Howdy, folks. To start off, let me apologize for my previous attitude. It's no excuse, but I was in a very insane situation which affected every aspect of my life. Today, now in New Orleans, getting on firm footing living-situation-wise and on the line at a real restaurant, life is a bit different. After the ridiculous affair at Mely's Bistro, and a short stint at another restaurant in Fort Worth, which was equally mad in a very different way, and now at a classy brigade-style kitchen in Nola which has its shit together, with a functioning team and a real chef (not a culinary school pre-grad or a petulent who stood at the pass and stomped his feet literally exclaiming 'damn it, I'm the chef, why don't these guys listen to me!' - which almost caused me to give up), I'm having an actual beneficial experience under a crackin' sous-chef who got promoted to exectutive by a pair of James Beard award finalists. I'm a tad cynical, I've picked up bad habits in the kitchen in addition to bad habits picked up in previous careers, but I'm finding myself, and a real appreciation for the craft beyond the food and lifestyle. Which is to say, I'm growing up in the field, and have also learned to check my ego. While my (limited range) home cook may be great, I've learned that means next to nothing on the line. So, apologies are due, and I offer you the balance on that debt. There were folks whose opinion I rejected outright because they challenged my ego, which was bolstered by impressing a few folks who I later came to learn were a slick rookie with extensive book learning and an old coke-fueled retail manager with a culinary hobby and an utterly unsalvageable pair of drunks who acted in such a a way that lead me to presume their behavior was criminal. I was a damn fool. I'm still a fool, but feeling a bit less damned. Working hard on being less a fool. I've lost my sense of humor due to hardships and cynicism, so I'm not getting along as well personally, and I'm target fixating on mastering certain skills-like pan frying exotic fish-which I've never done, working with shellfish-which I've never done (north texan), learning how to process proteins (never done except for beef and simple pan fish-but I've caught many pin bones my sous has missed), and translating instinct, taste, grandma's childhood instruction to hard math and chemical formulae and unlearning bad habits gleaned from past experience, library finds, recipe books and college text books. It's kicking my ass, and I oddly love it; I only wish I could stop target fixating on plateus in technique and worrying about perfecting every little thing to the point I lose it and fuck shit up, and relax a tad and enjoy the job more, the jocularity and comraderie. It ain't easy being old, with bad habits and the weight of single parenthood and endless financial and logistical troubles weighing, and zero opportunity to unwind. Despite it all, all the struggle, I can't get enough. I just wish I'd done it earlier in life.