An open letter to Nick Menke, CEO/Owner of Spa Niva, Tucson.


Please excuse my calling you by your first name.  I assume anyone who’s fucked me over as much as you have is on a first name basis with me.

Yes, I heard what you said to me today while I was working.  I simply didn’t respond because, to be quite honest, I had nothing professional to say to you.  You see, you treated me like trash when I was attempting to do nothing but help both your company’s employees and your company’s bottom line at no cost to you.  Yes, at no m-fing cost to you.

You put me off time and again, I explained how what I was doing worked time and again, you juggled me around and told me who to talk to in order to get my work rolling and then come to you for final authorization.  I did.  And once you juggled me around until well past the start date, I had to lay it out and tell you what needed to be done, sans sugarcoating.

You then proceeded to “fire” me.  And then email me a month later when my boss didn’t get back to you.  I never responded because duh, I wasn’t the agent associated with your company anymore.  You requested that.

Anyway, you lied to your employees about how my company worked, you lied to them as to what we do, and you lied to them about what I could and couldn’t do for them.  Most abhorrently, you shirked the opportunity for them to protect their financial viability while blatantly ignoring IRS law for pre-tax insurance plans.

I know exactly what you pay your employees.  I know the “benefits” you purport to provide and the hoops you make them jump through.  I know how much you charge for services and, I know those margins are terribly slim.  I know that the last company in those buildings which ignored my warnings folded soon after.  Knowing all these things, I know that Spa Niva and its employees desperately needed what I was doing.

Yet you kicked me out and threw a hissy fit when I treated you like an adult instead of a fragile child.

Your firing of me over your failure to meet and run a company and understand what was going on cost me money.  Cost me time.  Set me back.

So, Nick, you insufferable, childish, insolent, tantrum-throwing, power-tripping, douchebag of a human, I did not respond because I did not have anything positive or professional to say to you.  Ironically, what you said is actually quite incorrect, even.  The store you saw me at did not hire me. I was, indeed, hired by a third party company with exquisite prestige in order to introduce the entire state of Arizona to a brand new product.  You just work for an unethical bank and run (quite unethically, I may add) spa.

Speaking of your spa:

I am getting married shortly.  As of this writing it is in 30 days and 20-some hours.  I have a lot of family and a bunch of friends coming from out of town.  They will be looking for things to do, time to kill, and fun to be had.  I have four amazing groomsmen who will be regaled with fun and services at my behest.  My fiancée has four bridesmaids who shall be spoiled.  Your company will not be seeing any of my family, any of our friends, or any of us.  Ever.

Nick, you ever see me again, don’t say a damned word unless it’s to apologize.  Anything more and you shall receive a barrage of words.  Be glad it’s only words I have to offer, as you deserve much worse for the way you treated myself and the way you continually treat others.

Mr. Arriola

I want to just get down some thoughts before I get ready to go vote and go to work.

Why I’m voting for Obama today:

Rights of everyone:

Obama has consistently pushed for equal rights for everyone, despite religious ideals, sexual orientation, sex, or ethnicity.  Guaranteeing that my fiancée and any future daughters will have the same opportunities and access to their bodies which I enjoy is imperative   Romney refused to sign various pieces of legislation, including the Lily Ledbetter Act, which would guarantee something as simple as equal pay for women.  On minority rights he has wavered on stances anywhere from effectively “make anyone who’s not white show papers” to supporting the Dream Act.

Tax policy:

Under Obama, the middle and lower classes will receive slight tax breaks.  Considering that wages for the past 12 years have refused to keep up with inflation (can we eschew “trickle down” doublespeak yet?), this is necessary to keeping our economy on the right track.  He will also close a number of loopholes and slightly raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more every year: people who actually have a lower tax rate and far more disposable income than the middle and lower classes.

Economic soundness:

The way the Obama administration will change the tax code will decrease our national deficit $3.8 trilling from 2013-2022.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Romney’s tax cuts for the rich and effective tax hikes on the middle and lower classes would actually increase the deficit.

Veterans’ benefits and rights:

Straightforward and to the point: Obama has vastly improved veterans’ access to health care, bolstered the VA (when he wasn’t blocked by the GOP), and given much support to veterans.  Romney’s plans would gut all that progress in the name of budget savings.

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare):

Plain and simple this will save taxpayers (you and me) a whole ton of money.  It improves health care, access to health care, and reduces costs for everyone.  Not only does it save us all money but it would also cost a whole lot of money to repeal the program.

There are abundant myths and lies that the ACA cuts Medicare or other programs.  These are just what I called them: lies.

Foreign policy:

I think this is one of the most understated aspects of this election.  Our relationships overseas and across this continent are extraordinarily valuable in both our commerce and effectiveness with military and economical actions.  By and large, President Obama is far more willing to work alongside other countries than Romney.  Even more striking is how much more willing the other countries are willing to work alongside our incumbent president than they are Romney.  He is practically a globally reviled figure whilst Obama is, for all intents and purposes, globally lauded.

Our success at home is tied and reflected to our success worldwide.

Homeland security:

More than any war draw down (which Romney has said he would both enforce and rescind), our citizens face local environmental dangers.

The Midwest experiences tornado seasons, the East coast suffers hurricane seasons.  Traditionally, under Republican presidents, FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency — is slow to respond and, even worse, ineffective in their actions.  In 2005 over 1,833 people died in the days following Hurricane Katrina.  Those people died after the hurricane ended.  They died because they weren’t rescued from flooded areas, from hospitals, from anywhere.  Their communities and neighborhoods in New Orleans and surrounding areas were left to rot for days.  When Hurricane Sandy hit New York just last week, FEMA, now under Obama’s administration, save untold numbers of people.  Tragically, Hurricane Sandy has claimed about 133 lives, but due to Obama’s quick response, far more were saved.

Romney wants to privatize FEMA.  This would weaken it and more people would die in the Midwest during tornado season.  More people would die in Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina, New York, and any other East Coast or Gulf state during hurricane season.  Of course, bolstering FEMA also saves money in the long term.

Women’s healthcare:

Under the Affordable Care Act women are now entitled to free birth control from their insurer.  This saves costs and reduces not only unwanted pregnancies, but the abortion rate.

Anyone who says that birth control leads to premature promiscuity is reciting statistics which the anti-choice industry made up.  That’s just how it is.

I’ve seen a lot of people cite the incident at Benghazi as a reason not to vote for Obama.  Quite frankly, that’s absurd.  The White House did not have a live feed of what was happening, nor did they deny any extra security to the embassy.  In fact, the embassy at Benghazi didn’t even ask for more security — the one at Tripoli did.  The entire tragic Benghazi episode is a horrible red herring to issues which affect 98% of this country (47% of which Romney actively doesn’t care about).

I didn’t even touch on how Obama knows what it’s like to not have money, how the Romneys think that gallivanting through France on religious missionary excursions is equivalent to our soldiers looking down the enemy’s gun barrel, or the fact that Romney skirted taxes from 1996-2010 (

Raquel and I enjoyed a delicious pumpkin risotto!  Here’s a photo of it:


1 1/2 C arborio rice
6 cups liquid (I used 1 can of vegetable stock and 2 canfuls of water, but you can use whatever you want or have time for)
3 oz chopped mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup pumpkin puree (either from a can or made from roasted pumpkin at home)
1/4 C vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy sauce

Put the liquid in a pot and heat it up to just under boiling.

Put olive oil in a pan on medium high heat and heat it up.  Put the arborio rice in and cook it until the rice is translucent.  You’ll see the center of the grain through the sheer coating of starch.  Crush the garlic and add it in now.

Now put in the vermouth and let it cook off.

The trick to risotto is this part: you’re going to add a ladle of liquid and let it cook off.  Add another as soon as it congeals enough to show the bottom of the pan.  Keep stirring and don’t leave it unattended.

After the second ladle of liquid, add the mushroom.  This is also a good time to add a little salt and pepper.

After the fourth, add the pumpkin puree and a couple dashes of soy sauce.

Keep testing the rice before you add more liquid to check for tenderness.  Soon as it’s at a level you like, remove it from the heat.  I like mine to be fairly soft, with just a bit of bite to it.  Finish by seasoning it to the level you like, give it a stir, and serve!

Here I am, 67 days from the wedding.  We have most everything ready to go, the rest is mostly details and finalizing plans.

I’m totally stoked and totally ready to keep this up to date.  There’s so much in my mind that I need to get down.  Unfortunately, right now I need to start getting ready for bed.  Tomorrow is going to be an early day, as is Thursday (wedding cake sampling in the morning!).

In the meantime, here’s a photo of some pumpkin and tomatillo salsa I crafted.  It’s pretty awesome, if I may say so myself.

Pumpkin and tomatillo salsa


Lots of big things.

Raquel and I are engaged.  I’m working on a wedding site to make communication of questions, details, stuff like that easier.

That’s all for now.  Enjoy the video below!


Lots of work, lots of life, and all with not too much news.

First off, let’s go with work.

I’m starting to rock the referral system they’ve finally trained us on. I’ll be out of the shoe store shortly (say that 5 times fast!) and able to finally move in with Raquel. I’m so excited.

Secondly, I’m doing a shit ton of work. I’m so exhausted, but what I’m doing is finally coming to fruition.

Really, I’ve been spinning my wheels since 2004, waiting for this moment to come to fruition. Waiting for my efforts to finally congeal into effects. Effects which will enable my life to come around into how I want it to be. How it should be.

All I need to do is to keep honoring my work and keep working with my honor.

Thirdly, I’m going to be writing an e-textbook for the iPad on fire photography. Raquel and my friends support me. Hell, some of them seem a little rabid to see it done. Still, it’ll be a project. I have to put together enough information to create a publication which can stand on its own. There’s a lot to cover, but I don’t know if it’ll be enough to flesh it out.

Regardless, I can create some sort of book. The information it will have will be relevant, potent, and expansive.

Finally, fourthly, I have continued editing the photos from the J Scordato shoot. Here are two more of them. I know the first isn’t on the blog, but deal with it.



Both the private blog and my public blog are now able to be posted via mobile device. I’m stoked.

This blog is my private one and will fill up with the things the average reader shouldn’t read. Or see.

Mobile uploads?

Okay, this is my first blog entry on WordPress and a long overdue site update.

I really, really, really want to start updating my site regularly.  This is going to be a BIG year and I want to make sure that I document it!