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Monthly Archives: October 2012

It takes a whiff of cold, autumn air, a plate of hearty goat stew and beef tongue, and a whirlwind of fallen leaves to realize that there are less than two full months left of this year.

As the years go by, time seems to be on an endless downhill, unwilling and unable to apply brakes, mercilessly rolling, tumbling. At times out of control, at times

For reasons I cannot seem to verbalize, the change in the air sparks deep thoughts of life’s direction and purpose. Reflection is a powerful tool, shining light unto my innermost vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Life at times seems like an endless one-way street, or a never-ending loop on a roller coaster track, or a high-speed train in full gear, aimed at no destination in particular.

Albeit dim, the light shining within asks the critical question, what it means to be complete. Some conclude that they are born complete – born of stature, wealth, and opportunities. Some conclude that they have earned their completeness – through education and financial gain.

Completeness means the lack of need. Want is there, it will always be. But need has been overcome, at least for some, through self-satisfaction and assurance. Outside of oneself, there is no need. No force other than oneself may interject, for there is no reason to do so. One is self-sustained, fulfilled, complete. One may think.

For those that feel the autumn air blowing right through a void in one’s innermost space, completeness is a yearning. For something more, something greater, above and beyond the status quo. The heart’s void, and the mind’s void, demands a greater presence to quench the otherwise unquenchable.

Blessed are those that are cognizant of such greater presence.

It’s as if one has had a death grip on a stress ball all these years, so tight one’s fingertips and knuckles have gone white. Control, one says, is power, ability, completeness. Total control within my grasp, within my own two hands. Trust oneself, you say, none other.

Letting go – a sensation that permeates through your hand, wrist, arm. It’s assigning control to something beyond one’s fingertips. For one does not trust oneself. Reflection has proven such unworthiness, an utter failure when one foolishly believed in self-contained completeness.

Perceive the unfathomable. What you see and what you hear is not always followed by a period. There is more, more that will lead to a narrow path, perhaps to completeness.

 

A crazy Friday night, one thing leads to another, and we end up in Old Town Alexandria. Streets are relatively empty, just a few fleeting cars here and there, and the occasional pedestrian – some single, some in pairs, a few groups.

Our first Eamon’s experience was in the scorching summer. Streets were bustling with seasonal tourists, humidity was creeping up to get-out-of-my-face levels, and the fish fry joint was too damn crowded.

Who figured, the cooler autumn breeze is a better match for fish and chips. And dinner too. Late night dinner. The scorching heat and the hustle of an early afternoon tourist crowd takes away from the whole experience, and you feel robbed. Friday had the breeze, it had the glimmering October moonlight, and there were no crowds. Just an empty bench, some folks chattering over a round of Guinness, and the smell of beer-battered fish.

The classic cod is always perfect. A deep golden-brown crunch, still steaming hot, with a perfect blend of buttery and beery. The fillet is fresh, moist, not too flaky or dry. Goes well with classic tartar sauce, and of course, those thick-cut chips with a dash of malt vinegar.

The ray melts in your mouth. It’s almost indescribable, but if I may – it’s like a combination of hamachi fillet, crab or lobster tamale, and lobster claw meat. Not fishy at all. Creamy. The meat is stringy, but only by it’s looks. On your tongue, it’s soft and buttery at the same time, especially the meat along the long, white cartilage. A spiced chili sauce best accompanies the milkiness of the ray.

Eamon’s had it’s share of fame – even Bourdain dined there. But to soak in its true flavors, to really dive into the Old Town experience, go at night, after the crowd disperses. Go when it’s colder, October, maybe November. Have a whole bench to yourself. A couple fillets, hot chips, a Guinness.

The night has just begun.

I am pleased to announce my first piece with online journal Roads & Kingdoms!

This means a lot to me. R&K has always showcased exemplary work, and I’ve admired their concept of travel, politics and great food. To be a part of this endeavor is an honor to say the least.

The feature is about Korean blood sausage. Check it out here!

You can also follow R&K on Twitter: @RoadsKingdoms

My boss takes off for a 1:00 pm Nats game, and I’m stuck with a fire drill.

Fire drills were somewhat cool and useful in school, but at the office, just annoying, somewhat. At least the building management is serving cookies by the platter – an offering to appease the pissed off executives who were in the midst of meetings with very very important (meaning wealthy) clients? I suppose so. Fine with me. Two sugar cookies it is.

Irony hits. In our building, coming down the stairs to exit is ok. But as we’re given the green light to re-enter the building, apparently going up the stairs is a no-no. The doors are locked. You would think that walking up a few flights of stairs is a healthy dose of cardiovascular exercise. But this is America.

Result? Hoards of people, young and old, clustered in the lobby, munching on cookies. Taking the elevators in shifts. Disgusted, I walk out and wander to the promised land – Illy Coffee. Just a few blocks from the mayhem. I briefly debate 12 oz versus 16 oz. Size matters in Illy land.

Just missed the last ticking seconds at a crosswalk. I stand and sip, when I hear this ten feet behind my head: “Street Sense, it’s the paper with a heart.” I’ve seen these people before, but never bothered to read the paper. I don’t even read the The Express, or The Examiner. Every morning, in sun or in rain, they distribute these things in front of the Metro entrance. I walk by nonchalantly, smiling, sometimes. News is depressing, too much so for the morning. The office is depressing as it is. And I have better stuff to read.

But “a paper with a heart”. Somehow, that phrase is sticky, like gum to the bottom of a shoe. Maybe the fact that it’s a paper published with the help of the homeless in the area has something to do with it.

Maybe I should take a copy of Street Sense next time.

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