Monday, January 27, 2014

Shaken or Stirred?

Last week I took a bartending course.  Because...why not?  All my survival jobs have been working in offices where I sit on my ass all day and get fat - plus, most importantly, it's hard to break away to get to  auditions during the workday.  So I'm learning skills for jobs that have more flexible schedules.  That's why I took this weeklong course at NY Bartending School, 9am to 5pm every day last week.  Fun but grueling:  dozens of cocktail recipes to memorize, information on beer and wine to learn, written tests to pass and .... the dreaded "Speed Test" (correctly making 16 cocktails in 6 minutes).  You only got 2 shots at that speed test or you failed that class.  Having spent $600 and a week of stress on this thing, I refused to fail, but it happened - the first time around.  On my second try, I passed it, but it was ugly...not gonna lie...tears were shed...   So besides a bit about the art of mixology, here's what else you learn in a weeklong crash course:

1.  Pay no attention to the fact that every single other person in the course barely looks old enough to drink yet seems to know more about alcohol than you. These kids grew up on shots.

2.  There's no crying in bartending!  But your sensitive soul will be so crushed at being the only one to fail the first speed test round that you will convince yourself you're a loser and want to die of humiliation while you sob the ugly cry in a corner vainly hoping no one can see you.

3.  A bar environment truly is about teamwork.  Those same shots-loving kids you feel so intimidated by and inferior to will rally around you during your second speed test, cheer you on and give you a standing ovation when you pass.  This will make you cry again (soft and pretty this time).

4. This is not the time to sport those cute new press-on nails you got.  If you do wear them, be prepared for the mortifying moment when said press-on nails fall off in, say, the ice well and get discovered with absolute disgust by your classmate who then parades it around in horror to everyone else, exclaiming "What the hell?? That is so nasty!" to the revulsion of the whole class while you ball your fists in hope that no one notices that that plastic press-on nail matches your new "manicure".   Funny.  You'll nearly vomit as you think of what would happen in a real bar if that press-on had ended up in a customer's drink.  Not funny.

5.  Pay no attention to the fact that all your classmates are lithe and cute and dressed like they're in a Beyonce video.  They're going to work in hot bars and clubs.  You're looking to work in a civilized, old school hotel bar.  ...I hear the Hyatt is hiring...

6.  You'll realize that you're more conservative than you thought, when you decide that cleavage combined with cocktail shaking is a bit much for your taste - and you'll button your shirt up a bit more.

7.  You've never had a properly made Long Island Iced Tea - ever.

8.  Making drinks is a hell of a lot of fun.

....ok, now I'm in the mood for a Negroni....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What's the very first thing you said today when you woke up?

What's the first thing you said today?  Can you remember?

I was wondering about this last summer when I was analyzing how I talk and what I say....
Living alone, sometimes I go hours without speaking (and then sometimes I talk to myself for hours, but that's another story...).  That got me thinking about how what we say to ourselves in private different from what we say to other people?

I'd like to record friends, but I thought I should start with me.  So from July 28th to August 3rd, I did a little study.  I left a voice recorder (on my iphone!) on when I went to sleep so that it would capture my first words once I woke up.  (My very professional technique for placing the recorder close yet unobtrusive was to tuck the phone into my bra.  High tech!)  The purpose of setting the recorder the night before was to forget it and be able express myself un-self-consciously the next morning.  It worked.  Each morning, I just started babbling as normal without even thinking about the recorder.

Some days, my first words were uttered while I was just waking up, some days I had been up for a while before speaking.  Some days I was talking to myself, some days I was talking to back to the radio, some days I was talking to another person.  Here's the result. (I haven't had the nerve to listen to it more than once, because it's a little eerie, but now I'll definitely try this with others!)

Now, what's the first thing YOU said when you woke up this morning?


p.s. July 31st's recording was destroyed when my computer crashed.  :-(
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