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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Update in the World of GG

I can almost hear my faithful readers hiss each time they pull up my blog and see the same post. I am sorry, dear readers. (Grimace) I've been in a whirlwind of activity with so much going on in a short time frame, that alas, the blog and y'all have been sorely neglected. So this time instead of taking you on one single adventure with one recipe, I'm going to take you on several adventures and catch you up to date on my crazy life. You guessed it, the blanks will be filled, the mystery man revealed, and the secrecy around my quasi (and I DO mean quasi) celebrity status will be laid at your feet in a tale that should be a movie, yet is only the catch up on a few months and weeks out of my life. Nuts? Yep. Craziness? Some of that too. So hold on to your seats my loyal readers, the ride only gets better from here!

Paul
That "Oh crap."Moment when he realizes he's a part of the blog.
At the end of April, after an arduous journey of heartache, change, and renewal, entered Paul, stage left. We met a year ago August, in Denver, CO through work, and kept in touch over the following months. At the beginning of March, after that horrible break-up, we started talking everyday. Sometimes we'd talk through half a shift (that's like five-six hours, guys). When my life turned upside-down he listened. When I didn't know what else to do, he helped me think outside of the box for a better solution. When I said I wasn't ready for a relationship because I was broken, he said, "I'll wait." He has been a better friend to me than at times I deserved, been the calm to my storm, and the yin to my yang. I have been blessed with a true partner who walks with me through the good and the bad, showing me instead of telling me. Harley got a sweet little girlfriend out of the deal too; Maggie May. They're so stinkin' cute together it's seriously filling my hard drive with pictures of the two of them.  We chose to make it exclusive at the end of April. Both of us a bit hesitant, but faith in God, and faith in us won the day as we merged our businesses and lives mid June. Seems quick, but in our industry things can change at an alarming rate, and two heads are better than one. We are currently partnering on his 2012 Kenworth with retro-fitted kitchen, and our two dogs.We hired an excellent driver for the Freightliner; I just can't give up on good ol' Buella. I've worked too hard to keep her to fail now. Her pay off date is November 16, and God willing, we'll get there one step at a time. So now you understand who I'm referring to when I say, "We.". Mystery man revealed. Ta Da!

The Magazine
A few weeks ago I was approached to be a columnist for the online magazine, The Long Haul. Luisa Nims, the CEO of The Long Haul and I had been corresponding for almost a year. During that time I was helping her with a few side projects she had cooked up. I was blown away by the offer, fledgling magazine or not, because what a great opportunity to reach more people! Luisa has created a magazine for the transportation industry and those who drive it. Her vision is to fill the existing void with something akin to what Vanity Fair is to fashion. High end, exquisite pictures, serious information on technology, products we actually use, trends in the industry, and even fashion. I'm terribly excited for the debut at the end of August, and will be updating the progress as we go. The Long Haul will be available on Apple newsstands soon, and more information can be found on the website http://www.longhaulmagazine.com/ . As soon as I accepted the strangest thing occurred. Several loads fell into place in an almost divine succession that landed us in Portland, Or, where Luisa and her family reside. Luisa and her husband Mike graciously extended the offer to stay with them for the weekend. Luisa and I were able to put together a few missing elements for the debut magazine. We were also able to cook, laugh, and relax. They have the most adorable twin daughters, Abby & Zoey, who made the trip bright and sunny with their sweet selves. It was an awesome experience. I seem to be blessed with the ability to meet the most extraordinary people, and Luisa and her family are no exception. They are incredible people extending not only their warmth and hospitality, but providing an amazing opportunity to a budding writer. I am ever so grateful to work with them and to call them friends.
Dutch-oven roasted chicken w/herbs










The Grip
Just as I was gearing up for one deadline, hot damn I rounded the bend with two. I had dropped a line with local editor/owner, Jessica Gregory of The Grip, in what is now my hometown of Griffin, Ga. I had asked her if she needed any contributors for our independent newspaper. I thought it would be a great way to share some of my experiences on the road with my community while getting a little more writing in. Of course, I had sent this to her a couple weeks before the magazine opportunity came up. So in comes Jessica with a resounding yes! Omg, omg, omg. Turns out the very same day my deadline for The Long Haul was due, so was my first article for The Grip. I say to both, "Sure thing, no sweat, piece of cake!" Ha, the least of what I've forgotten is that I still drive the swing shift for Swift, 70 hours, seven days a week. Oh, as well as maintaining the Freightliner, and the paperwork associated with both trucks. All kidding aside, I love the opportunity to speak to my community and am rocking and rolling with the punches. I have been a crazy writing fool. Someone had said to me the other day something about when you have some free time, or get bored, check this blankety blank site out. To which I replied, "I don't get bored and free time is when I sleep!"
If you want to check out the type of articles I write, you're welcome to follow this link, http://the-grip.net/2012/07/30/on-the-road-in-the-kitchen-with-gypsy-gourmet/ . There is a lot of great content and I think you'll enjoy some of the other articles as well. You can always get your own subscription at http://www.the-grip.net/ .

Drum roll please...........

Quasi Celebrity Status
I have alluded from time to time about my "producers". Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or here, I have possibly mentioned meetings in New York, exciting prospects, and later updates. Well, I haven't mentioned much for a reason. It's not because I didn't want to, but more because I've had a small taste of what kind of delayed process any kind of publicity can be. When I was interviewed for CNN's Eatocracy back in October of last year, http://www.eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/10/14/a-big-rig-kitchen-on-wheels/, they changed the concept and rescheduled a few times. So when I let the cat out of the bag the first time, I had to amend the release and the outlet. I wanted to talk about Rachael Ray contacting me soon after the article aired. Things seemed to move right along with them and they sent a film crew out to my location in Georgia. We filmed for an entire day. From the "B roll" footage to an interview, to an on-site filming at one of my favorite butcher shops locally, T&T Meats in Mc Donough, GA. All that was left was the in-studio taping and presto, a spot on nationally syndicated television. However, as season six of Rachael Ray progressed, my life turned upside-down with regular, normal, well, life. I went through a horrible break-up as you all well know, and gave them an update as things progressed. I'm not sure if that was it, if they honestly lost interest, got too busy, had folks a heck of a lot more interesting than me, or just deemed it worthy for the "project shelf". Last thing I heard was, "We don't have any more room in season six for you, maybe it'll be a good story for season seven. We do understand if you have to take other offers." This being said by a staffer I had NEVER spoken to before, and an email sent by me with an update was met by no response at all. Long story short, I love, love, love Rachael Ray, but am NOT holding my breath.

Superfine Films & WME
I had been contacted by several producers after the CNN article came out about doing television. I say doing television because some said "reality tv", some said "recipe based show", and nobody could really figure out which avenue or category I fit into. The moment some saw amateur video footage, they said in that "fancy" talk of theirs, "Nope." I went round and round with this, and through it all was one consistent, funny, warm fella that just wouldn't give up. His name is David Levitt, and he is with Superfine Films. He scared me off for a few months by talking about something called a holding agreement. I was unsure of how that worked, how fast things were going, and in general was completely out of my element. Rather than pressure me to make a commitment, he patiently opted to wait me out. David checked in with me from time to time during the following months, but never made me feel like I had to run screaming from him. This was the clincher. It turns out that not only would I get a great bunch of producers, but would also be represented by the oldest talent agency in the country, William Morris Endeavors or WME. William Morris has been around since vaudeville, and were the first to represent the cooking industry with people like Alton Brown, Paula Deen, and my fave, Guy Fieri. So in March of this year I signed with them. It's taken a ton of painstaking research on the part of Superfine, and a bunch of scheduling conflicts later, to get to what I call "The Shoot".

The Shoot
Right to left, David, Stephen, Me, And Alex.
Two weeks after we were in Portland, OR finishing up with the finishing touches to "The Long Haul Magazine", the long awaited "Shoot" was scheduled in Brewster, NY. Superfine had finally found my niche market, and we were ready to put me in front of the camera to work my magic.The guys were more wound up than I was, and I had just gotten done running a few thousand miles, and was my usual sleep deprived self! We met at a place called The Red Rooster Drive-In, which is an iconic burger joint that has been serving up smiles for 30 years.

The Red Rooster


Andy & crew at The Red Rooster
 Andy, the owner, was a great sport and graciously invited us to film at his restaurant. His crew were amazing, the food delicious, and the whole day went off without a hitch. David and Stephen have been vague these last months as to which networks are interested to keep me from being nervous and I am going to remain tight lipped only because I just don't want to jinx it. Anything that happens at this point is a huge bonus anyway. I do what I do because I love it, not because someone wants to put me on television. I look at it like this; I'm always going to blog about my adventures whether 36 people read about it or 360,000, I'm getting to write for the first premier trucking magazine this industry has ever seen, I get to write for my local independent paper and reach my community, and I'm still writing three books, whether anyone buys or reads them. I've always marched to my own drummer and I always will. I'd really like the opportunity to share this with a greater number of people, but hey, I will eventually no matter what happens.


Voila! Mysteries revealed and you're almost caught up to date. Paul and I have been home for almost two weeks now, down for warranty repairs for the Kenworth. Something like this is bound to happen a few times a year whether you want it to or not. So I've been busy changing my website to a sleek, professional look, cooking, writing for The Grip, working with Luisa on The Long Haul's debut issue, (did I mention cooking?) getting some professional pictures taken for the first time ever (no offense Mike, but Stacy went to school for it), going to church, baking yummy breads, and trying to be active in my little community. You would think I'd take long naps, laze around in my pj's, and go to the beach, but a writer's work is never done, there IS always time for a nap somewhere, and some of my best work is done in my jammies. so until next time folks, eat well, laugh often, be free, & be YOU! It seems to be working alright for me.

PS I'll post another blog much sooner and include the recipe for the amazing banana bread I made tonight.

With Much Love,

gypsy gourmet