Sunday, February 11, 2007


I've baked a few loaves of ciabatta in the last few days and I must admit I'm getting pretty gosh-darn good at it. Gonna put another one in the oven in about 20 minutes. I started the pre-ferment (sponge or biga or poolish or whatever you want to call it) for this loaf at about 10:00 this morning, then left it alone for about 10 hours before adding the rest of the ingredients and mixing the dough. That was a couple hours ago. Since then I've knocked down the dough a couple times. It is currently on its third rise.

If anyone out there wants to give my formula (recipe) a try, here it is:

4 oz. All Trumps high gluten flour (by weight)
2 oz. 110-degree water
1 pinch of sugar

6 oz. All Trumps high gluten flour (by weight)
6.5 oz. 110-degree water
1 pinch of sugar
1 tsp salt

I'm not going to type the procedures for making the bread right now. I may do it some other time or if anyone asks me to. But my pizza-making procedures (and you can't buy a better pizza) are already available on the Aimless Pizza Page.


I don't like being ripped off

I'm going to send two similar letters tomorrow to a couple people who ripped me off after I agreed to do some favors for them that no one else was willing to do.

The first incident happened last June, after a 22-year acquaintance named "Stromie" (Ron Stromfeld) told me his friend John Hetrick was looking for some temporary help at his beer/wine drive-thru. Having already scheduled a vacation with his family for late June, John was looking for someone who could keep the place open while he was away for a week. Because I've always thought highly of Stromie, I stopped by the drive-thru and talked to John the next day. After talking with him for a little bit, I agreed to help him out because I had nothing better to do.

Not only did I agree to work for an insulting $7 an hour, but I also was prepared to work 60-70 hours a week with no overtime pay for a couple weeks. That is, until I realized this guy was a racist asshole who chose to make the job ten times more difficult than necessary. And yes, I eventually walked off. Before I walked off, however, I calmly returned the store keys to John and informed him that I would still be willing to help him out, but only if he'd start listening to my concerns.

His ego didn't allow him to contact me after that.

Because there was not enough time before his vacation to train anyone else, John ended up having to close the drive-thru for a full week while he was gone (unless he decided to cancel the vacation). Additionally, he decided he's above the law and chose not to pay me for the hours I'd already worked.

Bad move, John.

The second incident happened in November 2006. I've already talked about it in a couple recent posts, so I'm not going to retell that story here.

Here's a draft of the first letter:

* * * * *

Dear Mr. Hetrick (and Patrick Johnson, of course),

This letter is a reminder that you owe me $350 in wages for my labor at Arcade Drive-Thru in June 2006. Since it has become evident that you do not intend to pay me for my work, I have no option other than to enforce a concrete deadline for payment. You now have until February 28, 2007 to pay me the $350 you owe me.

If you fail to meet my deadline for payment, you will force me to contact the Internal Revenue Service and inform them of your extensive tax code violations. (Yes, I know enough about your business practices to get you into a lot of trouble.) I do not wish to resort to such extreme actions, but your noncompliance will leave me no other choice.

Ryan M. Powell

* * * * *

I'm 99% sure neither of these guys will pay me what they owe me, even after receiving this letter. It's an ego thing. But you gotta do what you gotta do, and I WILL report them to the IRS on March 1st if I don't receive the money they owe me by February 28th, even though I have nothing to gain by turning them in.

Something interesting occurred to me after I'd already written the letter: these guys have both spent time in prison. Interpret that however you want; I haven't made any kind of interpretation yet. I'm just pointing out a coincidence.