“I Didn’t See You”

I had to work this morning, so I woke up bright and early then hopped on my longboard towards the subway. I was in the bike lane where I was supposed to be when suddenly a black SUV veered into my lane, coming within a foot of hitting me. Luckily i have cat-like reflexes and I jumped off my board in time. I walked over to his hood and blocked his path, raised my middle finger, and yelled at him for almost hitting me. I noticed his Lyft tag and saw his passenger waiting to get picked up on the curb. I looked at him and asked if he was sure he wanted to get in a car with a driver that clearly can’t drive. The Lyft driver rolled down his window and said “I didn’t see you.”

I didn’t see you. No fucking shit. That’s why he almost hit me. That’s not really a valid excuse. It’s San Francisco. There are bikers, skaters, joggers, and crackheads everywhere. If he drives in the city for a living, he needs to know that. So I took a picture of his license plate to report him to Lyft. He’s getting only getting one star and a negative review from me. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Blurry pic of the culprit

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Basil Hayden’s 

Basil Hayden’s is a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s closely related to Jim Beam, but it’s a classier drink to order. It has more rye than most whiskeys and has a spicier finish. Once upon a time it was aged for eight years but it has since been rebranded as “artfully aged” so I’m sure they are skimping somewhere on the production line. It’s 80 proof which gives it a 40% alcohol by volume content, pretty standard for a bottle of bourbon. 

Basil Hayden’s is a lesser known bourbon despite some mainstream support. If you’re at a bar that carries it, you should take advantage and order a shot. I only became aware of it in the last few weeks because it was the whiskey of choice for my friend Josh. He’s no longer with us, but I’ve since tried it and must admit that he had good taste. I’m going to sip it, enjoy it, and remember a great person that was taken too soon. Try Basil Hayden’s. Do it for Josh. And don’t tell me if you hate it because I don’t want to hear it. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Skipping Breakfast 

I skip breakfast. I usually wake up, take a shit and a shower, get dressed, and go to work. I’ll have a cup of black coffee and a glass of ice water in the breakroom before my shift starts. My first meal is usually lunch, then I’ll snack throughout the day until dinner, and maybe a few more munchies before bedtime. That’s been my routine for a while now. 

The nice thing about skipping breakfast is that I’m conditioned to it and my body doesn’t rely on it. So when I do actually do eat breakfast I feel like Popeye downing a can of spinach. All the naysayers will say that’s proof that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Malarkey, it’s just a boost like a video game power up. 

The weird thing is that I like breakfast foods. Eggs, hash browns, sausage, pancakes, motherfucking bacon… all are delicious, but I’d rather have them for dinner when I’m awake enough to enjoy them. Cereal is more of a snack for me, but I’d rather eat it straight from the box than pour it in a bowl with milk. That makes it soggy and soggy cereal is gross. Don’t get me wrong. Breakfast is good, it’s just too early for me. I need time to build up my appetite.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ordering “Beer” at a Bar

I bartend at a tourist trap in San Francisco. That means I deal with a lot of people that don’t know how to order drinks. At least twice a shift I will ask a customer what they want to drink, and they will respond with “Beer.” I just shake my head and explain to them that this isn’t Hollywood. This isn’t a movie. You don’t just say “Beer” and get a beer. Do you want bottle or draft? Do you want something imported, domestic, or a local craft brew? Do you want a lager, an ale, a stout, a porter, a wheat beer or an IPA? You have to be more specific. If you want a Budweiser, then order a fucking Budweiser. I don’t have time to hold your hand and walk you through the menu. I’m too busy helping people who actually know what they want to drink. The next motherfucker who asks me for a beer is getting a glass of O’Doul’s and the middle finger. You wanted a beer, you got one. Now fuck off. 

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Flush-Resistant Dookie

I was at my friend’s house a few years ago and had to take a shit. I went to his bathroom and pooped and I pooped good. It was a pretty substantial dump. I admired it briefly and then flushed it down. I washed my hands, dried them off, and started to open the door when I noticed a small turd still in the toilet bowl. Normally I would just leave a little nugget like that but I respected my friend too much to do that to him. I flushed the toilet again. It somehow managed to survive another rough ride around the bowl. It didn’t want to go. I had to flush the toilet a third time. No dice. The fourth flush didn’t do anything either. On the fifth fucking flush it finally disappeared. I felt a little bad. He was a tough little fucker. I’ve encountered other flush-resistant dookie since, but nothing on that level. I still think about him every now and then, or whenever I see a Tootsie Roll. I hope he’s still out there somewhere. I wish him the best.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bartender Hands

I’ve been bartending a couple of days a week and it’s starting to catch up with me. Right now I’m suffering from a case of bartender hands. That’s when your hands are slightly dried out with small nicks and cuts. The cuts aren’t generally visible but you sure as hell feel them when you get lime juice or a bit of salt in them, both common hazards of the trade. Bartending isn’t just making cocktails, pouring beer, and making small talk with customers. There’s a lot of grunt work involved. You get bartender hands from washing glassware, prepping fruit, broken pieces of glass, and any combination of the above. It takes its toll after a while. It’s worth it at the end of the shift though. Count your money, not your problems. 

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Count Your Money, Not Your Problems

Last Saturday was a crazy shift and I went to the bar afterwards with my fellow servers for a much needed drink. We bragged about our good tips, bitched about bad tables, complained about lazy coworkers, what we fucked up on… you know, normal server conversations. Servers bitch a lot. It’s a well known fact in the restaurant industry. We bitch when it’s busy, we bitch when it’s slow, we invent reasons to bitch. So believe me when I say that one of the guys in the group was bitching way too much. He went on and on about all the problems and ignorant people he had to deal with. It was too much. That’s when I realized something. We all needed to stop bitching. Work was tough but it was over, we survived. The nice thing about serving is that everyday is pay day. You go to work and leave with money to show for it. You need to take that cash out of your pocket and look at it. Count your money, not your problems. I know that’s not a profound quote but it’s a good philosophy to have as a server. And if you do have problems, throwing money at them will make them go away. 

Critically Rated at 12/17

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich 

You have a piece of bread covered in peanut butter on one side and another piece of bread covered with jelly on one side. Slap the two together and you have yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the official stereotypical dietary staple of American childhood. One mention of PB&J and you automatically conjure up images of opening your lunchbox and seeing a lovingly-prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off. It doesn’t matter if you never cut the crusts off, or had a lunchbox, or even ever actually had one because pop culture has groomed us to accept them as a part of our past. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a part of us. To deny that is to deny how the world views America. They are as American as apple pie, hot dogs, burgers, beer… that’s a lot of food… and um, oh yeah, motherfucking guns. You can’t spell ‘Murica without PB&J. You know that’s true because you’re reading it on the internet. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Dear White People (TV Show)

Dear White People is a 2017 Netflix dramedy about racism in a fictional Ivy League school. It’s based on the 2014 film of the same name and it brings back some of the actors as well as the writer/director, Justin Simien. I never saw the movie so I can’t talk about any comparisons between the two, but holy shit, the show is great. Racism is a sensitive subject and Dear White People tackles it head on. 

The show follows a core group of black students at a predominately white university. They each deal with being black in different ways. They all have their own ideas on how to combat the racism that they deal with everyday. Some try to stand up to the man, some try to assimilate into the campus culture to fit in, some try to remain neutral. But you can’t stop racism, you can only expose it.

I don’t want to talk about the plot. I don’t want to spoil anything. You should just watch it. I really like how they tell the story. Each episode focuses on a different character and the timeline jumps back and forth. You see the same events but from different perspectives. 

It’s a dramedy so you’ll experience a lot of different emotions. Sometimes you’re angry, sometimes you’re laughing, sometimes you’re crying. It takes place at a fictional college but it feels all too real. There are only ten episodes, each one is thirty minutes or less which is perfect because it makes binge watching easy. I flew through the last six episodes in one sitting. 

Not only is this an entertaining show, it’s an important one that can lead to real life changes. Dear White People makes racism a talking point in the same way that Thirteen Reasons Why makes suicide a talking point. These are taboo subjects that need to be dealed with. Racism is real. It’s too bad that the people that the show is trying to educate will hide behind their bigotry and never watch it. I can honestly say that I’m a better person after watching it. You will be too.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 superhero flick based on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It brings back writer/director James Gunn and most of the actors from the first film including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Michael Rooker and brings in newcomers like Kurt Russel, Sylvester Stallone, Pom Klementieff, and features one hell of cameo from (*spoiler alert*) David Hasselhoff. 

The film tries hard to recreate the magic of the first one and it succeeds for the most part. The humor is there, the character interaction is there, the action is there, but it’s missing the joy of discovery. At this point we know what to expect from Star-Lord and his crew. That’s not a bad thing. You’ll like it if you liked the first one. My girlfriend hadn’t seen the first one so we watched it on demand and then watched Vol. 2 later that night. That’s practically five hours of Guardians of the Galaxy in one sitting and we didn’t get sick of it. That’s impressive because I have a short attention span. I’ll end this review on that note because I hear the ice cream man outside. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is good. Go see it in IMAX 3D if you can, it’s worth the money and not many movies are these days.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Arguing with an Idiot

Everyone has their own opinions and most people want their opinions known. This results in a lot of arguments and debates between people who don’t see eye to eye. I’ve discussed politics, religion, sports, et cetera with friends, family members, and random people at the bar. Most of the time I end up having a decent conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint than me. But occasionally I realize that I’m talking to a complete idiot who has no idea how spectacularly wrong they are.

Case in point: the other day I was talking to a Dodger fan at a baseball game and I mentioned that beach balls in the stands is a Dodger thing. He disagreed and said that beach balls in the stands is a baseball thing. I couldn’t help but laugh at his ignorance. We were sitting in the bleachers at AT&T Park on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon with nary a beach ball in sight. If beach balls are a baseball thing, then where the fuck were all the beach balls? Oh, in Dodger Stadium, that’s right. 

I didn’t bring up that very valid point though because there’s no point in arguing with an idiot. It’s an excercise in futility. If they don’t believe basic facts, they aren’t going to believe you. I want to be clear that he’s not an idiot for being a Dodgers fan. That’s not his fault. Your team is chosen for you before you’re born. He’s an idiot for not realizing that the traditions of Dodger Stadium don’t extend to all of baseball. He probably thinks that every stadium sells Dodger Dogs. They don’t. Just like they don’t do The Chop outside of Atlanta. Don’t argue with stupid people. You’re never going to change their mind. It’s a waste of time and energy. Ignorance is bliss and sometimes people want to be happy. Let them believe the world is flat.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Iron Fist (TV Show)

Iron Fist is a 2017 Netflix show based on the Marvel character of the same name. It’s about a rich dude who uses his iron fist and martial arts skills to fight crime. It’s part of Netflix’s mini Marvel universe that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Each show introduced their titular character and soon they are all going to team up in The Defenders. It’s a good time to have a Netflix subscription.

I watched Daredevil and I loved it. It had some of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen. Go on YouTube right now and search for “Daredevil hallway fight scene” and prepare to have your mind blown. Jessica Jones wasn’t as good, but it was very compelling and has a great villain to keep you interested. Luke Cage was really good and gets you hankering for the next entry in Netflix’s mini Marvel universe.

That’s where Iron Fist comes in. It’s not good. I’m watching it right now. I’m in the middle of the sixth episode and I’m not impressed. It’s sluggish. The action scenes are meh. Finn Jones can’t handle the fight choreography and that’s bad when you’re the star of a show about a good fighter. The plot lines are murky and forced. It’s boring quite frankly. I’m only watching it because I watched all the other shows leading up to The Defenders so I feel like I have to watch it. Watching Netflix shouldn’t be a chore, it should be entertaining. Iron Fist isn’t entertaining. Oh well. Even Pixar fucks up every once in a while. I’m still can’t wait for The Defenders.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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PAX Era

I recently joined the dark side and got a vape pen. I didn’t get your standard vaporizer though, that would be boring and I need to stand out from the crowd. I got the PAX Era. PAX is known as the “Apple of vaping” and for good reason. They make quality products that look great and work great. They are best known for the Juul, their flagship e-cigarette. The Era is an updated version of the Juul, but it uses cannabis oil instead of nicotine. The cannabis oil comes in a 500mg pod. It’s kind of like a Keurig, you put in the pod, use it up, and throw it away. It’s a little wasteful but I’m American so it’s ok.

It’s ready to go as soon as you pop in the pod. There aren’t any buttons. You just put your lips on the pod and inhale. There is a cluster of four LED lights that glow when it’s in use. Shaking the device will cause the lights to show how much battery is left. You can also change the temperature setting by shaking the Era, removing the pod, and letting the lights cycle around until you find the one you prefer. There is also an app that connects to the Era via Bluetooth that allows you to change the color of the lights and to customize the temperature to the exact desired degree. You can even play some games on it. There aren’t any instructions on how to play the games so I have no idea what to do, but still my vaporizer has games. Technology is rad. It uses a micro USB cable to charge and it only takes forty-five minutes to get a full charge.

The Era costs $60 and the pods run at $45 to $50. The pods use CO2 extracted cannabis oil, which makes it taste clean and flavorful. They have sativa, indica, and hybrid strains so there is a pod for every type of stoner. I like how discrete it is. I’m not gonna lie, it makes puffing in public very easy. Anything that makes Muni more bearable can’t be a bad thing. I’m never going to stop smoking flowers, but vaping has quickly become my preferred way of smoking. It’s a lot more practical, especially for a stoner on the go like me. The PAX Era deserves to have its praises sing, that’s why I’m singing. 

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Joking Hazard

My girlfriend likes to play party games like Heads Up! and Cards Against Humanity. I guess she likes having fun and socializing with friends and family. So I bought her a game called Joking Hazard and we invited some friends over to play. I had never heard of it before I stumbled upon it in Target but I think that it has the potential to rival Cards Against Humanity as the next great party game. It’s simple to learn. There’s a stack of cards with offensive cartoon panels. Everyone gets dealt seven cards. Each person takes turns being the judge. The judge flips a random card over from the deck, then plays one of his cards create a setup, and then everyone else plays one of their cards as the punchline. The judge chooses their favorite and that person gets a point. You play until someone wins. Offensive cartoons + friends (+ alcohol) = a great time. We played a few other party games that night, but Joking Hazard was my favorite. I might be biased because I bought it, but I know a good thing when I see it and Joking Hazard is a good thing. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Correcting Autocorrect 

Autocorrect is both a blessing and a curse. I like the fact that it makes typing on my phone faster and easier but it’s not perfect. Sometimes it changes words or phrases without you noticing and you end up looking stupid. Sometimes it changes something you typed correctly and you end up looking stupid. My friend asked me what days I’m free. I told him I always have Sundays off. Autocorrect changed Sundays to Sunday’s. I don’t like looking stupid. I had to go back to correct autocorrect and that defeats the whole point of having autocorrect. Correcting autocorrect seems counterintuitive. I shouldn’t have to do it. Life is hard enough already.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Shoulder Tap Compliment 

A couple of days ago my buddy texted me asking my opinion on which SF Giants jersey he should get. We brainstormed for a while. Getting a new jersey is a big deal. Do you go current or retro? The name and number you choose to wear should have a reason behind it. I tossed out a few ideas and he ended up deciding on a retro 1993 Rod Beck #47. That’s a great fucking choice. Rod Beck was a beast of a closer but he’s kind of overlooked because there are so many great Giants players. You hardly see anybody rocking his jersey. I told my friend that he’s going to get a lot of shoulder tap compliments from Giants fans.

A shoulder tap compliment is the best kind of compliment. It’s when you’re doing something so great that a complete stranger feels the need to tap you on the shoulder and tell you how awesome you are. Most compliments are given by friends or family members because they noticed that you did something different and they feel like they have to comment on it. It seems more like an observation than an actual compliment. But you know you really got a good jersey when a random person tells you that you got a good jersey. I know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers but you can take a compliment from one. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Moscow Mule

I normally drink beer but I’ve been drinking a lot of vodka lately. I’ve mostly been making Moscow Mules. It’s a simple drink. Vodka, lime juice, spicy ginger beer, and ice. It’s crisp and refreshing, and it gets you drunk without much of a hangover the next day (provided you use a decent vodka). There are a few recipes out there but mine’s been working for me. I’ll pour two ounces of vodka into a twelve ounce glass (copper mugs are ideal, but I don’t have any on hand). I’ll squeeze and drop in three lime wedges, add ice, and top with ginger beer. Give it a quick stir, then sip and enjoy. Add more vodka as needed. But the trick lies with the ginger beer. Ginger beer is harder to find than ginger ale, but it adds spice and zing and is worth searching for. Reed’s, Bundaberg, and Gosling’s all make great ginger beer. The lime is also a key ingredient and often overlooked. Most recipes say to use lime juice. I think it’s important to use an actual lime. Squeeze that shit and drop it in. Let the lime rind release its oils and flavors into the cocktail. Enjoy the zest. Thank me later.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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