Friday, February 25, 2011

Outrage, anxiety after Providence mayor 'fires' almost 2,000 teachers

It's things like this that make me worry about the future of America's education system. Society is begging the government for education reform, but it's falling upon deaf ears. Teachers are under paid and under appreciated; in many respects no job sector is safe. There was a time that education was considered "recession-proof" and immune for cuts and lay offs.

I graduate in several months, and frankly, terrified about the prospects of landing a job. The districts that are hiring are looking for math and science teachers. The fine arts are being drastically cut, and now one fine arts educator is responsible for teaching nearly 200 students.

The qualifications requirements for teachers are also becoming more demanding, and many districts are hiring teachers with Master's degrees or hiring. It is no longer satisfactory to merely have a Bachelor's degree.

Information about the Providence firings are below.

Outrage, anxiety after Providence mayor 'fires' almost 2,000 teachers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Corporate Grind. Part I

“Do you realize that if you choose to proceed any further, I can’t be held morally or legally responsible,” Stacy asked, her shockingly green eyes piercing through him. Walter felt himself shake, and he struggled to keep his tone steady. He’d never been so sure about anything in his life, before this moment. Walter ran his hands over her body, and her skin was electric to his touch.
“Yes,” he said, “I’m ready”.
Maybe I should look into Rogaine, Walter Legrange thought. He flattened his hair, combing the thin strains into rows. He adjusted his paisley tie, and frowned. It wouldn’t hurt to try, or maybe a new pair of glasses. Walter examined himself behind his thick frames, bitterly noting that women would never find him handsome. As a tired man of fifty his stomach bulged and flopped over his waistline, and he’d lost his hair years ago. He’d never been married and never had a girlfriend. All around him, people his age were married with children, and now becoming grandparents, while he begrudgingly stayed a perpetual bachelor.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Future Face of Book Stores

So, the face of book stores are changing. As a company that couldn't adapt to the digital books, Borders has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.

Retailers like Amazon, and Indie book stores are thriving. Maybe this is a change in the times. Have books become moot and pointless. In many respects, I believe that the classics are being replaced with video games and technology. Not to bash technology, I believe our society is relying more upon technology. And companies who can't keep up are left in the dust.

More information on the demise of Borders Group can be found below.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

There is a couple who go to my gym, and I absolutely adore them. They've been married about twenty years, but the catch is that she's deaf. Being born deaf, the couple met in college and he learned sign language for her.

Frankly, that's devotion and love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

So, it's Valentine's Day. Today is the day that many people suddenly grow very cynical. Believe me, I understand, but don't think today should be a day worth boycotting.

“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”

A new challenge

My parents are my heroes. They've been an important part of my life since I was a child. As an only child, they've been an influential part of my life.

Today, I had an awesome conversation with my Dad. He asked me why I'd stop writing on Project 365, and I honestly didn't have an answer.

Over the past few weeks I haven't had the motivation to write. I haven't had the motivation to talk.

He reminded me of all the people who've read my writing. He reminded me of my internationally published stories. He reminded me of the people who've read my work from other countries.

He suggested that I write about the beauty of life and the quirks of the human condition.

His peptalk helped renew my spirit. So, I'm going to write. I can't guarantee I'll write everyday, but I'm going to write one day at a time.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day Fifty-Two: A Whole Lot of Nothing

It's my first Saturday night off in months, and what have I been doing? Laundry. For the past few hours, I've been cleaning, because well, I don't really have the time when I am working. Yep, I'm not at some exclusive club, but doing laundry and watching Grey's Anatomy. Pitiful? Nope. Fantastic? You betcha!

Although I did work this morning, and upon approaching one of my first tables, I did my standard introduction.

"Hey there guys, welcome to [name of my restaurant], could I get you something to drink?"

The family looked directly at me, making eye contact, and replied...
"Chips and queso".

Umm...I was asking about drinks. I explained this fact, and they slowly blinked some more.

"Oh, why didn't you say that?"

Dear patrons, freaking listen when I'm talking! Chances are, it's in your benefit. I'm not hovering because I want to make a new friend. I'm hovering beceause I just want to know what the hell you want to drink!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day Fifty-One: The Bartender Still Hates You

It's Friday, which means another installment of "The Bartender Hates You"!

I absolutely hate when people (customers or other servers) eat my cherries, limes, olives, and oranges. I have to cut those oranges and limes by hand. That takes time and effort. The fruit is my garnish station, you know to garnish drinks, not as an appetizer. People will also put their dirty, grubby hands in the cherry container without using tongs. Frankly that's just nasty. People will waddle up to the bar thinking the fruit is free. No, this isn't like a community peanut jar; or that you can leave your discarded cherry stems anywhere. So keep your dirty hands out of my fruit!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day Fifty: The Menu Isn't Made of Unicorn Dust

Can I say that I hate people who come in, thinking they're gonna create a brand new menu. The menu is there for a reason. It's to help the kitchen make the food efficiently, and so I don't freaking lose my mind from all of the modifiers.

Example from a few days ago: "I'll have a chicken sandwich, but instead of grilled chicken I want fried chicken. While you're at it, toss the chicken in buffalo sauce. No lettuce or tomato. Grill the onion, and add mushroom. Grill those too."

Of course the kitchen hates me, because its the most modified freaking order, the patron comes to hate me too.

"Where's my food???". Well, if you ordered from the goddamned menu, instead of playing chef your food would be here.

When the food finally did arrive, the patron had the sheer gall to smere that sucker in ranch. Next time, wave your magic wand down to McDonalds.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day Forty-Nine: Adventures South of the Border

The other day, I had these two hombres come in before closing. I say hombres, because they barely spoke english. I'm not being racist in any regards, but I didn't start getting annoyed until later. They only drank, and the entire time, they stared at me. One might think I was paranoid, and just happened to think they were staring; but then they started talking in Spanish. Loudly. In school, Spanish is my minor, so I could freaking understand everyting. They started talking about what they wanted to do to me.

Deseo tomar su hogar, la doblo encima, y la cojo.

You get the picture. I shot them nasty looks,and they wondered if I could hear them. Yes asshats, I know your language. You know, the language of beauty, not disgusting sex phrases.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day Forty-Eight: Sign Language? Nope. Cue Cards? Intriguing...

So, the quack loaded me up on steroids, and my voice is finally coming back! No, I'm not gonna become jacked and ripped, but the steroids have been doing some major damage on those damn polyps.

But, it's a good thing that my voice is coming back. My acquatanices were having a field day on behalf of my silence. Coming up behind me and making me jump, but no scream would come out.

Above all, I'll be happy to go back to work. Management didn't know what to do with me. Honestly where do you put a person who can't talk? My solution was to hold little cue cards for the patrons, but that didn't go over too well with management.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day Forty-Seven: Cart me to a nunnery

So, it's official. I can't talk. According the doctor, I have polyps on my vocal cords from overuse. If they don't go down soon, they're gonna have to be cut out. Ouch. Words can't describe how scary any medical procedures can be.

What makes matters worse is that I'm not supposed to talk unless absolutely necessary. Oh yeah, that should be no problem. Oh wait. I'm a bartender. We're meant to be loud and talk. Super.

This whole ordeal has made work a real bitch. I would try to talk as loud as I could and patrons would be cupping their ears and leaning in hear me.

Cart me off to a nunnery, because I'm taking a vow of silence.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day Forty-Six: An Explanation

Well, I've been going through some personal issues, and as such, I've been away from a computer. Time away from the computer means that I broke the rules of Project 365. Well, I made it forty-five days straight. No bad, eh? Well, the rules have been broken, I'm going to try again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day Forty-Five: The Man Glass

Dear Gentleman,

Don't order a Hurricane or a Cosmo and ask for it in a highball glass. Wanna drink like a sissie, then you're gonna look like a sissie!

I've had the pleasure of having this happen, and I couldn't contain my laughter as I told the gentleman "no", and that he'd have to man up. His girlfriend found it hilarious, and I got a good tip.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day Forty-four: Grad school jungle

So, I've been in the process of applying to graduate school and I gotta say, it's a mad mad world out there. I've been told a myriad of conflicting things and I'm at my wits end. I'm being told different things by different people. Maybe I'm out of my league.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day Forty-Three: Emerson is a genius

"The scholar must be ready for bad weather, poverty, insult, weariness, repute of failure, and many vexations. He must have a great patience, and ride at anchor and vanquish every enemy whom his small arms cannot reach, by the grand resistance of submission, of ceasing to do. He is to know that in the last resort he is not here to work, but to be worked upon. He is to eat insult, drink insult, be clothed and shod in insult until he has learned that this bitter bread and shameful dress is also wholesome and warm, is in short indifferent; is of the same chemistry as praise and fat living; that they also are disgrace and soreness to him who has them. I think much may be said to discourage and dissuade the young scholar from his career. Freely be that said. Dissuade all you can from the lists. Sift the wheat, frighten away the lighter souls. Let us keep only the heavy-armed. Let those come who cannot but come, and who see that there is no choice here, no advantage and no disadvantage compared with other careers. For the great Necessity is our patron, who distributes sun and shade after immutable laws." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day Forty-Two: Prose

The sharp crackle of the speakers in the old bar had been phased out by the regulars. After night after night of attending the drinking establishment the white noise gets shut out, and copious amounts of liquor can't hurt either.
“Can you keep a secret? Would you die to keep your mouth shut? I figured as much. Pussy. You know when I was your age, I kept all kinds of secrets. You know, the kind of shit that would get a bitch locked up for murder or fucking treason. I can keep my mouth shut. My shit is like Fort Knox.”

“Really? You won't tell me anything?”

“Fuck no! But I want another pint.”


Monday, January 17, 2011

Day Forty-One: School Daze

School starts tomorrow for many major universities, and that means it's back to the books. College students across the country are returning to their Red-bull and Chinese Food diets.

We're young.
We're stupid.
We're arrogant.
We're trailblazers.
We're the future.

Time to go back to school. I'm ready to rock this.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day Forty-Feminism and Reclaiming of the Workplace

I know I have visited this topic before, but I feel that more needs to be said.

No one has the right to call women in the workplace derogatory and demeaning names. Don't call me sweetie, sugar-tits, sugar-ass, or sweetheart. Women in the workplace have just a right to be there as the men. We can perform (if not better) than the men. When I'm called a demeaning name in the restaurant industry my skin absolutely crawls. It's disgusting and downright insulting.

Women needs to take action in reclaiming the workplace. Men assume that we're complacent taking their demeaning comments. We need to show management that we're not satisfied being a basic grunt worker. We need to take steps to be leaders and change how the workplace is run. Women need to stand up and fight the men who view us a pieces of meat on display. We need to challenge social standards and fight.

I am a daughter, a friend, a writer, a co-worker, a college student but above all, I'm a person.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day Thirty-Nine: The Bartender Still Hates You

Dear Patrons,

Don't think you have the bartender fooled. Don't think you came up with the awesome idea to trick the bartender.

Asking for a drink with no rocks (ice) does not mean more alcohol! You don't have us fooled.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Day Thirty-Eight: The work week blues

It's Friday, and I'm not like the rest of the nation rejoicing the weekend. I loathe and detest the weekend. The weekend for most Americans, is the start of the work week for people in the restaurant industry. Many of us work double shifts three days in a row (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). I long for Monday, because that means the weeks slows down, and people in the restaurant industry can finally breathe.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day Thirty-Seven:A renewed spirit

So, I requested that one of my former professors write me a letter of recommendation for Graduate School. Throughout the semester, I thought this professor liked me. The instructor graded me fairly, and I passed the class. I never spoke out of turn, and I always attended lectures. When I requested the professor's recommendation, the teacher turned me down. Why? Because they felt I wouldn't have been successful in Graduate School. To the teacher, my writing was some of the worst they'd seen in years, and absolutely abhorrent. Rather than giving me constructive criticism, the teacher dismissed me, believing I was a lost cause.

It is things like that that motivate me to continue learning, to continue trying, and to continue proving people wrong. Dear reader, I will still be here for the duration of Project 365. I will fight, and continue to prove people wrong. Stick around for more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More rantings

I hate cold weather. I can honestly say that. I hate winter wonderlands and I hate the painful feeling of cold. Summer on the other hand is a season that I could live with. One day I hope to live in a part of the world where the average low temperature is in the 70s. But for now, I'm stuck living in the 20s. How long until summer?

Day Thirty-Six: Random Writings

The sweet smoke filled my nose, compelling me to continue. It had to highly illegal, or at least moderately frowned up in some states, but frankly, I didn't give a damn. Breathing in deeply, I let the whisps of smoke fill my lungs, and let the music of the nearby jukebox wash over me. The soft crooning of love and loss, pulled at my hazy thoughts, but I pushed them away. Taking another shot of liquid courage, the man took my hand and pulled me off the rickety bar stool. The whiskey burned at my throat, and I hated the way he looked at me. Leading me back to the alley behind the bar, I was fully aware of his intentions. The pistol fastened at my thigh was itching to come out and play. I was fully aware of his intentions, but by the end of the night, he would have to be the one to worry.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day Thirty-Five.-The Little Car That Could

Dear reader, let me tell you a tale of my little car and the distress it's currently in the shop with faulty ignition coils. It was a car that I loved from the start. Even from humble upbringings, the car and I bonded. Today, I realized it was sick. It shuttered and shook, and I was fearful for it condtion. I took it to the car doctor and it'll cost $400 to repair. May my car have a speedy recovery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day Thirty-Four.-The Waitress Song

This catchy song is from UK singer Seth Sentry, and falling in love in a diner. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day Thirty-Three.-Graduate School Saga

So, I've offically applied to Grad School, so for the next six weeks, I'll be a nervous wreck until I receive word if I got in.

The monologue had been going on for ten solid minutes, and Jacob couldn't tell if it was a comedy or a tragedy. He stood behind the camera feeling his jaw slowly open further. Mute, he had no choice but to zoom in on the woman's very feature, as she continued speaking in Greek.
“ Έφυγε μου! Τι μπορώ να κάνω; Μου κόσμο έχει τελειώσει!”
The woman was tan, and a thin layer of fat rolled over the hem of her pants from her exposed stomach. Her makeup was streaking, partly from her over-the-top acting, but more from the scorching Texas heat. The film's director had chosen the hottest month of the year to shoot the film.
Jacob felt his thoughts begin to wonder, and he realized held quiet reservations about the foreign film he agreed to be a part of. As the only native English speaker, he was extremely out of place. As a senior in art school, he wondered if this is what his future held.
Suddenly, another woman stepped into the frame of the shot, and the protagonist began screaming expletives in Greek.
“Πώς τολμά να πάρετε μου άνθρωπο μακριά από εμένα. Τέρας σας!”

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day Thirty-Two.-Some kind of terrible nightmare

You know you've been working too long when you begin to have nightmares about work. Last night, I dreamed I was the only waiter on the floor. By the end of the nightmare, I had twenty tables. -Shiver- Terrible dream.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day Thirty-One.-Pick A Soda, Any Soda

Today, I waited on a young family. When children order off of the children's menu, they are allowed to have a fountain drink of their choice. Today, the parents asked the children what they wanted to drink.

Child 1:, and coke!
I looked at the parents to see if the kid was joking, and his sister piped up.
Child 2: Oh...oh, um I want chocolate milk, and Dr. Pepper, and apple juice!

I looked to the parents, waiting for them to reprimand their children and tell them to settle on one soda. But alas, the parents fell to their children's every whim and I was forced to refill their drinks constantly.


They would throw their plastic cups to the floor, folding their arms in triumph. In the end, the little boy had four cokes, one milk, and three lemonades. The little girl had one apple juice, three Dr. Peppers, and three chocolate milks. This dear readers, is how juvenile diabetes is born.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day Thirty.-Attitude Check

The note on the bottom of the ticket read You need to watch your attitude in messy scrawl above a zero dollar tip. I crumpled up the slip, throwing it away. Bastards.

I mentally retraced my steps and I realized I wasn't in the wrong. Upong greeting the table I knew they would be an issue. I attempted to do an introduction, but they talked over me, not even acknowledging my presence. For the rest of the night the table acted like pretenious assholes. Generally, if tables don't treat me with respect then I won't wait on your every need. If a table treats me like scum, then I mentally shut down and I do everything in my power to get rid of you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day Twenty-nine.-Training the Trainees

Today at work I had a new trainee. As a trainer, we're required to show new hires the ropes, encouraging them to succeed. We're required to be compassionate and ecouraging teachers. We're required to prepare them for a job in the service industry.

Unfortunately, my trainee tonight sucked on all levels. He was a pretentious asshole the entire night. My trainee constantly complained that he was above waiting tables, and he was embarrassed to be a waiter at 57. He even went as far as contradicting a customer on how to pronounce the name of a dish.

Tommorow is his first day, and honestly hope he epically fails. So much for compassion

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight.-The Day of No Unifying Theme

Just call me Ferris Bueller. Today was my day off and I did absolutely nothing. Gotta say, it was fantastic. I cleaned out my car and went to Target. Never fear, I'll have more stories tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day Twenty-Seven.-Hooters and Feminism in the Workplace

There is no question that being a female in the service industry means that we're treated differently than males. Men are stronger and able to work longer than women, it's not sexist, it's mere fact. With that said, I haven't really run into any issues, until tonight.

I was bartending, and a man came up to order a drink and have dinner. The other bartender with me, informed me that he was a regular, even knowing my coworker by name. I'm relatively new to bartending, so I don't know all of the regulars yet. My fellow bartender knew the regular so I let him take the lead and talk with him. After a few minutes of making drinks and helping other customers the man motions for me to come over to him.

Man: "You know, you're really pretty. You should smile a lot more, then you'd be beautiful. "

I attempted to play it off.

Me: "Thanks for tip sir".

Man: "Now don't be offended! (Name of my coworker) said you're new to bartending. You know, you could get really good tips if you smile more. You know! Show off your assets! (His eyes lingering towards my chest)."

I shuttered, knowing that he was on a roll. I forced a laugh and tried to go back to work. A few minutes later, I was having trouble opening a wine bottle, and he called my coworker over to help me.

Man: "(Name of my coworker)come over here and help this damsel in distress! She needs a strong man to show her how to do things. (Winking at me)".

It should be noted that by this point the man had had several beers, causing people to stare. My coworker opened the bottle, the man continued.

Man: "See! You just gotta bat those eyelashes, and wiggle those hips and men will be at full attention".

By the end of the night he paid his tab, tipping $2 on a twenty dollar ticket. Two dollars all so I could be demeaned the entire night. Never in my two years of waiting tables have I ever felt so disgusted for being a woman in the service industry. The man was demeaning towards my education, my physical attributes, and towards my own gender.

After tonight, I really feel for the girls who work at Hooters. They have to deal with skeevy guests, and wear those awful orange shorts.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day Twenty-Six.-The case of the mysterious brandy snifter

Today, while bartending, a lady came up to the bar to order a beer. I brought her her beer and presented her check in a brandy snifter. For those who don't know, it is mostly used to serve aged brown spirits such as brandy and scotch. The large surface area of the contained liquid helps evaporate it, the narrow top traps the aroma inside the glass, while the rounded bottom allows the glass to be cupped in the hand, thus warming the liquor. Snifters are so rarely used in my store that we use them as check presenters.

The lady paid for her beer and I turned my back to her to make some change. I turned back around, and the woman was drinking the beer from the snifter. I inwardly shuttered and offered the woman a mug. She happily declined and continued drinking from the snifter. It should be noted that because we use them as check presenters, snifters are rarely cleaned. Money, coins and grubby hands live in the snifters. She then ordered another beer but I didn't have the heart to tell her the dirty truth.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day Twenty-Five.-The psyhic and the steak

Today, a man came in ordering a 12 oz. rib eye. Logically, I asked him how he wanted it cooked. It's a question that all servers are supposed to ask. It's a question that people answer upon countless occasions throughout their life (vegetarians excluded).

The man slowly blinked at me, mouthing the word "cooked" as if the term had never come up in his vocabulary. He then hemmed and hawed some semblance of an answer.

Man: "Well, well, I want it cooked...(frantic hand gestures), well you know!"

I slowly blinked, trying to keep my composure and not slap the man across the jaw. I attempted to answer in the sweetest way possible that I'm not a fucking psychic.

Me: "Do you want it medium? Medium-well?" Then he slowly blinked some more.

Man: "What are the differences between medium and medium-well? What's well-done?" Blink. Blink. Blink.

Are you freaking kidding me? That's the most unamerican thing to ask! Have you never gone to a barbecue? After being forced to describe the degrees of steaks, the man finally settled on well done. I inwardly cursed, knowing what was coming.

The food arrived to the table, and I thought maybe I actually was psychic. He had a scowl on his face, his arms crossed. He flew into me before I could even ask.

Man: "You lied to me! This is well-done? It's burnt! I've never had a well-done steak before, but I don't think it's like that!"

Are you fucking kidding me?!? You've never had a steak before in your life, and you suddenly decide that today's the day to try?? Again, I attempted to keep my composure.

Me: "Sir, after describing the degrees of steak temperatures, you settled on well-done".

Man: "Well, I'm not going to pay to eat the bottom of my shoe!"

In the end, he changed his mind and settled upon a salad instead of a steak, and vegetarians around the world cheered.