Meet Stephen. You might have seen me refer to him as SM or SFM is various social media postings over the past year. They most certainly were only positive ones or rather ridiculously long winded, overly-enthusiastic gushing ones and no this is not because I found the love of my life on OKCupid, but he did turn out to be a really great guy and now a good friend, so major bonus points there. Over the course of the last year since we met, he has taught me: 1. How to be patient 2. How to have moments of being completely carefree 3. That someone can go out on their own in pursuing his or her passions and that it is ok to do that and even a great thing 4. That moose is DELICIOUS 5. That I can do more by myself than I thought 6. That Blackberry Brandy is only for special occassions 7. That I am ridiculous in my own special way and it is a good thing 8. That it would serve me well to be more frugile 9. How to tie a knot 10. The coffee walk using only re-useable mugs/mason jars while strolling the streets of the BK and the list goes on…Stephen has a knack for teaching which is why it is a natural step for him to start #thebrooklyngarage. The concept behind #thebrooklyngarage is ever evolving, but for now I see it as a place to create a community for those who want to be physical, step away from screens for a few hours, create some calluses and hopefully share in some cold beer at the end of it all. With the manual work comes lessons of course and other practices manifest themselves in the labor-a few of which I highlighted in the list above, way before this iteration of #thebrooklyngarage. started. Patience, self-reliance, resourcefulness, integrity, attention to detail, good listening, thriftiness and also learning to accept things as they are and then learning how to work with them based on that. Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending my first day projecting at #thebrooklyngarage. It was invigorating. It led me to writing this post at 1AM this morning, even after a long but wonderful day. I was so inspired and it made me want to remind the world (or the two people who might read this), that where there is a will, there is a way. Overused and trite, perhaps, but so true. Stephen is a pretty humble character, there is no way he is going to tell you people himself, so I can tell you that what he is doing is important. It is admirable and it is inspiring. Check out a little about the man behind all of the shenanigans and then come check out #thebrooklyngarage. Will look forward to seeing you there, hammer in hand, safety googles on and music blaring from the Big Jambizzle.
How would you describe yourself in a one-line introduction?
Furniture Maker, Reclaimed Wood Specialist, General Contractor, Carpenter, DIY Promoter, Tinkerer, Sailor, Strength-Enthusiast, Behavioral Economist
How do you know BigBellyBloch?
Do you have a nickname and if you are willing to, can you share its origin, please.
I am like teflon when it comes to nicknames – they never stick. Stephen. That’s me.
What do you do in life?
I’m carving out a country lifestyle in an urban setting. Most of my city friends would label me a furniture maker/woodworker as that’s how I earn my living. But in reality, I’m a self-employed, jack of all trades constantly defining and redefining what I do and what I want to do. Right now I’m building out a 10×10 storage container, complete with electricity. It will serve as my shop, a classroom for various hands-on courses taught by myself and my colleagues in other trades, and hopefully a community of like-minded folks – people who care about manual competence.
What is your theme song?
When I’m working, I like listening to The Boss. Sail by AWOL Nation and Guttersnipe by Bhi Bhiman also probably deserve a seat at the table.
What food or drink most closely represents you and why?
Well, it depends on the season. At this time of year, marinara meat sauce with plenty of vegetables and fennel seeds. It’s a food where I blend everything together, make a lot of it, and share it with a lot of folks around a table with some red wine. Full bellies and rosy cheeks represent winter to me.
Favorite herb or spice:
Coarsely ground pepper
Build a sandwich that represents ultimate deliciousness and describe it here:
I am a sandwich fanatic, so this is hard. How about my ideal burger? 1/3lb 85% grass fed beef. Blackened. Medium Rare. Lettuce, tomato, onion, thick-sliced hickory bacon, cheddar. A bun that maintains its structural integrity but doesn’t compete with the rest of the burger. Chipotle mayo. And a side of crispy french fries.
Thoughts on leftovers?
Add an egg and eat for breakfast.
What is the biggest challenge you face on a daily basis?
How to allocate my finite amount of self-discipline.
How do you overcome it?
I attempt to make everything I can into an automated system.
3PM snack, go:
Toasted rye bread, sour cream, onions, ACME herring in wine sauce.
What are four things you are grateful for?
I’m going to go generally abstract with this:
What are you doing for dinner?
Trying a new BBQ joint with one of my good woodworking buds.
Please feel free to share favorite BigBellyBloch moment if you have one.
We made plans for dinner at her apartment the same evening one of my best friends was flying in from Florida. She has a gift of procuring incredible foods and wines with wonderful stories custom tailored to individual tastes and preferences. He arrived and was blown away. We ate some food, drank some wine, conversed, and ultimately broke out into dancing.