Middle School Math

One of my jobs right now, aside from authoring which is–at present–unpaid, is tutoring K-12 students to take standardized tests. It’s true: there’s viable paying work teaching the one thing I was REALLY good at in school, test taking. Most of the tests I’m teaching, however, were not around when I was a student. I can still ace them, because frankly standardized testing does not require you to actually know very much about the topic at hand, only the psychology of people who write test questions. But in a spirit of solidarity with my students and good faith to whatever education we are trying to give them, I’ve gone back and learned some stuff. Here are some observations. Continue reading

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Scientist and Alchemist

Sometimes you have to post about things you tried that you like, because your friends will find them boring.

This here tea, for instance. I love tea. Tea is what my friends and I would hunker over late at night in high school, dishing gossip and making fun of people and pointedly not mentioning how none of us had the wherewithal to procure a fake ID. Tea: the thing I do when I want to stand up and take a break from writing but don’t want to admit that that’s the plan. Tea: the source of many of my calories when living in England on precious saved dollars when the pound was soaring.

A recent crackdown on caffeine use led to this revelation:

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Sunshine m-f-ing dust

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No One Really Loves Traveling

If you’ve ever online dated or read the interests section on a resume, it might seem like we are a nation of wanderers. You know: I love movies, sports, traveling.

I always felt alienated by this because I hate traveling. I love being new places, seeing cool stuff and learning how other people live, but the process of getting there–the actual TRAVEL part–fills me with dread. Planes are claustrophobia-inducing. I have severe packing anxiety. Hotels make me feel like I’m in the beginning of a slasher film, and I can never sleep thinking about how many other bodies have shed their skin cells on those mattresses (you’re welcome).

Which leads me to think everyone else is a liar.

No one likes flying, except maybe prop plane pilots. They seem like they’re having fun.

No one likes waiting in line for tickets, for bathrooms, for transport.

Sure, it’s nice when you get there. But I really think people ought to be more specific.

No one actually likes to travel. What we like is arriving.

Just sayin.

 

Rookie Bar Gaffes to Avoid

Watching the latest Game of Thrones season (I’m not going to expound on GoT. It’s just a TV show), my boyfriend pointed out how much Bran-as-Three-Eyed-Raven sounds like all of us after our first year of college. That I’ve been out in the world, I’ve learnt things about philosophy and hidden histories and now I can enlighten all you old people aura of smugness. We have all been guilty at one point or another of “schooling” an elder on the reality of things.

This reminds me of what it was like to be a craft bartender the first few months after training. Six weeks of memorizing drink recipes and scribbling tasting notes about spirits and all of a sudden I KNEW EVERYTHING, and I wanted to drop this wisdom in every bar I graced with my presence.

Ugh, the memories of trying to order a Bijou from some hotel pool bar, then trying to walk the flippant woman behind the stick through an inevitably wretched concoction. That was the start of a realization, that just because I made fancy-pants cocktails didn’t mean I could expect everyone else to make them for me, or be grateful for my definitely-not-annoying schooling.*

As time went on and I spent more time behind my own bar, I learned more about what it meant to be a good customer.  I’m all on the side of capital-H Hospitality, here, and definitely don’t think a guest at a bar should be eye-rolled or belittled, but if you’re in the industry, you should hold yourself to a higher standard than civilians. Here are some of the most annoying things bartenders do to one another, trying to show off how in-the-know they are. I state these in full knowledge that I may have perpetrated any number of them over the past five years.  Continue reading

All the Totes I Own, Ranked

I would absolutely read a well-researched think piece on the cultural significance of the tote bag, because I can personally only offer speculation.

Totes

Just a fraction of a lifetime’s collection.

During the recent boozefest convention T and I attended, he chided me about all the schwag I grabbed. We’ve been set on keeping clutter to a minimum, so naturally one would assume bringing in superfluous freebies would be frowned upon.

But I love a tote.  I love the concept of a re-usable bag that is also kind of disposable. Like, you probably didn’t pay for it, so if you need to leave it behind because you’ve all decided to go out for drinks after the potluck and you don’t trust your host to return it, it’s no big D. Furthermore, though I usually dislike the idea of wearing a company’s logo on my person when I’ve paid them for the clothing already, the free advertising of freebie totes offers two bonuses: promoting the brand of the product/organization you ostensibly support and promoting one’s own status as someone who supports said brand/organization. It seems petty, but sometimes carrying the right Planned Parenthood or New Yorker tote bag can say more about you to would-be accosters than any of the words you might speak yourself.

I recently pulled out all the tote bags in my house. See photo above. Here are how they rank, based on quality, design and sentimental value, from least favorite to best best.

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ToTC ’17 Dame Hall of Fame, or, In which I fan-girl out over chemists and bartenders

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The 2017 Dame Hall of Fame inductees

The one event I knew I had to attend at Tales of the Cocktail, amid all the circus-like brand tastings and high-budget-circus-like brand parties, was the Dame Hall of Fame inductions. Tales was co-founded by Ann and Paul Tunnerman, and since the beginning, it seems there was a strong drive to celebrate the women in the cocktail biz. Which is absolutely appropriate, when you think about it. The craft cocktail scene is generally more meritocratic than the swinging-d*ck culture of, say, sports bars, or a push-up bra worshiping club scene. To be successful in craft, you need to be smart, fast, creative and hardworking; all gender neutral attributes.

The more women bartenders and brand reps I talk to, the more they are baffled by the idea that people would think their presence in their fields is anomalous. Frankly, as total badass and Big Bar director Cari Hah told me, “There are [a lot of] women in the industry.” I know this, the nerds know this, why don’t journalists seem to know this?

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