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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Marty’s Half Dozen Chapter 1 — By Jill

This one’s next to the bathrooms.

Well almost a week passed by and I had figured that my dreams of working at Wild Child Wings were never going to be more than dreams. Then, yesterday I get a call. It’s Gus.

“Jill? You wanna come in tonight?”

No second interview, no background check, no come down for an orientation and to fill out some paper work. Apparently, I’m on the schedule now.

“We’ll need you at 5:30.” Click. It was already 4:45. I rushed down to the secret Eden of Pioneer Square getting there just in time. When I opened the door Gus was on a ladder fixing one of the ceiling’s hanging fan/lamps.

“Finally, you’re here. Go get changed and I’ll show you the ins and outs real quick.” Changed? He didn’t say anything about a uniform. Maybe there were shirts in the back. I took off my leather jacket throwing it on a nearby bar stool. Doing so revealed my naked arms as I was only wearing a tank top. I was about to head to the back when Gus exclaimed, “Great, you’re changed!” He scuttled down the ladder and led me around the bar top.  “Wells are down here, top shelf up here, everything in between is everywhere in between.”

He squatted down and unlocked the coolers. “Domestic beers and white wine are in these low boys. European and Russian beers are in the far one. Ciders, sparkling water, and non-alcoholic beer are in the behind the breakage bucket.” He pointed to a bright red bucket.

As I tried to quickly develop a mnemonic device, he sprung up and continued his rapid fire explanation of locations. Simple syrup here, fresh mint there, old mint for mojitos in the grocery bag, lemons, cherries, olive juice, etc… “You’re familiar with Aloha, right?” he said pointing to the touch screen computer. “Umm…” I started to reply. But then he cut me off, “It’s pretty much like any other computer system. Just don’t run anyone’s debit card twice by accident. We open in 10, but it won’t get busy for another hour or so. I’ll be in the back fixing an air duct. Training number is 123, if you wanna practice ringing stuff in.” He picked up and collapsed the ladder. “Oh one last thing. The owner might stop in tonight.” He smiled, gave me a playful salute, then was gone.

The owner? Fuck.

From this…

I pulled out my iPhone and downloaded a cocktail mixing app and tested making a few drinks. People steadily started to come in one by one. Luckily they mostly wanted the beers on tap. Then just as it started to get busy this one guy came in. He was an oaf of a man. Could easily play the disgruntled neighbor on any 90’s sitcom. He elbowed his way into a bar stool and snapped at me. I was worried he might be the mysterious owner.

to this.

Even though I was pouring three beers, he snapped three or four more times for me. “Honey, I’ll have a Negroni on the rocks. And make it strong.” If he was the owner I didn’t want him to see me cheat on my iPhone and I was pretty sure I had made one earlier. I figured I’d fish for some information.

“What whiskey do you want?”

To which he replied, “Whiskey? Really? Does Mike know he’s employing bimbos who don’t know their drinks?” I didn’t know how to reply. My heart was beating like crazy. He wasn’t the owner, but I was sure he’d be telling him. Before I could calm myself down he snapped again, “I asked you a question, tuts!”

More and more people were coming in and crowding around the bar. I couldn’t remember which beer I had poured in which glass before the oaf started talking me. I couldn’t remember whose debit card I had just taken or if I’d even run it already. Hell, I couldn’t even remember my code to enter drinks on the computer. It was my worse than my worst waitmare.

“I’m sorry. What tequila did you want?” I guessed again.

He leaned back slapping both hands on the bar. “Wow, who’d you blow to get this job?” The world around me started to go silent. I could hardly breath. The oaf continued to lambaste me. “You know how long I’ve known Mike? I helped him build this place. When he hears that flat chested stoner chicks are running this place into the ground–”

Suddenly just before I was about to collapse, a soft spoken phrase from a bar fly on the 3 stools down cut through all the clamor and ravings of the busy bar silencing the asshole oaf’s rant.

The Stranger I would come to know as Marty.

“I think you mean Mitch. Not Mike. And he didn’t build this place. He bought. And just because the guy comped you a plate of wings opening weekend doesn’t mean you’re friends.  Now stop trying to scare the girl into giving you a free drink, let her get back to work.”

The man was soft spoken, late 40s or early 50s. He wore a light brown trench coat, glasses, and had long-ish white hair. Like how Jack’s hair is. He had a calm and confident ease and a troubled smile. And bore a slight resemblance to the actor Bruce Davison.

At this point, Gus had returned and noticed something was amiss. “Is there a problem here?” he inquired. The oaf starred locking eyes with the stranger. Then the oaf glanced at me and finally turned to Gus. “Yea, this yutz in bartender’s clothing–” but the stranger wouldn’t let him finish.

“Ralph’s had a few too many again. He’s bothering me and he’s kept this lovely creature from making drinks for anyone else.”

The oaf, Ralph, started to defend him self, “Where the hell do you get off? You think you’re so much better than the rest of us?” But Gus put his hand on Ralph’s shoulder. “Is this going to be a repeat of Cinco de Mayo?” At that, Ralph finally relented. “You know, this place has gone to hell since you took over, Gus.”  He got off this bar stool and headed out with Gus following him out.

“It’s okay. Take a breath. It’ll all come back.”

He was right. I remembered which beer was which, and served them. I went back to the computer to find a credit card receipt printed ready to be torn off and delivered. The rush died down and everything calmed.

“Sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin.”

“Huh?”

“A Negroni is equal parts sweet vermouth, Campari, gin. And an orange slice. But even if you’d have known that, Ralph’d still have told you, you made it wrong. He does that to all the new bartenders. Then he trumpets he knows the owner. Word of advice. If anyone says they know Mike or Mitch, they’re full of it. Mitch’s friends call him The Pearl.”

“Thanks for your help back there. How about a Negroni? On me of course. You can tell me if I make it right.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. Just a half dozen of the hot buffalo wings. Less cooked. I don’t like them crispy. And a club soda with lime.”

“You sure?”

“Absolutely.”

“What’s your name stranger?”

“People call me Marty.”

“Well Marty, Jill. Pleased to meet you. Maybe I can get you a couple of extra wings.”

—And that’s how we got the term Marty’s Half Dozen.

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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen, Restaurants

 

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He’s gone because of me — By Jack

I don’t look nearly that good.

I shaved my head today. I got about a third way through when my razor ran out of juice. There I was, partially bald, unable to leave my apartment for fear of ridicule. As I waited for razor to recharge, I contemplated my drastic action.

This isn’t me. I don’t do things like this. I don’t have any tattoos. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle. I’m buttoned down, business casual style with just a splash of dorky flair (a vest or ironic t-shirt.)

Maybe it’s that I turned 30 today. New city + no friends + no job – life accomplishments = instability? I knew that the move to Los Angeles would be hard. I didn’t expect to get here and on day one someone would hand me a writing job. But I thought I’d find something. It’s been 2 months and other than the one day of production work, I’ve had nothing to supplement my dwindling savings.

And I have tried. Hard. I’ve responded to virtually every Craigslist post. Mandy.com, ineed.com, mediamatch, entertainmentjobs. I’ve cold called the studio of every TV show and movie in development, preproduction, and in production to get the phone number of their production office. “We’re currently staffed, but you’re welcome to forward a resume to our email.” I’ve even applied to internships and some slightly sketch “music videos.” Nothing.

How low will I go?

Hell even Starbucks and the Gap aren’t responding. I went to Gap Inc.’s online application site. After filling out the usual resume crap, I had to do a second application which was a fucked up personality test.

6. Do you feel you’ve accomplished everything you’ve wanted up until this point in your life?
Strongly Agree — Some what Agree — Neutral — Some what Disagree — Strongly  Disagree

27. Do you ever get angry or frustrated at work?
Strongly Agree — Some what Agree — Neutral — Some what Disagree — Strongly  Disagree

97. Do you find it hard to maintain a cheerful and inspirational attitude in stressful
situations?
Strongly Agree — Some what Agree — Neutral — Some what Disagree — Strongly  Disagree

Yes, that was question 97. There were over a hundred of these types of questions. I’m going to be folding clothes not leading innocent children into a war scenario! Sure I get frustrated sometimes. No I haven’t accomplished everything so far. What the fuck do you want from me? An honest employee who is in touch with his feelings or someone who knows to give you the answers you want to hear? I did the latter.

And to top it all off, there was the inescapable realization that my hairline is receding. I used to keep my hear relatively long. Not Fabio long, but Josh Holloway (Sawyer from Lost) long. But I just don’t have the thick head of hair to support it. So I did the one thing I felt I could still control. I took my electric razor and went to town. Or rather a third of the town.

Eventually the apartment contemplation got to me and I dug out my only hat. Unfortunately it’s a beat up cowboy hat for my Gunslinger Halloween costume. But I had to get out. As I went on my walk and continued to contemplate I came across the cutest mouse on the sidewalk. I’m not one for cute critters, (that’s more Jill) but seriously this thing was adorable. I had to get a picture on my phone. But of course as I approached, the little guy scurried away…into the nearest intersection. The little guy got to the second lane before he met his end.

I just wanted a picture.

I walked into the nearest coffee shop and got a newspaper and got him out of the street.

Fuck. What a shitty birthday.

–Jack Out

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in By Jack

 

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Maybe I Shouldn’t Have — By Mack

What’s a guy to do?

I’m no stranger to my dick getting me into trouble, but rarely do I really regret it. I met Felicity (not her real name, but I call her so because she resembled Keri Russell from that show) at a B/Arcade in Brooklyn. If you’re not familiar with the B/Arcade scene, it’s old arcade games and a full service bar. What could be better than video games and drinking?

I noticed Felicity over by the air hockey table. She was playing her friend in a pretty fierce and vicious battle. I’d never heard of life or death air hockey before. When she finally got the winning shot she raised her arms in the air, screamed “Yes!”, then pointed at him declaring “You are my BITCH!” My instant thought was, This Chick Is Awesome. Too bad she’s with someone.

But then I heard her friend cry, ” I can’t be your bitch, my girlfriend is going to be so mad at me.”
“That’s okay, I can loan you out on weekends and bank holidays.”
Bam! So I walked up demanding to play the winner.
“I don’t know. Can you handle emasculating humiliation?” she said with a smirk.

There’s something about physical activity when you’re seducing. Maybe it’s that it gives her mind something physical to focus on rather than judging you and your advances. Maybe getting the body involved speaks more than the mouth.  And maybe it’s just that the two of you are having more fun than you would be if it where up to the back and forth talking at a bar top. Whatever it is, it’s a Godsend.

Yes she beat the crap out of me. I think the final score was 14-1. But over the course of humiliation I learned that she was into all sorts of obscure crap that I’m into. We’re both actors. The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh is our favorite play.  We’re both left handed. And our drink is a Patron Sour.
We sat at a table talking we learned even more commonalities. As my leg brushed her thigh, her leg didn’t move. The initial physical escalation had begun. Then she chimed, “I’m kinda disappointed. There’s no Street Fighter. No Mortal Kombat.  He’ll I at least expected there to be a DDR machine.”
At this comment, my jaw hit the floor. I mean wow, right?
“You couldn’t beat me at any of them.” I declared.
“You wanna prove it?”

Fun to be had.

And at that we were off to my place. But no Mortal Kombat or DDR was played. Pretty much right when we got back I went in for the kiss. But here the thing…it was the blandest most unexciting kiss I’ve ever had. Did I stop? No. We proceeded to my bedroom and things continued to escalate. Every step of the way was mundane and uninteresting. No spark whatsoever.  I could tell she was enjoying it as little as I was. Even my Mack-patented moves did nothing for her. But at that point, what do you do? Say, “Hey this isn’t really working for me?” I mean I guess I could have. But how awkward would that have been?

Eventually we just ended up cuddling for a bit until she said, “If I stay like this I’m going to fall asleep.”  As she left I wanted to say, “Hey I know this didn’t really work out but I really do like you as a friend. I’d still like to hang out.” But if it’s a sensitive situation. If I come off as she didn’t do it for me, then I’m an asshole. So I said nothing.

After she left I got the obligatory “Had a good time” text. But that was it. I tried to keep up communication. A joke about us being left handed. Invited her to see the new Martin McDonagh movie Seven Psychopaths. But I never heard from her again. I had more in common with her than any of my guy friends. Sucks.

–Big Mack Attack…I guess.
 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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Wild Child Wings. — By Jill

It just doesn’t make sense.

There are essentially two places where the douche bags of Seattle hang out on Friday/Saturday nights. Belltown and Pioneer Square. Neither one under normal circumstance would I consider taking a job in. Except it’s not normal circumstances. My father wakes me up in the morning declaring “daylight’s a-burning, Jilly.” My mother enters my room randomly to find old dresses that she has decided now live in my closet.  And if I come home later than 10:30, the dog, Mordecai barks upon my entrance, waking the both parents up. I need to move out. And in order to do that, I need a job.

And that, my friends, is why I found myself standing outside Wild Child’s Wings in Pioneer Square. Mere blocks away from hobo-tent-ville on one side and the International District on the other (at least Pink Gorilla isn’t far.) I arrived for the job interview to see cops breaking up a knife fight. I figured I wouldn’t get the job. I don’t know how to bar tend. I lied on the Craigslist response.

Despite the rustic and dilapidated surroundings, the interior was surprisingly large well maintained. I expected a dive-y sports bar. The type with one pool table that either wasn’t level or the felt had been scratched to shit. Perhaps a jukebox that only played Johnny Cash next to the Deer Hunter Arcade game and a touch-screen gambling machine featuring black jack/bejewled knock offs at the far end of the bar top. But no. Wild Child Wings felt like a cross between a quaint English pub an Italian stone garden. On one floor it had leather couches, book shelves, and wooden barrels. Then in the basement cobblestones floor, a water fountain, and (fake) torch lighting. I simply couldn’t believe it. What a terrible name for such a beautiful awesome place!

The email instructions told me I’d be meeting Gus. I had expected a man in a wife beater with a hairy stomach sticking out, his remaining hair combed over his massive bald spot to await me. (Basically Mr. Panucci on Futurama.)

Who I expected Gus to be.

But Gus was actually a bearded, glasses wearing, matured hippy. Think, a tall lanky Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. In some job interviews, they person gives you the feeling they’re testing you and if you say the wrong thing, BUZZ, wrong! and you’re done. Others follow some script handed down to them by their corporate overlords. You say anything that deviates from a Hallmark dictated professional answer and it’s over. But every once in a while you meet someone who makes you feel at home, like their friend. It’s not about answering right or even proving anything. They genuinely are interested in the experiences you’ve had and what they as a person might bring to the table. They don’t judge (or they do a great job of making you feel like they don’t.) They just share and ask you to, too.

I honestly couldn’t tell you the beginning, middle, and end of the interview. Before I knew it, Gus shook my hand, thanked me. I was leaving the incongruous heaven that was Wild Child Wings and I no idea how or why I had lied to him about 2 years of bar tending experience. I just knew I wanted the job.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen, Restaurants

 

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Still Stealing Glances — By Mack

So I gotta say, it never ceases to amaze me how the embarrassment of a woman has no limit

What are you hiding from?

Picture this scenario. After a night of dates, games, seduction, however you go about it, you find yourself in bed with the beautiful woman you’ve been chasing for oh so long (or perhaps earlier that night.) You’ve had your fun and now you take a break. You look at her, this lovely and beautiful thing lying next to you (I don’t care how good your skills are) the thought goes through your head, “It’s wonderful that she’s here.” And in this look, you marvel.

But after about a second and a half, her eyes zig-zag, back and forth jumping from your left eye to your right. Then once they center again, they get wide and her eyebrows raise high. “What!?” She asks incredulous. “You’re beautiful. Can’t I just appreciate it?”

At this point, some girls cover their face, some girl roll their eyes, and others simply hit you with the pillow. I don’t know what it is. But for someone reason, after all their work to maximize their beauty (the hours at the gym, the hundreds of dollars on makeup, the trips to the salons and spas and God knows what else) they still get embarrassed. Well what the hell was the point?

Think of it from our point of view. From the moment we notice you, we’re stuck stealing glances. If we look at your for more than .0275 seconds we’re creepy stalkers. We flirt and if we’re lucky we get a date. Yes, we get to look at you then, but we don’t get to look at you. We reference you as we talk about whatever. And we smush our faces too close when we kiss you. Our lips satiated but not our eyes. It’s in that moment, in bed, we feast every other desire. How can you physically be naked, but your eyes, your soul, still be shielded?

Why you gotta be selfish? Not fair.

—Big Mack Attack

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in By Mack, Dating

 

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The Los Angeles Car Wreck — By Jack

Oh the horror!

My first day of PA work on B&^#$@!5 was done. It was obvious I didn’t get the job. But a day’s pay is a day’s pay. No one can take that away from me right? Wrong.

If you’re not familiar with driving in Los Angeles, it is absolutely crazy. Everyone thinks they are a rock star, weaving in and out of lanes as fast as they can, cars nest in your blind spot, and when you exit a highway someone cuts you off on the off ramp because they won’t wait in the mile long line of cars (cause I guess the rules for clubbing is the same for road etiquette, it’s not cool to wait in line.) And to top it all off motor cycles speed between the lanes of traffic. I honestly don’t know how any of them are still alive. That being said, you can understand why avoiding highways can be preferable.

This is good traffic.

So a few miles from my apartment (ironically at the off ramp of the highway I was avoiding) I go to make a right turn. I’m in the far right lane and as I’m making the turn a car hits into me. Fantastic! My poor car is less than a month old. We pull over and people immediately start honking at us. Apparently, from 4:30-6:30, there are no stops allowed.  SO we pull into the narrow nearby parking lot. Before I can even get a good look at the other driver, someone comes out of the flower shop (whose parking lot, I assume, we are occupying.)

“You can’t park here! This is parking for that apartment complex,” The man interjects.

“We just had an accident, where are we supposed to go?” I reply. 

“I don’t care. It’s a terrible intersection. Two to three times a day someone gets into an accident here.”

“Okay, well, just let us exchange information and we’ll be out of your hair.”

The flower shop guy gives me a dismissive gesture and walks off. I turn and the woman who hit me is now in my face, “You don’t have plates, give me your VIN number!” She was referring to my temporary dealer plates, (see new car.)

“Calm down. Let’s exchange insurance.”

“Why do you need my insurance? It’s your fault,” she insists.

As we argued and took pictures of the damage with our phones, I got a good look at the intersection. It was really chaotic and confusing. Yes the right two lanes are both turn only lanes. But the line delineations into the turn of the intersection are really sharp and unintuitive.

Okay, not the actual intersection. But it was just as confusing.

After she finished with her incomprehensible diatribe, I told her I would be right back.

“Don’t you run off! I’ve got your fake license plate!”

I couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic or stupid. But I didn’t let that stop me from going to the flower shop guy. He was telling some story to two of his buddies. Who hangs out in a flower shop?

“Excuse me, you were saying that you get 2-3 accidents a day here? Can I get your name.”

“Nope,” he replied sharply.

“Excuse me?” I attempted again. 

“You already said that, you’re sounding like a broken record.”

“It’s just–” but before could complete the thought.

“Look, I don’t want to get involved, I don’t want to be a witness, and I sure as hell am not going to testify.”

“Hey, whoa, I’m not going to court over this. I just want to tell my insurance company all the–” One again he cut me off before I could complete the thought.

“Don’t go telling your insurance nothing. It’s going to come down to your word versus hers and you’re both going to end up paying and you both are going to be ‘at fault.’ Just go out and tell that lady, it sucks it happened but agree to pay yours and she agrees to pay hers and have that be the end of it. And don’t be really stupid and call a cop. They’ll write you a ticket just for callin’ em out here in rush hour.”

I stumbled out of the flower shop in a blank haze. I had never not told an insurance company about an accident. Did I have to tell them? Would they raise my rates just for being in an accident?

I looked over her damage and mine. It looked like she just had some paint rubbed on her car from mine. None of hers was structural or even chipped her paint for all I could tell. Mine was the one with the dent in the side. About the size of a baseball. Not massive, but still a shame for such a new car. But the paint job is the real killer.

Small damage. Big headache.

“Look, normally the first thing I’d do in a car accident is call my insurance company. It’s what I’m inclined to do now. But that guy said in this case it may not be such a good idea.”

I relayed the flower shop guy’s words as best I could. And I must have done a pretty good job because she seemed to agree.

“Okay, but if you change your mind be sure to give me a call. Sleep on it, talk it over with your husband and see how you feel.” I affirmed in a reassuring manner. 

With that, we parted ways. It felt like I was now part of a conspiracy. I’ve always done things by the book. How badly could this bite me in the ass? What if she called her insurance without telling me? Would that make me look like I was hiding something? Would that create or insinuate a sense of guilt? Can insurance penalize me for not reporting it? I drove home extra cautiously as I listened to the Obama/Romney debate on NPR.

—Jack Out

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in By Jack

 

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Starting over again. — By Jill

Here we go again.

Since moving back to Seattle quite a few things have changed. Plastic bags are banned in grocery stores while paper bags are 5 cents each (no handles either!) They sell liquor everywhere but it’s taxed like 30%. Something about the state not losing revenue. There’s a Ferris wheel and a Target downtown. A lot of my old friends have either moved way out to either Everett, Federal Way, or even Portland. Oh and one other small little thing. There are like no FUCKING jobs anywhere!

You’d think having New York restaurant experience would get me somewhere. But no. No Craigslist postings for servers. They want line cooks, bartenders, and managers. And I will NOT go restaurant manager.

They become restaurant managers.

I’ve seen the coolest, smartest, and most capable people wither into mindless hopeless shadows of their former selves when they became restaurant managers. Not for me. 😦

The best response I’ve gotten so far was a job interview at a ramen place in Northgate. The manager was this creepy old man named Tadashi who punctuated each sentence with a disapproving “hmmm.” The minute I met him I could tell he didn’t like I wasn’t Japanese. He had me go through each restaurant I worked at describing each dish in detail. Then he demanded to know why I left. As if quitting a job for any other reason short of physical injury was akin to treason. He ended the interview with “I’ll let you know Monday. Hmmm. I have to hire someone I can trust. Hmmm.”

Finally I sent a resume to a bar tending job at some buffalo wings place in Pioneer Square. They want me to come in for an interview. I’ve never lied on a resume before. But how hard could bar tending be?

Could be worse. I could be this guy.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in By Jill, Restaurants

 

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