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Arrogant Bastard

January 11, 2013

There is still a lot more to say on the topic of how class consciousness and insecurity permeates the restaurant scene in Albany. However, honing in on the answers to two great comments I received yesterday will take a little more time. Especially if it means changing source texts.

Still, expect more on this theme next week. Although today I need to dedicate to a little bit of proactive damage control.

So I did something dumb. I’ve done a few dumb things recently, but let’s focus on just this one string of bad decisions. When I’m embarrassed about something, I’m compelled to share it with the world. Maybe that’s weird, but my hope is twofold. First, that you may learn from my mistake, and not make the same one yourself. Second, that you will hear this directly from me and not via some rumor or third party.

The bottom line is don’t compose late night notes in Facebook messenger.

I don’t know what went wrong. I’ve always been very careful and conscientious about what kind of information I put into writing versus what information is best conveyed over the phone. There is no written record of phone calls that can come back to haunt you.

So here’s a little background. In the past I’ve been offered and have accepted press passes to some pretty cool events. Others I’ve had to decline. But press passes are awesome, as they give you access to events that you might never pay to get into yourself.

Perhaps my first mistake was soliciting passes on my own behalf for an upcoming event of interest. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So, I thought I would put in a request for a press badge and see what happened.

Well I got a note back that felt a bit dismissive of my status as a blogger, and that was frustrating. Maybe I was being a little over sensitive. Those of you who blog know that it takes a lot of work to keep the pipeline full of posts, it takes a lot of time to build an audience, and it takes a lot of devotion to persist at the task month after month and year after year.  To have this belittled really stirred up a fire in my belly.

Later that same night I wrote a bit of a missive about how the FLB is not just another blog, but an active part of the conversation on food in the Capital Region. This was as much about you as it was about me. Because for whatever reasons, over time the FLB has generated a readership of active and passionate food lovers who post thoughtful comments and participate in real life events. More than anything else, I’m proud about that.

Well, you know what they say about pride.

Anyhow, this conversation had been going back and forth via private messaging on Facebook. As I was reading over my impassioned tirade and doing some light editing, I reconsidered whether sending this in frustration was really the best idea. And I was leaning towards just deleting what I wrote and going to bed. Then I accidentally hit the carriage return without holding down the shift button and the note was sent. Oops.

Those who already think I’m arrogant are going to have a field day with this. But please keep in mind the objective of the note was to solidify the FLB as a serious voice in the regional food scene, and not just some guy throwing opinions up on the internet from his mother’s basement. Okay here it is:

For what it’s worth, the FLB is really quite different from those other blogs.

In the past few months I judged Baconfest with Steve and B.A., judged the Iron Chef showdown between Max London and John Ireland in Saratoga Springs, and judged a cupcake competition with Innae Park and Tim Drawbridge.

On top of all that I developed cocktails with the Alb Dist Co distillers in advance of their Coal Yard release, won second prize in the Bellini’s cooking competition, had my cider donut tour mentioned on the front page of the food section of the TU, and was invited to present a guest lecture at RPI on social media marketing.

Plus the FLB has been used by other marketers to give away relevant items to its readers, most recently from Proctor’s Cake Boss show, City Dining Cards and the Chefs Consortium dinner on Bannerman Island.

Mostly the above has come as the result of building a large, passionate and vocal readership that participates with the blog every day to be part of a food loving community.

I’ll be curious to see what [redacted] has to say, and if they will join SPAC and others in considering the FLB as a member of the media, and not just another blogger.

And no, I didn’t get the press pass. All I got was the knowledge that there was now an email out in the world that I should never have sent. And I didn’t want to ever be in a position where I felt like I needed to temper my opinions lest this embarrassing note be brought to light.

It should also be said that there are a lot of great regional food bloggers who I admire and respect. Recently I updated the blogroll on the sidebar, but I think at this time it’s worth highlighting a few that are doing a better job than the FLB.

Dave’s Big Blue Plate makes the food I cook at home look like garbage; maybe one day he’ll invite me over to dinner. DocSconz eats better than anybody else I know and reading his tales of restaurants around the world is inspiring. From Scratch Club is amazing, and has done great things to bring food lovers together to learn and share. With Albany Jane not posting as frequently as she once did, Jon in Albany is a blog with a very similar feel that makes complex food preparations like curing meats feel accessible to anyone. The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate NY does this too with the wit and wisdom only Mr. Dave can provide. Kimversations is a beautifully designed site, with lovely photography, and Kim is impressively prolific. I’m really enjoying Masticating Monkey, mostly because he and I seem to share similar backgrounds and it’s fun to watch him get acclimated to the region. Silly Goose Farm is like the Martha Stewart of upstate farm life, and I have no idea how she’s able to do it all. Burnt my Fingers and Noshing Confessions do incredible things with bread, and I wish I had a fraction of their skill and patience for baking. I could go on, but this paragraph is getting out of hand.

I don’t think there is any way for me to come out of this smelling like a rose. But I want to thank you for reading this through and allowing me the chance to put the whole shebang into context. This is the danger of responding to minor indignities in writing on Facebook when one’s passions are inflamed. Lesson learned.

Have a great weekend.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Tonia permalink
    January 11, 2013 11:47 am

    *chuckle* I too put my embarassing moments out there.

  2. January 11, 2013 11:49 am

    First off, I just want to say that I appreciate you putting it out there that blogging requires a lot of time and effort. Creating content and a following is a lot of work. Thanks for mentioning my blog. For the record, though, I am not nearly as prolific as you are.

  3. January 11, 2013 12:08 pm

    I see ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with what you said, to be completely honest. And this is coming from someone who is occasionally criticized for going overboard with niceties. Nothing to be ashamed of. What’s the problem? It’s not like you told whoever it was that you were talking to that they were a cocksucker or anything.

    On a separate note…

    “Silly Goose Farm is like the Martha Stewart of upstate farm life, and I have no idea how she’s able to do it all.” – That made me teary-eyed. Thank you, my darling!!

  4. Kaya Haig permalink
    January 11, 2013 1:43 pm

    I relate to this ‘shouldn’tadonethat’ feeling, but I usually send another follow up note retracting & using heavy-handed self-deprecating humor. Your handling was classy & more effective in potentially preventing yourself from doing something similar again. For the record, I think your daily accomplishments add up to a pretty impressive online persona. Keep up the good work.

  5. January 11, 2013 2:14 pm

    I am seconding Deanna’s post above. I’ve gotten myself into trouble (personally, not professionally … I am much more careful and conscious with the latter) with things I’ve written on the Internet, so I can sympathize. But quite honestly, I don’t think your note comes off as arrogant or that you have anything to be ashamed of what you wrote. You HAVE been an important force in the local food scene, and quite frankly, the amount of work you do between this blog, your work at AOA, and other food-related events locally, is a full time job in itself.

  6. January 11, 2013 2:21 pm

    Yeah, yeah, yeah… But why did Steve Barnes take you off of his blog roll? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • January 11, 2013 2:58 pm

      Again, feel free to ask him. He’s the one that did the removing. I’d be curious to hear what he tells you. Steve’s phone number is (518) 454-5489 and sbarnes@timesunion.com is his email address (obviously).

      • January 11, 2013 3:13 pm

        No, no, no. You and him. Pistols at dawn. There can only be one.

        You have to arrange a meeting with him in a dark parking lot and then let us know what happened.

      • January 11, 2013 5:06 pm

        Don’t feel too bad. I’m not listed, either, and I actually write for the Times Union. Like, IN PRINT. Whatever.

      • January 11, 2013 5:42 pm

        *Someone* better find out what happened. I need to know. No pistols necessary. I only say this because he’s never linked to my blog, either. Not that my blog is anything fantastical. But, at least Daniel links to it. :)

  7. January 11, 2013 3:05 pm

    Considering how that email could have gone, I think it was well written and spot on. Organizers need to realize that blogging is a form of media or press even if there isn’t a professional news organization behind it. You have followers and they have money to spend. Why wouldn’t an event organizer want you to be there?

    Also, thanks for the links to check out!

  8. joni permalink
    January 11, 2013 3:37 pm

    I guess nowadays it’s only acceptable to toot your own horn when you were a criminal beforehand and have turned your life around. Hello! This is truly my passion and a lot of people are hooked into it, would you like to be part of my next adventure? They just don’t get it and you’re likely not alone in hearing that “tone.” Too bad for them. Onward and upward!

  9. joni permalink
    January 11, 2013 3:42 pm

    ps same with email. never have the receiver’s info in the To: box when you’re drafting. put it safely below in the body of the message until you’re totally ready, and double check that all attachments are included :)

  10. January 11, 2013 4:03 pm

    I’m curious what these “other blogs” are that you are not like because you are a “serious regional food voice”. What is it that makes other voices less serious, and who is to judge?

  11. PensiveEngineer permalink
    January 11, 2013 4:40 pm

    Meh. Daniel, every once in a while you need to toot your own horn. If they’re dismissing you without knowing your full background I see nothing wrong with informing them of that background. Quite frankly your writing is better than anything I read in the print news around here, so really, who is the real media here?

  12. enough already! permalink
    January 11, 2013 9:47 pm

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Daniel. We love you! And listen to Joni – good advice.

  13. January 11, 2013 10:13 pm

    In the words of my childhood hero…” I find your lack of faith disturbing”!!!
    You have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. All the points you hit upon were both worthy and truthful…you did all those things and MUCH MUCH MORE! Chin up and sleep well, I don’t feel you overstepped any boundries.

  14. Jesse permalink
    January 12, 2013 7:04 am

    I’ve gotta chime in too and say that I don’t see an offensive word in what you wrote. Stand up for yourself! Everyone that’s ever made something like the FLB into something bigger has had a lot of people tell them they’re not good enough on the way. Don’t let the bumps in the road slow you down.

  15. January 13, 2013 1:13 am

    Hey now, without Jon in Albany I wouldn’t even be curing. He gave me the pink curing salt I still use today (it’s crazy how little of the stuff one needs).

  16. January 13, 2013 7:55 pm

    So, nu. It’s not like you made up what you’ve been doing in the food world of the Capital Region over the last few years. You merely got slightly… shall we say… fussy?

    Thanks for the shout out. Plan for the winter: cook my way through the Tassajara Bread Book. I shall distribute samples.

  17. January 14, 2013 1:28 am

    Thank you for the kind words. I am always pleasantly surprised when someone that isn’t my mother stops by the blog. She never comments though….

    @Albany Jane, when you are ready to make the leap to dry curing, I’ve got some Cure#2 I could throw your way!

  18. January 14, 2013 9:17 pm

    If I had a nickel for every time I spoke too soon or spoke out of anger or frustration well, I’d have a hell of a lot of nickels.

    This blog is an important food resource for the capital region. As far as blogs go, I see you right up there with Steve Barnes but I’d rather visit here because your readers don’t act like dicks. That being said, I get the refusal because you’re not a journalist. You are a good writer but I don’t know that blogs = journalism. Or maybe they do now? I don’t know. I think my comment is only making me question the issue more…

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