People Try Chicago Deep Dish Pizza For The First Time
Michelangelo’s love for Pizza
Sometimes I will write a post and not finish it for different reasons. I started this post last year and I do not remember why I did not finish it – but decided now was a good time.
The following words were written on May 17, 2015 –
On social media, I recently read about a person’s encounter with people who smoke. This person observed a smoker who had no teeth, was coughing and had a ‘smoker’s voice’. This person wrote that is was clear to them that this was cancer waiting to happen.
I remember a time when employees could smoke at their job in their cubicles. Many changes have occurred referring to smoking and smokers. I understand that smoking is bad and can cause illness and death. I understand smoking affects those people that do not smoke. I understand the laws that prevent smoking in public buildings and certain areas within a city. What I do not understand is why those that do not smoke think they can diagnose cancer. Why is this?
Ok, I get it – I am ranting some because as a smoker I do get a little irritated that nonsmokers seem to know more than I about the outcomes of smoking. I am a courteous smoker; I do not smoke in my own home, when somewhere else I go hide to smoke as to not bother anyone else and I do not like the smell of smoke – I hate the smell of smoke in clothes, in rooms, etc.
My point is I know smoking kills and I choose to smoke. I know smoking can kill others and I choose not to smoke around them. I know smoking can shorten my life span and I am ok with that.
The following words I am writing today –
I have smoked off and on since I was 15 years old – 40 years now! I have quit smoking on several occasions cold turkey with the longest non-smoking period of 4 years. Why do I quit then to go back to start again?
In my post ‘Addictions or Habits or Routines‘, I concluded with the following –
My point to this post is I have a habit of being drawn to addictions and routinely have quit addictions and started the same addictions again time after time. So are addictions an issue or is it the routinely stopping and starting the habits of addictions the issue, or is it the habits that cause the routines of addictions the issue?
On my recent visit to my urologist Dr. F., he told me I needed to quit smoking. He said the tumor on my bladder will have to be surgically removed, and continuing to smoke, the next time the whole bladder may need to be removed.
Today I am still smoking, and tomorrow I will smoke, but the next day is the day I will once again quit – hopefully for the last time.
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Toast bagels. Optional step: wrap in aluminum foil for about 5 minutes to soften crust slightly.
Heat a large skillet on medium high. To put a good sear on the steak, you don’t want to crowd the pan. Add half of the shaved steak and half of the seasonings. Cook until steak is no longer pink. Divide steak into 2 piles. Add two pieces of cheese on each pile and loosely cover with a lid or foil, avoiding touching cheese. Remove skillet from heat and allow to sit for a couple minutes until cheese melts.
Transfer the steak and cheese piles onto 2 bagels and assemble the first two sandwiches. Loosely cover with foil to keep warm. Cook the remaining steak and assemble the remaining two sandwiches. Makes 4 sandwiches.
So here it is, my first ever blog, very excited as I have no idea what I am really doing but hope that it will be lots of fun and games along the way! It is for family, friends, people who like me and those who don’t and those who simply want to know what other human beings are getting up to in their life!
My hope is that this blog will interest people, inspire others to ‘Be the change that you what to see in the world’ (Gandhi) and allow some to look at life in a different way and not be afraid to break from the norm and the ‘system’ we are in.
So here is the overview of what we are setting out to do…hopefully!
For those who do not know me my name is Mubeen Azam and in May of this year I resigned from my job as a teacher after seven amazing, challenging and fruitful years in Cornwall, UK. A change was needed to reevaluate and refocus our perspective on what life is, so we decided to travel to Canada for a break, a holiday, well an extended holiday…for a year!
I will be travelling with my beautiful, supportive, caring, loving, intelligent and rock of a wife, Nour, who literally has been my guiding light since we first met in January 2001 and who I could not live without as I believe I am of her and she is of me and whatever has happened so far in our life and what will happen in our future is simply meant to be.
By the grace of God we have been blessed with three a beautiful daughters, Fatimah (8, going on 18), Maryam (4, going on 14) and the one who rules, Sara (2, who has been here forever)!
I certainly don’t feel it and many, many, many people tell me I don’t look it :)but I will be 40 this August and I wanted to give my own personal meaning to the saying ‘life begins at 40’…so we are nearly there as we travel in less than 36 hours, hope you enjoy the journey too and remember, chill it’s just Mubeen!!!
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Over the weekend when I went for my Zumba class, a man walking behind me, held the door open for me. I smiled acknowledging his chivalry and rushed inside so not to keep him waiting. If you are reading between lines, I would like to elucidate that I do not take chivalry (originated from knighthood) as a portrayal of being a damsel in distress, but I accept it graciously as a symbol of courtesy and respect which sparks a positive note in the everyday monotony. I read that chivalry in today’s world is surviving on a life support, as most women of today treat it as symbol of weakness. Not me though, for I enjoy being treated like a queen, and to have someone pull out my chair for me or open the door is pleasing.
The same night I was reading to my boys, and then I skipped a dialogue intentionally where the brother says to her sister, “It’s not a girls job to put off the fire!” I was agitated to say the least, as no one has the right to define what a girl ought to do. And I am sure that I do not want my boys to grow up with a predefined biased thinking that stereotypes a woman’s role.
Call the above two scenarios as my double standards or two sides of the same coin, wherein I enjoy chivalry, but at the same time I do not want anyone to dictate my role and responsibilities. I am not a feminist or for that matter I do not like my views to be labelled. I am not in competition with men or participate in the argument of fairer sex. In my perspective, men and women are gifted with different qualities, and serve different roles on earth and this does not make one inferior over the other. The genders exist to complement each other and thus grow together. The problem arises when one thinks the other has a subservient role, which ignites the fight for equality.
In my current avatar, I am blessed with multiple roles- I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a niece, and also an aunt. I am a wife, and a daughter-in-law. I am a mother. I am a friend. Above all, I am a woman.
I spawned pretty much like everybody else-as a seed inside another woman – my mother. And as part of growing up, somewhere I realized that people around me had a more gentle demeanor towards me than my boy cousins. That was the first difference that struck my lady soul.
As much as I enjoy the freedom of wide selection of dress styles and accompanying shoes, I am also the target of criticism about my looks and hair than the men around me. I became conscious early on about the fact that I could get the attention, if I dress up in a certain way. Also, not often does someone compliments the appearance of men….but women are often graded for the looks and the have nots.
But it requires a lot more than appearance and body strength to live a life, and a woman is empowered with all these instincts and life energy. As I was raised by a strong independent woman, my mom, I did not consider my gender as a limitation to be me. I was raised to become professionally and emotionally independent. I learnt early on that a woman has much more to her than what society has laid out. I was not pigeonholed into doing the household work that is typically expected of a women, which is cooking, cleaning and knitting. My mother believed that these are the skills that will be learnt when put to test as a wife and a mother, and she was so right. A woman has an uncanny art of performing these vital chores in her pajamas and flip flops, and still be at an office or to a party looking sharp.
It is a beautiful truth that a woman has the power to nurture a life inside her body, as well as have an influence over the children and the family in her world. She has the strength to keep the family together or otherwise, she is an epitome of courage that a man taps into when he needs support. A woman is an enigma, hiding a mystical contrast of traits from being an emotional reck to being placid like a lake.
My women friends, you are a full circle and you do not need someone else’s validation tomove ahead in life.
Even when the society does not seem welcoming of your ambitions, remind yourself that you have all the qualities within you to follow your calling with full throttle….and the world will eventually respect your views. The path to your destination is not easy, it has never been! But I want to be assured my lady friends, that you have made your own choice of destination without any outside influence. And making your own choices and going after it, makes you responsible, independent and a happy you! Be what you want to be! Be you! Be the woman you are meant to be!
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“Bro, how more of these assholes are we going to see this week? I’m getting tired of these losers,” Angello tells me in his thick Argentine accent.
“Dude, we need a replacement for the other cocksucker we fired last week,” telling Picco as I text the new recruit on our whereabouts.
“Bro, that dude sucked dick and not in a good way.”
“I know. He was too much of a stoner. We need someone dependable and trustworthy. We need a killer on the crew.”
“Yeah, he must have a tight butthole, so I can fuck him I’m the ass.”
“Good point. I’ll ask him during the interview.”
It was late in the afternoon in the last week of October as we wait for new candidate on Robertson Blvd. I stand outside off my truck in front of the Newsroom as Angello edits and uploads pictures, while at the same time watching nugget porn. I look up and down the street trying to spot this fool, then I saw young punk walking my way. This kid was shorter than I was in his Ed Hardy shirt, camouflage cargo shorts and backwards baseball cap. At least, I didn’t have to tell him how to dress like a douchebag cause he already got that down.
“Yo, Angello. Check out the new dude.”
Picco stops watching pornography on his laptop for a sec to check out the kid, “this little piece of chit. No Ryan, don’t hire this weak asshole, he probably doesn’t even have a tight butthole.”
“Let’s give him chance, then if he sucks you can find out if he does have tight butthole or not.”
“Hey, do you know where the Newsroom is?” The new guy asks me as I point to the huge ass sign next to him. “Oh, duh.”
“Yeah. How did you know?”
“You got a strong aura around you. The name is Fu, I’ll be training you today to see if you can make the cut.”
“Great. I’m super pumped up for this cause I’ve been a fan of you guys for a while now and I love celebrities.”
“First off, I don’t give a fuck if you love celebrities because they don’t give a fuck about you. Second, what did you do before you decided you wanted to be scumbag?”
“Well, ugh, I was or I’m still in school for photography. I’ve been in school for the last two years learning about photography.”
“Well that’s a waste of time, especially on this job. Listen up, rook, you just need to learn these three settings to work this job, which the rest of it is just instincts and hard work.” I give Andy the 411 immediately about the position telling him straight up that this was not going to be an easy job, which it was portrayed on tv as I hand him the camera for the first time showing him the settings.
Andy picks up on the settings immediately as I show him how to shoot these celebrities on long and short lens. He struggles with it because he’s not used to his subjects not wanting to be shot as he has to learn fast on the fly. I put him through the ring trying to overload as much of information onto him, so I can see if he remembered what I showed him just moments ago. In this business you gotta be quick on your feet because just like in life there are no dress rehearsals, you’re going to have to deal what is coming at you in a moments notice. This was true for me in the military and it still rings true to me now as a paparazzi.
“You ready to get your feet wet rookie?” Telling Andy to get ready as I spot Paris Hilton walking down the street. “Go shoot that girl!”
“Who is she?”
“Just shoot asshole,” Angello screams at Andy as he storms out of the truck with his camera towards Paris.
“It’s Paris Hilton.”
“Oh, I know her.”
“That’s great Andy. Now run over there and shoot the shit out of her and don’t drop my fucking camera,” yelling at Andy as he runs over towards Paris with Angello.
I check out Andy as he crosses the busy street on Robertson Blvd to join Angello with the other paps shooting Paris. I notice that he checks out his settings before shooting her, getting in the perfect position to shoot her as they get into a store. Angello tells Andy to change his settings to shoot her inside the store, which he does without any help from me. Andy shoots Paris changing his position each time for a better angle, which it looked like at this point, the short amount of training actually sunk somewhere in his brain because I was really impressed with this young kid, the way he used all the things that I just showed him just moments ago. He changes his settings again being in the correct position as Paris leaves the store getting into her custom Pink Bentley.
Angello and Andy run back to the truck as Angello slaps Andy’s butt, which I could see Andy was really excited afterwards with his big ass smile.
“How did you do?”
“I think I did alright?”
“He was fucking amazing,” Angello tells me quickly editing and uploading to the network.
I point to Angello on his laptop, “listen Andy, in this business, you’re either first or your last. We must send our images out quickly to be the first dogs to dinner table. If you don’t shoot, then you don’t get fed.” Andy understands what I’m saying as I check out his pictures. “There aren’t that bad but you need to calm down a bit and focus on the shoot because some of these aren’t sharp from sharp malaka, but other than that I think Angello and I are really impressed with you kid.”
“You got a really tight butt,” Angello tells Andy without even looking at him working on pictures.
“You want to shoot some more,” I tell Andy but I could already tell that his kid was already hooked because it was the same look I had when I had with my first experience being a paparazzi. I was a brand new vampire thirsty for more blood, which I was going to give to Andy.
“Fuck yeah! But I had a question. What if they don’t want to be shot? Like they put their head down or cover up, do we still keep shooting?”
Angello stops what he is doing staring at Andy as I take of my sunglasses giving Andy my serious look. “You never stop shooting.”
“You never stop shooting asshole!” Angello shouts out before going back to his work.
“We never stop until the job is complete. If they try to hide or cover up, just keep trying out different angles and keep shooting until they give up and show they’re faces. This is the difference between a good pap and a great pap. What are you willing to do to get that money shot.”
“Yeah, Andy the Money Shot. This is the main reason why we are all here. It’s not like we give a fuck about these celebrities, I mean some of them are cool but they don’t pay our bills and I certainly don’t give a fuck about photography. I just want the money motherfucker, lots of money motherfucker, which you can potentially make if you learn your job, be a hard worker and are willing to do what other paps won’t do, then you’ll be making huge money in no time.”
Chuck walks back to the truck from the bathroom missing all the action again.
“What did I miss y’all?”
“Jesus, Charlie did you fall in the toilet. You masturbate too long,” Angello jokingly tells Chuck.
“You missed Paris.”
“Ah, I love Paris. My bad guys, I was taking a shit and it was a lot. You ever take a shit and it doesn’t stop coming. It just came out of me like a brown volcano.”
“You’re butthole must be like a black hole mang.”
“You don’t give a shit about Paris.”
“Yeah, you’re right but it would have been funny video talking to her about my shit. Who’s this?”
“This is the new recruit.”
“Hi, my name is Andy.”
“Hi there, name is Charles. Did you shoot Paris as well?”
“Yeah, he did, which I gotta tell you he did a better job on his first time than you did Chuck.”
“Well, it’s because I don’t give a fuck.”
“I already gathered that, thanks buddy,” I tell Chuck as he gets into the truck with Angello.
“Don’t point that asshole at me mang, it’s still dangerous.” Angells tells Charles as both of them start laughing in the back of the truck.
“Well, you ready to kill more celebrities?”
“Well, then get into the truck and enjoy the ride.”
Andy gets into the truck with the rest of the animals as I find more celebrities for him to shoot, which he starts to act like a season vet with every set he shoots being more comfortable with himself along with the camera. It’s around dusk before we head into a Halloween shop on Sunset Blvd looking for fun costumes?
“Are we going to a Halloween party?” Andy asks me kinda confused why we were doing here instead of shooting celebrities.
“Well, sometimes when you can’t get the “money shot”, you must be willing to create the “money shot.” I tell Andy as he gives me the confused look. “Listen, people only give you the big time money if there is actually a story behind the pictures we take like Britney going insane or Lindsay crashing her car. People love that shit when something is going crazy with the celebrity, so this is why we are here young padawan.”
“I’m still confused.”
“I found it!” Angello tells me bring the costume towards us.
“This is perfect,” telling Angello as Charles walks over.”
“Fuck no. This shit it too small for my fat ass,” Chuck tells me in anger.
“This is why it’s perfect for you.”
“You have to show that fat black ass Charlie,” Angello tells Charles slapping his butt as we head towards the cash register.
“You sure this is going to work?”
“Fuck yeah. It’s going to be hysterical and epic,” telling Charles trying to reassure him that this was a good move as he finally agrees with my plans.
“What are we doing again?” Andy asks me being totally confused on what was going on?
“Don’t worry kid, it’s going to make sense in a sec.”
We purchase the costume and head to the truck driving to our next destination as Angello drives and Charles changes into his costume in the back of the truck.
“You don’t mind sexy black men getting naked in front of you right Andy?” Angello asks Andy as Charles and Angello start laughing.
“This shit is too tight motherfucker.” Charles tells me trying to fit into the costume.
“Just try to not rip it, so I can bring it back you bastard.”
“I still don’t know the plan, bro?” Andy asks me.
“Listen, see these stupid milkshake flyers. Well, we are getting $50 dollars every time the celebrity or any pictures with this flyer is shown. So, this is why we got a costume for Chuck to make it even a bigger story, so we can make more money. You get now?”
“Yeah. If the money shot isn’t there, then you create the money shot.”
“Bingo, young Jedi. We must all embrace the darkside,” I tell Andy as he gives me his big ass schoolboy smile again.
“We’re here assholes,” Angello tells us parking close to the spot, which was Madeo, a very popular eatery on Melrose Ave close to Paparazzi Alley, where celebrities like to eat and paparazzi like to congregate waiting for celebrities. We got a tip from the valet that there were a couple of stars having dinner there, so we get ready in the truck before the shit goes down.
“Listen, Chuck. The only way that this will work, if you get into fucking character. You must believe that you are the super hero inside that tight ass red and blue costume. You must believe that you are saving the celebrities from the evil paparazzi. You must the Black Captain America. You must save everyone and make us lots of money. You ready?”
“Fuck yeah,” Chuck screams at us grabbing his Captain America shield along with the very valuable flyers as we bust out of the truck, charging towards Madeos acting like a bunch of wild animals hungry to get paid, which we could see the paparazzi are shooting a celebrity coming out of restaurant.
It was Susan Lucci, she was a soap opera star but at the moment she was on Dancing with the Stars, but we didn’t give a fuck because she was about meet the Wild Bunch. We storm on the busy street of Melrose already making our presences felt shooting our cameras in the air like a bunch of insane cowboys as the Black Captain America tries to save Miss Lucci from the savages with the cameras.
Charles was first on the scene pushing through the crowd of the photographers getting into the front with his tight blue Captain America costume. At first, Miss Lucci didn’t notice him but it didn’t take long before she saw this huge black man in a Captain America costume in front of here taking pictures of her. Everyone started laughing, including me as I was trying to film the insanity but I was too busy laughing at Charles because he looked so funny in a tight as Captain America costume, which you could see his back fat coming out of his costume because he was so fat. But this didn’t deter Chuck at all because he knew what we all knew that night, which was this was the “money shot.” A crazy ass fan with a funny Halloween costume next to America’s sweetheart, which Angello and I knew that this was going to sell as I could see in the corner of my eye, Angello shooting the shit of Charles and Miss Lucci, laughing his ass of but still getting the job, which to my surprise I see Andy right in the middle of the pack with his big ass smile shooting having a great time.
“Chuck show her the flyer!”
Charles spaces out for a bit, which he sometimes does before shoving the flyer in the face of Miss Lucci as she is a bit surprise and maybe a little bit threatened but it did get the job done as she grabs the flyer standing right next to the black Captain America.
BOOM! The Money Shot.
We keep on shooting until we mercifully let her walk into her car as Chuck gracefully puts a milkshake flyer on her car window as Angello takes the last shot of her with the flyer. Ca-Ching! Mission accomplished I thought still filming the chaos as I could see Angello chasing Charles around trying to put the rest of the flyers down his costume pants as we all started saying,
“The Wild Bunch! The Wild Bunch! The Wild Bunch!”
I turn to Andy with his big ass smile on his face, “So, what do you think? Do you want the job?”
“Are you kidding me? Fuck yeah I do!” Andy excitingly tells me shaking my hand in an agreement.
“Welcome to the Wild Bunch kid.”
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I have been doing yoga on and off for about 5 years. In September, I joined an actual studio, Sattva School of Yoga, instead of going to the yoga classes at the gym. Which I quit. Who needs a gym membership when your own condominium has a free gym! The yoga studio I joined is warm and friendly and insanely popular. Good, I like to fall on my face in front of an audience. From September to mid-November, I was going a lot. Mid-November hits and I couldn’t go anymore due to some health reasons. But now that that’s all cleared up, I’m back.
You know what’s not “like riding a bike”? Yoga. For the most part anyways. Before the monthish hiatus, I was bending and doing yoga-y things with somewhat ease. My first class back to yoga at the beginning of January was a fucking nightmare. The practice changes every month so there’s variety, which is awesome. But apparently they decided January should be Hey You’re Fat From Christmas, Let’s Get Goddamn Real Up In Here month. Which, fair.
My ability to flow through the freaking 5 sun salutations we do at the beginning of class, was lost. I can still get through them, but instead of looking like a graceful swan, I am now a drunk flamingo with spaghetti for arms.
I praise the lord every time the instructor ends this portion of the class. After this, we do the basic warrior poses, which are my favourite poses. Hello legs, feel the goddamn BURN. Warrior poses are never taken out of the monthly practices. They are constant because they murder and sculpt your legs into things of beauty.
We move on through the class and I turn into a sweaty monster. I have all the leg strength in the world and can hold poses for a long ass time, but if my spaghetti bullshit arms are involved at all when holding a pose, it’s basically a joke.
Which brings us to the new move that was inserted into January’s class.
yeah I’ll just file this under Nope.
To be fair, a lot of people couldn’t do it. Which, thank god. I didn’t want to be the only one sitting on my mat, laughing like an idiot. I mean, I was able to put my arms down on the mat like that. But….no. That’s it. That’s all I attempted round one.
The second class, my arms are all backwards and I managed to put my forehead on the ground in front of me. Lifting the legs is a major LOL. Maybe by the end of this month, I will be able to…..um…..watch everyone else…succeed. Yeah. That’ll do.
I know there’s always one pose I cannot do in this class. They always put in an advanced pose, which is cool because GOALS. But instead of just putting the one advanced pose in this month, they decided two would be ideal as hell.
Half Lotus Son of a Bitch Crow.
why is your foot…up there.
I like crow pose. It’s fun and tough. But THIS. This is also…fun and tough. The first class, I sucked a bag of dicks. I was able to get Lotus all up in my grill, bending over was fine, but that’s as far as girlfriend got.
The second class, I tried to put my knee on my forearm and lean forward but Spaghetti Arm was like “WAT R U DOING” and I promptly fell to the ground. Life is great and not at all embarrassing.
Here’s the best part about this yoga studio, my yoga studio: Ain’t nobody there to laugh at you falling on your face. The class is filled with beginners, intermediates, and advanced homies. And everyone at some point has probably fallen on their faces in front of people. And no one cares. Everyone is too focused on their own shit to probably even notice you falling over.
Even though I shit on myself for not being able to do these poses yet, I’ve only done them twice. For 5 years, I could not do a headstand. Well the time has come, everyone. I can do one now. I can finally stand on my fucking head without the support of a wall.
I WILL MAKE CROW AND PEACOCK AND ALL THE OTHER BIRDS MY BITCH.
To the people out there who think yoga is bullshit and not a real work out, I would love to see you take a class and not break out into a serious sweat and feel the burn the next day. It’s such a good way to learn about your body and see what needs work. It’s not about getting to the final stage of an epic pose (even though that is an awesome feeling), it’s what you learned on the way to it. Which muscles you need to use, discovering new muscles you didn’t know you had, how to balance perfectly, how to breathe properly. It’s something I will never give up ~~aNd NeItHeR sHoUlD yOu~~
GO TRY IT NOW.
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