Well… I haven…

Well… I haven’t really written anything in a while… but I want to (promise). I’ll start brainstorming NOW!

Me

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Eating Out at a Restaurant (Round 2… Because It’s That Important)

Everyone… and I mean everyone… should either work in a restaurant at one point in their lives, or at least be knowledgeable about the restaurant industry so they know how to dine out. You don’t realize how much you suck at it until you’re on the other side.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • If there is someone standing at the front of the restaurant, they will seat you. It’s not your job to seat yourself, it’s theirs, that’s the point of a hostess, that’s what they get paid to do. If there is a hostess stand but no hostess, just hang on two seconds, they will be back (I promise).
  • Give your server a minute to introduce himself/herself, their just trying to be nice/do their job, it’s rude to bark drinks at the person who has just barely approached your table, it gives them a bad impression and will thus make your service worse. They will ask you shortly what you want to drink, just be patient.
  • Be conscious of how fast you drink your drinks or how often you ask for a refill – their are a pain in the ass, especially when it’s busy.
  • If you want a side of ranch, ask for it when you order. There is nothing more annoying than being accosted mid-walk (possibly by a table that’s not even yours) to get you ten sides of ranch.
  • Not every server in the restaurant is there to serve you. If you need something, instead of asking the first person you see to get you something, ask them nicely if they would mind grabbing your server for you.
  • There are often days when a restaurant is just out of every-effing-thing. It’s not the servers fault. They probably feel super awkward telling you all the shit their out of anyways. They are not in charge of stock, don’t take it out on them.
  • If your food came out wrong, it is also not always the servers fault (yes, they might have rang it in wrong, but don’t jump to conclusions). Let them apologize and fix it for you. I guarantee you that they are not out to fuck up your food and ruin your life… unless maybe you’re a total asshole (which you obviously won’t be after reading thing, right?)
  • Do. Not. Snap. Your server is not a dog. A kind hand motion to catch their attention will do the trick.
  • If you’re over 15 or so, don’t order off the kids menu (usually it’s under 12, but we’re not food nazis). When you’re a table of three 40-something-year-old men, ordering off the kids menu is tacky and cheap and makes you look like an ass. Especially if you assume you get the complimentary dessert then get mad that your server brought your drink in a kids cup. Yes, people, this actually happens.
  • Not all restaurants include big-group gratuity (my restaurant, for instance). On parties larger than 8 or so, restaurants often include a 20% automatic gratuity. You know why? You guys were probably hard as fuck to take care of. However, make sure you check the receipt to see if they do or not. Getting $0.00 on a $350.00 bill just because they assumed gratuity was include is not fun.

 

Tipping (yes, this deserves it’s own category):

  • Yes, your server has certain parts of their job that they have to do, like greet a table in their section. But in no way does a server have to be friendly, careful with your food and drinks, or come back to check on you and make sure your food’s good. They do that because they’re making tips. Theoretically, better service = better tips.
  • Do you know why servers make minimum wage (and in some states, a separate “server” minimum wage that could be as low at $1.50 per hour)? Because the government assumes they make tips. Think about that real quick. While your job might be “professional”, I guarantee you that working in a full restaurant with 8 table sections is 100x more strenuous and hard-labor oriented then anything you do in your little cubicle. Yes, the base job description of being a server is not too complex, but you try working in a restaurant on a full section on a busy night and see how “easy” it is then. That’s why tipping is absolutely necessary.
  • Does the law say you have to tip? No. Does the law say we can’t accidentally cut our finger in the kitchen, then en route to wash your hands and bandage your cut, accidentally get a few drops of blood in your food, not notice, and bring it to your table for you to enjoy? Nope.
  • That one sounded a little bit grotesque, it was just an example. Personally, I would never do that. But lets just say you’d be lucky to have me as a server.
  • If your food is somehow discounted (maybe you friend got you the hook ups), tip off of the original bill, don’t be a dick and tip off of comped food, because it may be $0.00.
  • 20% of the entire bill should be your base tip, for example $6 on a $30 tab. If you service is noticeably shitty because your server was just not friendly and obviously didn’t care about crap, use your judgement, but do not go below 10%, remember what we’ve been discussing this entire post? If your service is really good, go above 20%!! You’ll make the servers night, I promise. Even leaving $5 on a $15, that’s almost a 30% tip, and it was literally only $5 more dollars out of your pocket!!

Bottom line: don’t be a dick, be understanding, know that 99% of the time the servers just want to make rent, etc.

Thank you and happy restaurant-ing.

 

An Outlook On Recent Events

Is it just me, or has there been a lot of weird/eff’d up shit going on recently?

Let’s discuss:

  1. Glee star Cory Monteith died yesterday. Although I don’t watch Glee, that hit me pretty hard. So young and talented, and on one of the top grossing shows. Truly horrible.
  2. What’s with all this dog abuse recently? There has been so much news on ‘Police Shooting Dogs’ or ‘Beating Dogs Should Be Considered Torture’. Now I love dogs, so this is obviously concerning. But why now? What did the dogs do to you?
  3. Trayvon Martin. I won’t even begin to talk about that trial.
  4. Did no one even realize that there was a fatal plane crash in San Francisco on July 6th? 3 dead and 168 injured, and we’re focused on the exaggeration of dog-abuse by police.
  5. DOMA was struck down! Yeah!
  6. Paula Deen… Who even knows with that woman?
  7. The 19 firefighters that died in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. Thoughts go out to their friends and families.
  8. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their baby North West… North. West. What the crap?

Anywho, it seems like a lot of random and tragic shit has been happening, and what do people do to react? Jump to blaming Obama and the administration for royally fucking us over. News flash: society is the main contributor to corruption, all the government is trying to do is fix it and make the hopefully majority happy. So stop whining.

How to Take Someone on a Date (for Dummies)

  1. Pick them up. If you don’t have a car, walk or find some form of transportation at least to their house so they don’t have to come get you. If need be, the girl can drive from there.
  2. Pay. Don’t be cheap ass. Most girls won’t push the price on a first-third date.
  3. If you and this girl are in the process of dating/exclusive in any way/mutually like each other, don’t keep her at arms length. If it feels right, just put your f*cking arm around her or something, please.
  4. In the event that she drove, try really hard not to make her drop you off. Say you can get home from her house. This will (1) possibly get you an invite upstairs, and (2) assure her that you’re not reliant on her taking you everywhere. Hey, she might still offer to drop you off.
  5. Text her afterwards saying you had a good time. Simple.

You’re probably thinking, “gee, Zoe, these are pretty obvious steps!” Well, I wish the entire male race felt the same. One awkward date will easily kill your chances. Don’t skimp details.

 

The end.

Finding the Best Possible Alarm (Ever!)

So, I’m not a morning person. I’m not even a sleeping person. I don’t sleep nearly as much as I should because I always find better things to do (my mom is concerned).

This may just be some fault in my iPhone 5, but I swear my alarms (using the built in Apple alarm app) haven’t been going off the past couple of days. The only reason I doubt myself is because I have a history of waking up, turning off my alarm, falling back asleep, then waking up later and forgetting that it ever went off in the first place. But no, I’m puhRIT-y sure my alarms have not been going off.

This is obviously a problem – what if you have something important to get to, like class?! Haha, yeah right. Anyways, I do like to be woken up eventually, and I simply have not been. 

I just spend a good hour online and in the iPhone app store trying to find THE BEST alarm app; this was some tough work, guys. Now, seeing that I have $6 to my name, I wasn’t real keen on spending any money on an app; however, I figured that being woken up effectively was probably more important than $1.99. Plus, you never really know what you’re going to get with this cheap shit probably created by some random in the outskirts of Iceland using an original 1984 Macintosh…

For your viewing pleasure.

What are some key features in an alarm clock, you ask? Well first, you must be able to customize your own alarm sound from your iTunes, no one wants to listen to “classic telephone” or “intergalactic radio” every time they arise from their deep slumber.

Second, you must be able to close the app (meaning when you double-click the home button, hold down any app, then click the little delete button when they start jiggling), a lot of alarms wont let you do this, this saves battery and I do it quite religiously… aint nobody got time fo figuring out which apps can close and which ones can’t!

Third, the app must work on the lock screen. C’mon guys… Do we really have to keep our phones unlocked all night just so the alarm can go off? That should be a simple one.

Fourth, the app really should be able to work even if your phone is set to silent/vibrate (the little switch on the side is pressed down). Alarms should naturally override any silent setting; I understand wanting your phone to be silent or only vibrate throughout the day, but why the hell would you even have an alarm if you wanted it to be silent? Yeah, pointless. 

Enough of this cheap, half-ass bullshit, we are tax-payers and we want to efficiently wake up every morning!! So someone, please, make a free, effective alarm app, is it really that hard? Do you really want poor college students, like myself, to stress so much over this idea that they feel the need to write an entire blog on it?

I ended up going with Rise, $1.99. It’s aesthetically pleasing, let’s you set your own music, works in the lock screen, etc etc and so forth. We’ll see how it goes… I’m a bit skeptical now.

Arrogant Assholes and Guns

I don’t know how many of you (my millions of subscribers) live in the Los Angeles area, or in Southern California in general, so you might not have heard the news of the school shooting that happened early today.

At Santa Monica College, early this morning, some crazy bastard shot 3+ people on the schools campus, in the library. He has since been detained, but there is not much news on the victims.

Guess what – that’s MY school. Yeah, I go to SMC. Thankfully I’ve been home all morning, and my friends are all good.

This event seriously begs the question regarding gun contorol. I’d really like to hear your thoughts (again, aimed at the obvious huge flow of people that read my blog). This is what I have to say:

These school shootings have gone too far. Yes, it is our constitutional right to own weapons; but guess what… the constitution has been, and can still be, amended. I don’t exactly know how I feel about changing the second amendment particularly… all I know it that the only people who should own guns are people who actually need them, so pretty much just anyone who works for the government.

We do not need to own guns! Even if a family owns a small hand gun for safety purposes, it has been proven that you are way more likely to shoot a member of your family than an actual intruder. This is because guns are so easy, you just stand 10+ feet away and pull the trigger, you don’t even have to think about it really. People should be using small knives and pepper spray for self defense, things that you need to be relatively close for and that can injure, but not necessarily kill a subject.

Consider this: You are home and asleep in your bed. It’s 2am. You hear a door slowly open and close, like someone was trying to come in quietly. You reach into your bed stand and un-tape the gun that is holstered to the top of the drawer. Slowly creeping down the stairs, you see a shadowy figure digging through a drawer or walking around, seemingly suspicious. Suddenly, the shadowy figure makes one wrong movement that convinces you that they are a threat. You fire your gun, multiple times to insure you don’t miss, since you’ve never shot a gun before. The lights turn on. You just shot your 16 year-old daughter who was sneaking back into the house after visiting her boyfriend, and didn’t want you to know she had snuck out.

That image just triggered some emotions, huh? If you had a small knife or pepper spray, 1) you would have to get way closer, at which point you might notice it was not an intruder, or 2) you might end up wounding her slightly or pepper-spraying her, but those things are mendable, and she will forgive you. You might not have that luxury if you used a gun.

All in all, I believe guns should be used by government agents and police officers only. I am even against hunting, but that’s a completely different topic. Approximately 8,000 people are killed every year in the United States by gun violence. 8,000 people… every year… only in the United States… That’s 8,000 brothers, sisters, moms, dad, uncles, aunts, daughters, sons, step siblings, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and the list goes on.

Push for nonviolent efforts… It has the ability to drastically change our country’s problem with guns.

The Life of a College Student

My mom is always telling me how she is worried about me because I pull a lot of all-nighters and don’t have “time” to exercise. That may or may not be justified… It probably is.

Some of you may be aware that the last colleges to go on summer break are finally almost there – finals week. Quite literally the most stressful time of a students life. And guess what? They get to go through this stressful period of life anywhere between 8 and 15 different times over the course of their undergraduate career (depending on semester vs. quarter and if you stay an extra year and whatnot). 

I just think it’s funny, in a slightly unsanitary way, how college students, including myself, live their lives around finals. Let me just walk you through an example of a couple of days, let’s say the week before finals:

Thursday: wake up, get ready, go to class or whatever school obligation you might have, go to the library, start studying, notice you’re hungry around 11pm (when all the places on campus are closed), head to the vending machine for a snickers and pepsi, head back to the library, drag on through the night, watch the sun rise, get coffee, go to class maybe around 10am or 11am, and repeat. Notice the lack of showering and teeth-brushing included in that plan? Oh, you also sometimes go 48+ hours without changing (girls, this is not a good week to go boyfriend hunting.)

I usually plan my schedule for a full day and night of studying, then in the morning I go home and shower and relax for maybe a moment or two, then start studying, then realize I have work until midnight, come home from work and crash until 8am when I force myself to get up and study more. Rinse and repeat, my friends.

All of this for the hope that you might earn that A… an unlikely future for me. But hey, let’s stay positive? 

The weird thing is… you major barely even matters. Unless you’re pre-med or something smart like that then let’s face it, you learn all you need to know in the real world. Yeah, school teaches you a lot of cool stuff, and I really do enjoy, learning it; but I wan’t to go into marketing and advertising… how much do you think my sociology or philosophy professors are going to teach me about that? Nada.

So for you parents who are worried about your kids strange habits, I assue you they are okay (hopefully… unless something is seriously wrong, then you should probably get that checked out.) 

In a society where being successful in school has been made so crucial, students are put under immense amounts of stress for something that doesn’t really matter that much. Think about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love school and I’m planning to graduate in 3 years! But to all those parents who still ride their kids about that one B+… Stop. You’re annoying and no one likes you. Your child can handle themselves.

That being said, I should probably get back to studying. I don’t know if you can tell, but I use WordPress when I’m still in the study zone but don’t actually feel like doing work. Whatever. Off to fry my brain just a little bit more! Bisous.

Occupy My Philosophy Paper

It’s 4am. I am currently posted at UCLA Powell Library working on my philosophy paper. This is me procrastinating, but ultimately doing the same type of work by writing about the same topic… right?

I am in a Philosophy of Nonviolent Resistance class. Have you ever had one of those classes that you throughly enjoyed attending and felt like you’ve learned more in one class than you have in however many years of life you may have lived by that point, but still struggle for a decent grade because your teacher, as sweet and peaceful as she may be, is out to fail every single one of her students? It’s one of those clases. Ain’t life a bitch?

Anywho, you didn’t come here to read my rants, or maybe you did, I don’t really know, or care.

Well this paper I’m writing, for my final, is about the Occupy Wall Street movement in concurrence with Gene Sharp’s Waging Nonviolent Struggle. I’ve been doing a lot of research into this social movement, subsequently coming across the obvious information – wealth is not evenly distributed, the rich are getting out of fair taxes, the lower class is getting exploited, blah blah blah – but what really surprised me were the numbers. As of 2012, 1% of the nation (that’s about 3 million suits), holds ownership over 42% of the countries total financial wealth.

………

What? Is that not completely baffling to everyone? Well it must be, it started one of the largest exhibitions of nonviolent resistance America has ever seen.

Let’s pretend that there is exactly 1,000,000 people living in the United States today, and the total amount of financial wealth equalled $500,000,000. If these obscure numbers were true… 10,000 Americans would be in control of $210,000,000. That is to say that 1/100th of the population is in control of about 1/2 of the money.

Why?! How is that constitutionally right? Oh yeah, there’s no amendement defining how America should distribute wealth and income… Well that foils that argument.

But what happened to human rights? The natural rights that everyone is born with and entitled to for the length of their lives? One of those happens to be the right for everyone to have equal opportunity for success, but if the Wall Street moguls are hoarding the money and privatizing any and all businesses to make them less accessible to everyone else, how can we all have an equal opportunity for success?

This post is just a bunch of unanswered questions, really. I don’t really know what I’m talking about. All I know is that it is completely possible for someone to be financially successful and still liberal in a way that recognizes those less fortunate.

Now I’m going to be real here for a second, just try not to perceive me as a pretentious brat… My mom earns well over average income annually – we are just about away from being “the 1%”. How is it that she stays so incredibly humble, giving, and loving? Well who knows because obviously other people haven’t shown anywhere near the same level of compassion. Is it really that hard to stop thinking about your income, your investments, and yourself for 30 seconds and think about the millions of people in America who are forced out of their homes (maybe because they were unable to get healthcare and thus lost all of their money paying medical bills) to live on the streets and beg for food to feed their children?

I don’t know how some of the people on Wall Street are so successful and yet so completely ignorant at the same time. Educate yourselves. The world doesn’t revolve around you, princess. Thanks.

War and Militarism: A Sociological Perspective

As the sole remaining superpower, the United States has based a foundation off of the necessity to act on any strategy or tactic that will keep it at the top.  War is a conflict between nations often aimed at pursuing a political message; despite its massive costs on individuals, property and society, war remains a common way to execute political objectives. The act of war and militarism is an extremely controversial subject, often subject to bias and strict opinion by differing social groups. While an order theorist would claim that war provides jobs, enhances the economy, and protects our country, a conflict theorist would argue that war does nothing but reinforces inequalities, both domestic and international, and promote the power elite.

            War can have grave effects on both human society and the environment, and the consequences of such militarism could be catastrophic. The United States maintains the worlds top superpower position, unparalleled in human history; this power makes us a momentous threat to smaller and less developed countries. Wartime efforts could ultimately affect the individual by segregating minority classes internally, while blatantly and unnecessarily overpowering the less prepared countries internationally. Conflict theorists posit that war is nothing more than a way of reinforcing inequalities and stereotypes among the class system; they believe that war is an effort made by the rich to control and dominate groups of minorities while maintaining their power both nationally and internationally. In concurrence with this view, a feminist theory would allege the inequalities women face through war and militarism. Women are often looked down upon and reviled by their male peers in the military; male soldiers ordinarily abuse and assault their fellow female soldiers, reinforcing male dominance in war and the military. War and militarism also trigger environmental consequences; small towns, cities, and entire countries are being demolished through the devastating effects of war. The military is the largest institutional source of pollution in the world; war will often destroy eco-systems and terminate entire species in times of war. While the reinforcement of inequalities and endangerment of the natural environment may only be two examples of consequences brought upon by war and militarism, many more devastating effects take place all around the world as the United States, and other powerful nations, continue to fortify their ultimate power.

            The substructure of war spurs from economics and politics. Terrorism by war and international acts of violence are both expedients of attempting to accomplish political objectives. Order theorists contend that the economy increases during periods of war; this theory is supported by the evidence that has shown an increase in the economy prompting advancements in technology, consequently resulting in more government money spent and more lives lost. Summarized by order theorists, sustaining war means an increase in the economy. Politics are also executed in times of war. Politicians benefit from war and militarism because society perceives them as tough on nationalism and serious against our conflict with the “enemy.” This is an example of class inequalities in terms of who benefits from war and who does not; those with more money attain higher positions in the military where they are more likely to see benefits, while those in lower classes of society are placed on the battle front and will seldom see any benefits. Politics are the most crucial catalyst to war. While the economy stimulates the level of progression and success of war, such war would not be eminent in the first place without the effects of international political conflict.

            Not much can be done on the individual level to aid the process of war moderation. However, on the global scale, by forming alliances and treaties among neighboring and friendly countries, peace is not completely unimaginable. In 2002, the G-8, a group of allied countries that coordinate their actions so they are able to preserve their global dominance, was formed. The G-8 is currently our strongest force for peace – if allied countries were able to agree on world markets and trade barriers, it would provide a deterrence from going to war in the first place. Alliances like these show the many societies that span our globe working together to become a functioning society. The functionalist perspective of peace efforts and alliances extends the importance of cooperation and group effort in achieving world peace.

            Trends representing our future exemplify the deterioration of national borders – they are becoming less and less significant. Allied groups such as the North American Free-Trade-Association (NAFTA), and the European Union (EU), among many others have bestowed hope for international relief through allied forces, eliminating the need for war and militarism. Regardless of the obstacles we might face on the path to obtaining worldwide unity, the overall trend shows unity through the elimination of national boarders and increasing cross-national confederate groups. If this effort for peaceful globalization were to become a reality, the modernization view of order theory, in which counties pass through different stages and ultimately become integrated into the top tier global capitalist society, would be irrelevant – while there would still be more powerful and more developed countries, we would not have to focus on the dangers or conflicts regarding the hierarchy of global power.

Healthcare: A Sociological Perspective

A society is able to work at its best capacity when all of its members and groups are functioning adequately and are beneficial to society.  In order for these groups to function and benefit society, they must be equipped with the resources necessary for overall health and wellness. Healthcare has become one of the most controversial public matters over the last few decades – we constantly argue over whether medical care should be a right or a commodity. Currently, medical care is an obvious commodity, benefitting those who can afford it and neglecting those who cannot. While it may be tough to hope that healthcare will ever be a considered a “universal right”, there are discernable progressions in the field of medical care that don the possibility of expanding aid to those currently underinsured or uninsured. Sociologists examine the effects of healthcare and healthcare reform in terms of the costs and benefits and how different theorists interpret this controversial subject.

When we hypothesize that society is only able to function well when all of its members are provided the means necessary to obtain proper health care, we are theoretically taking a functionalist perspective. A functional order theorist would argue that we need all members of society to be as healthy as possible in order for them to contribute to society through their normal roles. On the contrary, a conflict theorist would argue that, in providing everyone with health care, we are encouraging an inevitable struggle over scarce resources. Ultimately, one side is arguing that universal healthcare is mandatory for a functioning society, while the other rebuttals that it is not a crucial necessity for every person, and that we need to consider how we can best utilize our resources. It is conflicts like these that make healthcare such a controversial subject, and that have subsequently delayed any kind of progress.

Minorities are habitually segregated in healthcare. Feminist theorists focus on the domination of Caucasian men in medical societies and the lack of attention minorities, especially women, receive with America’s current healthcare plan. Since healthcare is currently hard to obtain due to strict regulations and boundaries, many people have considered alternative solutions to standard medical care. One popular alternative is to focus ones attention more so on the prevention of the disease, rather than the treatment itself. Many threats to ones health are preventable—such as suicide, heart attacks, or broken bones—and many physicians and companies are starting wellness programs to prevent such health issues from occurring, and ultimately lower medical costs. Another common alternative to our current system of health care is alternative medicine. With focus on acupuncture, yoga, meditation, herbal remedies, and other possible substitutes, both standard and alternative doctors are able to avoid high medical costs and scathing insurance rates while focusing on cheaper and easier antidotes for their patients. Many conflict theorists, in concurrence with many Western traditional physicians, claim that these alternative solutions do not make sense, that they are based on the ignorance of superstition, that they leave room for bias, and that they encourage physicians focus all of their attention on these alternative and consequently pay too little attention to those who are actually injured or unwell.

The United States’ current healthcare program has been under intense scrutiny for the last decade. Our society has been hounding the government to figure out what exactly they plan to do about the high numbers of uninsured or under-insured people, and the high costs they require for decent health insurance. While this issue has long remained stagnant, on March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which will provide low-cost insurance to the 44 million Americans who are currently uninsured; signing this act is the first step in President Obama’s plan to lower healthcare costs and expand healthcare to make it more readily available. Order theorists, along with many liberals and Democrats, strongly support the idea of providing universal healthcare. Order theorists reason that Obamacare is beneficial to a functioning society because it provides all groups and individuals with the means necessary to maintain good health and wellness, thus promoting their everyday contributions to society. Conflict theorists, however, reason that providing universal healthcare would be a waste of a precious resource, and that benefits that universal healthcare would produce are not worth the costs of abusing our dwindling resources.

If we were to ask ourselves the question, ‘what should the U.S. do about these healthcare issues?’ we are ultimately triggering our inevitable political bias. There is no infallible solution to social healthcare problems. Much like many other political controversies, it is based on an opinion that will diverge greatly among different societies, social groups, and political parties. However in pursuing Obamacare, our government is promising affordable healthcare to every American citizen through the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. While this act would theoretically solve our current issues with healthcare, arguments will continue to be made in regards to depletion of resources and abuse of certain social groups. If we, as individuals, were able to do anything to support healthcare, it would be to spread awareness of alternative solutions and eliminate political ignorance in terms of healthcare’s costs and benefits.