david schrott is everywhere

4 days in the ‘ster.

Posted in Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 03/31/2011

that's one huge egg

My mom was on the organic trend long before it was hip or even well known. When we were kids, she’d truck us around in the longest of Oldsmobile station wagons going from farm to farm and fruit stand to fruit stand, carefully picking out the best of the best, non-pesticide, non-chemically altered produce. As a 9 year old who only wanted to play baseball and little else, this was eternally exasperating. Now, when I come home, there’s still an abundance of organic this-and-that and I particularly marvel at the eggs. They’re humongous and they come from a little Mennonite farm just south of Lampeter, Pennsylvania. An elderly couple lives there and they carefully gather these bigger-than-golf-ball sized eggs on a daily basis.

One of those eggs is enough to make an enormous breakfast sandwich. I wonder why restaurants in the big city haven’t caught on. I think these monsters sell for like a dollar a dozen.

Thanks to a sick ticket connection, we scored tickets to last week’s Penguins vs Flyers game in Philly — face value ($78 each) for 5th row in the second level behind the goal the Pens shot at twice. You could see everything and the Pens won in a shootout. The Philly fans were surprisingly civil. Most of them engaged us as hockey fans rather than rivals. The guys on the Orange Line even shook our hands and told us good-luck. That was mostly unexpected as, in the past, I’ve been cussed out of South Philly bars for trying to get a Pens’ playoff game on TV over a meaningless April Phillies’ game. The night wasn’t without exception though. Between the second and third periods, I went to the EMT for an Advil to hopefully kill of my dehydration-induced migraine and on my way back three teenage W.T. Flyers fans called me an a**hole and told me to f*** off. After the shootout, an angry Flyers fan and a mouthy Yinzer went at it in the bathroom and I thought for sure the place was about to erupt on the minority of us painfully waiting to empty our bladders. Finally, while walking down Broad on the way home, a car zipping down the street jammed its breaks on halfway down the block just to roll down the window and scream a giant “FUCK YOU” at us. That was actually one of the most rewarding things about the night.

I love Philadelphia’s sports-induced pain. It’s almost as cruel as Cleveland’s and that’s awfully satisfying, especially when I get ragged on continually for reppin’ the hometown.

Jealousy’s a bitch.


death to winter (an ode to march; or lent, day 13)

Posted in Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 03/21/2011

hello spring, i barely recognize you

There was this night from my childhood that I remember so vividly and despite this fact, it would be so hard to put into words. I think something about watching the movie Deliverance last night reminded me of it. It’s little things you pick up here and there that take you sprinting back decades in your memory. All of a sudden, it’s the summer of ’91 again – the summer you learned how to swim, the second summer of three straight Eastern Division titles for the Pirates, the summer of learning how to lose while playing on a 1-15 little league team after having gone 14-1 and winning the league championship the year before.

We slept in that huge tent in Nate’s backyard. There was sand in it from their family trips to the beach. The moon was so bright and everything was illuminated in dark blue; a beautiful summer night. I think we spent a lot of summer nights out there. It’s a picture frozen in my mind. I can’t describe it anymore than I already have, but it’s there. I can see it and I lust for long summer days and cool, youthful nights where the two plus months of vacation seem to linger on forever amidst Little League games, sunburnt afternoons of Whiffle Ball and swimming in the deep end of the pool.

Man, was that really almost twenty years ago?


Will I remember today’s memories as fondly when I’m fifty-one?

Better yet, will I remember 1991’s?



FedEx, Trevor and the Devil Wears Prada (or Lent, day 7)

Posted in Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 03/15/2011

Trevor | 9 & Carpenter

There’s a guy I know from high school who delivers for FedEx in Philly. We loosely kept in touch via facebook starting sometime last year — usually discussing Philly or Pittsburgh sports. Sometime in the fall, he texted me a picture of some Penguins gear. A few weeks later, on a drive up 95, I sent him a picture of a FedEx truck and the beginnings of a really fun photo project began.

Everytime I saw a FedEx truck, I’d scramble to find my phone, open the camera, take a picture and text it to him. Sometime in January (or maybe February), I found him at the intersection of 8th and Spring Garden. Thirty some FedEx trucks later, I found him again, heading the opposite direction on 76.

Almost five months since that first random picture text, it’s become an obsession. Along the way I met a driver named Trevor – who wondered why in the world I was taking a picture of myself in front of his truck. A few weeks after that, I ran into him in Gleaner’s. I sneaked a photo of him from behind and while I was adding half and half to my coffee, he asked me to add some to his so he could keep moving. I happily, and giddily, obliged. Last week, I ran into Trevor again and snagged the above photo of him in the Italian Market. He recognized me and said “You’re the guy who put creme in my coffee for me!”.

It totes made my day.

And FedEx is totes an obsession.

A running account of the FedEx project can be found here.

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A Soothsayer Bids You Beware the Ides of March

Posted in Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 03/06/2011

Pittsburgh, from Grandview Avenue

Four years ago this week, I was just settling into my life in Pittsburgh. It was somewhere I’d wanted to live for a long time before that. The romance of a city one loves from a distance dies quick when settling into it with only a few contacts, an eternal amount of grey days in a relentless winter and a mere $100 in the bank. Spring came early in oh-seven (or at least we thought) and vanished a mite quicker in early April. It was snowing til Tax Day.

I never got my travel mug back from Douglass Dick’s restaurant. It was too out of the way to go back. I probably should have just eaten there. He is, afterall, Pittsburgh’s top chef.

Man, that was a gorgeous day. And the drive to Indiana was beautiful. It never felt so short.

Four years later, those flickr photos look so dated. And there’s not that many of them. I’d probably take a lot more if I lived there now.


I miss the Steel City and I can’t believe I live all the way across the state in a city that I loathed so much during college. The 215 is home now, and hopefully, I won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

On this warm and rainy Sunday, I look longingly at the past. A year ago, we were just about to start the Fagan job in Huntington Valley. Boy, was that a great job to get, especially as the spring began to near. The first few days there were raw and bone-chilling. By the time we painted in mid-April, the days were bright, sunny and oh-so-warm. The transition from death to life never gets old.

From death comes life.


Don’t stop picture-taking. Don’t stop writing. All the good future-memories that are in in-permanent (digital) record wouldn’t exist if you did. Obsess over it.

And enjoy your worries.

You may never have them again.


Posted in Uncategorized by thebreakfastdictator on 03/06/2011

mom is 58

It’s easy for moms to go un-noticed. I’m not a mom, nor will I ever be, but part of me thinks that’s part of the job description. Being a child, and the first-born, I regret that we children let this happen.

Mom worked just as hard as Dad did, if not harder. Trucking around five kids all day, feeding them and making sure they’re well behaved is a monstrous task. On top of that, she’s expected to be the picture of perfection with dinner on the table by 6pm.

Man, talk about pressure.

Wake up. Take the kids to school in the ’84 conversion van. Drive 22-25 minutes home. Seth is sticking vitamins up his nose again at breakfast or lunch. Sarah follows suit. Laundry and cleaning and grocery getting. It never ends. The rest of the kids are home by 4 — gotta pick them up at the bus stop at the end of the road.

“Are you all doing your homework?”

“David, stop bothering Anna.”

“Anna, thanks for being good.”

“Lydia why are you so stubborn?”

“Oh no, the twins are throwing up again…”

It’s a tireless and thankless task, and now, even 20 some years later, Mom’s still at it — feeding us when we come visit and even cleaning up our messes.

So, dear Mother, thank you so much for tolerating our inconsiderateness. And thank you for loving us regardless.

Happy Birthday.