Monthly Archives: February 2018

Mysticons Revisited: Updated Review 2018

Back in August 2017, I published a first-impression review of the Canadian animated series Mysticons. At the time, I had some critiques that still stand to this day; however, I have come to realize that I vastly underestimated the quality and potential of the series.



Produced by Nelvana and Corus Entertainment—two Canadian production companies specializing in children’s programming, specifically animation—has created a series that could potentially become a hit in this day and age online cartoon fandoms. The show surrounds a group of four teenagers, Arkayna, Piper, Emerald, and Zarya, who are brought together through a acquisition quest of the “Dragon disk”, an ancient artifact that is held in the royal ranks of Drake City. This artifact has caught the eye of evil perpetrators who would like to use it’s power to revive a previous overlord. The four girls are unexpectedly granted powers from the disk and are bestowed the unsolicited role of protecting their home from evil beings.


To this date, 26 episodes of Mysticons have been broadcasted and I can confidently say that it is a hidden gem in the world of modern-day animation, and amidst the top animated series to come out of Canada. Yes, there are some cliché moments sprinkled throughout its narrative, but these are largely forgiven due to the sheer charm that the characters, premise, and story emit. In the overcrowded world of entertainment media, originality is becoming a scarcity; thus, a long-winded and child-targeted series is bound to incorporate a few tropes. What sets Mysticons apart however, is how it approaches cliché characterizations and plot points, in that it does an excellent job to provide a fresh take on tired old ideas.


In my previous, admittedly uninformed, review of the series, I praised its unique premise and vast scope. This opinion still stands, possibly even stronger than it did before. It has been a long time since an Americanized animated series has showcased such ambitious prospects for world-building starting from its very first episode. Based on the first minute of watching episode one, the audience is thrown into a world that combines futuristic, fantasy, and modern-day urban elements, in a space occupied by beings ranging from anthropomorphic cats to pint-sized pixies, to regular humans. A quarter into the episode introduces the audience to strong social divides within the central setting of Drake City, featuring an underground community beneath the metropolis full of inner-city occupants.


Comparisons are presented between the “Undercity” environment, home of Piper and Zarya, to the introduction of Emerald and Princess Arkayna who reside in a grand palace as they are tied to the royal family. Showcasing diverse living arrangements within child-targeted animation is a rarity at best, so embracing the mere concept of a city with social divide shows its audience that Mysticons is serious about expanding the scope of its world while even drawing parallels to modern-day social alienation. Additionally, a current plot twist will most likely foster conflict rooted in clashed upbringings of the core Mysticons team.


The series centers 4 female leads. This in combination with being set in magical world might lead some to believe that Mysticons merely promotes a feign sense of “girl-power”, that actually feeds into long-lived stereotypes of young female behaviour centering topics of fashion and boys (e.g. Winx Club); however, this is far from the case. The series is heavily action and plot oriented, features that are especially absent in female-led and targeted series—and a combination of elements that are absent in the slice-of-life, comedic, and episodic wave of animated content we have been receiving within the past couple of years (e.g. Ben 10 2017 , Powerpuff Girls 2016, Teen Titans GO!, Unikitty, etc.). It carries an unbiased an indiscriminate outlook towards gender roles and corresponding behaviours, in that the main characters can be easily replaced by male versions of themselves, and the writing could remain mostly unaltered without the characters and story feeling out of place.


Not only are the female characters of Mysticons treated exceptionally well by the series’ writers, but they are also well respected within the context of the series itself. The male characters that are featured do not feel the need to exert bravado over our protagonists, nor do they feel intimidated or emasculated by the Mysticons’ deep-seated power. Instead, male and female characters work alongside each other as equal partners striving to reach the shared goal of keeping Drake City safe from evil perpetrators—an element that should be inherent in children’s media, but is unfortunately uncommon within the vast scope of animated works currently available. In more recent years, there have been quite a few well-known series that embrace males and females working in unison without falling into gendered stereotypes (e.g. Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, Steven Universe, Miraculous Ladybug), but in the animated arena as a whole, the dynamic between these characters are often unbalanced and comply with problematic tropes. So on top of production companies straying away from the action genre, the fact that Mysticons falls under this category and presents forward-thinking female portrayals, fills a huge gap in the current animation environment.


The four protagonists are very likable, each with identifiable traits that result in a playful dynamic. Although Arkayna is promoted as the leader of the Mysticons, each member has their fair share of screen time and are given three-dimensional personalities to a similar degree. Although characters like Piper and Zarya can be categorized by personality type (e.g. the bubbly and peppy character vs. the tough street character) they definitely have much more going for them than their labels imply. For example, contrast to Piper’s lively personality, she deals with anxiety that roots from her fear of being abandoned as a child before meeting Zarya. Carrying this burden makes her much more complex and has the viewer questioning whether her upbeat demeanor partially disguises the anxiety she’s experiencing, both from her teammates and from herself. Em and Arkayna are also quite complex in that you cannot describe using only a few adjectives—they simply do not fit into a single box.


In addition to thoughtful characterization, diversity is a major theme presented in Mysticons. Not only in terms of social standing, but as mentioned previously, the series also utilizes a variety of human and inhuman races that coexist harmoniously. The series even showcases the early budding of a same-sex relationship—and not between background or one-off characters, but involving one of the main protagonists and presented in a way that isn’t glorified. This is groundbreaking in the arena of animation that so vigorously attempts to shelter children from progressively-liberal thoughts. Steven Universe openly promotes sexuality that diverts from the norm, however the characters involved are hidden under the gauze of being alien gems that are personified as humans. Star Vs. the Forces of Evil showcases same-sex couples in the background of an episode, which does wonders to normalize living in a world of diversity; however it does not have a same impact as presenting a human protagonist exploring an early romantic relationship with someone of the same gender.


Mysticons‘ level of storytelling and characterization is incredibly ambitious, making it easily one of the most plot-driven cartoon series that is currently being broadcasted. Although it has a few filler episodes near its start, as the plot progresses they become relatively scarce. As a very well-written series with plenty of charm, it’s sad to see that many animation reviewers, especially on YouTube, are brushing the series aside as something that they do not plan to watch anytime soon; however, on the other end of the spectrum, Mysticons’ YouTube channel and social media platforms are slowly but surely gaining momentum and fostering a space for discussion for young and older viewers alike. Although Mysticons has only managed to gain a cult following so far, individuals who consider themselves fans of the series seem to be incredibly invested in its narrative. On top of this, it has only began airing half a year ago, so it has plenty of time to gain further momentum.


Overall, I highly recommend Mysticons as it is a very unique series with ambitious storytelling and world-building prospects making it an entertaining watch. Mysticons has showcased to desire to expand in having ambitious social media, merchandising, and production plans; my only hope is that it is capable of staying on the air long enough to see it’s efforts come into fruition.

Daynah’s Environmental Disaster

Hello y’all. I hope everyone had a good week, and for those of you that celebrated it, a wonderful Chinese New Year. It’s Monday, which means, I procrastinated and didn’t get a post to you yesterday night. Unfortunately, the opportunity to re-watch Trevor Noah slay the stand-up game was too good of one to pass up, hence why you’re getting this post today. Apologies.

Today’s post features Daynah, a woman who makes you wish mute buttons actually worked in real life.

First Encounter:

I first meet Daynah over the phone. It’s 4:45 in the morning, the store has yet to open, and I am setting up the pastry display when the phone begins to ring incessantly. As I answer it, the customer on the line (who later gives her name as Daynah) begins demanding I set aside a box of our “gingerbread square things.”

Given that we don’t sell those, I was particularly confused.

“Sorry,” I say. “We don’t sell gingerbread squares. We do have gingerbread loaves – ”

“NO!” she shouts, cutting me off. “I don’t want gingerbread loaves. It’s a box of gingerbread somethings.”

“The gingerbread cookies?” I suggested.

She grunted in annoyance. “I can’t believe you don’t know what I’m talking about. The box of squares with gingerbread you can buy and share with a lot of people?”

Already annoyed at her rudeness and impatience, I took a wild guess. “The berry bars?” I suggested.

YES! THOSE!” She shouts in exasperated triumph.

Let’s just stop there. There’s absolutely no correlation between gingerbread and berries. How do you even mix those things up? Those are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS and do not sound REMOTELY the same. At all.

She tells me to hold a box for her and informs me that she will be coming by in a few minutes to pick it up.

Seeing Daynah:

Ten minutes after hanging up with Daynah, she walks into the store.

For those of you that have worked in service or retail before, this is the customer that has the “I need to speak to a manager” face permanently plastered on. With scraggly brown hair, plastic red-rimmed glasses, a naturally frowning mouth, and a witch-like nose, I knew the moment I laid eyes on Daynah that our encounter would be unpleasant.

I was right.

“Hi, I called in earlier about the gingerbread squares,” she says to me.

“Yeah. I’ve got them here, the berry bars.” I replied.

“Whatever,” she retorts and waves her hand in annoyance.

I ring in the bars and ask her if she wants anything else. She nods, and tells me she’s getting a coffee.

Then she opens her mouth.

“I’m getting a 1/3 decaf, nonfat, half sweet, no foam, no whip, extra sprinkles, cinnamon latte.”

Repressing the urge to roll my eyes, I write down her order and head over to the bar to make it. I prompt the debit machine for her before I leave, and inform her she can pay.

As I’m halfway from finishing her drink, she requests that I place her “latte” (if we’re going to call this concoction a latte), into one of the reusable cups we sell. However, considering I have nearly finished her drink and have poured the milk halfway into the cup already, it seems rather moot to put the latte into a reusable cup and have to throw out the paper one.

In the same instant that she is asking I place her drink into a reusable cup, she begins to lecture me about the use of paper cups.

“I just disagree with your store policy about paper cups. I hate paper cups. That’s why I buy so many reusable cups.”

A) Did I ask for your life story? No. No I did not.
B) She may have bought a lot of reusable cups, but she sure as heck has not been using them, especially since she walked in that morning without one.

I get it. I hate that my store does not yet use compostable paper cups. I hate that our waste is so high. I go through our recycling and compost bins when it is not busy to make sure people are properly throwing their trash and waste away into the proper corresponding bags. BUT. How self-unaware can you be to reach this level of idiocy?

At the end of her lecture, she realizes that I have finished making her drink, and decides against getting the reusable cup.

“It’s pointless now anyway. You’ve already put my latte in the garbage cup.”

If you have such a moral objection to our store… WHY ARE YOU HERE? GO HOME! I sure as heck didn’t want to start my shift off with a long-ass lecture from a hypocritical customer.

Since Daynah seems to dislike coming into my store so much, I expect to never see her again.


Daynah Won’t Go:

I see her twice that same week. Both times, I get the same exact lecture about environmental responsibility. Both times, she grabs a plastic cup of water, downs it, and proceeds to throw it into the garbage.

Our cups are number five plastics. They’re recyclable.

One day, she lectures my co-worker about our cup policy, I interrupt to tell her that our plastic cups are recyclable.

“So?” She snorts.
“Well, you’ve been throwing your water cup in the garbage, so I just thought I would let you know.” I reply.
“Whatever. Your paper cups are still not compostable. So I don’t agree with your cup policy. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Then she leaves the store in a huff.

I see her again that week. Just. Ugh. *pinches bridge of nose.*


The post Daynah’s Environmental Disaster appeared first on Beleaguered Barista.

C y A – Playlist #1

“To live doesn’t mean your alive, what does being alive mean to you”

The Weekly Vibe: Playlist #1 (CYA)

This week’s vibe was a little different for me. It began when I started feeling a little lost in life, especially in these past few weeks. I didn’t really know what I was doing. It felt like I wasn’t alive; I fell off my grind and completely lost my drive. Everything I did felt like I did it with no purpose, and that was a bad sign.

Just imagine, grinding, working your ass off for a solid month and letting your passion bring you to places you haven’t been before, and all of that slipping away. That’s how it felt. The worst part was, I just let myself keep falling until I couldn’t fall no more. Personally, it quickly came to a point where I knew I had to get my act together, but there was a part of me that just kept saying “fuck it.” I didn’t even want to listen to myself, so it only made sense why I didn’t want to listen to anyone else. Reality finally caught up with me this last weekend, I hit rock bottom and knew I couldn’t keep acting like this no more.

I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this feeling before, but one thing I have learned from this experience is that no matter how bad things can get, there is always a way back up. For a long time now, I knew that when I die, I want to leave a legacy behind. Surprisingly, that thought of building that foundation and becoming something people can look up to gave me the push I needed to get back on my feet. It is so crucial to look at the bigger picture, even if that is taking a step back from reality sometimes. It begins with seeing things for yourself first and surrounding yourself with the right company. Having someone in your life who sees more potential in you then you see in yourself, is something I was lucky to have, and having that can help give you that push.


Kyoko Mogami — Skip Beat Character Review (Excellent Female Portrayal)

Skip Beat is an amazing manga and anime series that has stolen many readers’ and viewers’ hearts alike.

The story centers young Kyoko Mogami, who drops her entire life in Kyoto to shadow her childhood friend and lifelong crush, Sho Fuwa, in his pursuit of becoming famous Japanese vocalist. In being consumed by love of the unrequited variety, Kyoko works 3 jobs just to pay for her and Sho’s living expenses; however, it doesn’t take long before she discovers that Sho doesn’t have the slightest romantic inclination towards her, and instead treats Kyoko as his personal gopher/house maid.


Skip Beat, whether taking on its anime or manga form, has everything anyone could ask for; from humor to drama, to even a sprinkle of romance, Skip Beat incorporates multiple genres while maintaining seamless switches between—in many cases, with meticulous timing that reigns humourous results. In addition to Skip Beat‘s carefully-crafted and long-winded narrative, both the inner and outer-tier characters pricelessly add to the story as a whole, each revealing layers of themselves that result in three-dimensional personalities.


Up until the point of overhearing Sho’s brutally honest opinion of her, Kyoko is not a very likable character. She’s portrayed as a dim-witted, clueless child who is unable to see through Sho’s mistreatment of her despite it being glaringly obvious. However, this point marks a pivotal moment in Kyoko’s characterization. The audience is led to believe that Kyoko will break down in tears at Sho’s disheartening revelation; however, her response takes a complete detour from the viewers’ expectations:

She slowly raises her head, and with an evil glint her eyes, maliciously laughs while releasing her inner demons in a powerful wave of force.


Yes, Sho hurt her, but contrary to the majority of works within the shojo genre, Kyoko does not drown in a pit of self-pity. Instead she retaliates with a deep burning anger that lacks even the slightest hint of mourning. Her next step of action is not to carry on living life as a regular 16-year-old girl; instead she takes all the money she has and uses it to create a new outward appearance—one that she uses to identity herself in the world of show business.


Kyoko Mogami uses Sho’s betrayal to fuel a long-winded revenge plan that involves becoming one of the greatest actors in Japan in order to outshine Sho’s path to fame. She becomes motivated to make something of herself and, despite still being within the context of getting revenge on who she once identified as her ex-boyfriend, her response to the entire scenario is one of pure drive and energy; not self-loathing as most characters faced with the same situation would dwell in.


Skip Beat the anime immerses viewers in an introduction to Kyoko and her story, as well as her prospects for growth within the entertainment industry. The manga, however, carries on her inspiring story throughout 254 chapters and counting.

She has grown into a strong-willed, hard-headed, inspired, spirited young lady who is slowly recuperating from closing her heart to the concept of love—a negative consequence of Sho’s actions. Her aspiration transitions from one of revenge to one of creating “Kyoko Mogami” outside of her past history. Her revenge scheme falls into the back-burner, and as a reward from Karma herself, the moment Kyoko begins to let go of her resentment towards those who have mistreated her (her mother also included in this statement), Sho begins to develop a romantic interest towards her. Kyoko refrains as, while roles have satisfactorily reverse, she long decided to close that chapter of her life.


What makes Skip Beat so intriguing is the fact that it diverts from shojo characteristics and plot points. We as readers have the opportunity to peer into Kyoko’s transition from being dependent on someone who shows no interest in her as an individual, to her ambitiously picking up all of her broken pieces and putting them together with the upmost ambition. We follow Kyoko as she impacts the lives of the people she comes in contact with for the better. And on top of this, as she develops feelings for one of her fellow actors and vice versa, she conquers her biggest fear of all: allowing herself to be vulnerable by opening her heart once again.


Yes, love is a huge theme within Skip Beat; however, it isn’t necessarily focused on love from a potential romantic partner, but rather love for Kyoko herself. The ability to see herself as valued and to work towards something that fosters her own potential are even more impactful than the drama and romance that Skip Beat so graciously offers to its audience. The series also carries a central theme of forgiveness, both towards the people of her past and towards herself—for how she, retrospectively, poorly handled herself when placed in volatile situations that even she had no control over; in this case, turning to Sho for love and support to fill a void left by her cold mother.


Kyoko’s spirited personality is something that does not waiver, and on top of this, it’s also incredibly addicting to watch. Like flipping a switch, Kyoko can be bursting at the seams with enthusiasm, to drowning in a pit of her own sorrow, to releasing her inner demons to wreak havoc among those who cross her—all in a humourous fashion. She’s excitable and full of unwavering drive; qualities that, in combination, are very uncommon in Japanese animation and manga.


From her outrageously volatile display of emotions, to her incredible drive and ambition, to her captivating backstory and rise to the top, Kyoko Mogami is one of the most unique, likable, and unproblematic female characters to grace modern-day anime and manga. She is incredible and her personality alone is enough to inspire anyone who takes the time to read her story.


A/N: As I wrote this blog post, all I could think about was when the next chapter will come out. I am deeply invested in Kyoko’s story and even thinking about her during times of inner turmoil and fear helps me strive to reach my own goals. It’s kind of silly to look up to the traits of a fictional character, but I guess when you can’t find someone to take inspiration from in reality, you either create your own persona or look up to someone else’s creation.

Or maybe I’m just crazy.


Kristophur: The Mocha Dick (Part 2)

It’s Wednesday, which means your resident beleaguered barista is back again with another post. But today also happens to be Valentine’s Day, so I just wanted to wish a happy love day to all the singles, couples, trios, etc. out there. May your days be great and your hearts be full. And if love’s not your thing, today is also the 89th anniversary of the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre. So, uh, there’s that going for you.

For those of you just joining in, this is the second part of the Kristophur saga (read Part I here). It’s going to be another long one, and you’ll probably have to strap in and grab some more chocolate, or maybe some holy water to throw at your screen.

Episode IV: A New Low

It’s Christmas, and Kris’s present to me and my coworkers is to grace us with his presence. I guess Santa thought we all deserved a lump of coal that year. Given that we’re one of the only coffee shops to be open on Christmas, the store is horrifically busy when he enters, which means the chances of a short interaction have just vanished from existence.

As I’m making his drink, he leans over the counter, intent on chatting us up. I put my head down to work, hoping that my lack of eye contact will be taken as a signal that I do not want to talk. Rather than take the hint, Kris asks a general question.

“Are you gals doing any ho-ho-ho-ing today?”

I know. On digital paper, it doesn’t seem that gross. Some of you might be sitting there wondering why I’m so mad. Let me tell you why. Kris wasn’t asking us if we were celebrating Christmas. If you add in the perverted inflection and the disgusting eyebrow waggle he gave us, what he really meant by that question was something sexual, and something that made my skin crawl.

(If you don’t know what he meant, I’ll spell out for you: he’s asking us if we’re engaging in any sexual activities AND implying that we’re hoes.)

A) Any sexual activity we engage in is NONE OF HIS BEESWAX (I mean, we didn’t, but that’s beside the point)

B) Slut-shaming is the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard of. If someone has properly consented to sex and happens to like having it with different partners, then good on them. If that’s what they enjoy, then who gives a damn? They’re out living their best life. Are you? Or are you busy being stupidly judgemental over someone else’s life and policing what they do with their body?

C) EW.

He leaves after we tell him: “No, we’re just working today.”

Episode V: The Mocha Dick Strikes Back

One morning, Kris walks in, a leering smile plastered on his face, and eyes lit up with mischief. Already, I’m on edge. It’s too early for him to start with his particular brand of disgustingness, and I am not caffeinated enough to deal with him.

Unfortunately, my manager is watching me, and I cannot be anything by overly nice to him as he approaches my cash register. I greet him and ask him what I can get him for that day.

He says: “You know what I want.”

I do, but I do not want to give him the satisfaction of him knowing that I know his drink by heart.

“Sorry,” I say. “You’ll have to remind me.”

He rattles off his drink, a little annoyed that he has to actually order. As I’m going off to make his drink, I (stupidly) attempt to make conversation with him.

“It’s nice outside today,” I muse.
“It’s nicer inside,” he says, looking pointedly at me. “In fact, it’s beautiful, I’d say”
“Yeah, it’s warmer inside, but the weather is beautiful,” I reply, oblivious.
“I wasn’t talking about the weather,” he says. He pushes his glasses up higher onto the bridge of his nose, and he’s biting his lip as he stares at me.

I am grossed out and panic. “I was,” I say.

The conversation dies real fast after that. When he grabs his drink, he leaves silently, and I think (hope) it’s the last time I will see him.

I was wrong.

Episode VI: Return of the Mocha Dick

During a rush, Kris is chit-chatting with Bunny at her cash register. What they talk about, I’m not sure, but as I’m walking by them to place a drink on the bar, I overhear this absolutely horrific question exit his mouth: “do you like pussies? Cuz I do.”

Bunny looks at me, and I do a quick double-take. Did he seriously just ask her that? Yes. Yes, this incredibly perverted asshat did.

If y’all are confused. He. Wasn’t. Referring. To. Cats.

Again, the perverted inflection and disgusting lecherous grin on his face was a dead giveaway for what he was actually referring to.

At this point, we would have been happy if Kris got some of the treatment the burglars did in Home Alone.

Exhibit A)

Exhibit B)


Episode VII: The Mocha Dick Awakens

Last week, Kris hits the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. As Bunny is cleaning part of the store, he joins her at the stand where all the milk and sugar is kept and touches her without her consent.

He feels her neck and caresses her hair, and makes her completely and irrevocably uncomfortable and unsafe. To top it all off, before he puts his hands on her, he says: “Don’t worry, my hands are clean.”

Uhm. No. Nope. No, they are not you fricken sleazebag. They are disgusting hands and you have just sexually harassed a girl in plain view of everyone.

It’s upsetting to hear about, especially since Bunny is usually the unshakeable one at work. But that day, she was visibly affected by the incident and went home in shock.

A couple of days later, my brilliant coworker Miranda (who you’ll be hearing more about in the future because she is a bad-ass), confronts Kris as he walks into the store. She calls attention to his unacceptable behaviour (aka his non-consensual grope of Bunny) and asks that he apologize for his actions.

Rather than admit to his mistake, Kris takes the coward’s way out. He states that he didn’t know and that he thought it was okay since Bunny did not say anything to him. He says he didn’t mean anything bad by it.

Well, honey. The road to hell is paved with “good” intentions.

A few days later, he came in and begrudgingly apologized, repeating his earlier statements of no-harm-intended and general lack of knowledge. Though it was overall unsatisfactory, it was a step.

Just so you know, we’ll be monitoring Kris from now on. If he escalates or repeats his behaviour again, we’re probably going to call HR on his stupid ass. And then we’ll never have to see him again. Which, I think would be a brilliant victory.

So that concludes Mocha Dick’s saga for now. Let’s just hope it stays that way.

The post Kristophur: The Mocha Dick (Part 2) appeared first on Beleaguered Barista.

Kristophur: The Mocha Dick (PART 1)

Happy Sunday y’all.

This week, I introduce you to Kristophur: The Mocha Dick. I’m going to be splitting up the saga of his patronage at my café into two parts. Part one will cover his aggressive and asshat behaviour, while part two will tell the tale of his inappropriate sexual advances. Fun stuff, I know.

Fair warning to you though.  This might be a long one. So, sit down, grab some chocolate (and maybe find some emotional zen) because this customer is probably going to make you mad – or, at least, mildly annoyed.

But before I start, here is a FUN FACT for y’all: Mocha Dick (see the title of this post) is an actual thing. It happens to be the name of the sperm whale that Herman Melville’s well-known book, Moby Dick, is based on; this massive whale terrorized the Pacific Ocean during the early 19th century.

Anyway, Kristophur buys mochas AND he’s a colossal dick. Hence, mocha dick. Let’s get started.

For those of you who’ve been reading, Kristophur is very similar to Mykel. They both suck any semblance of joy, hope, and happiness from the air just by walking into the store. Ergo: another dementor.

So what does this terror look like? Imagine a corpulent Elmer Fudd, minus the charming desire to hunt wabbits and the endearing speech impediment. Add in thick-set glasses, an obnoxiously red hoodie that never seems to get washed, and a disgustingly leering smile.

Behold! The glory that is Kristophur.

Episode I: The Mocha menace

The first time I meet Kris, it also happens to be my first time working as a barista. It’s the middle of a morning rush when he walks in and says: “Are you new? I have never seen you before in life.”
“Yes,” I reply. “It’s my first day.”
To which he says (more like shouts/demands): “I’m getting my regular drink.”

Let’s stop there first. Given that he is obviously a regular and has never seen me before PLUS, has confirmed that I am new to the store, why would he expect me to know his drink? WHY? I don’t know what his drink is at this point. I’M NEW.

Kris releases a frustrated sigh of discontent and then proceeds to rattle off his drink.

“I get a large, decaf, nonfat, no foam, no whip, mocha.”

As I’m fumbling to write down the order and ring it in, he chimes in again: “make sure you remember it for next time. You should know it. I come in a lot. Also, it’s decaf. Don’t you dare make it caffeinated.”

I nod, hand the drink to the barista making drinks, and pray to heavens that I never have to see him again.

No such luck there.


The second time I see Kris, I have worked a total of seven days at my café and still have no idea how to make drinks. Unfortunately for me, he walks in, orders his drink, and I’m tasked with the gift (see: curse) of having to make that monstrosity.

The problem is, the cup literally has KRIS written on it. There is no indication as to what the drink is. His royal corpulence walks up to me at the end of the bar and leans over to ask me loudly if I have remembered his drink yet.

I have not.

He gets visibly angry that I have not done so, despite these facts:
a) I am still new
b) I have a life outside of work – it involves school, getting yelled at by my mother, watching British documentaries, procrastinating and a whole lot of NOT BEING A BARISTA.
c) See how the above fact does NOT include memorizing asshat customers and their weird drinks?

Finally, after a disappointed sigh, he takes pity on me and tells me his drink again. What he fails to do is inform me that he does not want any foam on his “coffee.” So I make the drink he has told me to make, but with foam.

He goes apoplectic.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” He explodes. He then looks over at my manager and gestures to me.

“Can you do something about this? This is unacceptable. Just unbelievable.”

I’m standing there, pitcher in my hand and bewilderment in my heart.

“What did I do wrong?” I ask him. He scoffs and just rolls his eyes.

My manager takes one look at him and then glances at the drink that I have managed to produce.

“Oh, you gave him foam. He didn’t want any.”

Great. Thanks for that heads up. Thanks so so much. I remake the drink and hand it off to him.

He takes it and then tells my manager this before he leaves: “You know, she’s not very smart, is she? Got a lot to learn, she does.”


Over the next couple of months, I have limited interaction with Kris. Which turn out to be some of the best months of my time as a barista.

Then, one miserable day, he comes in and destroys all that joy and happiness in an instant.

The moment Kris walks in, I cannot help but stand at attention.
The red hoodie, his signature top of choice, acted as a warning sign of impending doom from the other side of the parking lot. Kind of like Princess Leia when she encounters Governor Tarkin. Minus the presence of a young Harrison Ford.

Princess Leia saying: I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.

Immediately, Kris comments on the number of people that are working.

“Wow, Sapphire (my manager), must be slacking. There are so many of you working. Weird.”

Yes, Kris. Completely weird that people must work to earn a living. What a concept. I definitely don’t have bills and tuition to pay, groceries to buy, money to save for a house I won’t ever be able to buy because of the economy. Yup. No need to work here at all. Cue the intense eye rolls. (Also if y’all did not pick up on that sarcasm… I can’t help you.)

Anyhow, moving on. Kris orders and receives his drink with little to no problems. It is when he attempts (keyword being attempt) to put the lid on his cup that he encounters trouble. For some reason, his sausage fingers are unable to deftly place the plastic lid on top of the cup, and he ends up spilling his drink across the bar.

Rather than apologize for making a mess, he looks at me and informs me loudly that I have made him spill his drink.

Excuse me? I’ve been behind his giant stone counter for the last five minutes. Also, I did not hold a weapon to your head and demand you spill your stupid drink across the counter. I did not MAKE you do anything!

Rather than say any of that to him, I tell him that I will make him a new drink.

“You better. You’re the one that spilled it.”

Again, I choose to stay silent; I bite my tongue.  I proceed to make him his drink and hope that he leaves. INSTEAD, this asshat has the audacity to slam open the door to our back room, locate my manager who is doing admin work there, and shouts at her that I have spilled his drink and need to clean up the mess I made, and then leaves.

Just. Nope. I hope this man steps on some legos. Barefoot. And then falls on them. Or just disappears off the face of the planet.


So that’s it for this (very long) post. Catch the second part of Kristophur’s epic journey up on Wednesday at 9:30pm.

Hope y’all have as good a Monday as you can,


The post Kristophur: The Mocha Dick (PART 1) appeared first on Beleaguered Barista.

Fysh’s mixtape

When your world is on fire, your mixtape should match!

Here are a couple tracks I jam to as I scramble over crumbling freeways to chill with my cult pals, internally panicked over the prospect that some semblance of order might one day return to the universe.

Hairold and the Disguised Latte

Basilisks aren’t a lot of fun. In the words of J.K. Rowling:

Of the many fearsome beasts and monsters that roam our land, there is none more curious or more deadly than the Basilisk, known also as the King of Serpents. This snake, which may reach gigantic size, and live many hundreds of years, is born from a chicken’s egg, hatched beneath a toad. Its methods of killing are most wondrous, for aside from its deadly and venomous fangs, the Basilisk has a murderous stare, and all who are fixed with the beam of its eye shall suffer instant death.

To sum up: basilisks are kind of like massive and deadly pet peeves. One, they’re really big snakes, and two, the basilisk featured in the second Harry Potter film (and novel) was most definitely a pet-like creature for the horcruxed (yup, that’s 100% an adjective) Voldemort / Tom Riddle. Plus, pet peeves really do kill you – spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes physically.

If we’re going by this definition, Hairold is a big ol’ basilisk.

Now, Hairold is one of those regulars that you have to be nice to because your manager is looking at you and you need to keep your job. He’s a pleasant enough man (by that, I really mean not-at-all pleasant), severely round around the belly, balding, hairy, loud, rude, and all-around insufferable. Just seeing him makes your eyes retreat into the back of your head.

Hairold comes in on my shifts and orders a small doppio espresso macchiato with no foam in a medium cup. Some of you may be sitting there scratching your heads wondering why the heck I’m so bitter about this. Let me explain. An espresso macchiato (or café macchiato – which it’s also called) is simply espresso with a LITTLE BIT of milk, usually foamed.  So, this order simply makes no sense. It’s like ordering a cappuccino with no foam – stupid and nonsensical.

Anyway, back to Hairold. I was confused with his order, and asked him to clarify what he meant by no foam. Did he simply want a doppio espresso?

Alas, no.

Hairold wanted me to fill the medium cup to the top with steamed milk. In other words, he wanted a bloody MEDIUM LATTE and didn’t want to pay for it. The first time he pulled this on me, I let him slide. I get it. Coffee is a very expensive addiction to feed, and my store isn’t known for selling cheap drinks. But Hairold consistently does this. And it drives me up the wall because he gets increasingly rude about it.  He will peer over the bar and shout at me:
“Make sure you pour the milk all the way to the top!”
“I don’t want any foam on that drink, ya hear?”
“There better not be a drop of foam on that drink!”
“The milk better be at the top when I get that drink!”

If ever there was a customer I would tell to go to hell, it would be Hairold. Yelling at your barista because you don’t know how to be inside like a functional human being is:
a) incredibly rude
b) incredibly condescending
c)  incredibly irritating
d) incredibly stupid – I control what goes into your drink man. You might end up with decaf.

On top of ordering his disguised latte, Hairold also likes to buy our bottled coffee and add shots of espresso to it.

One morning, he walks in and demands that we throw in two shots of espresso into the glass bottle he just picked up from the refrigerated section of the store. He screws open the lid and looks at me expectantly.

I ring in the bottle and push the button on the POS that adds the two shots to his drink. Apparently that was a mistake. He immediately takes one look at the price and throws a temper tantrum about it.

“That’s NOT what I get charged. What is wrong with you? I normally pay $3.40. Not what you’ve charged me”

Uhm other than the fact that I have to serve you? Nothing. I wish I could have said that to him. Or pulled a Rihanna and rolled my window up on his serpentine ass. 

Rihanna rolling up a car window looking shady

Hairold keeps shouting that I have wrongly charged him for his espresso, and ask that I do it “properly” and “right.”
Exasperated with my supposed incompetence, Hairold calls out:

“Where’s Ted’s wife?! She knows how I’m supposed to be charged!”

The fact that this man doesn’t even know the barista’s name and has to identify her based on her marital status is pretty sad. She’s more than someone’s wife you idiot. She’s an actual human with a name… just saying.

My manager, hearing the commotion from the back, comes out and looks to ameliorate the situation. She clears the transaction and tries again to ring it in the way he wants it – it doesn’t happen.

He gets increasingly frustrated, until I magically find out that ringing in a cup of water and adding in the two espresso shots after produces the price that Hairold wants to pay for his coffee. Thank the lord. After that, he pays for his drink and leaves.

Yesterday, I saw Harold again. It was superbly painful and just all-around not fun. He must be a wizard at this point, given how much he keeps ordering those damned disguised lattes.

Just. Ugh. Someone needs to sick Fawkes on this guy’s ass so the regal phoenix can poke this snake’s eyes out.
Fawkes the Phoenix poking the basilisk's eyes out