Drink up!

Ah, Mickey’s malt liquor. How many times have you ended my day? Well, to be honest, quite a few times. There were weeks when I would have nothing but these. Due in large part to the fact that they’re budget-friendly in today’s world of margaritas and hard liquor, nearly every convenience tore near me has a good supply of these. So what makes alcohol such a wonderful part of my weekend?

I stopped binge drinking some time ago, since I’ve learned in some fashion or another that moderation in drinking is one of the best precautionary statements I can make to myself– and to spread that message is of great personal importance. As such, I have never really been much of an aficionado in alcoholic drinks, and my experience with mixed drinks is extremely limited. When enjoyed on a more occasional instance, a good drink is one that is enjoyed socially (and perhaps paired with a good cigar).  Drinking multiple times per day for weeks tends to become both monotonous and dangerous, as I experienced rapid weight gain in a matter of weeks with obvious notice from family. So, it is something that I do try as best as I can to limit to the weekends. Now, on to some of my personal favorite drinks. (These are not in any particular order, by the way. These are just placed here as I remember them.)

1. Mickey’s Malt Liquor

This has been a relatively good go-to for me since my cousin introduced it to me perhaps as long ago as 2008, or 2007 even. Budget-friendly, I find Mickey’s to be a good, ice-cold nighttime cheap booze because of its relatively smooth, albeit bitter travels across the taste buds. And boy, oh boy does it feel AWESOME on a hot night! It fills the belly with a refreshing feeling, and when bottled in their glass grenades, are freaking awesome without the aluminum bite. I rate Mickey’s highly because it really isn’t bad compared to the price point. (Your opinion may vary.)

2. Foster’s

I have to tell you, I didn’t have this beer until my first try perhaps about four or five years ago. I like that it’s kind of less watery than other Anheuser-Busch products. It’s got more of a hoppy or malty body to it, and the sheer volume of its barrels allows for a pretty good head spin by the end of just ONE on an empty stomach. After a beefy dinner, or a really seasoned chicken dinner, this beer pairs VERY well with a Blue Label cigar, a Rocky Patel Vintage 1990, or a freaking ACID Blondie. If your head decides it wants more, then instead of another Foster’s, grab yourself a Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta cigar. That’ll put you in some serious relaxation mode before you can say, “Supercalifragilistiexpialidocious” backwards with a Russian accent (no offense to Russian speakers. I really love their accent when native Russians speak English. I just think it would be hilarious for someone to speak that word with perfect phonetic accuracy with a Russian accent, because I may end up laughing so hard that someone actually managed to do so while I lived, that I would expire on the spot).

3. Steel Reserve

I, coincidentally, “reserve” these for very long weekends. The reason? They’re high in alcohol content for being a carbonated booze, but since they’re not craft beers, they’re really budget friendly alongside Mickey’s and Foster’s. The main problem I have with Steel Reserve is that its stronger alcohol content and stronger flavor tends to wipe out that savory food you just ate. Don’t mistake this for me saying I don’t like it! I just think that, in certain situations, they’re probably best for being ingested on their own and hour after dinner. And as for a good cigar to pair it with? Maybe Alec Bradley Black Market. Personal preference. Steel Reserve is a stronger flavor profile than your average malt liquor, so approach with caution if you’ve not yet managed to get your mouth off the teat of standard beer. Speaking of which:

4. Budweiser

Grilling season is right around the corner, so you know that Budweiser (and Bud Light) will be up on the ice in the chest for the party that is going on this weekend. Smooth, but some hardcore drinkers would say something along the lines of it being too watery. I might agree, but because I actually like drinking lightly sometimes, Budweiser and Bud Light do exactly that for me. So, while I do enjoy my less pricey drinks to be on hand more so than the “typical” big brewery beers, when it comes to just randomly relaxing around the house when there’s nothing to do, it’s kind of hard to beat a lighter drink.

5. Arrogant Bastard Ale

They’ll offend you. They’ll talk crap to your face if you read their label. They’ll insult you. And because you can’t finish a whole bottle, they know you aren’t worthy. And the reason why I love this drink so much is because it challenges you to go outside of your comfort zone of typical draught and bottled beers. Craft, here meaning custom strength, has gone way outside the comfort zones of brew, and they’ll challenge your palate in ways one might think, of not already plan to take, personal. If hops isn’t your thing, I’d steer clear of this. But if you’re feeling adventurous and want to take on a personal challenge, then please be my guest and buy yourself one of these. In fact, take an adventure through all different types of craft brews! This is my personal favorite, and you don’t have to think that way. I’m just expressing my views here!

All right, well– that’s all I have time for at the moment. Next weekend, if I remember, I’ll try to expand on this list and help you see my perspective of drinks that I would take with me to the grave. Until the next time you see me, adieu!

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Life, And Related Stuff

Doesn’t it ever seem that the more work you put into something, the higher the benchmark is set for your achievements? I feel that this is what is happening to me at work. I’ve managed to become one of the most diligent workers at my workplace, and although people who work with me also have the capacity to do what I do, I don’t see anyone else actually doing it– so I don’t know if whether I’m conceited about my work or I just happen to generate a lot of comments from the customer base. Maybe I put way too much passion into what others would consider a terrible job.

I remember one day, my shift supervisor was having a hard day, or a bad day– you never can tell with this person. Anyhow, s/he tells me that if I don’t pick up the pace of my work that I’ll get written up. The next day, I amped my speed up and the shift supervisor took notice about it. Later on, at the next “bread bash” (what used to be a quarterly meeting regarding up-and-coming menu items and recognizing employees for their achievements, et al [which I’ll not go into]) I was presented with a WOW! pin to tack to my hat. The reason for it was “fastest improvement of an employee.” It seems one can get a WOW! pin for just about anything, but perhaps it was more to not let me feel left out because all the coworkers whom had been hired alongside me also got themselves some WOW! pins. From that day, I continually worked my way into a routine which was befitting me, and now I’m really able to enjoy speaking with the customers for a bit regarding their meals and even shoot a breeze or two with some regulars because I’ve mastered my particular position.

Well, it seems that the hard work I was putting in wasn’t going noticed because I was beginning to feel myself in a rut from which there was no escape. Washing hundreds of dishes in a day while cleaning 31 tables (7 of which are dedicated booths, 5 of which are combination booths and free-standing chairs, and the remaining 19 solely tables, arranged meticulously at 45-degree angles with chairs turned at 45 degrees to allow for maximum walking space)(Yes, I’ve been there too long. This is what the post is about, after all), re-stocking condiments and dry goods to include small, medium, and large-sized lids, three sugar substitutes, two different types of packet sugars, salt, pepper, mayonnaise with olive oil, mustard, spicy mustard, Tabasco sauce, butter, honey and lemons for tea, straws, napkins, drink stirring sticks, coffee lids, and coffee sleeves– as well as brewing four different coffees once per hour, two at a time only, three different iced teas and one iced coffee– and topping off with actually filling a sink with the water that you need to wash four different sizes of bowls (two dedicated to soups and two dedicated to salads, one of the salad bowls being used for broth bowls), large trays, small yellow trays dedicated to pastries, knives, forks, spoons, and a plethora of pans provided by the line people, silicone or rubber spatulas, scoops with the little swingy arm thingy, souffle pans, cookie sheets, whisks, and and assortment of non-serrated chef knives and serrated knives– seems like a lot to memorize for a 6-hour shift and can easily lead to burnout, exhaustion, and irritable moods. But hey, $Dollars an hour seems like it’s worth all the while. This last “bread bash” they recognized my achievements with dining room etiquette, customer service, and I suppose a whole host of comments in favor of my working habits by customers. And it does hang on the wall at this moment.

But if it wasn’t making me feel an eternal sense of entrapment in time, where all of the same exact routine-driven drivel seems to always await me every time I clock in, and impending doom every time I see an irate manager or shift supervisor seems to surge from within on a nearly daily basis, then I would not be sitting here talking about it. For you see, I’m what they call a “human being.” We’re a species that has limits! Recently, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to– nay, today I was HIRED. Screw it, it’s out on the plate now. I am going to my orientation this Monday and Tuesday. They called me after an intensive background check (military base jobs for civilians can be very thorough) showed that I am as clean as a whistle and ready to be trained. What I’m going to do is ensure that I balance working between the two places. Anyhow, back to my human comment– I’m always scheduled to do the exact same job. I’ve reached the limits of all that is exciting in that area of expertise. Whenever they do have me work somewhere else, the manager always says, “You did a good job today. Why don’t you do this more often?” Oh, well maybe if you talked to the schedule-writing person I could. They won’t even let me train for cashier even though I always beat everyone at counting change before they have a chance to push their buttons to give me the purchase total for lunches (Hey, 65% discount! Can’t really beat that perk).

I know I may be getting into a bit of exhaustive life changes by sacrificing a weekend, but at least I’ll be doing something with myself– but ultimately, I’m aiming my perspective towards a greater-paying job that is less physically stressful and more mentally stressful. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about how things are turning out for me, and a low-paying job without benefits is not a future. That is not a sustainable way of life. Knowing my skills in typing were at least enough to submit my typing test to a recent job opening as an Office Assistant, I went ahead and applied for that job last week. The day before the position closed, I took my state typing test and scored 50 WPM at 95% accuracy. Their minimum was 35 WPM.

Some of you may be shaming employees in the workforce who are in menial grunt jobs and always feel that they’re not motivated enough to do anything else. This can’t necessarily be true because I have an image to keep up, and although I work in the restaurant business at the lowest pay for my region and have worked these types of jobs in the past for a majority of my life, I’ve always known that I am far too intelligent for such degrading work– but until recently, I never really saw where my greatest potential lie until I started my Morning Pages routine a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a matter of intelligence, it’s about providing a working environment for many different walks of life. I’m not suited for engineering work and somehow my ASVAB scored me strongest in engineering. Years later I would find out that I don’t have knowledge of advanced mathematics (read: algebra), and this would get in the way of my access to even an Associate’s Degree.

I sometimes wonder why we even have schooling when none of it pertains to actual education in financial matters, business, or arts and music, unless it’s an “elective” class or you go out of your way to find educational institutions which specialize in this type of work. Go to school and get a job? It’s far too generalized when we don’t even always know the best way to teach a child because they don’t know the style of learning they know. I blame television, games, and instant gratification practices. That’s just me and my opinion, but those who agree would be on what I feel is the right track towards reforming the education system.

So, wrapping things up here– not everyone in the lowly fast food job sector looks forward to staying there forever. Because our education system is so screwy, I find that many people simply stay put out of sheer fear for difficulty, or wish to remain in their comfort zones for an extended period of time. I’m only waiting until a new, higher-paying job opportunity comes along, and feel that many are also awaiting the same things. Some people are naturally suited for business ownership, teaching, music, writing, video editing, typist work, philosophy– and some people are naturally suited to accepting what’s given to them and stick to it just because it’s a job. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel that my time for food working has come to an end. I need a more meaningful job, and I’m searching around until it comes along. But I’ll also not stop and settle either. I’m needing access to more money to pay for bills and make it easier for me to discover a hobby which I can turn into a specialization. I feel that a handcrafted item for Christmas is better than anything made in China purchased at a chain store, and that I can actually benefit from creativity– not in the financial sense, but in the sense of well-being and goodwill.

Right. Now go out and celebrate Halloween if I don’t see you here before! And as always, until the next time I show up to write here,

Peach cobbler.