Friday, September 7, 2012

The Ugly, Ugly Mugg

During the summer before leaving for college, I was hired at a small bar and grill in Farmington, Minnesota named “The Ugly Mugg”.  It was a family-owned, family-oriented type of place, where the kids could order french fries, and every workin' man could order a nice tall Budweiser.  It was a picturesque image of American small business:  An older couple quietly maintaining financial order from a small office, lower-middle class employees frantically preparing and delivering orders, and jovial 'regulars' who, upon entering, were greeted with a unanimous, elongated, "hey-oh!"  It was as American as it could get.

As incredibly Midwestern as this place sounds, it was no Applebee's.  After a few weeks of punching in and out, 9am to 9pm, something about the aura of the place - the vibes - began to pester me.  Maybe it was the stacks upon stacks of bills and papers cluttered around the restaurant; maybe the insurmountably passive aggressive tendencies of the "mom n' pop" owners; or maybe it was the unpaid overtime, bounced checks, and the inconsistency of the cleanliness of the kitchen.  The assimilation of all these things, coupled with a less than motivated teenage angst I couldn't seem to outgrow, is what led me to deem this job as my worst.  The place gave me a sort of "after Christmas blues" kind of feeling only amplified; it was enough to cause dry heaves and grey hair.  I vividly recall a Friday night at work which I cannot forget - a type of lingering, 'shoo fly don't bother me' memory that evokes uneasiness and nail biting.

I arrived at work around 9am, just like any other day.  Three weeks had passed since I began working, so I had finally gotten past the "new guy" phase - the temporary title that somehow justifies unexpected and miniature instances of on-the-job hazing.  This included the old, "jump out from behind a wall and scream, rubber band around the sink sprayer hose, 'you're shoe is untied' nose-flicking'" pranks and jokes that were commonly used as initiation for new employees. I walked to the back of the restaurant to clock in, braced myself for a sack-tap from my co-worker Lauren, and began preparing breakfast orders.  It was just like any other day.

Around noon, my boss finally rolled in, toting his tattered leather briefcase and a bulk order of toilet paper rolls under one arm.  He was a heavy set guy, about six feet tall, a small bald patch on his head, and a hint of southern draw in his voice.  Most days he remained at this desk, quietly tending to his Farmville crops and flipping through pages of bills and order forms.  On this day however, the boss man wasn't in the best of moods.

"Mornin', Jeff!" I shouted from behind the register.

"Mornin', Wy" he sighed.  I could tell something was wrong.

He disappeared for a while, only to return to the kitchen, his cell phone six inches from his ear while he squinted with discomfort from the fuzzy, blaring racket protruding from the speaker.  He closed his phone, placed both hands on the prep table, and took a deep breath.  I could see his face begin to flush, and imagined steam coming out of his ears.

"GOD DAMN IT!  DAMN IT, DAMN IT, DAMN IT!" he yelled.  

I was unsure whether or not he was serious, so I asked, "are they after your Lucky Charms there, Jeff?"  My night didn't end well.

Before I knew it, I was sent home for the day for, "being an idiot smart ass."  Apparently, the phone call Jeff had received was from the IRS, or a credit card company, and had informed him that at this point in time, filing for bankruptcy was his best option.  This sent him into a sort of psychotic tailspin of anger, which led him to close the restaurant for the day.  As I closed the kitchen door behind me, I could hear Jeff begin to destroy the kitchen; as I walked towards my car, I looked back expecting to see a large blender struggling to chop up metal utensils.  At that moment - a moment which I tend to laugh at now that it's over - I heard a large BANG, and an office chair fly from out of the kitchen and into the back alley.  I took off from the parking lot, and never looked back.

After that day at work, it wasn't the same.  Jeff decided to file bankruptcy, and each day that passed he became more and more disturbed and angry.  The sunny, joyful climate, which once existed, became toxic and stale.  Coming to work each day became a battle with the knots in my stomach, and the fear of another violent outburst from my boss.  I never mustered up the courage to have a man-on-man with Jeff because I was frightened of him.  In fact, I'm not even sure what happened to the restaurant or Jeff.  Working there was worse than what I imagine being trapped in an elevator with Dennis Leary, Chris Tucker, or Ben Stiller would be like; it was the type of job that made you cringe with awkward, chilling jitters, and change the channel.  I was happy to leave and finally go to college.

One might ask, "was it worth it, working there?  Did you learn something at least?"  My answer is, and will always be: For minimum wage, incompetent co-workers, and an irate manager, hell no.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

PC vs. Mac


Monday, May 24, 2010

Semi-Charmed Life

Third Eye Blind’s poppy, vivacious tune is meant to be perceived as such – but the happy melodies and catchy chorus is merely a disguise in which they hid a very strong message. After examination of the lyrics and detaching the cheerful melody from the song, one can come to a conclusion of its true meaning.

I’ve heard this song a multitude of times - I heard it back in the nineties when I was a small fellow in about third grade, and all the way until today. It remains popular because of its captivating air. Now, I’m smart enough to pick apart the lyrics. When I looked them up, what I found was outstanding. Obviously, the song is about drug addiction, sex, and depression. The first lines of the song say, “I’m packed and I’m holding…” – a blatant drug reference. A few measures late, “chopped another line like the Coda with a curse,” – yet another drug allusion. And if the prior drug references weren’t making a clear message to the listener yet, the line, “The sky it was gold, it was rose, I was taking sips of it through my nose” - Sips of whatever drug he is snorting. And lastly, “With a tick tock rhythm and a bump for the drop, And then I bumped up. I took the hit I was given, Then I bumped again, And then I bumped again – “bumping” means to snort a line of cocaine or meth. The song also describes the symptoms of the drug highs, and of course, the drug withdrawals – “I want something else, I'm not listening when you say, Good-bye” – he cannot quit using drugs and doesn’t want to let go because he wants something else to get him through life, and that medium is drugs. Then, “She said she was crashing…” – coming down from a high. And, “But now I'm struggling to survive…” – a reference to the depression experienced while coming down from a high. The song goes on to send a message about teeth grinding, lockjaw, insomnia, aggression, and memory loss. So, there is an establishment of drug addiction within the song, pertaining to either the lead singer, or a character in the song. To me, it sounds like a character, and the song is a story about his life.

The story within the song is about a crystal meth addict who has a girlfriend with whom he partakes in drug use with. He has a sexual relationship with the girl, and intermingling within their relationship is their drug addiction, which is getting in the way of a healthy lifestyle for the both of them. Some of the sexual references: “She comes round and she goes down on me…” – no explanation there. Then, “How do I get back there to, The place where I fell asleep inside you…” This, and the prior drug references, make the song extremely overt and risqué.

The conflict is extremely brazen and obvious; the setting is unspecified, but I imagine that it’s only set in the last few decades, when crystal meth was discovered and cooked up; and some possible resolutions: quit doing meth!

Overall, the song is one that stuck with me after finally realizing its true message. Although it’s shocking and somewhat explicit, it is a powerful and meaningful piece of music.

Monday, May 17, 2010

May Project: Final Publication

After countless hours of contemplating our society and it's fixation on technology, I finally decided to write about it. This topic is one that I'm particularly passionate about, because it's something that's very important. Here's what I wrote:

Monday, May 10, 2010

May Project

To be honest, I'm not confident of certain about which project to do. The GoAnimate video idea seems a bit juvenile - I've never been one to create children's stories or anything of the sort. I'm not sure about the whole Twitter idea either because I don't know what it entails. Maybe it's because writing a story over Twitter could be difficult seeing as you can only type 180 characters for every post. The idea of creating a long graduation video sounds a bit interesting, but it's not about writing - I signed up for this class so I can WRITE. If anything, I wish we could do another narrative. I could write narratives all day long because it comes naturally.

Here's my idea: We should learn how to use the Adobe programs to create a journalistic type piece and then publish it online. Also, we should use google docs, somehow, to create an opportunity to peer edit. But, I doubt this will happen because it wasn't even an option in the first place. Overall, the project seems a bit pointless if we aren't actually writing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Collaborative Writing Review

The collaborative wring project was a great idea for this class. Using technology to communicate and edit pieces is an affective way to create outstanding writing. I liked the fact there is online word processers that allow other users to edit each others' writing - this makes for an opportunity to make compostitions the best they can possibly be. Overall, the project in and of itself was a great way to learn how to use technology to collaborate and communicate with the people in the writing group.

Along the way, we read each others' compositions and were able to edit them accordingly - this was made easy through Google Docs and, in my opinion, is the greatest feature of the site. It was interesting to see how easy it was to use.

Another aspect of this project that I liked was the opportunity to read other peoples' writing - it opened my eyes to a variety of different writing styles that I strive to acquire and utilize to adapt to my writing.

I've always believed that the best writers are the best thinkers - people that have interesting things to say, think abstractly, and are able to use eloquence to voice their ideas, are the most talented writers. By writing more and more everyday, it makes those who are eloquent even better writers; it's just like any sport - one needs to practice to gain skill. Of course, there is some natural talent involved but, it is developed over time with consistent practice.

Lastly, I enjoyed getting to know the people in my group - this was made possible by group meetings and collaboration online (Google Docs). Overall, I found that the comments they shared on each others' documents revealed who they were as people, and to understand their thought process as well as their opinions.

Overall, ths project was an outstanding idea. I really like writing, and people have always comlimented me on my writing skill, although, I'm no Hemingway or David Sedaris. I'm working on becoming a better writer by persisting in my quest to become better by consistently writing, and this project was an opportunity to do so.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Collaborative Writing Project

Personally, I've always been a 'narrative writer', meaning that I possess a writing style aimed towards short stories. Typically, I can sit down and write a narrative without any issues, and to be honest, I've never been one to write a research paper because it's just not my style. Most people will agree that not only are narratives more fun to write than any other type of writing, but they come easily. I think for our collaborative writing project we should comprise a narrative - something interesting and absolutely spectacular. Most people will find this appealing, and synthesizing it shouldn't be an issue seeing as we have the proper tools to complete the task.