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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Quarter Share Podiobook

Still working my way through the library of I mentioned
the books I've been reading/listening to on my podcast with my last
(rather huge) show.

My latest acquisition is "Quarter Share," a science fiction book focused
on a brand-new crewmember on an interstellar trading ship. I've been
reading science fiction for decades now. This one, I'm just loving.

What I particularly love about this one, is our brand-new crewmember gets
into a steward's slot on the ship, primarily food service. I have a dozen
years of experience with food service, even a degree in "Commercial Foods
& Restaurant Management." Never was a particularly good cook, but I can
manage the mechanics thereof. I am particularly good at Food Costing,
ingredient costs being a particularly important element of any restaurant.
But of course, right out of school, they didn't want me to handle recipe
costing or stock management, they wanted me to cook. And I suck at
cooking. So I gave up cooking a decade ago or thereabouts.

Anyway, there I am, listening to a science fiction novel, about becoming a
crewmember on a space trader ... and this new crewmember falls right in to
place, because he makes damn good coffee.

And I make damn good coffee.

So I'm thinking, hey, waitaminute, for years I've been reading science
fiction, and thinking "yeah, but I'd never have the skills to do that sort
of thing," and they need a good coffee guy? Maybe, after all, all this
science fictional stuff comes down to doing what you do, but in an
environment that might involve a lot of high-tech whatchamacallits, and
yeah, there's a need for high-tech-whatchamacallit experts... there's
still a need for people who know how to do the basic stuff that still
needs to be done.

And I can do that.

Reminds me of when I was working down at Ocean Reef Club back on the
pointy end of Key Largo. Very high-end environment, and certainly they
had a bunch of folks who were brilliant on alla that fancy chef stuff one
needs to do. One day I had a chat with the overall Chef of the whole
operation down there, who's name as I recall was Jeff Olson. I pointed
out that I really didn't have all the fancy-schmancy skills some of the
guys had, and he said, "yeah, but all the other stuff -- pealing potatoes,
and prepping vegetables, and so on, still needs to be done, and done
reliably and consistently. With enough money we can get lots of the
brilliant guys. But the day-to-day stuff still needs to be done. And the
brilliant guys sometimes think they're Too Cool to do that stuff. So we
need you here -- maybe more than we need the brilliant guys."

Never meant more to me than right now.

I gave up cooking maybe two years after finishing cooking school. That
was probably closely related to leaving behind my fiancee, who I'd met
while working down in Florida as a cook. Kinda kicked my enthusiasm for
cooking to the curb.

Granted, the NASA astronaut program isn't looking desparately for me. But
if there is ever a real space presence, there will be a need for people
know how to do the basic stuff really well. And that I can do.

And it's nice to be reminded that science fiction after all isn't about
Dirk Savage, Space Hero, but in the final analysis about regular folks who
find themselves in a complex environment, and still have to live their day-
to-day lives.

Like us, when you think about it.

Anyway, based on a dozen episodes, I can strongly recommend "Quarter
Share," and the following "Half Share" and "Full Share," already online at Science fiction about the real world. Reminds me of the
best Golden Age science fiction, most of which I've already read.

Gotta see if there's a promo for that, for some future episode of
"Grizzly's Growls."

Grizzly's Growls -- The Life and Times of a Minor Local
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