Locking Up The Taps

This post will only be remarkable to .00000000001% of the population in the world, but I’m super excited about it, so here goes.

When you’re bartending at a hotel bar, usually you have to lock up behind the bar at the end of the night, because it is usually exposed to the rest of the hotel.  i.e. drunk guy at 3am can’t sneak behind the bar, and steal some booze.  Usually there’s a way to lock up the liquor, the coolers, the tap handles.  Now I’ve worked at two hotel bars, and I’m seeing a trend.  The locks you put on the taps are worthless.  For some reason, they never fit on right, never tighten correctly, never stay on.  They’re just not made durably.  The keys are also flimsy, and tend to break off in the locks.  Also, it’s usually stripped out where you put the key in.  There’s only so much you can do when this occurs.  At my current hotel gig, when I was trained, my fellow bartender says, you’ve got to figure out the trick to it.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t really articulate the trick.  It’s more of a feel.

Last night, when closing up, I DREADED having to tackle this task.  But then I said to myself, you know what?  If I have to spend three hours on this tonight, I’m all in.  I’m going to figure out the trick, or I’m gonna sleep behind the bar to protect the keg beer.

After ten minutes of finagling with the locks, I had an epiphany.  What if I loosen the lock the whole way, get it into position at its highest point, THEN tighten it.  I tried it, it worked, I almost cried.

I learned a good lesson.  Instead of hurrying into a frenzy believing that I’ll never figure it out, I took my time, trying different tactics before I succeeded in figuring it out.  

And that was my “key” to success.  I left the bar feeling pretty good about life. 





What Would You Like To Pair With That?

I’m at Table 128, a semi-fancy restaurant in West Des Moines celebrating my 46th birthday with my mum and step-father. The server approaches the table to take our order.  My mum orders first, and the server says, what would you like to pair with that?

I like that question:  what would you like to pair with that?  Instead of the tried and true, what would you like for a side?  It’s more upscale, and appealing.  I don’t think you’re going to be at a Perkins, and the server is going to say, what would you like to pair with your burger?  I think I’ll try it out next time I’m taking someone’s food order.  A good poet borrows…a great poet steals.

I’m at the hotel bar last night, a guy approaches the bar, says, can I put in an order for some food?  I say, absolutely!  What would you like?  He looks at the menu, says, I’ll take the tenderloin sandwich.  

Here’s my chance:

Sounds great!  What would you like to pair with that?

He looks up quizzically, says, huh?

I repeat, what would you like to pair with that?

He says, um…what do you mean?

Giving up, I blurt, what would you like for a side?

Oh, he says, I’ll take the fries.

So much for me being fancy.



Never Fall Asleep At The Bar

I’m serving at the hotel.  Fairly slow night, I’ve got about three tables.  It’s nearing the end of the night.

I’m at the bar, there’s a gentleman sitting at the bar, head down.  The bartender approaches the man, and says, hey Mike.  You sleeping?  The guy raises his head, says, no, no.  I was just on my phone.

From the bartender’s perspective, with his head down, it looked like he was asleep.  But he just had his phone below the bar, out of sight.

The guy says, that’s my number one rule.  Never fall asleep at the bar.

I’d say that’s a pretty strong rule.  Might even be the most important rule someone could have.  Never fall asleep at the bar.  If you can focus on that one rule, and never break it, life should go pretty swimmingly for you.  Break the rule, there’s no telling the chaos that will become your life.



Why Would You Ever Give Up?

I’ve always had the dream to being a working actor.  This is actually quite impossible living in the Midwest.  There just isn’t enough opportunities.  I’ll be honest, 2017 was one of my best acting years in 17 years, I booked about six gigs, and still, I only made about 10 grand.  Then subtract all the gas I spent driving to Minneapolis, and the hotel rooms, and the food, and I’m left with a fun hobby that I make a little bit of money off of.

I recently went out to LA, and I had dinner with an old friend of mine that has had a modicum of success in the acting world.  I toyed with the idea of trying to get an agent out in LA, but he assured me that it was no small feat.  Basically, when you meet with an agent, their first question is, how many Instagram followers do you have?  And if you don’t say 100,000 plus, they point to the door.

(I have 0 followers, FYI, so, shit outta luck).

And yet still, I can’t quite give up.  I don’t know why.  Well, I know why.  It’s because, when I’m on set, there’s no other place I’d rather be.  I truly love the whole process.  I even love auditioning.  I see it not as an opportunity to get a job, but as an opportunity to act.  Acting gives an actor the opportunity to pull a part of themselves out in the open, and if they’re lucky, make some money out of it.  There is no bigger thrill than doing something you absolutely positively love, and in the end, get paid for it.  I’m way passed now acting for free, because it’s usually a lot of work.  Acting ain’t easy.  Memorizing lines is usually a pain in the ass.  Nobody likes doing that.  But when that’s all done, and you’ve figured out how you’re going to play the part, being on set can be a blast.

Recently, I had a string of parts I didn’t get.  I was feeling a little down about things.  Right at that moment where I thought, you know, I had a good run, maybe it’s time I hung up the hat, took a bow, and said adios, and got a “real job”, I got an audition for a commercial shooting in Omaha.  When I first saw the email from my agent, I thought, uhhhh, I’m not going to get it.  And then, right after that moment, I thought, what in THE HELL am I talking about?  This is a LOSER MENTALITY.  I’m not only going to audition for the part, but I’m going to put my heart and soul into the audition, and work my ass off to do whatever I can to get the part.  You want me to drive to Omaha for the audition?  Hell yeah.  Let’s go.  I’m going ALL IN.

It didn’t matter that I ended up getting the part.  You know, you lose most, and get maybe a few.  But what was important for me is that I didn’t give up.  I didn’t let that insecure thought get the better of me.  I fought hard against it.  And I’ll admit, sometimes you have to fake being strong.  God knows I’ve felt like shit before after the 30th received rejection.  As a matter of fact, I have literally auditioned over 100 times in the last year for voice-over gigs, and I have not gotten a one.  But do you think when I get another audition, I’m going to think, oh I’m not going to get it?  Oh hell no.  I feel blessed that I’m given the opportunity to audition for it.

We all have to deal with rejection in this life.  Some maybe more than others.  But here’s a tip:  the moment you feel like giving up, know that in that same moment, many others decide to quit as well, and do.  Push through that moment, and double-down even harder.  You might not get that opportunity you’re going for, but you can at least be proud of yourself for not giving up.


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A Rant About Bar Scenes In Movies

You know what pisses me off?  Enter RANT.  Yes, people that leave their visors down in cars after they leave.  Sure, that’s annoying.  But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Bar scenes in movies.  Could we get some realism, please?  I’m watching a movie last night called Bad Match.  I would give it a B-.  Decent flick, solid acting, but predictable plot points and twist at end.  But whatever.  This is what pissed me off about the movie.

The two characters are at the bar, the bartender comes up to take their order, and the guy’s schtick is, he can figure out what his “Tinder-like” date drinks.  Wait, gimme a sec…it’s a VODKA CRANBERRY.  Oh my God, I can’t BELIEVE you just guessed it.

On a side note before I go on, I’ve noticed a lot of the ladies ordering Moscow Mules.  Is that becoming a girl drink?  I’m impressed.  It seems to have started out being a guy’s drink, but now I’ve noticed a lot of women are ordering it.  I approve.

So the guy orders his “Scotch” (cool drink for a millennial he says with a dash of bitters), and a Vodka Cran for the lady.  Moments later the bartender brings the drinks, and the Scotch is whatever, but the bartender plops down a “funky” martini glass, with a red liquid in it.  Hell-LOOOO.  No dude, just stop.  That’s wrong on so many levels.

Even my Mom God bless her knows what a Vodka Cranberry looks like.  It should always go in a rocks glass, or maybe a tall glass, with rocks, ounce and a half of vodka, and cranberry juice.  It’s NEVER up (without ice), in a damn martini glass.  What the bartender brought her basically looked like a Cosmo.

When you’ve bartended as long as I have, and have experience on a movie set, these details matter.  Without attention to detail, there is CHAOS.  Hey, director, why don’t you take a bit more time with the research, and find out what a Vodka Cranberry looks like, so you won’t PISS ME OFF.  Yes, I know, I know, the drink in the martini glass looks so much more appealing.  Well, then, have her order a martini, and there you go.

You know what else irks me?  When the character asks for a cocktail, and in two seconds, there appears the cocktail in front of them.  That’s bullshit.  Time it out, directors.  Guy orders drink, bartender leaves frame.  Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue (lasting approximately 12-15 seconds) THEN drink gets set down.  Make time for that truth.  The whole scene will play better, and more realistic.  And another thing that is important, which I grant the director of Bad Match played up on, is every character has a signature drink.  Writers need to be in tune with that.  If you’re writing a scene in a bar, take two seconds to describe what the character is drinking.  You can tell A LOT about a character by what they drink.  Are they a domestic guy, don’t give a shit?  OR more of a craft beer guy?  An IPA, perhaps?  What is the lady drinking?  Talk to a bartender, do the research.  What are the ladies drinking nowadays that would be an interesting choice?

I don’t know…how ‘bout a Moscow Mule?




I’ve always wondered at the phenomenon behind why women keep their cell phones in their back pocket.  What if you forget about it, and sit down on a hard surface?  Crack.  There goes the cell phone, gotta hit up the mall, at one of those kiosks.

That’s a weird word.  Kiosk.  Sounds Native American.

That reminds me.  Never make eye-contact with people at a mall kiosk.  They’ll sucker you in with a beckoning smile, and there goes spending $500 on some skin cream.

I digest.

I’m mean, digress.

So yeah, ladies with their cell phones in their back pockets.  What’s up with that?  Ah…but then I had an enlightening conversation with the opposite sex, and she informed me that women’s pants usually have no front pocket.  What?  No front pockets, you say?  Why is that?

And then the answer becomes clear.  If you don’t have front pockets, where do you put your cell phone?  Well…in your back pocket.  Duh.

These designers of women’s clotherie need to get together, and figure out how to make these front pockets happen for the ladies.  Maybe they just haven’t figured it out yet.  I know those guys have those front pockets, why can’t we!  It’s SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION.  I mean, they said we’ve come a long way, baby.  We get to vote.  We get to work jobs.  But where’s OUR front pockets?!?

I mean, it can’t be that difficult, can it?  Make the pants, then put the pockets on it.  Think of all the cell phone screens those front pockets will save.  They won’t have to make all those trips




You Got Busch Light?

Last night, I got my ass handed to me.  The Deer Classic Convention was in town, and they like to drink.  Here’s how most of my conversations went like last night:

Hey how you doing?  Good…give me two Busch Lights, two Coors Lights, a Double Crown and Diet, and a Captain Coke.  Sorry, sir.  We don’t have Busch Light.  What?  No, Busch Light?  No, sorry, sir.  No Busch Light.  Hm…Well, then, give me four Coors Lights.  A double Crown and Diet…  (Looks over shoulder)…Hey Joe, you wanna drink?  Yeah, get me a Busch Light.  They don’t have Busch Light.  No Busch Light?  Yeah, they got Coors…You got Bud Light?  Yes, sir.  We have Bud Light.  Bud?  Yes, we have Bud.  (Looks back over shoulder)  They got Bud Light, Coors Light, and Bud.  They got Miller Light?  (Turns back)  You got Miller Light?  Yes, we have Miller Light.  (Looks back to Joe).  Yeah, they got Miller Light.  Aw Hell, just give me a Crown and Coke.  Crown and Coke?  You wanna double?  Yeah, make it a double.  In a tall glass.  (Turns back).  Ok.  He wants a Crown and Coke.  Ok, so four Coors Lights, a Double Crown and Diet.  A Captain and Coke, and a Double Crown and Coke Tall.  Correct?  Hang on a second.  (Turns back over his shoulder).  Hey Jack.  You want something?  Yeah, get me a Busch Light.  They don’t GOT Busch Light.  They got….

I imagine my hell being behind the bar, with this never-ending conversation that goes on and on for all eternity with no cigarette breaks in between.

And it’s not Coors Light…  it’s Kerrs Light.