Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ask the Bartender : Advice Column #8

Hey Bartender!
My girlfriend's a blast when she's drunk. Unfortunately, she's drunk most of the time. I don't drink a lot, but I've started drinking more since I've been seeing her. When she's sober, she's still a nice girl, but nowhere near the firecracker she can be when she's lit. Am I headed for trouble?

It's hard to say what the trouble might be. If she's a raging drunk who can't have social interaction without being wasted, she probably needs help that you can't give her. If you cared about her, you'd encourage her to seek this help, and help her detox. Before you tell your girlfriend that she's an alcoholic (to which she could become rather defensive), try asking her if she would go on a detox with you for two weeks. Tell her that you feel like you've been drinking a lot lately, and want her support by joining you in a two week no-drinking healthy binge. Self-declared "healthy" drinkers do this often. It proves to them that they aren't alcoholics, and gets rid of the build up of toxins in their systems. It's a good litmus to see how alcohol dependent she is, and know how much control she has over her drinking. Often people drink to deal with other problems in their lives, and during detox they have to confront those problems. Detox is a supportive time, where the two of you might get to know each other better and bond as a couple. Perhaps you can learn to see the drunken firecracker in her subtleties, not just her outbursts.

If she drinks socially because she can't "let loose" without the booze, you might want to help her feel better about herself so she felt confident enough to not need the alcohol. Being drunk, in my vast experience both as a drinker and a referee of the wasted, doesn't give you new characteristics, just brings out the ones which you already have. Mean drunks tend to be mean people. Happy drunks tend to hold back their enthusiasm in their sober interactions. Sad drunks rely on the alcohol as a crutch to express or aid their sorrows. It's a great sign that she's a "blast" when she's drunk. Generally, I would take it to mean that her sober "nice girl" routine will blossom into a barrel of fun as she becomes more comfortable with you, and herself. Relationships are about becoming the people you want to be, while learning and supporting each other during this process. If she's dating you, who doesn't drink much, a part of her probably desires to down shift her habits, or she would dump you for the dude who wants to do shots constantly. That guy, let me tell you, isn't going to have a week of rehab until his doctor explains why his kidneys are failing.

Perhaps the problem isn't hers- but yours. If you're bored, then you're boring. Do you tell her that you like her more when she's drunk? I hope not- it won't help make her feel more secure around you. I also hope you don't want to date someone who acts crazy when they are sober- wanting that relationship is less healthy than being a raging drunk. You should be so happy that she's nice when she isn't drinking, and a blast when she is. This girl sounds rad to me. It's unlikely you're going to find a firecracker that doesn't drink.

I think the real problem here isn't her drinking. It's that you feel upstaged by how awesome she is when she's drinking, and how nice she is when she isn't. That sweet combo could scare the pants off any boy, and make them try to find problems with the cool girl. I suspect she's not an alcoholic, and will detox and talk your ear off about why she drinks and why she likes you. You better come up with some replies that don't have to do with wasted table dancing. Exciting is nice, but nice is much more exciting.

When the detox is over, and you're convinced that she's the coolest girl in the world. First drink back, order yourself a sidecar. Yes, you are the boy in the sidecar to the cool girl who you admire and adore. This drink was designed to warm your bones and give a pre-dinner tartness. Make sure you get high shelf ingredients, because cutting corners wrecks the drink. Pour two ounces of brandy, one ounce of cointreau, and half an ounce of lemon juice into a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Be proud of how fun your girlfriend is, because enjoying your time with her is what matters the most.

Hey Bartender!

One of my friends is currently dating a nerdy/arty guy who just left for Ecuador for the week. He wrote a short email that basically just said "hey, going to Ecuador, see you when i get back." She's flipping out cause she thinks it's over - the kicker is that they've only been on two dates. She's obviously over-reacting, but what should she drink?

You're totally right; she is over-reacting. She needs to play it cool and wait for him to call her when he returns. She's making up drama where there is none. Instead of talking herself into a terrible emotional state, put something complicated in her mouth- order her a tailspin. It's a cocktail full of flavors that she can think about instead of dooming her budding relationship with this adventurer. The best recipe I've found for this drink comes from 3/4 ounce Gin,
3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth, 3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse, and a dash of Campari. Stirred with ice then strained into a glass to be garnished with a lemon peel and a cherry. Some other people use a dash of orange bitters in place of the Campari- most bars don't stock a variety of bitters though, and the Campari works like a charm. This drink should send a little shiver of pause down your friend's spine. Try to get her to think about something else, and let this boy either happen or not, on his own timeline or terms.

Nerdy art boys tend to need a little space in the beginning. She might want to send him an email while he's down there, to pick her up a bottle of Aguardiente, or fire-water, a sugar cane derived liquor well loved in that part of the world which is used to make several sweet, cinnamon rich drinks. It's bound to guarentee a third date, where he tells her excitedly about his travels, and how he was thinking of her too.

Ask the Bartender : Advice Column #7

(sorry I forgot to repost this for so long...)

Hey Bartender!
I've recently taken a new job at a new company, and I'm in the process of training my replacement. He's a very nice guy, but the more I work with him, the more I think he might not actually be able to do the job. His experience seems lacking in some pretty critical areas, and I'm afraid that things might not run so smoothly here once I leave.
Should I say anything to the upper supervisors, or just let it work itself out?

Did you just say you quit this job? I think you did. You need to let go of the feelings you attach to this place. That new guy- he'll sink or swim, and those supervisors- they hired him. You? You are on your way out, and should let it go. If the new guy can't hack it when you're gone, the company will figure it out. Maybe he needs some time to adjust, or is really nervous around you. No need to talk badly about someone who isn't going to cause you any harm. It sounds less like concern and more like second thoughts about leaving- look forward, and know that you'll be missed.

You need a relaxing drink to cheers to a happy new job, where the worries of your old job are far away. I'm suggesting a nice glass of Pimm's and Lemonade, garnished with a cucumber. Pimm's is a liqueur from England, a country who knows when to get in, and how to get out. It's a relaxing end of summer drink, from one of those bottles not appreciated enough at the back of the bar. If they hired someone who is that lacking, maybe they didn't appreciate all the things you did either. Cheers the second round to the new job, and all the excitement they feel about hiring you! You're worth it, and so is this delightful drink. Extra cucumber slices are for laying on your closed eyelids, while you relax.

Hey Bartender!
I just started dating this guy who is wonderful in so many ways. We have a lot of the same interests and we have a great time together. He's intelligent, sensitive, hilariously funny, and he treats me like a queen. However, I am slowly discovering that he is TERRIBLE with his finances. He doesn't have a credit card (not even for emergencies), nor does he have a savings account as far as I can tell, and he lives in a huge apartment that he definitely can't afford on his salary. I'm not materialistic in the least, but I do try to plan for the future. What can I do to make this relationship work in the long run?

Most people are really touchy about their finances, especially people who don't know what they're doing. Wait until you get to the long run to breech this subject, maybe there are things he's not telling you about his situation. If you aren't materialistic, you'll enjoy the good time and have fun with this amazing guy. Don't worry about his credit score until you worry about merging it with yours.

In the long run, if you find out there is no secret trust fund or amazing investments from his youth, here are some practical strategies.

1. Refer him to a credit card that you have and enjoy. Citibank rewards cards, like many cards, give you rewards points bonuses for referring new clients. Even if he doesn't want a credit card, you can argue that you want more rewards points - and then tell him about how useful it is to have a card for emergencies. Make sure you tell him not to max it out every month, and to pay the balance in full every month if he uses it for not-emergencies.

2. Refer him to an on-line savings account. Many of these institutions will transfer easily between your savings account and his already existing checking account, and have auto-withdraw functions to make savings a less thoughtful process. ING Direct will also give you a bonus for referring a friend, and give them a bonus too!

3. You are only allowed to be critical of some one's waste of money on rent when they can't pay it, or when you're paying it. When things progress to the level that you two move in together, then you can find a place which you think is cheaper for both of you, and in your budgets. Until then, sleep over his place and enjoy the decadence.

It sounds like he's not racking up debt, and trying to enjoy his life right now, with you. So while you're enjoying his lavish spending, I'd suggest you order a Southside.

This gin cocktail speaks of class well beyond the many famed stories of its origin. Pour 2 oz of gin, a muddle of mint leaves and half a lime, and some simple syrup into a shaker. Shake out the frustration of men who can't manage their books, who resemble lemons in the category of finance. Make sure the mint leaves bruise, but his ego doesn't. Pour it into a glass : a martini glass if you think the drink comes from the Southside Hunting Club in long island, a chilled Collins glass if you think it came from the famous 21 club, or a low ball glass if you believe, like many do, that great things come from poor people in terrible times- and that this drink came from Chicago gangsters who knew their rot-gut gin needed a refreshing introduction to the palate. Like this drink, we can't tell where your man came from or where he's going to end up, but we can enjoy it while the glass is half full (with a sprig of mint), and worry about the rest when the tab arrives.

Fantasy, well done.

The bartender who thought I was going to lose the league can eat his words, because after tonight's performance I will be in third place. Having won all three of the match-ups so far this season, my little fantasy team (who have seen a few men lost and found over the last two weeks, including the defense) is doing quite well.

Perhaps this has taken little to no effort on my part, and a bit of sideline coaching from our league commish and my ever-interested step-dad, but I feel a sense of accomplishment from the actions of others. Does this make me bourgeois? less bohemian? less intellectual?

Whatever- sports is more relevant to our silly little culture than most of the avant-guarde in this city. And I like the tight pants- so do you, hipster.

How about that Canadian dollar, eh?

This week:

(Dal - QB)
@Chi W, 34-10 22.45
(Ind - WR)
@Hou W, 30-24 5.30
(Sea - WR)
Cin W, 24-21 13.70
(Mia - WR)
@NYJ L, 31-28 10.10
(SF - RB)
@Pit L, 37-16 5.10
(Buf - RB)
@NE L, 38-7 14.00
(Atl - TE)
Car L, 27-20 12.30
(Den - WR)
Jac L, 23-14 13.30
(StL - K)
@TB L, 24-3 3.00
(Ind - DEF)
@Hou W, 30-24 7.00


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fantasy football? um, yeah.

So for those of you who are keeping track of my recent forays into pop culture, you might have noticed that I joined the fantasy football league at the bar.

Despite the jarring remarks from the bartender who is winning the fantasy baseball league, and proclaims my imminent defeat in the football league, I think I have a decent team.

The draft was like taking an exam for a class I never took. But the five hours of cramming didn't kill me, and I kinda knew what I was doing for a while. Certainly whenever I figured out who I wanted next, someone else picked him before it was my turn.

For you pro's who want to give me some advice, here's my rooster. I was draft pick six.
Otherwise, watch and learn.

Pos. Rd. player nfl team

QB 4 Tony Romo Dallas

RB 1 Frank Gore SF
RB 3 Marshawn Lynch Buf *he was on the cal bears last year, and I trust him to win
RB 10 Brandon Jackson GB *at this point I needed players without a bye on wk.6
RB 14 Garrett Wolfe CHI *and I needed atleast one bear.

WR 2 Marvin Harrison IND
WR 5 Deion Branch SEA
WR 6 Chris Chambers Miami
WR 4 Brandon Marshall DEN *he's my best pick for a sleeper
WR 13 Eric Moulds Tenn *this was a rash pick, and likely to be traded soon
WR 15 Troy Williams Minn *I was tired by now.

TE 7 Alge Crumpler ATL *Dirty south, and what a name, and stats to boot!
TE 12 Owen Daniels Hou

K 9 Jeff Wilkins STL

And my defense is currently the cowboys, who I picked last. The peer value ratio didn't differ much when I was digging out defenses. I'm not too worried, I can change them out if I need to.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

blue plate special.

Labor day I woke up hungry. Never the fool, I went to via della pace for brunch, on the corner of 7th street and 2nd ave.
Who did I see there?
James Van der Beek from Dawson's creek.

Mostly my bf was just annoyed that I pulled my phone out during brunch. Whatever.
If you're gonna live in nyc, you're not gonna care about seeing celebs, but if you write a blog, you are.