|Posted by Ally Tucker on May 16, 2011 at 6:45 PM||comments (0)|
Let me take a moment to introduce you to our newest Guest Blogger, my own flesh and blood, my sister.....Colleen Tucker.
Colleen hails from the same uterus as I do. Colleen is my older sister (although people often confuse our birth order...sorry Colleen, but the truth had to be told). Colleen is just like me, except she's older, smarter and funnier. Oh, and she can karaoke better than I can too. Which is why I invited her to come on the blog and share with all of us some tips on how to become the best karaoke regular possible. You see, I have just recently begun to dip into the world of becoming a karaoke regular. Colleen has been karaoking on the reg for years now. She is a well known commodity on the Bardstown Road karaoke scene (and yes, there is a scene there...I doubt any one street has as many karaoke spots as Bardstown Road).
Anyway, Colleen stopped by to share her wealth of knowledge, as she has so many times in our lives, to her little sis (and all of you all). Thanks Kees! (If you know what I mean when I say "Kees" than you know you are a close friend of ours)
"How To Become A Karaoke Regular" by Colleen Tucker
Congratulations. You’ve made the wise decision to become a karaoke regular. I have a couple bits of advice, things I’ve picked up over the years, to help you be the best karaoke regular you can be.
1. Pick your first song wisely. This will set the stage and let the karaoke guy know whether he wants to give you more or less songs as the night progresses. This is not the time to sing the new Justin Beiber song you kind of know. You want to pick a song that you know so well you could sing it even if there were no words on the screen. Starting the night with a great song will build your confidence and inspire your song selections for the rest of the night.
2. Don’t burn out after the first song. You’ve got to build up to your best number. You want to start strong, but save your best song, your trump card, for your second or third song. You want to hit your dougie somewhere between midnight and 1am.
3. Don’t sing the same song every time you go. This may be the hardest advice to follow. I know I want to sing Ballroom Blitz every Monday, but you’ve got to restrain yourself. Leave them wanting more. Try to remember your all-star numbers too. If you ever visit a new karaoke bar or bring friends you want to impress to your karaoke bar, you’ll have several homeruns ready to knock their socks off.
4. No more than 2 people should sing a karaoke song together. Exceptions are bachelorette parties and birthdays. It’s fun for you, but everyone else hates it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen 10 frat guys “singing”, really yelling, Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s a good song, but not when that many people sing it together.
5. Tip the karaoke guy. It may be the first time you’ve heard Bad Romance this week, but he’s heard it 47 times. You tip for drinks, tip for songs. Building a relationship with the guy in charge of the music is the most important job of a regular. Start by tipping often and early, back it up with good song choice, and you’ll be one of the gang in no time.
6. Never go to karaoke if you have something important to do the next day. “One more song” has been known to keep people out later than intended. Karaoke responsibly.
7. Save the weird stuff for the end. Maybe you’ve been dying to sing 3 is the Magic Number (one of my favorite late night choices), but a lot of other people in the bar either don’t know or don’t like that song. Wait till they’ve been drinking for a while to sign up for that one.
8. Be a good audience member. This is something I firmly believe in. You don’t have to pay attention to everyone’s song, but you better applaud and cheer like a maniac when their finished. If you can, sing along with them (just stay in your seat, nobody likes the drunk sidekick they never asked for). Karaoke is supposed to be fun, and the more enthusiastic you are, hopefully the more supportive everyone will be when you sing.
9. Don’t chase the weirdos, they’ll come to you. I’ve met a drunken cowboy, a homeless man with a bedazzled Sponge Bob Square Pants hat, and a numerologist who believed Harry Potter was real. I didn’t have to initiate any of these conversations. This brings me to my next bit of advice…
10. Have an escape plan. You’ve got to become a regular with a good group of people at your side. Choose your karaoke friends wisely. If drunk cowboy’s been chatting with you for too long, hopefully you’ve brought a friend that can come rescue you. It’s also nice to have a bartender friend who will kick out the more dangerous riff raff, but that’s not usually necessary.
I’m sure there’s more than I’ve come up with here, but you’ll just have to figure the rest out on your own. Being a regular is a blast. Have fun and keep singing!
|Posted by Kristen Geil on May 9, 2011 at 10:30 AM||comments (1)|
This year was my second year in a row going to the infamous infield of the Kentucky Derby. And not to brag or anything, but I've dominated it both times. I haven't gotten lost, arrested, or injured; in fact, the worst thing that has happened to me has been losing money on horses. I can deal with that.
So while the experience is still fresh in my mind, I'd like to offer a few tips to complement David's piece on the Derby (which was spot-on, by the way). Read this now, and reread it again next year when you boldly go into that famous oval of debauchery.
DO: Overprepare for any possible scenario.
This year we had a 60% chance of rain. Accordingly, Layson and I packed no less than four outfits each and 3 pairs of shoes. We had cute dresses, rowdy redneck ensembles, clothes to wear if we went out that night, and shorts and t-shirts for the ride back. Shoes-wise, we had cowboy boots (two pairs in my case), wedges, and rain boots. Overkill? Maybe, especially considering we wore exactly one outfit and one pair of shoes. But better safe than sorry.
Equipment wise, you need a lot of stuff. Ponchos are always a good idea- portable and disposable. Someone may even try and share your poncho with you, so they help you make friends too.
Towels, trash bags, chairs and tarps if you plan on setting up camp in the field (which we never did because we like being free to roam around, but maybe you prefer settling in for the day).
And a cooler- don't forget that. Even if you don't take it into the infield, chances are you'll attend at least two pre-parties before heading to the infield, and a cold beverage is a necessity.
Our most treasured item that we brought this year was perhaps the simplest- a bag of pretzels. Snacking on it throughout the day kept us in good shape, and we made lots of friends by offering them to those with growling stomachs. Pretzels are clutch, and don't you forget it.
DON'T: Drink too much right out of the starting gate.
It's a marathon, not a sprint, and the Derby doesn't run until six. Don't be the person who doesn't even make it in the gates. It's just not cool. You want to remember your Derby stories for the next day.
DON'T: Try and bring alcohol into the infield.
I know- beer is $5 and a mint julep is $10. Who in the infield has that kind of money? It's really tempting (and let's face it, super easy) to tape a flask or plastic bag of liquor to your leg and sidle on past the security guards. But in the carefree party atmosphere, you may thoughtlessly whip it out in front of an undercover cop, resulting in your expulsion from the infield and the end of your Derby experience. No bueno. Instead...
DO: Bring in drunk fruit.
What? How is this possible? Easy. It's completely legal and allowed to bring food into the infield- it just has to be in a clear plastic bag. So start getting crafty. A week before the Derby, buy a couple of containers of cut-up pineapple and a fifth of pineapple rum (you can also use peaches, apples, oranges, or all four, and tailor your rum flavor accordingly). Soak the pineapple in rum for a week. The day of Derby, cut it up, pack it in a plastic bag, and voila! A perfectly legal and savvy Derby snack. I'll admit that the texture of drunk fruit is not the most appetizing, but by the time you get into the infield you'll probably be brave enough to suck it down.
A fringe benefit of this strategy is that fruit makes perfect ammunition in case you need to throw something at people. I don't know why this would be necessary, I just know that it happens.
DO: Have some sort of unusual accessory that makes people want to take pictures with you.
The best part of the infield may very well be the instant camaraderie between all of its inhabitants. Literally everyone there is your best friend. You will meet some of the craziest, kookiest folks in the world, and while your conversation may not last longer than a minute, you'll remember it for a much longer time.
One of the best ways to make new friends is to wear something silly that makes you stand out. In me and Layson's case this year, we thought it was going to be the fact that we were wearing our matching cowboy boots- mine are turquoise, hers red, and they are ALWAYS a crowd pleaser. Always.
I even found a girl with the same pair and a few other things in common. CRAZY.
But then, our friend Brittany's mom decided that we needed Derby hats and that she would buy them for us. Naturally, she went to Rite Aid and came back with mini-sombrero fascinators. Words cannot express how popular these made us and how many people wanted to take pictures with us. It was awesome.
In that same spirit, return the favor. Ask to take pictures with people whose accessory you admire, and strike up a conversation from there. Instant bonding will ensue. As pictures will show, Layson and I tended to be drawn to anyone wearing an article of clothing with the American flag on it. What can we say, we just love America so much!
DON'T: Attempt cheerleading stunts in the infield on pavement.
So it may happen that some people admire you and your two friends' mini sombreros. Perhaps they will ask for a photo- nothing unusual there. But to spice the photo up a bit, they insist that you be doing something funny in the picture. Naturally you hit upon the idea of a cheerleading stunt- two people lifting the third in a basic move. Nothing fancy. Something you've probably even done before, to great success.
But, you do it on pavement. And without a back spot, the lift just isn't that steady. So the flyer loses her balance- NOT HER FAULT- and kicks one of her lifters in the eye with her boot. Oops.
After regrouping and correctly executing the stunt for said picture, it comes to your attention that the injured party is bleeding behind her sunglasses. GO FIND AN EMT. They are actually super friendly and helpful, even willing to let you tour the ambulance for a second.
Of course, all this only happens if you go against my advice and attempt a stunt in the first place. Which you shouldn't. It could turn out a lot worse. At least do it on grass and with a backspot.
That's all the tips I have. I was a bit conflicted because naturally I wanted to advocate going downtown on Derby night, but the past two years I've actually just driven back to Lexington after taking a power nap. If anyone has tips on how to push through that barrier, please share.
Derby is exhausting, but completely worth it. I've loved my infield experiences, but maybe next year I'll be a little more glamorous and actually sit in the grandstands... maybe.
Like Hef and his girls.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on May 5, 2011 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
Please join me in welcoming yet another Guest Blogger to the site. You know we love your all's input. I was thrilled when David Scull agreed to write a Guest Blog post on the Derby. You see, I have never seen someone appear to be as genuinely excited about the Derby as Scull...and I have a lot of Louisville-obsessed friends. He takes the cake though. His Facebook statuses have been almost exclusively dedicated to the Derby since the day Louisville lost to Morehead State (Sorry Scull...had to throw that in there).
David Scull hails from the same high school as me, South Oldham High School. They never gave awards called "Mr. South Oldham" or anything like that, but had they given such an award, Scull would have surely received it. He was not only everyone's favorite guy around campus, but he also attended and cheered like his life depended on it at virtually every sporting event our school had (except football, because he was on that team). I can't say this with 100% certainty....but pretty darn close anyway.....but I think he invented the famous South Oldham cheer that the student section loved during basketball games. It went a little something like this.....
(The cheerleaders would come over to the student section and try to prompt us to yell back the same thing that they yelled at us)
Cheerleader: "Yell Green, Green!"
Fans (lead by Scull): "Yell Grey, Grey!"
Cheerleader: "Yell Grey, Grey!"
Fans: "Green, Green!"
Cheerleader: "Yell Green!"
Cheerleader: "Everybody say HEY!"
Best cheer sequence ever. Anyway, without further ado....please give a warm welcome to Guest Blogger DAVID SCULL....
"Q & A with your Resident Derby Enthusiast"
By David Scull
I am a Derby-phile. This is a known fact. I love anything and everything about the Kentucky Derby. It has been brought to my attention that there are people out there that have no idea what the Derby is all about. This troubles me. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to educate the public in the form of a good old fashioned Q & A...with all of the questions and answers provided by me, myself, and I.
Q. What exactly is the Kentucky Derby? Is it some kind of a bluegrass-themed hat? I'm confused.
A. It's okay to be confused in the face of such awesomeness, especially if you haven't been properly prepared. The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held in Louisville on the first Saturday of every May at the legendary Churchill Downs. Its the longest consecutively held horse race in the United States, as its been held every year since 1875. More importantly, it is a massive kick-ass party! Its a well-known fact that bourbon + gambling + fancy hats = FUN. Its simple math. Derby is one big excuse to have a couple of weeks of hard partying leading up to exactly two minutes of horse racing action...but what a ride!
Q. But Scull, I don't know how to bet on horses! How am I supposed to have fun at a horse race?
A. Relax, young one. I have been betting on horses since well before I was of legal age to do so, and I still don't know what I am doing. I could spend the next several pages explaining dosage numbers, bloodlines, Beyer speed figures, the merits of dirt vs. polytrack, and the win percentage of Steve Asmussen's first time starters, but the truth is a beginning horse player is better off to come up with their own strategy and stick with it. I suggest something easy for beginners, like picking a favorite jockey (preferably a good one), trainer, or a quick look at the past performances. Start with light betting, maybe straight win, place (2nd), and show (3rd) bets before moving up to real degenerative stuff. Trust me, once you get your feet wet, you'll be wheeling trifectas and keying superfectas in no time.
If all else fails, just pick a name you like, you'll probably win more money than me.
Q. Is there alcohol involved in such an event? Wouldn't that be dangerous to mix booze with such a large number of people?!?
A. Yes, there are a lot of people who partake in the festivities at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend, with about 100,000 attending the Oaks and 150,000 attending the Derby. And yes, alcohol is involved and can be perilous...but it can also be fun! It is a scientific fact that bourbon makes any event better.
(Note: no comprehensive research was done on this matter, but I have done extensive field research)
Q. What's a mint julep? Are they good? How do you make one?
A. Aaaaaaah, the mint julep. Louisville's famous cocktail recipe. Quite simply put, the mint julep is the sweet nectar of life. The only proper way to make a julep is to make your own simple syrup (not hard to do, heat and stir sugar and water together until it makes a good syrup), get some fresh mint, some crushed ice, and a fine Kentucky bourbon. I would start by muddling the mint in a glass (technically a silver tumbler, but they can be hard to come by in most situations), add crushed ice and simple syrup, then poor the bourbon on top of the ice/mint/syrup. You can mix by transferring to another glass once or twice. Garnish with another sprig of fresh mint and enjoy. If you don't like the result...give it to me, I'll drink it. These are by no means meant to be enjoyed responsibly.
Q. Is horse racing a good investment? It seems like its a fun way to make money!
A. Yes, of course it is! In fact, I suggest quitting your job and gambling on horses full time. Also, empty your 401K...this is the most foolproof plan since putting it all on red 17.
(Note: David Scull is not a financial professional and should not be consulted for actual financial planning advice and guidance)
Q. What should I wear? What is the proper Derby attire?
A. Who the hell am I, Joan Rivers? Alright, I guess I can help a bit. If you're going to the infield, where shorts and a tee (or nothing, like Naked Cowboy always does), but if you're going anywhere else, dress up. And if you're a chick, wear a big-ass hat. The goofier the better.
Q. You mentioned the infield, I've heard that its quite a party! What can I expect if I go down there?
A. Mini Mardi Gras. Its hard to describe exactly what the infield is...I guess the best way to put it is that it can be whatever you want it to be. You'll get a spattering of street performers, said Naked Cowboy, young ladies who seem to have lost their shirts, families having picnics next to the young ladies who seem to have lost their shirts, overpriced food, booze, booze, and more booze...The trick with the infield is sneaking in your alcohol. They tend to pat down everybody who comes in, so naturally ladies have a natural advantage in this department, as a security guard is less likely to get handsy with a female (at least in theory). All I can say is if you go to the infield, pace yourself and employ the buddy system. It can get rough out there.
(Note: The infield is not the best location for actually watching the race...just a thought)
Q. So, who you got?
A. Down to the serious stuff. There are several horses that I try to throw out from the get-go, just to limit my scope in a 20 horse field. A couple of things to note, the Derby is a highly unusual race, as there are 20 entries (when the vast majority of other fields will have less than 14), its a 1 1/4 mile race (longest any of these horses have run to this point), and there is a massive crowd that the horses cannot ignore. The added traffic, often wet conditions, and added distance make for an unpredictable race. On top of that, this year's field is overall pretty mediocre and wide open. Frankly this is an incredibly hard race to handicap, but I'll give you some of my thoughts.
Back to the horses I was going to throw out. First, anything worse than a 4th place finish in their last prep is generally a bad sign. You can toss any horse with that characteristic right off the bat. Then, I have a personal bias against any horses coming out of the Keeneland prep races. nothing against the track (beautiful place), but ever since they went to polytrack (artificial racing surface), the winners of the Bluegrass Stakes and Coolmore have been duds in the Derby. So, in the interest of limiting my betting interests, I can throw out Brilliant Speed and Twinspired from the BG Stakes, and Derby Kitten from the Coolmore (Remember, this just means I don't think they can win. I bet a ton of exotics [trifectas, superfectas, etc.] and will use some of these ponies for those bets). Next, I'll take out all of the horses that finished worse than 4th in their last prep race. that eliminates Stay Thirsty, Soldat, Santiva, and Watch Me Go. A couple of horses I love drew challenging post positions. Archarcharch was one of my favorites, but he has drawn the 1 post, a very difficult starting spot prone to traffic. Uncle Mo and Nehro (two of my other favorites) have drawn far outside posts, which will keep them out of the main fray and early traffic, but unless your horse has early speed, you may end up taking a long route around an already long track. Luckily, Mo may have the early kick to overcome this.
I won't go in to detail about the rest of the process, but basically there are so many angles you can play on a race like this that you need to find your favorite and go with it. There is always a danger of information overload. Basically, in the end, I am looking at Dialed In, Mucho Macho Man, and pants On Fire for the top spot, with my choice being Mucho Macho Man. He lost a shoe at the gate in the Louisiana Derby and still got up for third. I feel like his pressing style will keep him close enough to the front pack that he will be in the hunt and ultimately will take the roses with a strong closing kick. I think the best closer (Dialed In) will be there in the end, but ultimately won't have enough room to get there before the wire.
Now that you've read all of that (and trust me I spared you a huge chunk of my thinking), I feel the need to inform you that I haven't picked a Derby winner in 15 years. So, maybe you should just pick your favorite name, or better yet, do what my sister does and bet big on every horse I throw out.
Alright, folks, hope you learned something. I could have literally written a novel about the Kentucky Derby, but I have a feeling that none of you would have read it. If you do make it to the Downs, make sure you stand during the singing of "My Old Kentucky Home", and sing the words loud and proud if you hail from the Bluegrass state. And if you happen to see a portly goateed gentleman with red cheeks and a tear in his eye, don't be alarmed, its just me ("My Old Kentucky Home" before the Derby gets me every time...). Good luck!
|Posted by Kristen Geil on April 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Ever since I was old enough to have a real job (and no, I don't count babysitting as a real job), I have worked in restaurants. I started hostessing at Suggins (a classic Lexington bar/restaurant near my house with some seriously good food and a colorful array of regulars) when I was 15.
A few of my friends worked there, and I liked the free meal at the end of my shift and always seeing people I know coming in to eat. Aside from one traumatic incident when I attempted to carry four waters at the same time and ended up spilling them all and breaking an iPod (haven't tried that since), I loved hostessing and was pretty good at it.
During college, I started working at Alfalfa, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant downtown with an eclectic menu and even more eclectic customers. I hostessed for a couple of years and graduated to serving this past summer. I love working there and will probably write a tribute blog about my last day at work when it occurs this summer- between the homeless, the hippies, and the Sunday brunchers, there are countless SMH/WTF moments that occur at this quirky restaurant.
Both restaurants are great places to work and can get incredibly busy at times. As a server, it's obviously my job to make the customer's experience the best it can be, and because I generally like our customers and want good tips, I work really hard at this. But I think what some people fail to consider when eating out is that the diner also has a profound effect on the restaurant employees as well. My friend Bo, who worked alongside me at Suggins for years and years, once said something like everyone in the world should be required to work at a restaurant for six months, and I couldn't agree more. But until that happens, here's my guide for proper etiquette in the diner/server relationship.
1. The Waiting Game is not usually the hostess's fault. Don't be rude.
Waiting to get seated at a restaurant sucks. It's boring, there's usually nothing to do, and you're probably already hungry- horrible combination. But please, don't take it out on the hostess who took your name and number of people in your party. Her job is really stressful, probably more stressful than actually being a server. She has to deal with the public, stay cheerful, and play a strange little logic game to seat the most people in the most efficient manner. It's trickier than it sounds.
(Layson, I still can't believe you didn't buy this tank on spring break)
Here's a few subpoints to illuminate why the wait may be awhile, or at least awhile longer than you expected.
-You have five or more people in your party. Most restaurant tables seat four people comfortably. Five or more means you either have to push two tables together, squeeze awkwardly close together, or wait until one of the two tables that can comfortably seat five people gets up. And if you have seven or more people? You HAVE to push two tables together, which means waiting for two adjacent tables in the aisle to get up. That takes awhile.
-People are lingering. They have finished eating but won't leave (more on this later).
-You came in with a "crowd" or before/after an "event." Like, a movie at the Kentucky Theatre just let out and everyone decides it's a good idea to go eat at the nearby restaurant. Or it's intermission at a play and everyone decides to grab a quick drink. Or, it's Gallery Hop and your restaurant is connected to a gallery. Or church just let out. Whatever. If you come at a predictable time, you're going to have a predictably long wait.
I hope I never see this in person.
Hostesses try their best to accurately guess how long the wait will be, but other factors can skew the estimated wait time. So be patient, bring something to do, and above all, don't wander off to take a walk down the street while you wait. Your name will inevitably be called during this time, and when you do not respond, your name will be taken off the list. Tough.
2. Ordering: It's not rocket science.
Disclaimer: I am not a typically patient person. But I try my best, when serving, not to make the customer feel rushed or pressured. I even give them a little warning- when bringing their drinks, I'll say something like "I'll be back in a few minutes to get your order." That means, when I return soon after with a ticket pad and pen in hand, you should know what you're getting. It is acceptable to have it narrowed to two choices and ask me for a recommendation. It is not acceptable to say, "Gosh, I just don't know!" and ask questions about every single item on the menu.
It is also not acceptable to say, "Honestly, I haven't even looked at the menu yet." Why not? I told you I was coming back. There will be plenty of time to have scintillating conversation with your dining partner while you are waiting for your food, eating your salads, eating your meals, and after. Be ready to order- especially if we're obviously busy and I'm running around the restaurant full tilt juggling hot chocolate mugs, bread plates, and serving trays.
Similarly, if you are in a rush, please tell me right off the bat. I can tell you which dishes on the menu take the shortest versus the longest amount of time, and I will make a special effort to speed you through the dining process. Please don't wait until you are halfway through what I assumed to be a well-timed dining experience to tell me that you have to be across town in 15 minutes.
Here's another thing: I do not mind answering questions about our menu. I also don't mind going back to ask the kitchen about something I'm not sure about. That's part of my job. But before you ask- please make sure the information is not listed in the menu or around the restaurant somewhere. Want to know what flavors hot teas we have? Our salad dressings? If the entree comes with a soup or a salad? Funnily enough, it's all on the menu. Soups and side items of the day? On the specials board- which is inevitably located right next to the diner asking me these questions. Take notice of your surroundings, and I'll be grateful that I don't have to rattle off all of our salad dressings in one breath.
3. Don't send your food back unless it's for a good reason.
(I didn't really want to google image "gross food," sorry)
It's a fact. Sometimes, the kitchen messes up. It happens. And when it does, I am happy to ask them to redo your food. If your burger isn't cooked well, if they put cheese on it and you're a vegan, if it's not quite hot enough- that's legit. You ordered your food a certain way and you expect a good meal- great. I'm happy to give it to you.
But if you send a plate back because "It's not what I expected" and ask to get something else, free of charge... well, that's not my fault or the kitchen's fault. It's a little presumptuous to ask me to replace your meal for free in this scenario. I kid you not, last week at Alfalfa a customer returned a Seafood Puff Pastry because it "tasted too fishy." Awhat now?
I especially can't discount your meal if you complain about the food but have proceeded to eat it anyway. It's bad business. You eat it, you buy it. End of story.
4. Don't linger.
You've eaten your food. The plates have been cleared. I have taken your check and stopped refilling your drinks. I am silently telling you that it's time to go.
(but you will never see this sign at Alfalfa)
Yet you linger. This is one of the single most annoying things a patron can do, and here's why:
1. If we're busy, you're taking up a table that another customer should be sitting at. Turning tables quickly is how I make the most money, especially at a busy time like Sunday brunch. I make tips based on good service and how much food I sell you- not by how long you sit there.
One of my fellow waiters once said he wished we could install parking meters at tables and get our tips based on how long a customer is "parked" at the table. That's a great idea.
2. If it is late at night and we are trying to close up, we can't. Staying for a few minutes after the restaurant technically closes and finishing your drinks is perfectly fine. Staying a full half hour while the waiters have finished eating their employee meals and are waiting to sweep, mop, and leave (things we can't do with you still sitting) is not okay. Here's a hint: if I start putting up chairs, it's time to go.
5. Don't come in two minutes before we are supposed to close.
Just don't. It's heartbreaking to think you are almost done with work, and then have to serve another table, which is at least a 30 minute endeavor.
If you do come in right before close, please follow rule #4 and don't linger. Be ready to order. Because I'm the one who has to go back and inform the kitchen that another table just walked in, and sometimes, the messenger gets shot.
6. Corral your kids.
Alfalfa actually has a sign like this hanging up.
Besides the fact that kids running around a restaurant and screaming is annoying, it's also dangerous. I'm walking around with hot coffee and heavy trays- I do not want to trip over your kid and the ensuing lawsuit. Please keep all legs and arms within the table's vicinity.
7. Tips on Tipping
It's a touchy subject, but it has to be addressed.
Here's a secret: before I worked as a server, I thought tipping around or even under 15% was okay, even acceptable. It's not. To everyone who served me food up until that point in my life, I'm sorry.
Somewhere on the internet once, I saw a hilarious sign posted in a restaurant about how servers interpret the tips people leave them. I searched google images high and low but cannot find it for the life of me, so here's my take on it:
25% or more: Amazing service and great food- you rock! Let's elope. (Or, my parents came to eat).
20-24%: Above average dining experience. Nice work. Thank you!
15-19%: Decent (if an adult). Amazing service and great food- you rock! Let's elope (if college student).
14% and below: F--- you.
Remember- I technically earn something like $2.50 an hour. Tips are what I depend on, income wise. Unless I have been rude, given you poor service, or your meal just plain sucked- you should be leaving around 20%.
To figure out how much to leave, just divide your total by 5. That's it. At Alfalfa, we even have a handy guide at the bottom of our receipts that calculates exactly what 15%, 20%, and 25% of the total is. Please look at that when making a decision.
Also, please try to avoid leaving mountains of change. Because I am a poor soon-to-be college graduate, I will of course take it, but it's annoying and I tend to drop the pennies all around the restaurant as I'm cleaning off your table.
Also please don't leave foreign money, gum, coupons, or anything else. That's sweet and quirky, but I prefer cash.
This post came off more like a rant than I had intended. Let me reiterate- I love my job. Bible. (*Kardashian-ism*) I love interacting with the customers, serving food that I honestly believe is delicious, and getting paid to do so. But after six years in the business, I find myself being a much more conscious customer when eating out. Hopefully with these tips, we can all get along better. And if you wander into Alfalfa at 12:30 during a Sunday brunch and you notice me with a gritted smile and steam pouring out of my ears... well, now you know why.
|Posted by Kristen Geil on April 28, 2011 at 12:40 AM||comments (2)|
|Posted by Kristen Geil on April 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM||comments (1)|
Kristen Offers a "How To"-
The Art of the Mix
So I spent a large portion of this past weekend in a car, and somewhere in between Lexington and Myrtle Beach, I realized (not for the first time) how much I love and rely on my iPod and collection of mix CDs I keep in my car. Without my "March" playlist keeping my sane, I might have driven my car off a North Carolina mountain yesterday.
Many people fail to utilize the "Playlist" function of their iPod. Too often I creep on someone's portable music device only to find that their only playlists are "Top Rated," "Recently Added," "90s" (why is that even an option?), and occassionally "Work Out." My friends, you are slackers. With very little effort, you can have your own personal soundtrack playing while you go about your every day life (and let's be honest, isn't that something we've all kind of fantasized about anyway?)
In fact, that's a great place to start. One of my former professors often relied upon that very question as an ice-breaker on the first day of class: "If you had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what would it be and why?" Trust me, you don't want to give a stupid answer to this question. I have witnessed people giving stupid answers to this question- "Wannabe," "I'm Too Sexy, "Friday"- and I have judged them as a result.
So, my first suggestion- start with a playlist theme you know very well. Yourself. Make a soundtrack to your life. Choose songs with lyrics, titles, and subject matter that describe your personality and/or lifestyle. Throw in a couple that refer to specific life events or especially memorable moments. Some can be goofy, some can be serious- it's your life. Have fun with it.
Another fun playlist genre is one that I honestly think I came up with myself. I've looked on all my friends' iPods, and no one else has a "STRMOOP" playlist. Baffled? That clever acronym stands for "Songs That Remind Me Of Other People." Yes, your friends have theme songs too. More than that, you have songs that you associate with that friend- a particular happy time, a ridiculous adventure (shoutout to Ally Tucker and "We Belong Together"), or a Not Safe For Work spring break. Making a playlist centered around this theme is a guaranteed way to improve your mood.
My last innovative playlist suggestion is pretty simple- your favorite songs/tunes that you've been listening to the most this particular month. I have playlists for August 2008, December 2010, March 2011- and all of them instantly transport me back to that particular time. A musical time machine, if you will. This kind of playlist is fun because there's a lot of room to experiment. The songs can be old, new, opposite genres- just whatever you liked the most at that time.
Other fairly basic but useful playlist ideas- Sleep, Study (in my case these are combined into one playlist, which I think is perfectly acceptable), Most Played (I think it is hilarious to look at this and realized that Keke Palmer's "Bottoms Up" is the second most played song on my iPod- so revealing), 5 Star (your highest rated songs- sort of like a greatest hits of your iPod), and something that just plain psychs you up (to work out, pregame, cage fight, whatever).
Not all of us can get the real thing.
Last note- out of playlists, mix CDs are born.
I can't even count how many of these I have floating around in my room and car.
I can honestly think of no better gift to give or receive than a mix CD. In fact, a couple of playlists on my iPod are just all the mix CDs a certain friend has made me, compiled into one convenient location (shoutout to Cole and Connor). I love making CDs for my friends' birthdays, or just for a fun occasion (I recently made a "SEEEENYAZ" playlist/CD that I gave to my closest friends after choosing a song to represent each one of us and our group's friendship as a whole- big hit). Mix CDs give you a glimpse into someone else's mind and what they think of you. It's a great way to get turned on to new music as well (I vaguely remember last year Transy students attempting some "Mix CD Exchange," can anyone expand on that?)
Plus, they are cheap, easy, and inherently thoughtful. Any boy looking to get a certain girl- make her a CD.
Great gifts. Can't go wrong. I look forward to receiving many Mix CD's in the mail from my loyal readers after posting this blog.
What about you guys? What are your go-to playlists or mix CDs that get played on heavy rotation?
|Posted by Ally Tucker on March 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Kristen Geil on March 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM||comments (0)|
I've lived in Lexington since I was born. Specifically, I've lived in the same neighborhood in Lexington since I was born. What can I say, I'm a lifer. I could- and will eventually- write an entire blog post about why Chevy Chase and Romany Road area is the best Lexington neighborhood to grow up in, but I'll save that for another day.
(let's pour one out for Graeter's, shall we?)
My best kept secret that I'd like to reveal today revolves around a Lexington treasure called Ecton Park. You may remember it from one of my first blog posts about a Lexington bucket list- I included Ecton's weekly summer Tuba Tuesdays, evenings of jazz, picnics, and conspicuous wine-drinking. As much as I love Tuba Tuesdays, my favorite Ecton Park event of any year, hands down, is Little League Opening Day.
Ecton Park is the home base of Eastern Little League, which is apparently a pretty legit Little League conference in Kentucky. I wouldn't know. I never made it past T-ball (still rock my jersey- or Rachel's- from time to time).
(miss ya, Ben).
My old house was literally right across the street from the park. As a child, the first signs of summer were not longer hours of sun or people jogging or ice cream stores having longer hours. No, I knew it was officially summer when it was impossible to see when attempting to back out of our driveway and my dad started joking about letting people park in our yard for a fee. Foot and car traffic is so intense that parking becomes a merciless sport. I vividly remember one Tuba Tuesday seeing the cello player in the band carrying his instrument from his parking spot a solid quarter mile uphill. Rough.
Anyway, ever since I was old enough to cross the street alone and walk my dog to the park, I spent a good portion of my summers enjoying all Ecton Park has to offer. Two playgrounds, a shelter for picnics, tennis courts, a fun little creek to play in, and of course, two baseball fields. The concession stand had my grape sno cone waiting when I got there, and I was outraged when they raised the price from 75 cents to a dollar.
If that doesn't mean summer to you, I don't know what does.
But I digress. Opening Day is, of course, the day that the pre/spring season ends and Little League baseball is officially in session. Next to Oktoberfest (which will also merit a future blog post), it's the closet thing our neighborhood has to a local holiday. It's held on a Saturday, and I'm pretty sure every single team in the League has a game that day. There are hundreds of families, tiny tots, and unleashed dogs running around, and it's madness. Chaos. And SO MUCH FUN.
I have to confess to being a little creepy during Opening Day. If I can't find someone to go with me, I'll go alone. I think watching little kids' (attempted) organized sports is hilarious. I'm perfectly content to be the girl sitting alone in the stands. I'll choose a team to root for, pick a couple of favorite players, make friends with the parents, and just soak up the atmosphere. What's more American summer than Little League?
If baseball's not your thing, don't worry a bit. There are many more options. And by that, I mean everyone's
favorite thing... INFLATABLE OBSTACLE COURSES.
That's as solid a reason to come as any.
After you whip some poor kid's butt on the obstacle course and send him/her crying to mommy, reward yourself with a classic ballfield concession treat. Ecton has hot dogs, burgers, SNO CONES, candy, chips, everything you need for a day at the park. While you're enjoying a snack, browse the Little League apparel they have for sale. I usually buy a t-shirt, which I recommend so that you can have something for Jodie Meeks to sign.
Oh, did I not mention that? As per baseball tradition, Ecton Park calls in a celebrity to throw out the official "first pitch" of the season. Chuck Hayes did it twice (I have pictures with him). Rich Brooks, Joker Phillips, Cliff Hawkins, Jodie Meeks, and more that I can't remember without flipping through my autograph book have all been there in the past. This year, I'm hoping for Randall Cobb, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, or Jorts.
But not in that outfit, please. There are children around.
Anyway, take my word for it and mark your calendars for
SATURDAY, APRIL 16th, at 1 PM.
Ecton Park is located on Turkeyfoot Road near Romany Road, off Tates Creek.
You won't regret it. If you buy me a sno cone, I'll give you a shout out on the blog. See you there!
|Posted by Kristen Geil on March 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM||comments (2)|
Hey everyone, I'm back from Key West with a fresh batch of things to officially stamp with the Tucker's Tales seal of approval. Take my word for it, and go enjoy these things now. Do it.
1. Lupe Fiasco, Lasers ￼
I'm a big time fan of Lupe Fiasco. After discovering him around my freshman year of college, it's now hard to find a playlist on my iPod that doesn't include a song by him (save my "Classic Rock Power Hour"). He has some of the most genuinely clever lyrics and showcases lots of insight through his songs. I love playing his songs on a lazy summer day- they're great for a "chill" vibe (try "Daydreaming" and "Hip Hop Has Saved My Life").
This latest album, Lasers, was a recent download and I can't get enough of it. However, it's received mixed reviews from major critics, and the album has apparently been a struggle to produce and release, with Fiasco warring with his record label. Fiasco himself has apparently said (and I'm citing Wikipedia here) that he both loves and hates this album. Go here for a more thorough explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lasers_(album)
Here's another good interview if you're interested: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-14/lupe-fiasco-lasers-is-his-revenge/
But, like I said, I'm a fan, and not a picky one either. "The Show Goes On" is a great, inspirational single that makes me dance alone in my car. "Till I Get There" is another of the laid-back rap variety, and a song that I can already tell will be played on repeat the next time I'm stressed. "Never Forget You" features John Legend and may be replacing Vitamin C's "Graduation Song" as my theme for end of senior year (cue tearing up already). "All Black Everything" and "Words I Never Said" (calling out Limbaugh, Obama, and Glenn Beck in ONE VERSE) harken back to Lupe's predilection for inserting a social conscious into his songs. "State Run Radio" just gets me pumped, simple as that.
I could go on forever, but I'll stop before this turns into a Lupe-only blog post. One more thing: I haven't had a chance to check this out myself yet, but apparently Lupe released a viral video to accompany the CD. Called "The L.A.S.E.R.S. Manifesto," the video (on youtube and his official site) proclaims:
To every man, woman & child... We want an end to the glamorization of negativity in the media. We want an end to status symbols dictating our worth as individuals. We want a meaningful and universal education system. We want substance in the place of popularity. We will not compromise who we are to be accepted by the crowd. We want the invisible walls that separate by wealth, race & class to be torn down. We want to think our own thoughts. We will be responsible for our environment. We want clarity & truth from our elected officials or they should move aside. We want love not lies. We want an end to all wars foreign & domestic violence. We want an end to the processed culture of exploitation, over-consumption & waste. We want knowledge, understanding & peace. We will not lose because we are not losers, we are lasers! Lasers are revolutionary. Lasers are the future.
That's a good enough reason for me to at least give the album a chance, I think you all should do the same.
2. March Madness Camraderie
I love being a Cats fan. I have an insane amount of pride and an unhealthy emotional attachment to the team (there have been times, more than once, that I have teared up after a particularly tough loss- not because of the loss, but because I feel bad for the players and that they have to face a furious BBN afterwards).
When I went down to Key West, I somehow forgot to pack a Cats tshirt and was mentally kicking myself. We figured we'd be some of the only people from Kentucky there during SEC finals and first week of the tournament, and wanted to rep our hood (yup, just said that). Boy, were we wrong. Our first night out, we spotted from a distance a guy wearing a UK2K shirt and immediately started the C-A-T-S cheer. He responded, with gusto, and we all continued on our way with smiles on our faces.
On Thursday, we went to a sports bar to watch the game, and I was shocked at how much blue I saw there. Kentucky fans literally came out of the woodwork. So much so, that the place exploded in cheers and Morehead hit that amazing shot and C-A-T-S chants started at UK's tip-off. It felt like home. ￼
I love March Madness. I love being able to have a common language with the complete strangers in the booth next to you. I love being able to go up to an older couple at the bar just because they're wearing blue, and learning that they come here on vacation every year and they think Harrelson is a doll. I love the collective groans, sighs, angry yells, and triumphant whoops. I love the bond of having a common enemy and the fact that I cry during "One Shining Moment" every single year (and for the record, Jennifer Hudson singing it last year was a complete disgrace). In all, I think I have the most friends during March Madness. I don't want it to end, ever.
3. My "f youuuu" playlist
I don't get angry a lot, but when I do, I have a specific remedy: I listen to my customized, specially made "F You" playlist. It can be anywhere- in the library, in the gym, setting tables before my shift at work starts- and I will feel infinitely better after listening to this particular mix of songs. It may seem kind of bizarre- I'm the itty bitty white girl with a perpetual grin on her face- but let me assure you, having an F You playlist is like having an ace in your pocket. Mine personally is made up of gangsta rap, with the Cee Lo Green hit thrown in at the end for when my mood has started to lift. Don't have one? Some of my favorites: "Ante Up" by MOP, "Hate Me Now" by Nas, "X Gon' Give It To You" by DMX, "Hood Mentality" by Ice Cube, and "The Sh!t" by DJ Danger Mouse and Jemini. With these songs in my earbuds, I can vicariously get rid of my feelings of wrath and go about my daily life without becoming a Lifetime movie.
In Key West, tanks were EVERYWHERE. You of course had your typical srat/fratstar varieties (and yes, I have a neon Delta Delta Delta tank, gotta love it), but my favorites were the absurdly, over the top tacky ones. I foresee myself wearing a tank every single day of May Term. I recommend a looser fitting one for comfort and ventilation. Tanks offer a great way to express your personality while showing off your arms and basking in the sun, potentially resulting in a grade A farmer's tan. They're also completely appropriate for indoor soccer games. Pictures can explain my obsession better than my words can.
That's me, traveling back from Key West. Since we were in the air for most of the UK game, I decided to rep KY and wear cowboy boots, jorts, and my UK sweatshirt. Oh yeah, and the best purchase I made of the trip- a custom made tank. Yes, that says "WINNING" on the front in UK blue... the back says "SORRY FOR PARTYING." Keepin' it classy.
Layson loves cats.
Tank tastic at mile 0. Obnoxious? Maybe.
So bottom line, tanks are going to be the trend of the summer. I recommend pairing them with jorts or neon board shorts. As long as you're being tacky, you might as well be REALLY tacky. The tanks motto is "Sun's Out, Guns Out," and I think it's safe to say the sun is out for good this Kentucky spring. Getchur tanks now.
|Posted by Kristen Geil on March 7, 2011 at 11:20 PM||comments (0)|
Jumping on the Consumer Report bandwagon... Here are my endorsements. I will whole-heartedly stand behind each and every one of these.
I'm not really sure how I found this website. Possibly when browsing TotalFratMove.com (a guilty pleasure of mine). In hindsight, it doesn't even matter. What does matter: no matter how douchey the name is, no matter that I cringed a little bit when I added it to my bookmarks, no matter that one of the playlists is called "Hoin Out" (what does that even mean?). This website is kind of awesome. Basically, FratMusic.com is a collection of playlists that can be used in your every day life. They're perfect to listen to when getting ready for a good night out, hanging out in your room, or even Baby Making (no really, that's a playlist). There's even a study playlist completely composed of classical music if you're feeling brainy. Our favorites on the Delta Hall: Throwbacks, Mashups, and the recently added Spring Break. If liking this website and its music makes me a sellout to the fratstar movement, well, so be it. Fratstars might have better taste in music than I do. Take my word for it and browse these playlists sometime.
Props to Connor for introducing me to this app, even though according to my little sister, people have been into this for months. Pardon me for not being in the loop until now. Basically, HeyTell regresses your phone into a walkie talkie. Or, to look at it from another perspective, it advances your text messages into real time voice messages. The app is available to iPhone and Droid users, and it's free. Sign up, encourage your friends to sign up, and enjoy using it to play "Name That Tune" and using it as your own personal voice recorder and walkie talkie. It is one of the most fun things to play with, and I actually really get a kick out of hearing my friends' voices when they would have normally sent me a text. Add me, peeps.
3. Pretty Little Liars
Ohhh, my Monday night obsession. My roommates and I started watching it this summer and have been hooked ever since. This ABC Family show has mastered the art of the cliffhanger, the leading on of audiences without actually resolving any plot issues ever, and the terrifyingly creepy opening sequence:
Basically, this story is a mystery revolving around the disappearance and apparent death of Alison, the bitchy queen bee in a group of five friends. Whodunit? No one knows, and things start to get even creepier once the surviving girls get stalkerish texts, notes, phone calls, etc from a mysterious "A." This is definitely a show that you need to watch from beginning to end, and you may feel frustrated at times by the dead ends and feeling that the plot isn't really going anywhere. But at the end of the day, I'm in it to find out who A is and no way in hell will I give in to the temptation to check Wikipedia for the spoiler (I failed to mention that the TV series is based on a book series, which I refuse to read because I enjoy watching the show and getting the heebie jeebies once in awhile).
4, This Dance Craze
The video and the lyrics speak for themselves. National Smang It Day is Wednesday, March 16. I expect everyone to participate.