not as pretty as I would have liked it to be. My neice Harley (7 years old) decided she was going to be my sous chef and refused to let me decorate without her by my side every single minute I was in front of the cake. I gave her a few things to try and keep her busy so I could concentrate on making the cake as awesome as I would have envisioned but trying to tell a 7 year old to keep her hands off fondant is like putting a rainbow of playdough in front of a child and telling them they can't touch it. Not gonna happen.

Despite the fact that my cake tasted fantastic, as I was told by everyone except my douchebag relatives who were the subject of my scathing post not too long ago, it still looked like a cake that a 7 year old decorated. Balls. =( I'll see if someone has a pic I can put up later.

I did talk a little business, and I have been contracted to do 200 baked pieces (of my choice) for a grand. Imagine? A thousand friggin' dollars for my own product!!! And I get to travel to DC every other week. I couldn't be more happy. I'll be out of debt and on my own in no time! Granted, these are going to be a lot more sophisticated and larger than my normal ware, but it will be bigger than anything I have done thus far. Packaging will be key, and I'll be investing in some new equipment. I did a quick search and luckily it won't cost that much. Big things are in the works, and I never thought I would ever get to this point where people will actually, truly respect what I do as a professional and be willing to pay me accordingly. I'm still in disbelief how much better things are getting. I guess when you're at the bottom, there's no where to go but UP!

The Hunger Games luncheon I hosted today at my work book club was a big success. I made little "parachute packs" like in the book with a mini banana loaf cake inside, like the one District 9 sent down to Katniss after Rue's fate. I know it was multigrain bread, but who wants to eat a mini loaf of multigrain bread when you can have a mini banana cake?  I also came in with 3 different kinds of goat cheese, basil leaves, dried cranberries, blackberries and raspberries. I also brought in a side of mini toasts and chocolate chips (from the Melark Bakery, of course).  It was received really well, and I set the bar as high as it would go as far as hosting on the day your book is going to be discussed. As can be anticipated, there were one or two negative nelly's who thought I went overboard and didn't think it was fair to the other people who don't want to do all that. Whatever- I do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I'm not going to dumb myself down to make someone else feel comfortable.

My friend took footage of my cake deco skills last night at my buddy Jeff's apartment in Forest Hills. He has one of those swanky apartments in the "Blue Light" building, as I like to refer to it. I call it that because every single balcony is illuminated with blue lights. It's one of the most expensive buildings in Forest Hills. The lobby has some grand and gaudy chandelier hanging in there. It looks like you're walking into the Four Seasons instead of an apartment building. We ended up there because our friend ended up flaking on us when it came time to shoot. The climate at my house made it unfit for filming. We were going to drive all the way out to Suffolk to film when she called and hedged. We dropped her like a bad habit and I scrambled to find another kitchen to use. Jeff was awesome enough to allow us to use his space- albeit a tiny kitchen. It was squeaky clean and we were wrapped in about 2 hours. Since he does film work and CGI stuff himself, he was able to help out my friend who was having problems with the equipment. All in all, every shot she took, ever soundbite, and every interview will be whittled down to 2 minutes. I wonder what will be left when it's all said and done?

Up this Saturday is TWO big cakes. I have a baby shower half sheet cake with a penguin made out of cake up top that I have to drive to Wantagh, and I have a 10" hat cake, fashioned in the style of the KY Derby. We'll see how my hat making skills fair.

Between now and then there's the midnight release of the Avengers that a huge group of us will be attending, and I have Joe Rogan on Friday night with another group of people. It doesn't look like I'll be getting any sleep till I get home Saturday afternoon. No biggie. I'll just cancel the date I had planned.

You know you've prioritized your business when making cakes trumps dating. Speaking of which, I did have a little hole inside because I hadn't seen my Doctor before he left for PA. However, he did call me on Friday, asking for one more night out before he left for good on Saturday. Unfortunately, I was already on my way to VA.; you fickle bitch. 

I was going to see a movie tonight, but it looks like I will be baking all my cakes in prep for Saturday. The lack of rest is certainly catching up to me, but I don't have time for a nap.At least the long train ride let's me get in a few Z's. Can't ask for much more than that!