The Success of Suexliegh – Chapter 3

The Success of Suexliegh

Written by Zack Keller –
Narrated by Nicolas D. Frantela –
Music by Nick Keller –

Paperback and ebook editions available on Amazon –

The Success of Suexliegh – Chapter 2

The Success of Suexliegh

Written by Zack Keller –
Music by Nick Keller –

Paperback and ebook editions available on Amazon –

The Success of Suexliegh – Chapter 1

Paperback and ebook editions available on Amazon –

The Success of Suexliegh

Written by Zack Keller –
Narrated by Nicolas D. Frantela
Music by Nick Keller –

Long time readers will know I have a love of audiobooks and stories, and that as of late I have been reading many of the works of my friend Zack Keller, AND THIS POST IS NO EXCEPTION!  Starting today, I will be narrating his first novel, The Success of Suexliegh, which is available on Amazon.  The story follows Suexliegh, the world’s richest man, who fails to pay his taxes which sends the entire world into financial ruin and him to prison. It’s a riches to rags story about the high life, loss of liberty, and the true pursuit of happiness — one that cannot be purchased.

A new chapter will come out every other week, so if your ears like what they hear, continue to tune in!

A Soundtrack For Hard Times

Jean-Michel Bernard – Mr. Fletcher’s Song

I’ve recently gotten over a bout of unemployment, and although my stint into the land of the jobless was comparatively short by many respects, even a few months without making an income can be nerve-wracking and life-changing.  No matter how hard you look for a job you are going to be left with time to spare.  I sent out so many applications, sometimes fifty a day, and I still had enough time to create this blog, write a few scripts, record a few songs, work out, clean my house and then apply for more jobs.  And after all of this I would still have two or so hours of free time, during which I have to focus to keep myself from hellish introspection and complete insanity.

Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

During these times, a person can also feel so utterly alone and isolated (because, you know, all your friends are working and shit, so you have no one to talk to during those hours) that staving off depression becomes a full time job.  A shitty, non-paying, ineffective job.  Because you’re going to get depressed, you can’t help it.  I know I did, and there was nothing I was going to be able to do to keep it away.  The only thing I could do is to make sure that I didn’t let the depression keep me from applying, blogging, writing, or whatever it was I chose to fill my time with.  I never just sat back, turned on the television and waited for something to happen.  It’s an odd feeling to continue to work while depressed, to have my optimistic side that looks to the future and my realistic side based in the present fighting over which way I am screwed more.

Brett Dennen – Ain’t No Reason

Des’ree – You Gotta Be

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up

But you get through it (or you don’t and you spiral down into obscurity, liquor and homelessness) and you realize that the hardest part about it all is the lack of control.  You are, more or less, at the mercy of the companies and the economy, and talk about shitty things to be waiting on.  I don’t trust either of those as far as I can throw them, and I don’t even know how one could throw the concepts of business and financial stability. You can’t hang your daily morale on those fuckers.  During the hard times, you have to live for the small victories: a sale on beef, your car insurance dropping $10, a phone interview, a short contract job taking dictation for a week.  When you live for the small things, it’s amazing how the tiniest improvement makes you incredibly happy.

Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Modest Mouse – Float On

Mumford & Sons – After the Storm

And any one who gives you advice other than, “Keep your head up,” needs to find the nearest catapult and send themselves hence, forthwith.  While I’m sure there are some people who need a reality check, I believe the larger populace understand that when you’re in a hard place you may need to take a job you hate just to survive for the day when things do work out.  “You may not get the job you want, Nic.”  No shit.  The job I just left wasn’t the one I wanted, so I get it.  “Maybe you should get three jobs.”  Maybe you should suck my dick, because even if I got three minimum wage jobs and worked 24/7, I still wouldn’t be able to pay all my expenses.  “Are you applying to all you can?”  NO, I’M SITTING ON MY ASS, HITTING THE FLOOR WITH A HAMMER, EATING MUSTARD PACKETS AND STALE BREAD.  I get they’re just trying to help, but do these people really understand how much time there is to think about all of this, how much a person tries to get into anything, anything at all?

The New Radicals – You’re Gonna Get What You Give

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass

Seal – Don’t Cry

So if you’re going through unemployment, keep your head up.  I can’t ensure that it’s going to get better anytime soon, but just know that you’re not alone.  Live for the tiny victories, always stay busy and don’t listen to anyone that’s trying to poo on your party.  As long as you’re putting your all into and you don’t give up, your luck will change.  Hope is free.

Bob Sinclar – Give A Lil’ Love

EconoChef: $4 Fried/Baked Ravioli

This is going to be my last recipe for awhile.  Food costs money and since I don’t really have any of that right now, all of these recipes (even the cheap ones) are hurting my pocketbook.  It’s also taking a toll on my waistline.  Looking back over the recipes I’ve had Mac n’ Cheese, Hot Dogs and Top Ramen, and with the ravioli that I’m doing today I have developed quite a bit of a pudge in my lower torso.  Also, I’m running out of ideas.

Now this one was a tad hard for me because Chef Boyardee Ravioli holds a special place in my heart.  For years, a guilty pleasure of mine has been to eat this stuff cold and straight from a can.  I usually have to be alone when I do this because when people see it they feel sick.  Even just talking about it makes some people heave.  I know you are because I can hear you through the internet.

Just like the Six-Million Dollar Man, I have the technology.

But try I must, so I put myself to the task on making this better and after a few weeks of failures I decided to just do the one thing that makes everything better: Fry it! 

The special ingredient for this dish will be bread crumbs in the style of your choosing.  I opted for the cheapest I could find, which were Italian bread crumbs.  You could also take some old bread you have lying around the house and break it into crumbs with your bare hands or, if you don’t have that kind of time, with a food processor.  If you don’t have that either, then I don’t know what to do with you.  Trying knitting, I heard that’s fulfilling.  For this recipe, I tried both store bought and homemade.

Start by opening the can and dumping everything into a bowl.  Carefully take out each ravioli, scrap off the sauce and place into another bowl.  If you’re frying, heat some oil in a skillet, and then in another bowl beat one egg.  If your baking, preheat your oven to around 400.  While you’re waiting for things to heat up, pour your breadcrumbs into yet another bowl, and if you’re baking, pour in a little olive oil and toss the crumbs around a bit.  All in the bowl.

I only have bowls in my kitchen. No plates, cups or spoons. Just bowls.

Once everything is ready, place the ravioli into the crumbs and dredge.  If you’re frying, put the ravioli in the beaten egg first.  Once the ravioli is thoroughly coated, place into the oil/onto a cookie sheet.  It won’t take that long to fry, so keep an eye out and once the ravioli are nice and brown go ahead and take them out.  With baking it will take about five minutes, at which point you might want to move them to the broiler just to crisp the tops a bit.  Once they’re done, wait until they are cool to the touch and then plate (or bowl).

Just because I really suck at frying (by the end they looked like I had buried them by the ocean for a couple of days), I liked the baked ravioli more.  I also preferred the larger bread crumbs that I had made over the store bought, but they both still worked.  What I also liked about the baked ones was that you could sprinkle on some parmesan cheese before putting it into the broiler.  And while the ravioli is cooking, you could take the left over sauce from the can, add some garlic, olive oil, black pepper and red pepper flakes, heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds and then use it as a dipping sauce.

Strangely enough, all the Chef Boyardee products were the same price.  Even the “over-stuffed” ravioli, which is what I used, were the exact same price as the normal ones.  I wish all of life worked like this; if it did I would be sleeping on a King-sized mattress.  It was about $1.40 for the Boyardee, and then another $1.80 for the bread crumbs.  This is great finger food for a party or some kids.  Enjoy!

EconoChef: $3 Hot Dog (with sounds!)

Ahhh, the good ole’ American hot dog.  Its exact origins unknown, it is labeled simply as “Meat” while we grill, boil, or microwave these suckers into cheap tubes of instant gratification.  But the normal hot dog is also bland yet salty, with no culinary depth whatsoever.  Sure, you could pile up some onions, make some chili, or cover it with cheese, but that doesn’t change the fact that the normal hot dog itself is nothing of worth and shall always remain thus.  But I say, “NAY!” to such disparities, for our patriotic meat tubes deserve more than to be drowned in $5 chili and yellow mustard.  Behold!  The Roasted Pepper Stuffed Hot Dog!

Now this dish calls for some hot dogs, some buns, and two Serrano chili peppers per dog.  Is this dish going to be spicy?  Can I get an AMEN?  Of course it’s going to be spicy!  If you’re one of these people who are scared of spicy food, or if you don’t like spicy food in general, then you, sir (or ma’am), are a no friend of mine!  A coward, a sissy, a scaredy-cat!  And if you’re one of those people who can’t eat spicy food because of some intestinal or heart condition, then . . . then . . . well, I don’t have an insult for you.  But man the fuck up anyway (after consulting with your doctor)!

Out of all my recipes so far this is by far the easiest.  1 – Roast Peppers (aka, stick under broiler until charred on each side). 2 – Cut hot dogs only half way through length wise, and then with a small spoon gently scoop out a little meat from either side of the dog.  3 – Once the peppers are roasted, stuff into dogs.  4 – Cook on a George Foreman Grill, the mightiest kitchen appliance for the unemployed who may or may not have enough money to pay the gas bill.  5 – Toast the buns if you can, otherwise spread some mustard on and eat!  The roasting will take some bite out of the peppers, but the dog is still going to pack a wallop!  If you wanted to get fancy you could also stuff the dogs with some roasted garlic as well, and maybe squeeze some lime over it.  Enjoy!
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Oh God, are you still here?  What?  You really don’t like spicy food?  Sigh.  Fine.  If spitting fire and being awesome is “too much for your senses,” here’s another way to go.  Instead of roasting peppers, take a ¼ of a small apple.  In this case I used a Granny Smith, but any apple will do.  Dice the apple up and then stuff that in the hot dog before you cook it.  If you wanted to go a little further, mix the diced apple with brown sugar, cinnamon and black pepper before stuffing, and then opt the mustard out for a dab of barbeque sauce.  The dog will be sweet and savory at the same time, as the brown sugar will caramelize on the grill.  If you don’t have a George Forman Grill, your broiler/oven will work.  If you don’t have that, then you can use an actual fire, I’ve heard fire works pretty well for cooking food.  Just don’t use a microwave.

Are there multiple applications for this?  You bet!  Sun-dried tomatoes and basil, grapes and fennel, oranges and dill, the list goes on.  But each of those items will up the price, and part of these recipes is to keep the budget small.  Speaking of which, this entire endeavor barely cost me $5.  The cheapo hot dogs were $1.50, the chiles cost about 12¢, the apple about 40¢, and I got some discount buns for 79¢.  Cheap but delightful!  But be warned!  The low cost of the dish is counteracted by how delicious they are and how fast they are eaten.  Still, not a bad way to spend $3.