The backdrop was undeniably beautiful. There is an old proverb in the drinking world–never go home without a drink, and wise advice it proved this evening. As she began opening the bottle which moments earlier had to be retrieved from the upper shelf, the bartender seemed to be delighted by the task. The dry cork sends a high-pitched squeak for the delight of the bartender and nearby bar patrons. As if playing a symphony, she slowly twists and shimmies the top off, producing the baritone pop of a bottle of scotch long since last used. Nadurra, it says on the label. Gaelic for natural, I would come to learn. Continue reading “Nadurra Vida”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have most undoubtedly heard of these microbreweries that the entire drinking world seems to be obsessed over. You may have noticed that some of your friends have become beard-wearing flannel-shirted beer snobs. You get looks of contempt from strangers because you still enjoy Kokanee or Budweiser. Maybe you’ve even been inside a few of what people now affectionately call ‘craft breweries’ and experienced first hand the gross smell of fermenting beers. It is pretty much the new cool thing. Liquor stores now have entire sections dedicated to dozens of colorfully packaged small-batch or local brews. People travel from all over the world to drink beers out of tiny sample glasses, collect smelly used coasters, and spend their money on t-shirts and hats and other such overpriced merchandise. There are now non-profit and for-profit publications that you could pick up, if you were so inclined, and have literally a thousand hours of literature on people making and tasting and drinking beer. And if you are really passionate about it all, you can now pay a proper university tuition to write a thesis about yeast. What a time to be alive. Continue reading “Avast, Beer Flights: A Bartender’s Guide on How (Not) to Drink Craft Beer”
Few words in the history of the world have quite the same effect as Adolf Hitler’s name. Mention Hitler’s name in a room full of reasonably liberal white people and you can feel, literally feel some of the air in the room disappear into people’s clenched assholes. In the few seconds that follow, it gets real tense in that room. People are likely to overreact before you get a chance to complete your thought. What do you mean? What about Hitler? Fuck that pig. I’m part-Jewish and that’s offensive. You are more than likely going to get into an argument with someone about Hitler, even if you didn’t set out looking for one. Another common response is total ejection from the conversation, as if feeling offended gives people the moral high ground to dismiss themselves from your scum presence. Well, as we know, it’s 2017, and people are offended by everything. No, really. There are a lot of things you could get offended by if you were so inclined. Maybe I am offending you right now, and I’m hardly a paragraph in. Something something Mexicans. I can’t believe polo-wearing college fratboy just call the bellhop a nigger. So what’s the deal with Islam? Lesbians are terrible tippers. The greasy-shirted redneck at the bar is throwing the word tranny around a little too liberally. Donald Trump is basically Hitler in a toupee. People still hate Hitler. Wait, Hitler, really? Why are people in 2017 still offended by Hitler? I know he was a rotten dude but it’s been, like, a really long time, can’t we just give him a pass? It’s not like he influences your everyday lives from the grave. Nobody can take a fucking joke anymore, can they? Well, I happen to think everything’s a fucking joke, and that Hitler was a riot. That is right, viewers. Today, I set out to demystify Adolf Hitler–wait, did the air just thin? Continue reading “So What’s The Deal With Hitler?”
Let’s talk about one thing we all really enjoy doing. Partying.
There are many dark sides to the otherwise jovial work of being in the service industry. One of them being partying in excess. On any given night there’s enough rum and cocaine being passed around on the kitchen line to kill a large farm animal. Sometimes the dishwasher doesn’t show up to work because he couldn’t get his fix for the night. Every now and again you’ll get a whiff of weed. That blonde server with the crazy eyes they hired last month is cutting up ecstasy in the staff washroom. Some of the hostesses might have a communal bottle of vodka in the girl’s change room. The servers probably have a couple varieties in rotation. Safe it is to say that from the managers to the busboys that everybody has ritualistically ingested some sort of substance over the course of a busy holiday night. Or you know, any other night. Continue reading “Love In Hospitality”
3:21 AM on a Monday morning. And I can’t sleep. Typical. So I got up and cooked myself some sausages. As take the dogs off the stove, I decided that I wanted scrambled eggs too, so I quickly gave the pan a rinse and let it heat up on the stove top again. As that’s happening, I decided that I wanted to smoke a cigarette, so I let the pan heat on low and step outside for a cigarette. A couple slices of tomatoes and basil in olive oil would be nice, too.
3:38 AM. I am sitting in front of my computer typing. In front of me are steaming hot scrambled eggs and what are now room-temperature sausages. A nice tomato, olive oil and herb medley, and a slice of lightly-browned toast. Short of some pancakes and syrup, Denny’s would be proud. Continue reading “The Most Compelling Story on the Internet”
Whiskey, my dear friend, let this be a story about humility.
When I was a boy, my mother would take us out on these “after supper walks” around the neighborhood. She called it supper because she learned that word before she learned the word ‘dinner’, and it kind of just stuck with her. Sometimes we would take the long scenic route, sometimes we would just do a quick cruise to fetch the mail, and sometimes she would take us to the nearby elementary school and watch us shoot some hoops. The point is, day in, day out, we had to walk around the same old neighborhood after dinner. I remember thinking then that it was mostly menial. Continue reading “‘Til Death do us part, and it will.”
As part of my ongoing effort to answer the big questions in every day life, I have always been perplexed by the idea of religion. What I mean to say is, I would like to think that I write some pretty hard hitting shit, but this is the internet, where nobody takes me seriously and plenty of people often ask me to insert objects up my anus. And I’m okay with that. As a product of western education, I stand for all people’s rights to their own beliefs. But as I have come to understand it, people are mostly idiots. While I am sure that you would not find it difficult to believe that I am a deeply unreligious man that loves sinning and the cornucopia of pleasures associated with it, growing up this wasn’t always the case. Growing up, my parents always told me that they would never impose on my brother and I any set of religious beliefs, though it never really stopped them from trying. As a result, I grew up developing my own set of views on the world as they tried to make me take part in their multi-religion hopscotch to find their own faith. Where they found communion, I often found myself counting down the seconds until I could go do literally anything else. Where they found solace and inner strength, I read the stories of once disillusioned rule makers. And where they found unity through faith, I saw perturbing cult-like behavior that, to an outsider with a discerning mind, could only be described as idiotic. Continue reading “Religion and Cult Behavior”
Last I checked, people spend more time searching for TV shows and movies than they do sustaining a conversation with another human being. Hell, on average, I spend more time looking at my dinner options than I do eating and shitting the meal combined. The more time we spend attempting to perfect convenience, the more we are put back by it. The more technology helps us sort out our lives, the lazier we get. Continue reading “Love, Sex and Dating in Digital: Netflix and Chill”
Hello, my name is Alan VH, and I am a writer.
I am a writer. It is what I would have myself believe I am best at, and it is what I believe I am put on God’s green earth to do. Which, right now, is a point of awkward uncertainty for me. Because I am not writing. Because what once was liquid gold when I sit down and my fingers touch the typewriter, is nowadays more often than not, a hot liquid slew of verbal diarrhea. Continue reading “Writer’s Block”
I have worked in the service industry for a while now. And while I won’t claim to be a veteran in it, I have seen my fair share of regular lunch and dinner services, weekends and holidays, receptions and banquets, and even lavish weddings. I can’t even imagine the kind of shit some of the well-seasoned dinosaurs I have worked with have seen.
Now, having grown up with a lot of Asian folks that love living vicariously through their kids, I often get snarled at by my friends from high school who work in banks or in hospitals or are software developers, while I get “stuck” serving them on weekends and at their staff Christmas parties. And while I don’t particularly see myself being “stuck” in an industry with lots of pretty women often with questionable morals and low self-esteem, recently, an acquaintance from high school actually used the word “stuck” and then tried to buy a round of shots off me. You dink. Continue reading “Secrets of the Service”