You Need a Valid ID to Drink

I’m a bartender at a corporate chain restaurant and we are required to check IDs when customers order alcoholic beverages. It’s not personal. It’s part of my job description. If you order a drink with me, I have to ask for your ID, and I can’t serve you if you don’t have a valid ID. It doesn’t matter if you’re twenty-one or eighty-one. You need a valid ID to drink. It’s the law, bro.

The other day I was at work and an elderly British couple came up and ordered a drink. I asked for their IDs. The husband had his ID, the wife did not. I told them I couldn’t serve her. The husband said I was being ridiculous, that she was sixty-three, she’s clearly of age. I said I was sorry, it wasn’t my policy, that I would serve her if I could, but she needs a valid ID to drink. At this point they became irate and started to raise their voices. They asked if I carded everyone else. I told them I did and my other customers confirmed it and backed me up. Their voices got louder and I started to enjoy watching them make asses of themselves. I showed them the piece of paper that my manager gave to every single employee that says we are required to check IDs when someone orders alcohol. I showed them the email he sent to every single employee about checking IDs. They still argued and got louder and louder while I fake-smiled more and more until they stormed off to find another bar to go to.

They found my manager on the way out and complained about me. He came up to me and thanked me for doing my job. My other customers tipped fat and offered me verbal consolations for enduring their rant with a smile. Everyone had my back. It’s not my fault that a grown ass adult didn’t have a valid ID. They should know better. They were a miserable couple anyway. I’m glad I inconvenienced them. I hope I ruined their vacation. A small victory still makes me a winner.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Disaster Artist (2017 Film)

The Disaster Artist is a 2017 film based on the book with the same name about the making of The Room, which is widely hailed as the best worst movie of all time. Watching The Room first isn’t required but is definitely recommended. In case you have seen it, The Room is a train wreck of a film that you can’t stop watching. The acting is terrible. The dialogue is terrible. The plot lines are terrible. Yet it’s become a cult classic and beloved by millions.

The Disaster Artist takes you behind the scenes and shows how The Room came to be. James Franco directs and stars as Tommy Wiseau, the real life creator of The Room. Dave Franco plays Greg Sestero, Wiseau’s friend, costar, and coauthor of the book on which this film is based. Seth Rogan produced and also plays script supervisor Sandy Schklair. Every single role seems to be played by somebody famous, that’s how beloved The Room is in Hollywood.

The Disaster Artist could have taken the easy way out and simply make fun of the eccentric Wiseau and how shitty his vision turned out to be, but James Franco makes him sympathetic. He humanize him. You feel for Wiseau. You want him to succeed even though he fails spectacularly. This film celebrates the success that arose from his failure.

I enjoyed every second of this movie. It grabs you from the get-go and never lets go. It is hilarious and fascinating. Spoiler alert: the film ends with a side by side comparison of iconic scenes from The Room that are reenacted by the Francos and friends. I wanted to watch it again as soon as it was over. Instead I had to settle on watching YouTube reviews and interviews. It’s pretty awesome to see how much James Franco and Seth Rogan have grown creatively since Pineapple Express. They still make stoner comedies but now they are Oscar worthy stoner comedies. The Disaster Artist was probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. Go see it so I can talk to you about it.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Riding a Bike With No Hands

When you’re a kid riding a bike with no hands is a big deal. It was the first trick you mastered after taking off the training wheels. Riding with no hands meant you were in total control. And it made you look cool. You were a badass and you knew it.

But as you grow up, riding a bike with no hands starts to become lame. An seven-year-old riding a bike with no hands is impressive. A twenty-seven-year-old riding a bike with no hands is the definition of douchey. The general rule of thumb is that you should keep your hands on the handlebars unless you’re crossing the finish line of the Tour de France in first place. As a society I feel we should leave riding bikes with no hands to the kids.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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HQ

HQ is a trivia app that’s currently only available for iOS. There are a lot of trivia games out there, but HQ stands out for two reasons. The first is that it’s free to play but you can win real money. Secondly, it’s a live broadcast so you can’t just open it up and play. There are two games daily Monday through Friday (one at 3:00 p.m. EST and the other at 9:00 p.m. EST) and one game daily on the weekend (at 9:00 p.m. EST). They send you an alert when the game is about to begin, you open the app and join the game. The host, comedian Scott Rogowsky, comes out, explains the rules, gets you hyped, and starts powering through twelve questions. Some questions are easy, some are tricky, and some are really hard. Whoever goes the distance shares the pot with the other winners.

My brother-in-law told me about HQ a week ago. I’ve only played it four times since then, never getting past the eighth question. I’ve played a bunch of trivia games and this is one of my favorites. I like the fact that there are only one or two chances a day to play. It’s addictive but you can’t get your fix whenever you want. You’re on their time. There are a couple of crazy hard questions each game. They show you how many active players there are, I’ve seen 100,000+ playing and a savage question can eliminate tens of thousands at once. It makes you feel smart when you get it right. But you don’t feel bad if you get it wrong along side forty thousand other people.

If HQ sounds fun, that’s because it is. Download it for yourself and see. Use my referral code: Bmani429. This isn’t a paid ad, I get a bonus life for each referral. Join the bandwagon before it gets played out.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Life Notes

I used to make daily life notes when I was growing up. From fifth grade until my sophomore year of college I would jot down what I did each day into a note pad. It was kind of like a diary or a journal, but I only gave a brief synopsis of what I did, who I hung out with, where I ate, what movies I saw, etc. I didn’t go into too much detail. It was a way of getting myself to try new things, to avoid falling into a pattern, and to remember what I’ve done.

I don’t know why I did it. I just did it. I’m glad that I did. I rediscovered my notebooks earlier tonight and spent the last hour reliving my senior year of high school. Like I know when I saw X2 for the first time (it was Friday May 5, 2003 at 11:15 AM). I know who I saw it with (Cody, Jimmy, and Michelle). I know that means I probably smoked weed before. I know that I ran into Marissa on the way home. I know that I hung out with Misha later and then Megan after that. I might have forgotten everything entirely, but when I see it written down in my chicken scratch the memories come flooding back. That’s the point of memories: to remember them.

I kind of wish that I kept taking life notes but Facebook does that for me now.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Smartwater

Glacéau Smartwater is a brand of enhanced bottled water. It’s enhanced because it’s distilled water with added electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It’s water with benefits. That makes it healthier by definition. You might recognize Glacéau as the same brand that makes VitaminWater. That’s water with added vitamins and sugar. They pretend like it’s healthy for you but it’s like mixing water with Pixy Stix. It’s candy water. Glacéau is owned by the Coca-Cola Company so I don’t trust Smartwater as being a better alternative to actual H2O. I don’t want to be duped. And I always feel like a dumbass when I buy Smartwater.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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People’s Choice Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky

I’ve tried a lot of beef jerky brands in my day. My current favorite is People’s Choice. They’ve been making premium beef jerky since 1929, it’s handcrafted, family owned, and it’s made with 100% USA beef. They have a few different flavors, but Hot & Spicy is the best one. It’s hot and spicy like the name implies, but it’s not overly powerful. It goes great with a cold beer.

People’s Choice stands out because they cut their jerky really thin. It’s more like a sheet of jerky than a typical strip of jerky. It’s not as moist as some other brands but it’s not too dried out. It’s the perfect balance of meat and spice. Every time I offer someone a piece, they ask for another as soon as they finish. I’m torn because I want people to try it but I want it all for myself at the same time. I figured it might be easier to write about how good it is, sing its praises, and try to convince you to buy your own. The people have spoken, they’ve decided: it’s People’s Choice.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sleep Mask

My girlfriend and I have different schedules. She gets up earlier than me, usually an hour or more before I do. That means that she either has to do her makeup in the bathroom or turn on the light to do it in her room which wakes me up. We had to reach a compromise. So I went to Walgreens and bought a sleep mask. It only cost ten bucks and it’s already proven itself to be a worthy investment.

A sleep mask is self explanatory: it’s a mask you wear when you sleep. It covers your eyes and blocks out the light, allowing the wearer to sleep better. I have to admit that I kind of like it. It only took a few nights to get used to, but I wake up feeling more rested. It really helps to block out any light, and by extension the outside world. Yeah, it looks ridiculous but I don’t care if it helps me sleep better. A sleep mask at night is as good as coffee in the morning.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Budweiser

Budweiser is a beer. It’s the only beer for a lot of people. Brand loyalty goes a long way and I know a lot of people that prefer Budweiser over water. My feelings on Budweiser are mixed. It’s too popular, it’s too bland, and it’s too pretentious. They call themselves the king of beers. They’ve even temporarily relabeled themselves as America instead of Budweiser as part of some bizarre marketing ploy. They proudly admit to being made partially from rice. Rice is nice but most beer lovers prefer hops and barley.

Budweiser is drinkable though. I have to give them that. It has a consistently crisp and refreshing taste. It doesn’t really get skunky. It’s my preferred tall boy for beach days because it’s cheap, it’s not too heavy, and it comes in twenty-five ounce cans. Most tall boys are twenty-four ounces. That extra ounce means you’re getting more bang for your buck.

I prefer to drink craft beer when I’m at a bar or at home. I like IPAs and sours and the occasional stout if the weather is cold. Whenever I buy a six pack of something nice I’ll still pick up a tall boy of Budweiser as well. I drink the good beer until I’m nice and toasty and then I’ll switch over to Bud when I’m drunk. That way I won’t waste my good beer when I’m too fucked up to enjoy it. That’s not alcoholism, that’s using my noodle. Budweiser is not the best beer. I wouldn’t even call it a good beer. But it’s beer and that’s enough reason for me to drink it.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Tom Petty

Once upon a time in the summer of 2001, I walked into a Best Buy and walked out with the compilation album Greatest Hits by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I didn’t know much about Tom Petty at that point. I knew a couple of his songs like “Free Fallin'” and “The Waiting” and that was enough to justify buying it. I popped the CD into my car stereo on the drive home and my life was changed forever. His music spoke to me. It awakened something in my soul. I felt like Tom Petty was singing to me directly. He became my favorite artist instantly.

He was a rock star, a real rock star. He had hit singles and critically acclaimed albums and put on one hell of a live show. No road trip was complete without listening to a little Petty. In an era of illegal downloads, I made it a point to buy his albums, all of them. Even his stuff with Mudcrutch, the Traveling Wilburys, and Johnny Cash. I wanted him to have my money. I was lucky enough to see him live five times. Once at the Hollywood Bowl, twice at Outside Lands, once at the Oakland Coliseum, and the last one at BottleRock in what became his final tour. Watching Tom Petty live was better than listening to his albums. Everybody would sing along to every song, spark joints during “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and just enjoy experiencing a legend do what he did best.

I hate that I have to speak about Tom Petty in the past tense now. He was a big part of my life. He always will be. You are the soundtrack to my life, Tom. Thank you.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Matt Cain

Matt Cain pitched his last game on September 30, 2017, one day before his 33rd birthday, retiring after thirteen seasons with The San Francisco Giants. It’s very rare to see a player wear only one uniform for over ten years and he deserves to be recognized. He accomplished many great things in his career. He has three World Series rings, three All-Star recognitions, and the only perfect game in Giants history. He never got the fame or glory that Tim Lincecum or Madison Bumgarner got, but he was the backbone of the team for many seasons. He was called the Horse for a reason. He was reliable. You knew he was going to go seven innings and that he was going to keep you in the game.

I grew up a Giants fan. I remember the magical 2010 season in which we finally won the World Series as the San Francisco Giants. I went to a lot of games that season but the most memorable one was my first ever postseason game. I saw Matt Cain take on the Phillies in the pivotal Game 3 of the NLCS. He was masterful with only two hits in seven innings, giving us a 3-0 victory. I celebrated in the stands and snapped a photo that became my iPhone background for the next couple of years. I remember watching his perfect game two seasons later. I started watching it at Red Jack Saloon, my favorite dive bar. I made the trek home and got back just in time to see Gregor Blanco’s amazing catch. I knew that I was witnessing history in the making. They got that last out and Matt Cain cemented his legacy. Lots of people win multiple championships. Throwing a perfect game is damn near impossible.

Matt Cain will always be one of my favorite Giants. His poster is on my wall. He will stay on my wall. It’s not the greatest honor but it’s the least I can do.

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It (2017 Film)

In this era of Hollywood there is an abundance of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots and most of them suck. But every now and then a seemingly unnecessary reboot comes out and steals the thunder from the original. Mad Max: Fury Road comes to mind. It is one of those films as well. Most people grew up with the beloved 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. It was scary, but lots of things are scary when you’re five years old. The miniseries was tame. They didn’t have the budget to do anything spectacular. It was made for TV so they had to censor things and leave stuff out. The movie has an R rating and they run with it.

Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise was iconic. Bill Skarsgård had some big shoes to fill. He filled them, and then had to get bigger shoes because his feet were too big to fit them. He Heath Ledgered it. Skarsgård’s portrayal is terrifying and mesmerizing. He’s unpredictable and makes you feel uneasy. The only way to keep your sanity is by reminding yourself that it’s only a movie.

The movie stars a bunch of kids. Movies that rely on child actors are hit or miss. It only takes one shitty actor to ruin the whole film. The entire cast is solid. Jaeden Lieberher does a great job as Bill Denbrough, the main character. If he sucked the movie would suck. All the kids in the Losers Club are good. Finn Wolfhard, aka the kid from Stranger Things, adds another classic child horror story to his resume. Jeremy Ray Taylor plays Ben, the fat new kid. He’s actually overweight, not the usual version of Hollywood’s stereotypical fat kid. He adds to the realism. Jackson Robert Scott plays Georgie, the film’s first depicted victim of Pennywise. He’s the youngest actor and has some of the creepiest lines. 

Director Andy Muschietti has created a blockbuster. It is already the highest grossing horror film of all time. It is also the highest grossing film to be released in September. That’s pretty impressive. It deserves all the hype it is getting. Right after I saw it, I went home and watched the opening scene from the miniseries and from the movie on YouTube to compare them. Watch it now, see for yourself. It’s night and day. It made me realize how cheesy the miniseries actually is. 

In conclusion, go see It.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

You’ll Float Too!

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Otter Pops

I’ve been blogging for more than five years and somehow never got around to writing about Otter Pops. I’m even more shocked than you are. Otter Pops were a staple of my childhood. I always knew that summer was approaching when my mom would come home from Costco with a big box of Otter Pops. My sisters and I would squeal with excitement and quickly throw them in the freezer because Otter Pops are the frozen treat that you have to freeze yourself.

Otter Pops come in six zippy flavors, each one named after a different character. There’s Louie-Bloo Raspberry, which tastes like blue raspberry. There’s Poncho Punch, he tastes like tropical fruit punch. Alexander the Grape is the purple one. He tastes like grapes and might be the worst flavor if there is such a thing. The orange one is Little Orphan Orange and she tastes like orange. She’s the other contender for worst flavor. Strawberry Short Kook is red and tastes like strawberries. Then there is Sir Issac Lime, he’s green and tastes like lime. There used to be a yellow lemon flavored Otter Pop known as Rip Van Lemon, but he must have sucked because he disappeared in the seventies and nobody really cared.

I was addicted to Otter Pops. I would steal them and hide the evidence. I would go after Poncho Punch, Louie-Bloo Raspberry and Sir Issac Lime first because they were the best flavors. Then I would eat a Strawberry Short Kook to make my tongue red again. I would stash the wrappers under the top layer of trash. I had my Otter Pop stealing technique down. I probably ate half of each box by myself. I should apologize to my sisters but I regret nothing.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Delicious Memories

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Pork Butt

My roommate likes to cook. He’s recently gotten into using our crockpot to make delicious feasts. He made ribs last week. Right now he’s making pork butt. Pork butt (also known as Boston butt) is a really popular cut of meat. It’s the preferred cut for pulled pork. It’s also a misnomer. Pork butt comes from the upper shoulder. Shocking, I know. Your life is a lie. I told my roommate that pork butt comes from the shoulder and he responded by saying “Gross!” My roommate is a funny guy. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Ham is the real pork butt.

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Babybel

I like cheese. Cheese is good. It takes burgers to another level. It turns tortilla chips into nachos. Cheese is like bacon. It makes everything better but it’s best enjoyed by itself. If I’m eating cheese as a snack I generally prefer some type of string cheese, but every once in a while I get the hankering for a Babybel. Babybel is a brand of cheese with a distinctive look. Each mini cheese wheel is encased within a protective red wax cover. 

The cheese is decent but the red wax seal is the star of the show. After you eat the cheese you’re left with the wax. You can mold and squish and squeeze the wax. Its not as malleable as Silly Putty, but it’s still fun to play with. Babybel is an interactive snack. The wax also makes it holds up better than most cheese so you can take it hiking or backpacking. It’s a heavy duty cheese for traveling and enjoying life outdoors. You can also also eat it at the office. It’s very versatile. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Standing in the Middle of the Sidewalk 

Few things annoy me more than people standing in the middle of the sidewalk. There is no reason to stand there. If you want to check your phone, or glance at a map, or smoke a cigarette then go right ahead, but make sure you’re out of the way. You don’t need to obstruct the sidewalk. A sidewalk is like a road for pedestrians. You wouldn’t park your car in the middle of the street. That would be stupid. People will honk at you and crash into you. You would pull over into the shoulder and stay out of the way. So if we could all just do that on the sidewalk too that would be great. 

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Batman Chucks

I skate around the city as my primary form of transportation. It wears out my shoes pretty quickly. My last pair of shoes got holes in the soles and I was about to buy some new ones until I remembered that I had a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars that I’ve only worn once sitting in the back of my closet. They aren’t your standard Chuck Taylors. They are Batman Chucks. They are black with yellow Batman symbols all over them. I’ve only worn them once before because they are so loud. They scream at you. They demand attention. 

I didn’t want to waste my money on a new pair of shoes when I had a perfectly good pair already in my possession. So I put them on and I’ve been rocking them for over two weeks now. My girlfriend hates them, but most people love them. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from random strangers. She hates that even more. My life has changed for the better since I’ve started wearing my Batman Chucks. I’d recommend for everyone to try them at least once but I don’t want you to steal my style.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Some Fine Lookin’ Shoes

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