Haute Sauce

I LOVE hot sauce.

It accompanies most any meal that I consume. Shayla grows various pepper plants in our back yard to keep me in varieties of fresh peppers to augment my spice arsenal and provide me with my requisite supply of capsaicin.

In my ongoing quest for finer fiery fare I have come across a number of good sauces, though I hardly claim to be any kind of expert in the field. Avid enthusiast, yes - expert, no.

There is the nearly ubiquitous Tabasco Sauce, which seems to be the go-to standard for most eating establishments. Following closely behind would be the heartier Tapatio and Cholula brands. Any of these three will do in a pinch, but I can't say that they are my preference.

Some restaurants go with the delicious Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce! This one is a favorite of mine and I keep a healthy supply of it around at all times. This sauce is so well known and tasty that its actually counterfeited around the world. You heard me, they make knock-off hot sauce. The incredible thing about Huy Fong brand Sriracha (accept no imitations) is that it is actually one of the most cost-effective sauces on the market. Believe me, when cash gets tight I am always struggling to source good sauce, and Sriracha (or "Sirachy" as Emeril calls it) has saved me many times.

However, none of the above holds a place in my heart like my current favorite sauce. I found this little bottle at Henry's one day, and was intrigued by its packaging. The label said "Radioactive Iguana Explosively Hot Atomic HabaƱero Pepper Sauce" complete with illustration of said illuminated Iguana. How could I pass this up?

I purchased a bottle and tried it out immediately. The sauce itself has a chunky quality to it, as many of the better sauces do - it speaks to the fact that something resembling real ingredients have been used rather than a uniform watery paste of chemicals and additives. The color as it pours out of the bottle is somewhat florescent, and the flavor leans towards the savory rather than sweet.

This is an important element for me. I personally don't prefer sweet hot sauce. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sweet & hot flavors when done well, just as much as anyone - but I find it done too often and not done well often enough. A sauce that brings salt and garlic to the party along with the spice is a better find in my book, and Radioactive Iguana Sauce does that better than any I have had before. It packs plenty of kick - its enough to make the eyes water and your beverage empty quicker. However, at least for me, it isn't so spicy as to force breaks from eating or enjoying my meal. Hence, the perfect sauce.

Perhaps this post might seem like a distraction. Perhaps waxing poetic about 5 fluid ounces of gastronomic fury is out of place here. In all honesty I just love this product and I felt so strongly about it that I was compelled to share that with the world. I do not work for any of the above companies (though if I did, I might save on my sauce bill) and I have not been paid to advertise by any of them either. I just love hot sauce that much.

This makes me realize though, that is the very essence of a great product and a great brand. All of the best brands that exist do their best advertising by simply being great. Rather than trying to find new ways to spin a mediocre product or service, companies that just make awesome things are talked about because they are awesome.

What if all branding were handled this way?


Now it's over I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want. Or, I'm still alive and there's nothing I want to do


I know there are a whole list of things I want to accomplish with my time in this life. From a distance they seem clear. Make powerful imagery, solve problems through design, write a book, travel the world, live passionately, love my wife completely, be a good person. However, when I examine each of these closely, or try to break them into discrete steps - that clarity evaporates.

Shayla and I talk all the time about our goals and dreams. We analyze ourselves and our histories looking for clues to unlock our 'true calling' - some path which will guide us through all these things. Endlessly we turn the same factors over and over. We examine our views and presumptions from as many perspectives as possible in an unending quest for understanding.

In spite of all this analysis and self-examination, it still often feels as if concrete answers elude me. Staying just out of my reach. I can find the forest, I just can't find any of the trees.

Even if I do know many of the end goals, I often can't seem to find the component steps to achieve them. Combining this with an uncanny ability to be distracted is an excellent recipe for not getting anywhere.

In one sense, I am already well along my path. I have already found the love of my life and I recognize this with every waking breath. I have begun to travel in the past 5 years and have an exciting trip next year that I am planning, saving and preparing for right now. I am currently working quite a bit on one book project and I have the beginnings of 2 others sketched out. I have a job that I love, solving graphic design problems by the thousands. I sell prints of my designs and illustrations online, and all of the above plus the search for deeper meaning is the very essence of living it all with passion.

So what's the problem?

It's that in the day to day grind, the given moment of consideration when I ask myself "what should I be doing RIGHT NOW to make my dreams into reality?" there is that sickening silence. The dreaded malaise. The sweet temptation of countless nothings all lining up to waste my time. I know that I haven't finished my work in this life by an order of magnitude, but sometimes for the life of me I can't put my finger on a single task that would push that forward.

That's what this blog post is about today. It's about the conversation Shayla and I had through the night about what we wanted to do, to be, to have, to leave. It's about the conversation we had earlier today about what we REALLY should be doing - whether that is art, or writing, or consulting, or becoming a friggin lawyer. It's about the fact that dinner still has to be cooked and the dog still has to be walked, and twitter is calling my name, and Anthony Bourdain is in the Caribbean tonight, and, and, and.

Perhaps the answer is that there is no answer. That figuring any of it out doesn't really matter at all. Perhaps the answer is that life is too damn short and the point is to be doing what you love with the people you love RIGHT NOW and the rest will work itself out or can be ignored anyway.

I'm going to keep walking along my path even when I don't know where it leads.


Title borrowed from They Might Be Giants - "Dead"