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Category Archives: By Jill

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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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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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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Separate Ways and New Beginnings — By Mack, Jack, and Jill

Well Jack and Jill moved out. Jack went off to LA and Jill went back to Seattle. Finding new roommates is gonna blow.

TV writing just isn’t happening in New York

New York was just too much for me. I just got sick of it all.  

Take this one guy. He asks me what times of the day am I going to be present? Present? What the hell does that mean?

I ended up finding a nice place in Burbank. For about $100 bucks more than what I was paying in New York, I get a one bedroom with dishwasher, air conditioning, parking space, closet space up the ying yang, and a garbage disposal.

I’ll be living with my parents for a while. That is going to suuuuuck.  My mom will not stop offering advice. “Maybe you and your sister should team up. You like to draw and she likes to do that web stuff. Maybe you could make the next Facebook?” 

Honestly I wish I could swing the bill for the entire place and live alone. Half the time I figure, “why live in Manhattan? It’s cheaper in Brooklyn.” Then the L train goes down for the weekend and I remember why. 

I’ll miss walking everywhere and reading. My Kindle + the subway = heaven. Audio books in traffic just doesn’t cut it.

It’ll be good to see my friends again. Candice and Sherine still work at the Starbucks. And Martin is getting married soon. New York sucked for friendships. Everyone was always so super busy. 

Nothing beats living next to Central Park. Maybe I’ll get a dog. Jack was allergic. A Welsh Corgi? Maybe a Shiba Inu? Great way to start conversations with the ladies. 😉 

Now that I’m here, it’s time to get serious. I gotta break into this this industry or die trying. I just have no idea how I’m going to do it.

Leaving New York…I feel well…defeated. Like, I couldn’t make it against the big and the bad. 

I knew Jill wasn’t going to make it. She’s such a complainer. Doesn’t know how to enjoy life and let the stupid shit go. 

New city, new car, new diet, new outlook. I think I’m going to be okay. Once I find a job, I’ll be great. Hell, I’ve already lost 10 pounds. Maybe there’s something to this Saturn Return.

I’m so depressed.

Who needs them?

I feel like I can take on the world!

 

– Big Mack Attack

– Jack Out

-What the hell am I going to do?

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in By Jack, By Jill, By Mack

 

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That was good, this was better. –By Jill

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I guess I’m on some sort of luck streak. I thought the garbage bag of was a freakin’ God sent, that’s nothing compared to what happened at JFK. (I’m flying home to Seattle to see some wonderful friends.)

As I wait through the gargantuan security line ahead of me there seems to be an express line which is only available to people who waited to arrive at the airport 2 minutes before their plane started boarding. I got to JFK mega crazy early. I don’t miss plane flights and am content playing my 3DS for hours at the gate. But my fellow passengers aren’t so content seeing foreigners in broken English plead with the TSA agent that they’re going to miss their flight. Tensions rise and for some reason a 10 year-old throws up.

Eventually one of the TSA agents cave (something I’ve never seen) and switches one of the two check points over to the express line. Meaning that gargantuan line I’m in now only has one person processing boarding passes. I continue to watch tension around me approach a boiling point. The newly cordoned off check point finally lightens the load leaving my line still congested but an otherwise unused station for metal detector preparation wide open.

Maybe it was my relaxed demeanor (brought on by that bottle of wine I finished before my shuttle) or just my cute smile, but I politely asked the TSA agent if it mattered which metal detector line I went though. He unclasped the elastic barrier and ushered me into the empty line. Booya!

But it didn’t stop there. Flash forward a few hours. I’m in my row 28 C seat (that’s back of the plane by the bathroom/aisle seat) when the drink cart pulls out. Now my favorite drink in the world is club soda/seltzer and for some reason air plane drink carts tend to have only 2 the whole flight. So by the time they get to me I’m S.O.L. With the cart pushed all the way passed me to the front of the cabin, one of the flight attendants, (middle aged, but not yet bitter by old age, she could have been my 3rd grade teacher) walks to the back towards me. I grab her attention and ask her if she’d save me one of the limited club sodas. I know she heard me, but this request seemed to be out of her realm of possibility. She doesn’t respond so much, as she turns away and returns to the cart.

I figure “oh well” and return to my Kindle. About 2 minutes later, she comes back with a full can of club soda and a cup of ice. I feel guilty as the looks of the other passengers glare at me (the drink cart is still about a dozen rows ahead of us).

When the drink cart finally does get to us. Said same flight attendant inquires to my English limited row mates about what condiments they’d like in their coffee/tea. After that debacle of misunderstanding, I ask how much one of the liquor bottles are. Her reply, “how many do you want?” She and I exchange a spark of a glance. I’m about to become a partner in crime and I have no idea why. I simply respond “Two. Jack,” and she slips two bottles of Jack Daniels into my front seat pocket and moves on. “Let me know if you need ice or some more later.” She winks and moves on and I’m dumbfounded.

I’ve had guys buy me drinks and honestly I’ve never felt guilty not even talking to them afterwards. It’s their job to charm or whatever me. If I’m not in the mood to put up with their pick up shit, that’s their sleazy fault. But this…I was confused. What did she want? Did she like me? Was she just being nice? Is the cosmic balance of the universe simply rewarding me for putting up with a year of shit in New York? Or did she want something? I’m sure many guys have lesbian stewardess fantasies and even a few girls like myself. But I’m not the type.

In the end I figured fuck it. If she liked me, let her make her case. There was always the thank you but no thank you, response. I was going to just leave the bottles in the seat pocket, but then I figured if someone found it she might get in trouble. I took them with me and so far on this awesome Seattle trip they’re still in my bag. As for the somewhat sexy cougar lesbian flight attendant? I simply got a wink and an enjoy your stay on the way out.

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in By Jill

 

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All I wanna do is to thank you even though I don’t know who you are…–By Jill

So wet. And not the good kind.

The other day it poured rain like a mother fucker. And not just any old mother fucker, but a mother fucker awakened by a rape horn at 4 in the morning.   If the metaphor is lost on you, I’m saying it rained really hard. Hail in some parts of the city, but thunder and lightening throughout. And of course it’s the one day I don’t have my umbrella because I left it at the bar last night.

As I creep out of the subway tunnel, hoping over puddles already pooling on the stairs, a crowd of stranded subway commuters awaits me at the entrance.  They stare at the sky hoping for reprieve while I’m wondering if the rain will seep though my bag and ruin my iPad if I run three blocks. A woman sitting on the floor among the captives intermittently shakes her cup of change like heavy maraca. Da-du-DAH, Da-du-DAH. I give her what change I have to which she responds with a polite “Thank ya kindly, and God bless.”

The instant she finishes her blessing, a man shuffles down the stairs with a garbage bag for protection. He disrobes his disposable poncho, gives me one look and says, “You want this?” “Damn, skippy. ” I reply (I’ve become very fond of that phrase) then take out my wallet and give the maraca lady another buck. I thank the gentleman and head on home looking like white trash (literally).

As I navigate the drenched streets through a severely limited peripheral vision, three things strike me. 1) This is what Harry Potter must feel like when he wears the Cloak of Invisibility. 2) I’ve never had the sensation of getting wet, i.e. pelted with rain, without actually getting wet. It’s sorta trippy. And finally 3) I would have Geggy Tah’s Whoever You Are stuck in my head the rest of the day. Granted I wasn’t driving, but I think the spirit hold true.

–Damn Skippy!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in By Jill

 

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Not so Amazing Spider-Man — By Jack

Once a generation a Spider – Man is rebooted.

It’s a shame our cinema blockbusters have come to this. The mass rebooting of franchises and poor ones at that.  The newest victim Spider-Man–

That’s it! I’m not letting your poo-poo another awesome summer movie. First Prometheus, then Ted, which was freakin’ hilarious! Now–
This is my blog post, Jill. Why don’t you bitch about the subway or something?

It’s coming. And I can’t have you crap over every fun action film. No one’s trying to win an Oscar this season! Are we really doing this? You’re going to argue with me as I review Amazing Spider-Man?

Damn skippy!

***Word of warning – this is no longer a review, Jill and Jack are going to bitch about this movie with the assumption you’ve seen the film. MAJOR SPOILERS!***
Shut up Mack! Go write about Quantum Entropy!

Okay…let’s start again. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater this reboot–Looks amazing. From the first person web slinging, to the darkness of Manhattan at night–
Yes it looks good. The action is fast. This Spider-Man is lankier than the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man which is true to the comic.  But let’s talk about the plot–

Okaaaay. Peter Parker is a bullied and likes Gwen Stacy. He gets bitten by a genetic spider. Becomes Spider-Man. Bada-bing! Bada-boom web-slinging action! But this movie is desperately trying to follow the Christopher Nolan-make-a-dark-and-compelling-superhero-story-so-we-can-be-taken-seriously approach. It casts Sally Field and Martin Sheen in the smaller parts (ala Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.) Even its opening screams Batman Begins. Hell, I thought little Peter Parker was going to fall down a well and get covered in spiders. 

So? What’s wrong with that? It doesn’t pull it off. It has plot holes you can drive a truck through (Spider-Man just gives up looking for the guy who killed Uncle Ben)  and forced emotional moments that make you want to laugh. (cough cough the construction crane scene, anyone?) 

They’re just so good together.

Those didn’t bother me. I got to see a romance blossom that was miles deeper than anything Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were ever capable of having. Jesus, did Peter have to reveal his identity to everyone in the film? We’ve seen three movies of Peter Parker keeping his identity secret. It really struck me to see him come to Gwen’s window, bruised and beaten, to be cradled in her arms. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone had great chemistry. They’re dating you know. Duh!

So many elements just felt left out there waiting be developed but instead were forgotten while other moments felt forced. The lizard cops, Ben’s killer, the true nature of how Peter got his powers. Hell, even the tower falling from the top of Oscorp felt superfluous. Once again! Summer action film! If you want to see character development go see Moonrise Kingdom.

There is an important distinction between action sequences and explosions for the sake of explosions. One moment that did work for me was when Spider-Man was on the bridge, webbing the cars to stop them from falling. He finds the one kid trapped in the car and goes to pull him out before the car infernos. You’re really going to use inferno as a verb? The point is in that scene, Spider-Man’s holding the car with one hand, the webbing with the other and doing everything thing he can to get the kid to climb. He’s being pushed to his super hero limits and he still might fail. That what I want to see in my summer action sequences. Not a giant skyscraper antenna falling after the villain of the film has been defeated which it doesn’t affecting anything except to give the unsuccessful justification of the  3D glasses upcharge.  

I thought that was awesome. Except that I saw it in the trailer a dozen times. Okay, point blank question; were you bored?
 
No. But counter point blank. Were you satisfied?
Sure.
Really? The way you were with The Dark Knight, The Crow, and The Incredibles?
Yes. Yes I was.
I can’t believe that. 

Maybe it’s because I’m a Spider-Man fan and have been since I was 4. The movie just got what I’ve always loved about him so much more than the Sam Raimi films did. The web-shooters, the wise-cracking, and of course the sewer scene.  This was a film for Spider-Fans. 

Okay this was pretty cool.

We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t agree with that.

Addendum: Jack, Jill, and I all agree, The Amazing Spider-Man has the best Stan Lee cameo ever. Period. 

This isn’t the cameo.

 

 
 

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