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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Original Pizza

The past couple days I've been effectively on a paid vacation, getting paid to learn stuff I've been meaning to learn for a few years, namely Dreamweaver in general and cascading style sheets in particular.

By the end of the day, my brain is jelly, but it's a change of pace and, as I say, it's something I've tried to learn on my own in a very half-assed after the kids are in bed way for a few years now. There's a big difference between tying in at 9:00 at night when you've spent two hours in the car commuting, eight or more hours working, done a load of laundry, fixed dinner for your kids, and so on, and sitting down at 9:00 in the morning, a full hour after you're normally supposed to be at work and at a place that's half as far from your house.

And with a very competent guide, someone who will let you run of a cliff but also show you how to back up and try that over the right way, Coyote.

Anyway, the class is in Corporate Woods, which I love. Not just because it's only half as far from home as my job is, but because Corporate Woods has to be one of the most beautiful office parks in the world. Most office parks are, from the time they break ground until they are someday leveled, essentially a blight on the community they are built in. They are as ugly as they are homogeneous, the kind of thing that David Byrne described in the movie True Stories as the dream of modern architects come true except the architects don't know it because you don't need an architect to build these things.

Corporate Woods, though, has among other virtues actual woods. The buildings aren't all identical, either, and there seems to be plenty of parking without parking garages that make you think of the Soviet Union.

First time you have to find a place in there, make extra time though, because nothing is perfect. Corporate Woods' winding streets and minimalist street signs made me glad I'd left what felt like 30 minutes too early on day one, which put me in the classroom right on time.

The other thing that rocks about this situation is I've eaten lunch two days in a row at Original Pizza, which is right around the corner from Corporate Woods. If it's not the best pizza you can buy in Kansas City, it's top three.

Watching the old guy who owns the joint spin crusts is worth a visit in and of itself. I've learned, sort of, to throw a round pie. No rolling pin required or desired, just my hands. But about a third of the time I tear the dough at least once and the diameter of my pies is subject to wild fluctuations.

This guy, he's probably thrown a million crusts by now, 32 years at it. But not only does he toss a perfectly uniform circle that fits the pan it doesn't meet until after it's baked on the oven floor every time, and not only does he do this without ever, as far as I can tell, ever tearing the dough, he does it while paying much more attention to the soccer match on the big screen than to the dough in his hands.

This guy could be blinded with lye and still throw a perfect crust, even before getting treatment for the lye burns.

Normally, I brown bag my lunches, this whole training thing has made a big exception to that for me. So I'm torn between wishing Original Pizza was across the street from my work and being glad they're not since I couldn't afford to waltz over for a slice every midday.

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