Eddie and Gwen

Eddie and Gwen
Standing Tall Among the Saguaros

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Beware You Have Entered the Twilight Zone

I’ve shed many tears lately…..tears of temporary sorrow from missing my wife, my granddaughter, my family as a whole, and my home town of Pagosa Springs.   If I am being truthful, however, the majority of tears stem from joy as I contemplate all the people who visit my food trailer, and share how they’ve read my blog;  or when I consider the fact that my wife is so very patient as I work through this freakin’ mission;  or when I consider how the locals recommend Eddie B Cookin and just keep sending more people my way.  Most people that know me on an intimate level,  tell me that I’m a metro sexual male.  I suppose that’s true, as I wear my emotions on my sleeve, plus the fact that I really do enjoy foo foo cosmopolitan martini’s.  So here it is….Eddie comes out!!!!  I have to admit that I have shed tears for all the reasons I listed above, and since I’m in a confessin’ mood, I might as well tell you this:  At the end of the day when I’m exhausted and I collapse in my tent for a bit of relaxation and a nice glass of chardonnay (It’s that metro sexual me coming out) I find myself contemplating the magnificent blessings of my life and I well up with tears.  Okay, so I’m a crier…what about it?    Since I’ve plunged into this world of minimalism and surrounded myself with people who choose to live on society’s fringe, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for the simple blessings we usually take for granted.   For example:  The other day a gentleman came out of the desert riding his quad, he had a purpose in mind, he wanted to share with me the fact that he enjoys reading my blog.  I am taken aback by the number of people who show genuine concern as to whether or not I am making it.  I am touched by the person who left a fifty dollar bill in my tip jar, and the person that posted a comment on my blog asking, “hey where you at man,  when is the next update coming?” One thing I’ve discovered about being in the throes of a midlife crises is that emotions become extreme……uhhhh, am I experiencing Man-a-pause??  Woe unto me, so there you have it, my new found sensitivity of life’s simple pleasure of feeling appreciated.
Talk about feeling appreciated, it recently occurred to me that I am probably the only food vendor in this temporary geriatric metropolis doing it all solo, as in no helpers, yet still I am full of Joy.  That’s not to say that all other food vendors aren’t grinding away at trying to make a buck.  It’s just a statement relating to the fact that the mass crowd numbers never really materialized to justify a helper in my world.  By all accounts this is the worst year in memory for Quartzsite, yet I refuse to allow that to bring me down. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eddie B Doin' It His Way

Okay, so now it’s getting stupid crazy! There are so many people here now it’s making me dizzy. Quartzsite now qualifies as one of those must do things if you live within a 100 miles. For me the transformation is now complete. I arrived here the last week of October, and this place was a barren desert outpost. Today, it’s a bustling community rife with the traffic of quads, motor homes, motorized scooters, motorcycles, and every homemade vehicle imaginable. I have chronicled the evolution process in small steps…..but in one exponential step, the baby is full grown. My food trailer is positioned on a main thorough fair for the major swap meets, so cars, trucks, motor homes, etc….are constantly driving in and around the road’s shoulder in front of my trailer.  I came up with, what I considered a great idea, to put my large wooden advertisement sandwich board in a spot that would prevent cars from parking long term  directly in front of my trailer.  I want potential customers to be able to see my trailer from the roadway.  My neighbor Jim, being the seasoned veteran that he is, bet me that before the day was out, someone would unintentionally run right through it.  Of course, being the self confident man that I am,  I accepted the bet.  I figured that Jim was sure to lose since the board is 4 feet high by 3 feet wide and bright white in color.  Surely, I thought, drivers would see it and avoid hitting it.  Obviously I thought more highly of the local drivers than Jim did. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Real Sense of Community

           Two weeks incommunicado, suffice it to say:  Eddie B having computer problems.  I’ll save the computer problems for another day…. For today, I’ve much tell.   January is here….”the big month”, the ”you’ll be so busy, you will want it to stop” month.  The,  “you’ll be amazed by the amount of people” month….. Well, let’s just say that I’m still waiting to be amazed.  At this point, I’m  thanking the Good Lord for the locals who have discovered my trailer. It is the locals who sustain me.   At this point 90-95% of the customers say they were told by someone they know to try my food. I am once again humbled and awestruck at the pace of the way word travels in this desert arena. As the snowbirds continue to descend upon this remote desert warm spot, and all the vendors that intended to get here are here, things are heating up. I was beginning to believe, that I had come to Quartzsite way too early, but now I see the blessing of arriving way in advance. As this sub-culture continues to develop each week, I gain a whole new perspective of this place. Snowbirds continue to arrive en-mass in big massive million dollar motor-Coaches. I guess, once you reach that super elite level, you now travel in a ”Motor Coach”.  Yet they stay out in the desert on some BLM land for $180.00 per season….what’s up with that?  While on the subject of snowbirds, I am going to go out on a limb and voice two issues I have concerning my future senior years.  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Daily Mantra: Cook and the People Will Come

Only those who are closest to me understand how stubborn and hard-headed I can be.  I’ve accepted that this is one of my flaws, and though it is difficult for me at times to recognize when I am being boneheaded, when I do realize it, I admit it.  So here we go; for the past three days, I’ve been tracking massive storm fronts going through California, often checking the NOAA (National weather site) for updates. My neighbor Jim keeps telling me “that SOB of a storm will come through here, you better prepare”. I just shrug it off, and respond, “Jim….the NOAA website is forecasting one tenth to one half inch of rain, what damage can that possibly do; wash my tent away with me and Gwen.”  Then to make my point further, I added, “don’t worry, you won’t see us on the local news”.  So Jim, being the fifteen year veteran that he is, just shakes his head, and as he turns to walk away he says, “You don’t understand, this is the desert, nothing is what it seems. I’m telling you this place could flood in a heartbeat. Don’t come running to me later and say that I didn’t warn you”. Later that day I see this ominous, really dark cloud coming right at us.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Christmas: A Time for Mercy and Tales of a Tornado

          I finally got a covered tent to serve as my dining area. I struck a deal with my neighbor, Jim.  He broke out an extra tent structure he had, said I could use it and in exchange, he gets a free lunch everyday.  I think it’s a great deal, he gets fed, and I get a 10x20 tent structure. No it’s not some easy up canopy. Out here, in Quartzsite,  the winds can reach up to 50-60 mph. So the tent must be strong, and structurally sound.  I keep hearing about the Tornado that blew the place apart last year.  The veterans call it a micro burst, but it evidently wrecked havoc, sending tents flying across Quartzsite. So far I’ve heard the event described as a tornado, 50 mph gust, 60 mph gust, 70, 80, 90 mph sustained wind. Each tale I hear the fish gets bigger, if ya know what I mean; they all say “it blew the place apart, tents everywhere, semi’s overturned on the freeway, palm tree branches lodged into solid brick walls, eyeballs blown out, a poodle blown clear across Arizona into New Mexico.” Okay I exaggerated the last three, I just want to make sure you’re paying attention.  Anyway, now I have shelter to offer people as they are feasting on my fine cuisine. The local workforce must have discovered that I make really good food, because I’ve seen a nice increase in local sales. You know that feeling when you were 13-14 years old and you dated the girl or guy of your dreams, all the pent up excitement, that’s actually how I feel about cooking Asian food. It’s a cultural food I’ve long desired to approach. I’ve had plenty of time to experiment and it’s all coming together. As one of my wait staff used to say….”Eddie, this is the shit!.” When I am busy banging out cooked to order food with fresh ingredients, that’s when I feel like I’m living my dream.  Call me a simple man, but I love it.  I’ve finally got the Thai element of my menu going.           I made a trip down to Yuma recently to stock up on hard to find Thai and Chinese ingredients. It seems every semi large town has a Chinese market where you can find the really exotic stuff like lemon grass, fish sauce, and frozen fish balls. (No fish don’t have balls, it’s a product that is actually like meat balls made out of ground fish) The menu is now complete.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

There's No Place Like Home - Shout Out to Pagosa Springs

Okay, call me a mama's boy, but I’m missing home big time.   I’ve been here for seven weeks, seven weeks can you believe it?  Yea, Yea I know I’ve said how good I feel here, it feels right and all … I’m on the fringe, I got the taste of freedom on my palate …. I’m running through the desert with coyotes on my ass chasing my dream … yada yada yada …. Freedom schmeedom, right now I’m missin home.  I miss my Wife, my family, my friends, my comfortable bed.  I miss Pagosa Springs.  Once you live in a small town like Pagosa Springs, it becomes a part of your soul forever. I mean the town has its good and bad, but like a hot divorced woman, you can’t leave her for long. (Did I just say that? Wow that was a really bad aphorism, sorry )   Let’s move on shall we?  Ya know, Pagosa Springs has a fringe element all its own.  Maybe that’s where it all started for me, this attraction to free spirited individuals.  The good Lord knows my eyes were opened to this “sub-culture” not long after settling in there;  I was like, “Oh crap, some of these people are bizarre”. Now I say this with Love in my heart, cause really, everyone is a little quirky. Case in point, upon arriving in Pagosa Springs, there was the guy I met who was upset that a particular property owner was going to bulldoze down an old house because he wanted to develop the property. Now this in its self isn’t odd, the weirdness came when he tried to convince me that the house was a living thing, and effectively became a living aspect of the community. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “just go with it and see where this goes..”  After we downed a few beers, he continued his rant getting all up in my face, as he pontificated from his soap box.  The longer he went on, finally I couldn’t take it anymore, I interrupted his diatribe with these philosophical words, “dude, what the F@&K are you talking about?” My comments either amazed him or stunned him, I’m not sure which, all I know is he broke out the brownies and said,  “awe F@&K me, lets just have a good time bro.” Only a town like Pagosa Springs could claim a character like Diamond Dave.  Now, Diamond Dave is well known throughout Pagosa Springs, you say Diamond Dave and everyone knows who you’re talking about.  He’s got style and character; sporting his big gold lion head medallion with the ruby eyes (those red eyes were designed to be hypnotic) he's also got the flashy bling-- bling on his fingers like a big city rap star. Even the name, Diamond Dave makes a statement.  Diamond Dave was a businessman, owning a gun store in town and a hot dog cart.  Diamond Dave always claimed that the hot dogs he sold were home made.  When I ignorantly inquired,  “well Dave, now what makes them homemade?”, he replied, in his strong raspy voice….”They’re made in Nebraska….I’m from Nebraska, I say their homemade, so their homemade, end of discussion…. You want to make something of it?”  I hit it off real well with Diamond Dave.  Many people thought I had cajones, when I approached Diamond Dave with a business proposition.  Turns out he became a great friend, and mentor to me. Pagosa Springs has a popular local band called Mind ur Head.  The first time I attended a Mind ur Head show, I met one of their local groupies named Randy. Randy follows the band everywhere they play, and he is usually the first to hit the dance floor when it’s time to start dancing.  I can’t put into words exactly what I witnessed the first time I saw him dance.  I thought he was having a medical emergency, like perhaps an epileptic seizure. I had to stop myself from dialing 9-1-1.  Randy was oblivious, he just kept right on groovin’ and movin’  his happy feet for the duration of the show. I think its Randy’s job that has given him such stamina, he delivers our local mail and does an amazing job.  Randy is a good conversationalist and a great guy who lovingly helps his disabled wife with their children. Great people, real people, no bullshit, true community exists there.  There’s no doubt in my mind, if Sheriff Taylor was looking to move away from Mayberry, Pagosa Springs is where he’d take up residence.  I’m certain that Aunt Bea and Opie would soon follow.  (Shout out to Pagosa Springs, I Love You man !)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wile E Coyote and The Back Story: Chapter 1

   When I decided to do this blog, I made a promise to myself that I would  keep it real, good or bad, I would be honest and write what was happening in my world.  I have to admit that I have to swallow my pride as I write this.  It isn’t easy for me to admit that things are going south for me right now financially.  I said I was going keep it real… so here it goes.  Most of the vendors here are starting to freak out, including me.  Where are all the people?  Apparently business is slower than normal for this time of year.  Even the old timers who have been coming to the Rock and Gem show in Quartzsite for the past 10 years are worried.   It wasn’t an exaggeration when I said that the majority of us vendors made it here on gas fumes, so every day that goes by without customers, means I sink deeper and deeper in the red.  Originally I was attracted to this venue because I was told that it would be crawling with people.  Well, it ain’t happening.  This being my first Rock and Gem show, I’ve been hanging on to every word the old timers share, and there seems to be cause for alarm.  Seeing anxiety on the faces of my fellow vendors is concerning, but for me, it’s frustrating for a number of reasons. When I left Pagosa Springs and hit the road with my trailer, I was still hanging on to my dream that I would be able to revive my food career and get back on my feet financially.  After hearing about the huge influx of people to Quartzsite, I chose this venue figuring this was my chance to make some serious cash.  Obviously, the economy is contributing to a poor early turnout, but another factor seems to be the increased bureaucracy.  By that I mean fees, taxes, permits, licenses etc.. and it’s killing the little guy out here.  Nowadays everybody wants a piece of the pie.  Let me give you a glimpse inside my trailer concessionaire world.  Over the summer I took the trailer out on the event circuit.  With each new event I learned more and more.  Normally, I fork out about $80.00 for permits, license, and inspection fees for an average event.  In comparison, here in Quartzsite it cost me close to $600.  In addition to those fees, here in Quartzsite I had to pay what they call a “standard vendor fee”, which set me back an additional $1600.  So basically, before I sold any food at all, I was already in the hole  $2200.  Okay so there, I’ve bared my soul, so why don’t I feel any better L .  The collective opinion around here is that all these fees, this bureaucracy, is killing business.  In addition to the increased permit fees, most of the R.V. campgrounds have also implemented price increases due to, again bureaucratic increases. So for those of you who think, and there are many of you………., “don’t you just pull up to a spot, open the window and start making money” no bubba Jay, it ain’t that easy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Blowing in the Wind

It’s freakin' cold here. I came to Southwestern Arizona to escape the bitter cold of Colorado. We’ve had three consecutive mornings of 31 degree weather, what the hell? Okay, so it’s only a small cold front that appears to already be moving out, but if this continues I may just have to go further South into Mexico. Hey, I wonder if the Cartel is hiring ? Hmmm.. Hey…maybe I could be the personal chef of some drug king pin. I’m sure they offer great benefits and being a personal chef would give me one of the more secure positions within the Cartel, as long as El Hefe' doesn’t get food poisoning. Yikes …

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talking To Myself

Every morning I awake with a fresh spirit of hope. Being alone out here is an emotional roller coaster ride. As things begin to slowly ramp up, one moment I’m bored; the next I’m inspired; and then concerned. Round and round it goes etc.. etc… I feel like one of those refrigerator magnets that display’s various moods, just pick the appropriate emotion for the moment. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve also begun talking to myself as a form of entertainment. It’s not a schizophrenic thing, it’s more rhetorical like; “does this guy know he’s got way too much hair growing out of his ears…. he probably knows, but he just doesn’t care.” Actually, I see this activity as a mental exercise; more as an observation of my current environment, rather than being judgmental. Mostly, I do it for my own entertainment, just to crack myself up. Not a whole lot to do out here in Quartzsite, Arizona. Perhaps that is why I find myself taking on the role of observer and social analyst. I’ve begun to open myself up to this world, this “life on the fringe of society”, I have become a sponge, soaking up all that it is has to teach me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Back from the dead in Quartzsite, Arizona

It has been said that most people perceive themselves with higher regard than what others may perceive them. Meaning,  I may think my IQ is higher than what an IQ test may actually reveal, or I may believe that my hair line is not reseeding when, let's face it... it most certainly is. Well, I am here to confess today that I am, in fact, a bigger idiot than I ever realized. I’ve come to the  realization  that  I  have  been  arrogant, an over  confident,obnoxious fool.
After losing everything that I worked so very hard for, I have been forced to take a long, hard look at myself, and folks I must say, the picture isn’t pretty.