I’m not naturally interested in other people.
I am naturally self-centered, self-involved, and self-important.
It takes a focused effort for me to listen and care.
When I do listen, it takes more effort to not make a conversation about myself.
I once shook a professor in college by blatantly stating this in a paper. It was a scriptwriting class, and it happened to be the only class I ever took with my then girlfriend. The prof had assigned us an essay responding to an article about creating art as a means of positive social change.
What did we think about art as protest, art as justice, art as the catalyst for change? …
“Oh yeah,” Rhea said casually. “I used to read poetry at those open mics at Spider House.”
Rhea and I were eating brunch on the patio at Bouldin Creek Cafe. Between bites of toast, Rhea explained that they used to read and sometimes even win money at the poetry nights up by the UT Austin campus.
“Just lead with your best stuff. Don’t save anything, ’cause then you might not get past the first round.”
Then they asked, “Are you nervous? It’s a big thing to read your own words in front of that many people. …
It’s 10 minutes after 4PM and dark already in Los Angeles.
Most of the day has been dark. All of the day has been cold and wet, and the city is like one great sponge soaking up whatever it can before the next fire season.
I’m sitting in our living room, stabbing at the keyboard sporadically. All day, I’ve been bouncing between the notebook, the keyboard, and the kitchen.
In the notebook, I write without inhibition but also without structure. At the keyboard, I tap decidedly away at ideas from the notebook, but I write without inspiration.
In the kitchen, I wash dishes and cook pancakes and eggs and drink coffee and wonder where I lost the muse. …
As tired as the question is, most of us still ask “So what do you do?” when meeting someone new. I’m less interested in the actual answer to that question and more interested in the format of the answer.
For example, one person will say, “I work for an insurance company.”
Another will say, “I work in finance.”
People in those same fields who identify more completely with their work will answer differently.
“I am an insurance agent.”
“I am a financial planner.”
And if you’re talking with a bartender, they almost always answer with “I am a bartender.”
That’s how I’ve answered the question for the better part of five years. I’ve worked in coffee, worked in freelance writing, and worked in web design, but I’ve only ever been a bartender. …
The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has forced craft cocktail lovers to abandon their nightly reverie in bars. With Covid-19 cases on the rise, in thousands of cities in America, it’s unsafe — if not impossible — to go out for a cocktail.
Our battle with the virus doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy great drinks in this last season of the year. In this article, I’ll show you four ways to make better cocktails at home.
“Ice is the soul of the American Cocktail. “ — Dale Degroff, The Craft of the Cocktail
American cocktail godfather Dale Degroff taught us to add ice to cocktails as the last ingredient. …
Millions of people now see bartending as a long-term career. More and more good people are joining the service industry by choice rather than happenstance. It’s refreshing, it’s revitalizing, and it’s a shame that the coronavirus of 2020 has affected our beloved industry so adversely.
The idea that bartenders need to read books to hone their craft would have seemed insane to most people just a couple of decades ago. In fact, the idea of bartending as a craft still seems crazy to the people who haven’t realized the shift in the service industry over the past two decades.
That said, the past 20 years have been a golden age for the professional bartender. By proxy, it’s been a golden age for bar and cocktail books. As a hospitality professional (bartender, server, barista) for most of my adult life, I’ve read my fair share of bar books, articles, and online courses. Quarantine gave me a chance to read even more. Now yet another round of shutdowns in Los Angeles allows me a chance to write about some of the more useful books for bartenders. …
The dog knows what time it is. The phone alarm is her bell. The sleeping man is her Pavlov. She knows that the bell means it is time for the man to wake up, to get up, to take her out to the yard to piss, and then — most importantly — to feed her.
Only the man lazily slaps the phone, and the alarm becomes silent. The man rolls over and returns to his slumber. She jumps on top of the bed, walking over to the man’s face and gently licking him.
“Go away, Dog,” the man mumbles. …
I’m just sipping my Maxwell House coffee, enjoying it while disagreeing totally with the slogan “Good to the last drop.” Maybe that’s my fault, though. I don’t buy filters and instead use the mesh one that came with the coffee maker. It’s reusable and better for the environment and saves me money and yadayadaya but it allows coffee grounds to seep into my morning brews.
It’s like drinking a spoonful of dirt at the end of each cup. What a goddamn slogan that would be. Maxwell House: “Good to the mouthful of crud.”
Maxwell House is a perfectly adequate way to deliver the necessary caffeine to my brain, though. I don’t need it to be great; I need it to make me awake enough to write. …
Data shows this new writer to be nothing if not prolific.
Los Angeles, CA — Today LA-based writer David Powell has completed a 3-day writing streak. The young writer penned at least 1,000 words in his three days of literary struggle, and it looks like nothing will stop him.
“Basically, I woke up one morning and drank enough coffee to kill a 1950s sportswriter. After that, the words just kind of came to me. I just decided to do it every morning and here we are, three days later. Wow.” …