Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Rita’s – No Mas Thank You

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

     Normally I wouldn’t be writing something like this, but my experience today left such an impression I couldn’t help but write about it.

     Sometime in the summer of 1995 (give or take a year) I had just finished a job and was on the way back to the shop when the two other members of my crew decided to grab some lunch before reporting in. We stopped at a Mexican place on Wabash St.

     It was a single wide trailer that had been modified to be a restaurant. The décor, like the building was, not much to look at. There were only about 5 tables to sit at and a reach in refrigerator that held beer and soda for customers to “self serve”. Aside from myself and two crew members, there were only two people other people in the whole place; the girl at the counter and the woman in the kitchen cooking.

     I ordered 4 of the then $1 tacos and felt disappointed at the size of them when the order came up. I was used to Taco Bell “regular tacos”, but what I got was meat, onions, and cilantro on two small corn tortillas laid flat on the plate with a wedge of lime next to each. It looked pretty skimpy for the $4 I just paid.

     I looked at the lime and thought “be daring, try it with lime”. Then something amazing happened; I tasted them! They were the most magnificent tacos I have ever tasted. They were simple, juicy, and filled with flavor! I was sold! My $4 was a wonderful investment, and I would end up visiting the small trailer at least 2 times a week to fill my new addiction, occasionally getting an equally amazing burrito or enchilada. I ended up going cold turkey in 1998 when I moved out of the area, and I never visited another Mexican food place that could compare to my wonderful little trailer called “Rita’s”.

     When I moved back a couple years ago, one of my first stops was to my favorite Mexican food place. I don’t know if I had just built up in my mind just how wonderful Rita’s used to be or if there was something a little off, but I could tell either I or it had changed. I would go visit Rita’s every so often with my friends, but I could always tell it wasn’t the “real” Rita’s I once loved so much. I would hear reviews of how good it was from radio personalities and others that now felt what I once did, but I knew the truth, it just wasn’t as good as it once was.

     The last time I visited Rita’s before today was about 5 months ago. It was completely unrecognizable from its humble and magnificent beginnings. The inflation had taken firm hold and my $1 tacos were long gone, replaced with a price around $2.50 or so and the enchilada plate was fetching a good $7 or so. The food couldn’t compare with the days of the trailer, and it was the first time I felt I would have been better off going to Taco Bell since I first looked down at my plate in 1995. I chalked it up to a “new cook” or some other explainable reason for such a wrong turn.

     Fast forward to 9/12/11, I was downtown today when I thought “hey I should go check out the new location for Rita’s”. I got to the place at 12:00 and waited to be seated like the sign said. While I waited I looked around. The place was not swamped, but you could tell it was lunchtime around there. I stood next to the counter, within reach of the hostess for almost 4 minutes without even being acknowledged while she tinkered with the register. I was finally asked “how many in your party?” I answered “1” and was promptly handed a menu and motioned I could sit anywhere. The thought of grabbing the largest table in the place just to get back at the rude hostess crossed my mind, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt since we have all had computer problems that required our immediate attention.

     I grabbed a small 2 person table within site of the door and looked over the menu. The first thing I noticed was the price hike. My tacos had a price tag of $2.89 each and the enchilada plate was now $8.99, I didn’t even want to know what they were getting for a burrito now. I made my selection and set my menu down to signal I was ready to order, and that’s when I realized nobody had come with chips and salsa. I took a look in the menu to see if they were still free or if I would have to pay $3 for them as some other places charge. I was happy to see that they were not listed on the menu, but then thought “where are mine?” About 5 minutes later a bus person came by with chips and salsa and a glass of water, and then disappeared as fast as they arrived.

     I snacked on the chips while I waited for the waitress to come by. Before I knew it I had an empty basket of chips and still no sign of a waitress. I took a look at my phone to check the time and it was now 12:18. I started to think “if I don’t see a waitress soon, I am just going to leave!” At about 12:22 my waitress arrived and took the order (1 taco, 1 enchilada combo for $8.99) and was gone as soon as the last word left my mouth; no drink, no up sale, no “thank you”, just *poof* and gone. A minute or two later I asked one of the passing bus people for a soda.

     I sat, and sat, and sat waiting for my food. I checked my phone when I first thought I might not get to eat my lunch before I had to go back to my meeting. It was 12:44 when my order finally arrived! OVER 20 minutes for 1 taco, 1 enchilada, beans and rice!!! When it finally got there I thought “I should have paid for the coke and gone someplace else!” and you know, if I would have had more time I would have.

     The combo looked small on the plate, but this was nothing new; looks can often be deceiving. I squeezed my lime over the taco and picked it up knowing what it once was and ready for what it was now. No fireworks, no flashes of bright lights, no “wow this is the best ever!” It was just the same as it has been for a few years now; not bad, but not magnificent. The enchilada was the same way, good but nothing that could compare to the flavor I got from that trailer.

     I finished my meal quickly, since I didn’t have much time to get back, and thought about waiting for a check. Then I thought “screw that, I can’t wait another 20 minutes!” I went directly to the register and paid as quickly as I could.

     On the way back to my meeting I thought “that’s my last visit to Rita’s, they are nothing that I can’t get from any of the other Mexican food places except maybe better service.”

     I guess the only thing I can really say about Rita’s now is “thanks for the memories”.

Speechless

Monday, September 12th, 2011

     Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. A day forever burned into the heart of America. A day that forever changed the lives of not just Americans, but the world. A tragedy so horrible it we no longer say we live in the information age or the age of rapid medicinal advances; we say “A post 9/11 world”.

I have heard all the plans this last week of ceremonies to remember the heroes and those lost 10 years ago. The media has dusted off the photos and videos of 9/11 to remind us of our loss and obligation to those lost and those that still wish to do harm; life is frail, stay strong, and you can never take our spirit.

9/11 is here and this morning I logged into Facebook , everyone I knew had something to say about 9/11 or show their pride in America or even just pay quiet tribute with the words “God bless America”. I thought “what should I write? How will I express my feelings today? What can my humble voice contribute?” I couldn’t think of anything at all! I was tempted to cut and paste the “show your support” quips that people were posting, but in my opinion that is cheap and put you at no risk in exploring your feelings or expressing your own genuine thoughts

As I was changing the clothes from the washer to the dryer it hit me; start writing and see where it leads. I had many thoughts and feelings on what to write, how to say it, and threw out many ideas that were just wrong. I thought of just how I have changed, how my family has changed, how America and the world have changed since that day. I thought of all the people that would be speaking and what great words might be committed to history on this anniversary. I thought of those that haven’t been able to say anything since that day, and the heroes that have passed or are suffering now from exposure to toxins of that day. I explored my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and I was still at a loss for words.

Maybe that’s the real goal; thinking about it all. Maybe it’s enough to reflect on the past 10 years and the events of 9/11. Maybe we don’t have to say anything at all if we can take the time to grow from the event and see just how much it has changed not only us, but the world we live in.

I still don’t have an answer on what I could say; but I have given a true effort and maybe that is worth more than any “cut and paste” slogan I could place on a website.

Class-ism leads to racism

Monday, May 9th, 2011

To see the truth of this we have to go back in history a long way to feudal times. There would be the rich ruling class, and peasant class, and slaves. There has been a ruling class in existence for as long as we have had value on trade goods. Depending on what country and what era the group of people who were enslaved would change. Though the one thing that did not change was the divide between the peasant and slaves. To keep them from wanting to communicate stereo-typing and slanderous names were initially used to keep the people from interacting on a meaningful level. In Hawaii the slaves that were brought there to work for the plantation owners and the native inhabitants were not friendly with each other at first. They had long history of war. The plantation owners saw no difference between the people and were not aware of the cultural dislike so they put them all together.

There are many examples of these kinds of events through out history. A little time doing research and you can see these trends still happening today. There have been many visionaries through out time that tried to correct the perceptions about race as a dividing line between peoples. Lincoln, Doc. Martin Luther King, Kennedy, and many more put their self on the line to try and encourage social change. They saw that we are all humans and that color of some ones skin or country of origin should make no difference in how people are treated. They worked on trying to unite people and show that everyone had the power to better their own life. The majority of these people also ended up dying for what they believed in. The concepts they were sharing with the world were beautiful and enlightened. It is unfortunate these days to see so many willingly perpetuate the negative stereo types that were put on them years ago. Now we have a new group to point the finger at with the ware against the taliban, most people have heard the term towel head or sand rat used by service men and women who have had to fight over there. Though our country is not taking them as outright slaves if you investigate what the “US interest” is defined as in our current foreign policy you will understand that the main goal is to control all resources and have every country under “democratic” control. (ironic choice of words considering our country is not a democracy but is actually a republic) By perpetuating the classist and racist stereotypes we only serve to divide humans from each other and prevent the positive change that can come from people standing together and eliminating class divides so all can live in equality without divides. Take back control of you life and work on rising above the divides that have been beaten into everyone for years.

I know this draft is rough and may not be what people want to read but there are too many examples out there through history. Feed back is appreciated.  I hope it inspires you to do research.

CR Journalism — Hecka-fun!!!

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Urgent Action-Save Pell Grants

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I got this e-mail and wanted to share with all of you.

Attention students!

We have just received breaking news about an opportunity to save Pell
grants from the proposed 15% cut, by supporting Congresswoman Chu’s
amendment on the continuing Resolution to save Pell Grants.
Representative Judy Chu is from LA and is a former faculty member. The
vote on this amendment will Likely occur tomorrow at 2pm, so act now.

Please call your House Representative and say “I’m a student at
(insert college) and I ask that (insert representative) support the
Chu amendment on the continuing Resolution to save Pell Grants”.

To find your House Representative please follow: www.savemypellgrant.com

Please send this message to all your lists

Summery week 3

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

This week we touched on the Cairo protests and the violence toward the reporters there.  This event was started by social networking tools along with peoples disgruntled attitudes over the poor living conditions and wages that have thus far been perpetuated.  This lead to discussion about the workings of being a remote corispondant.  There was a lot about this subject, if an individual takes on this undertaking there can be a need to learn to live on little to no sleep as the home office will need reports when they are live which may be the early hours of the morning in the country you are in as well as recaps of the events of the day.  There are potentialy agressive locals that may want to silence the foreign press as well as language barriers to over come if you want to be able to get the story.  In some instances the reporter has to go over on his own dime to get the story so it can be bradcast to a news source here in the states. 

We also spent a lot of time looking at aspects from the life of Edward R Murrow.  He was an insperational journalist.  His style was solely truth focused.  Reporting on things that could make people uncomfertable and that were pushed under the carpet by others.  During the red trials his action and use of the leaders own words allowed him to be able to expose the falicy of what was being perpetuated on the people.  Showing the true face of those witch trials made the man a few powerful enimies but he persisted in spite of it all.  This quality seems to be lacking in todays media.  The only time hard hitting stories come on the air seems to be around the time when ratings are all important. 

The welspoken intelegent demeaner of Edward Murrow had a way of capturing your imagination and bringing the visiong he wanted to share into your head.  It takes a lot of skill to muster these feelings and emotion over the radio and as he moved into the television medium these skills took on a new feel that was remarkable.  For those of us from the start of the MTV generation video killed the radio start was so true to life that for Murrow to survive and thrive shows his level of perfeshonalism and creativity.  Thanks to inspirations like this we may be able to recover our country and the ethical means of journalism.  Its dificult for people to imagine going and at personal expense searching for the truth at every turn but I say that if we dont take charge of our own enevironment and government we have no one to blame but ourself if the wrongs are unwatched and unreported.  The trueth can only come out if people are willing to sacrifice to make it known to all. 

In conclusion the news is not always glamorous.  There are many instances that require those seeking the truth to find the story and report on their own dime.  A passion for the truth and willinness to go against the grain of the political icons can make one unpopular but credible in the mind of people.  Without these traits reporters becoe patsies working to spread disinformation in stead of inform people of the truth.

Meaning of the Metaphor

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

The discussion on symbolism in media communication is a topic that the public is simultaneously aware of and not aware of. What I mean by this is that a lot of symbolism that is being used or displayed is familiar to the American culture. This is true especially of symbols that reflect family values like images of children, infants, homes with white picket fences, and parents playing with or spending time with their children. Religious symbols like the church and patriotic symbols like the flag are also used frequently and are familiar to the American culture. These images that reflect the American way of life are what the professor means by “cultural” symbols or cultural metaphors.While the public can associate with cultural metaphors they see in advertisement and commercials, they may not be consciously aware of them. Thus my statement that the public is both aware and unaware of the messages they see on television or print media. I believe it is important to discern and filter out information that could potentially mislead to a wrong conclusion. The example that was given in class was the phrase “all natural.” Generally speaking the phrase “all natural” is associated with something being healthy, pure, and uncompromised – something we can trust. However, an example of using “all natural” paired with the product of vitamins could be very misleading as the ingredients in vitamins and the product itself is not regulated by the FDA.Another example where “symbolism” could be misused is when there is a lack of understanding of what certain symbols mean in different cultures, customs and countries. For example, white colored garments in certain cultures could represent innocence and are used in weddings, whereas in some cultures it is the color people wear when they are grieving the death of a loved one.It is important to train the eye and the mind to recognize the hidden messages and then to be able to critically think what the overall communication is all about before automatically coming to an assumption or conclusion. Souk Chiang

 

 

The Smoke of a Not-so-distant Fire

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

A Disregard for Rules: Smokers on Campus

     Are you one of the 81% of people who don’t smoke cigarettes, and have you ever wondered why you have to be subjected to second-hand smoke? One of the rules on this campus is that smokers can smoke only under the white tents located on various places on campus; unfortunately, very few smokers bother to do this. Every time I walk on campus, I am subjected to the smell of cigarette smoke rather than the clean air that should be circulating around. Smoke-filled air is unhealthy to breathe; it provokes asthma and complicates comfortably walking from one class to the next. Another bigger issue is why does CR have this rule if they do not enforce it? It’s not illegal to smoke on campus, however, when smokers start cramming what they’re doing down other peoples throats its unfairness makes people mad. In fact, if smokers had a sense of smell, than I am sure they would also agree that being subjected to second hand smoke is unfair. What it really comes down to is that the 19% of people are free to smoke but the other 81% of people do not want to smell it!* Beyond this is the fact that non-smokers often are forced to walk a detour.

         It’s well known that CR is a campus where walking is essential to get to class and it’s bad enough you have to be subjected to sitting next to someone who smells heavily of cigarette smoke, but every time you are walking up and down hills or turning a corner you have to be exposed to second hand smoke as well. And when you are stuck walking behind someone with his or her trail of smoke in your face, it becomes very frustrating to deal with after a while. It’s more than just a matter of lack of common courtesy, now it’s turned into the smokers making a statement saying, “hey I am going to smoke here and you can’t do a thing about it”. These smokers have no clue how they smell because they’re so addicted to cigarettes, they can’t even begin to imagine what its like for people who don’t. Whenever they are asked to move to a designated smoking area, the majority of them will demonstrate a bad attitude. This behavior shows a complete and total disregard for others rights.

Smoking has been a problem for years on this campus and it’s an issue that has failed to be addressed successfully. Smokers have turned a beautiful campus into a large outdoor ashtray. Littered with cigarette butts and smell of second hand smoke wherever you go, its not just a bad look/smell for the campus but also a great inconvenience for the many non-smoking students. To fix this any smoker caught smoking in a non-smoking area should be told by campus security to go smoke under the white tents.  CR like most places in America has non-smoking and smoking areas. You would not find someone smoking on a airplane or inside the Bay Shore Mall so why would anyone think the same rules do not apply on CR’s campus?

A Vacation: So Much and So Little

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

 As I had awoke from a peaceful slumber, things were very lifeless and timeless as the college had officially shut down for Thanksgiving break. For me, I was unable to travel to see my family and it would be the first time without having Thanksgiving or my birthday (The day after it according to this year, the 26th) without my friends and family. Though that in itself sounds very depressing, I knew it would be a very unique experience for me. Having book a king size room at the Best Western in Humblot Bay for a decent price, I expected an enjoyable experience, at that. However, things are not always how we plan them to be.

When I had arrived there late in the after noon, I had checked in but was unsure where to go to have my Thanksgiving dinner. One of the works behind the desk told me that the restaurant know as Kristie’s Place was having a Thanksgiving dinner for the entire day. Wasting no time, I quickly went to my room, unpacked my bags and went to the restaurant. It was a site to behold, it had the look of a humble 50’s styled cafe with the neon lights and even a relaxing lounge area. Wasting no time, I  took a seat at the end of the  table top bar they had ordering the dinner which was one of the most flavorful Thanksgiving meals I ever had, having it with a Tutti Frutti  flavored soda which is the first time I have ever heard of it being in soda form. Finishing my meal with a piece of Pumpkin pie, I had tipped generously before heading back to my room doing much of nothing, really.

Perhaps it was a bit of foreshadowing in a sense seeing as when I woke up for my birthday, I had a terrible stomach ache. Maybe it was due to how rich the food was or food poisoning in itself but I became very sickly. Did that stop me from going back? No, I had a nice Corn Beef sandwich which was very tasteful as well to which I tipped generously once again  having admired the view from the window (Money is very immaterial to me). I did walk about to see if several sushi places would be opened for dinner that afternoon but they were all closed. Having also wanted to get a limo ride since it was provided for free, all my aspirations where shattered by my own declining health  as I simply sat in, drinking some Earl Gray tea in hopes for a cure.

The next day was a bit more hopeful as I stared to feel better. I went back for a third meal of a French dip sandwich, which lacked my real taste but what I really needed as it was a meal that helped normalize my health with another nice window booth. I felt so good besides slight dehydration that I walked not only to a nifty antique shop but to a  curios pawn shop though it was only for window shopping as they lacked anything that drew my interests. I had thought of going to Kristie’s yet again for dinner but felt my body lacked any real energy to do so so once again I lazed about, calling the front desk to see when I would have to leave so they wouldn’t charge me for the next day.

Having enough time to waste for one last meal at Kristie’s, I had planned to order a Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast but decided  to rather go with New York Style waffles. Not really enjoying waffles myself, it was more a dessert then breakfast. Three scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and Maltese (Raspberry) sauce, it was one of the few times I can say I enjoyed waffles as well as it being probably the most unhealthy yet delicious breakfasts I have ever had. Soon enough, my cab arrived to take me back to the dorm as the day quickly shifted to night and ended.

There is much to say but in all actuality,I am simply recommending both Kristie’s Place  for its food and Humblot Bay’s best Western for its prices and services. Both of them were excellent and have my personal must go to if traveling fro now on. Even if you’re not traveling, Kristie’s is a nice retro styled restaurant with great service and a family run feel to it. The food is fantastic, too. Hope this is helpful to whoever reads it

D.P. Wilson 12/3/10

A Retrospective: Two Resteraunt Reviews

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

 With the school year quickly coming to a close, the student body is busy at work studying for various final exams. However, with the high hopes of returning, it has come to my mind that many of the student’s who are not natives to the Humblot area such as myself may not even know what the main town of Eureka is even like. Thus, I felt it all the more vital that I recall two very unique and interesting restaurant experiences I had awhile ago so those who do mange to venture into town next semester looking for a curios experience will try them out if they wish to. I would have done said reviews say at an early convenience but was unable to. Such is life.

It was a bit of my own eccentricity and a small sum of money that had made me decide on a date I no longer recall to go out for Sushi. Using the vastness of the web, I was easily able to find various sushi restaurant but the one I chose was Masaki’s Kyoto Japanese Restaurant. Having an associate of my upstairs neighbor accompany me on this escapade, we arrived via bus in little to no time flat. When I had first entered the restaurant it looked more like an apartment with an endless dark green hallway with closets for rooms. On the right was the true resteraunt which we entered with a slow pace.

We were first approached by a waitress who asked if we had a reservation to which I told her no but she only kindly smiled as she took us to a table telling us we had an hour to eat before those who the table was reserved for where to come. As we were waiting for our main entrees to be served, I took in the majestic scenery of the sushi bar with its very stylized display as well as trying my side of Kimchi (A spicy Korean fermented cabbage that was a bit too intense for me.) and drinking some sweet tea (Seeing as they lacked Ramune, a type of Japanese soda that I enjoy) which was perhaps the most bitter drink I have ever had but I became accustomed to its taste after consuming enough of it. Soon enough, we had gotten our main meals with my associate getting soup while I ventured for two pieces of Octopus sushi and a Spider Roll ( Crab meat with various vegetables). I had actually gotten the meal free seeing as my neighbor had decided to pay for it with me only owning some money to which I ought a dessert that would have been better had I not take it to go. Overall, the experience was enjoyable and I personally recommend it to anyone looking for good sushi.

My next adventure would be nearly a month after that as I had to do some shopping seeing that necessities in my dorm had become scarce. With the necessties bought and a bit of cash left over, I had decided I would have lunch at one of the main places that had denied to deliver food to me in the past, Philly Cheese Steak Shoppe. Wandering into the restaurant, I was bombarded by its vast amount of Philadelphia culture. Everywhere I looked , there was something unique about it, even when I had entered there was a poster about a  eating challenge the restaurant had that could make for decent television. I had ordered a Ruben Grinder with Mr. Pibb (Now know as Pibb Xtream to most) which, in my humble opinion, is a better pepper soda then Dr.Pepper. It was long before my grinder was down, my surprise with it being drenched in Russian sauce that made it look unappealing but looks are deceiving as it was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. If you’re looking for a unique place, check it out.

Thus ends my rambling for my own recollections. I hope that whoever reads this will find it helpful if they are looking for a decent meal. I personally enjoyed each thus I have no real criticisms on either.I just simply try to enjoy things when I get the chance to. To each his own, as it is said. That is what I leave you with.

D.P. Wilson 12/13/10