Burning, books, brick and chicken

So it’s been a long couple of days. I am down at the California Fire Explorers Academy in Downey. Which is in the LA area. This is an annual academy where our junior firefighters really get to go to work and train just like we do at the station. They get to train with love props and live fire, which is the highlight of their year. Unfortunately its not a highlight for me. I have to spend a week away from my family and live in a hotel room. Not the best week. Especially with my son learning and changing so much every day right now. All that said it really means a ton to these kids and they really do talk about this academy all year. So I sacrifice and force my wife to suffer a week alone with our little monkey man. I owe her big time!

Kellie, Arturo, Miley, and Chilo arriving at the Explorer Academy. Trust me those smiles didn't last long.

These kids spend the week training with members of agencies from all over the California and Nevada. It really is a great opportunity for them to see if this is something that they want to pursue as a career.

They get to train in flammable liquids, auto extrication, wildland fires, structure fires and all sorts of other firefighter skills.  This is the only opportunity that they get to perform these skills with live fire situations. So it’s worth it to hear them brag about how they were real firefighters, if only for a week…just like the rest of us that do get to fight fires.

However they are ran through the ringer upon arrival by two marine drill sergeants to set the tone for the academy. Lots of push ups, running, and learning how to march, stand at attention and rest, etc. It really drives home the fact that they are not playing for the week and it is extremely serious situations that they are getting put into.

I was able to finish another book and make some progress on that list item.

Boonville by Robert Mailer Anderson

It was…interesting.

Boonville is a very small town that is just over the hill from my hometown. I will say that the author caught the essence of this crazy little burg. Life is centered around gardening and there are a lot of rednecks, hippies, and just plain crazies.

The plot of the story was a little slow, however I was carried along by the fact that it was referencing places that I have been, worked and lived for most of my life. There were parts that were funny, but most of it I was asking “What is the point of this?”

Maybe I just didn’t get it?

I think that i am going to start to pass some of my books along by leaving them in coffee shops with a short note on one of the first pages that refers them to the blog. Hopefully someone leaves a comment. Maybe they will ask why I would leave a book I didn’t really enjoy that much?? If you find one of them let me know.

I promise that i will leave books that I actually enjoy as well as the duds.

Don't blink because you will miss it. You don't want to miss it!!

Now to the good stuff! So this trip isn’t a completely horrible thing. Becky (my engineer), who is along on this trip as well as the girls chaperone, and I went to a DDD. We tracked down the At Last Cafe in Long Beach. IF YOU ARE EVER IN THE AREA, MAKE SURE YOU EAT HERE! I mean it. I had probably the best chicken that I have ever eaten in my life. It was called the Brick Chicken and was a huge serving that i devoured. Not going to help me with my weight loss goal, but it was so good when it hit my lips I couldn’t help myself. It’s called the Brick Chicken because it is literally cooked with a brick on top of it. However it is prepared it was amazing. The sides that I had were mashed potatoes (of course!!) with veggies. They were just about as good as the chicken! Not your ordinary veggies either. I didn’t pick and identify through them because I was too busy eating them all.

The Brick Chicken...So Good!

I highly recommend this restaurant, but call ahead and make a reservation. It is tiny and we were lucky that we walked in and got a table. Everything that came out of the kitchen looked and smelled amazing. This place really is the reason that I put this item on the list. You can very easily walk past this place and not even know that it was there. It is on the list so that I can experience the places that you would never even know you missed. I can happily say that my life was made a little bit better with this meal.

Hopefully while I am stuck in the LA area I can hit up a couple more places to eat to get closer to crossing it off the list. Til then…

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  1. Mike Stewart
    April 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    for your book leaving. http://www.bookcrossing.com/

  2. Dani
    April 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    We really miss and love you baby!! Come home already!! ❤

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