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Friday, January 27, 2006
I'm not quite sure how I feel about my decision to provide my mother with AOL instant-messenger capability. Once she upgraded to high-speed internet, I figured it be easier to have her IM'ing me at work (when I could ignore her [briefly] if I had to) rather than having her calling me two or three times a day with questions about some arcane thing she'd seen on T.V., or about our plans for the weekend, or whether I want any of the belongings she's set aside to give to the woman who cleans her house and plans to sell at the flea market. Questions which, invariably, seemed to come to her and inspire her to immediately call me at the most inopertune time(s).

And all this agonizing over my mother's seeming campaign against my sanity has me thinking of Mark's mother. Please keep Mark and his family in your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Stats That Shape a Weekend (Glory Hole Party Edition)
Number of Shots I Made: I don’t have an exact count, but well over 100*
Number of Shots I Drank: maybe three . . . four most
Number of Kamikazes I Drank: maybe three or . . . five?


So, as I mentioned earlier, I’d volunteered to bartend the party this past weekend for Mr. Glory Hole. And by “bartend,” of course I mean mix shots. Because I’m not a bartender, although I was mistaken for one. Mr. Glory Hole had already taken care of the core of the recipe needs with the-shadow-of-GOP-corruption-sized bottles of vodka, rum, Jagermeister, and Jack Daniels. We split a list of mixers and liqueurs. And then came the expectations that I might be overdoing it (his), followed by self-doubt (mine). The party proved to be an expectation-shattering event.

Expectation: This party won’t be any bigger than the last Glory Hole party.
Reality: While the previous party was quite the popular event (for about 30 minutes), this one was quite popular for several hours. I left sometime between 12:30 and 1 and didn’t see the party “winding down” at all.

Expectation: No-one’s gonna be that into doing shots. C’mon, these aren’t kids just out of college.
Reality: The shot concept may have been a little awkward at first, but people warmed up to the idea pretty quickly. Having shots called “Red-Headed Slut” and “Cock Teaser” help break down a few barriers, too. (Oh, and some of the people there were still in college, albeit creative-writing graduate students, but that counts.)

Expectation: I’ll be the bar guy and everyone will be happy to give me my space.
Reality: Very early on, I got nudged out of the bar “area” by some guy making a round of margaritas. I didn’t have a purpose (at that point), other than making an Amaretto Sour for Mr. Glory Hole’s ex-girlfriend. So, I started making shots almost continuously. And nudging people out of the way who insisted on sharing their life stories in front of the sink. Hey, people, it’s nice outside and you’re not waiting for a drink. Out!

Expectation: I’m gonna stay sober for as long as I can, but will inevitably slip into an alcohol-induced coma around midnight.
Reality: I didn’t even really have a drink until the party had been going on for an hour. By then, Michelle had had four. When I abandoned my bar “duties” sometime before midnight, I started making myself a series of kamikazes. Not sure exactly how many I had, but it’s safe to say I was hammered . . . about two hours after I fell asleep at home. (Seriously, I woke up pretty hungover for someone who wasn’t that drunk when I went to bed.)

Expectation: Michelle will not have fun and she’ll sneak out after an hour or so.
Reality: After the four Crown and gingers, Michelle was primed . . . to be my barmaid. She was given a batter’s helmet and sent around with trays of shots. Unfortunately for her, many of the “takers” insisted that she do a shot with them. So, while she was having a great time, it was taking its toll. The girl-on-girl-on-girl-on-girl, open-air tongue-touching was something I couldn’t have predicted Michelle would be mixed up in.

* Mr. Glory Hole has my tally sheet.

Friday, January 20, 2006
Contemporary Music*
I love music, but I find myself getting more detached from it . . . specifically what’s “current” and “hip.” Even though I write music and derive a lot of enjoyment (and exorcise a lot of demons) playing music. I must be turning into an adult. At 34.

When I was a fair, gentle teenager, I was pretty obsessive about my music-listening. Like getting Duran Duran’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger in middle school and listening to that cassette repeatedly. Before I had a “jam box” with the auto-reverse function. I actually had to take the cassette out, flip it over, rewind as necessary, and press Play. Over and over. I’d get the new LP / cassette / CD by a favorite band and listen to it constantly. And never got sick of it.

Flash forward a couple decades, when I have more resources to purchase and experience new music, and I’m lost in it. Behind the times. For instance, I have a CD-rotation system in place, so that I’m currently “listening to” about 30 CDs. So it’ll take me a few months to fully evaluate the dozen CDs I got for Christmas. Continuing with the “instance,” I got the newest Death Cab for Cutie CD for/around my birthday in September and was pretty let down (initially). Only now, almost four months later, have I listened to it enough to have it “grow on me.” We’re talking six or eight times through. Over four months.

See, I like variety more now than I did. Not types of music, but bands. This is probably why I do so many mix CDs; I get sick of hearing the same songs and bands over and over and over again. So I’ll listen to a CD once (including mixes) and then rotate it out of my car. CDs in “high” rotation get listened to once, maybe twice, a month. If it’s weekly, we’re talking “very, extremely high” rotation.

What slows things down even further is driving Mia around, which I do a lot. I got pretty spoiled when Michelle was taking her to preschool and I was picking her up. Lots of time to listen to what I wanted as loud as I wanted. This temporary reverting back to daycare (which is, literally, across the highway from my office) has me squeezing in very little prime-listening time. I’ll put on the local adult-contemporary station because it’s not too offensive to Mia. (Although, it can be really offensive to me. Seriously, I’m sick and fucking tired of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia; didn’t that song hit in, like, 1997? And what’s this bullshit with Carlos Santana dubbing guitar wankery over every other song on the radio? That and anything by Blues Traveler makes me wanna turn off the entire fucking airwaves. All of them. Dear God.)

Sigh. Hey, y’know what band Mia really likes? The Bravery.

UPDATE: One of the things that inspired this post was hearing Alanis Morrissette's uninspired version of Seal's "Crazy." I mean, really, why bother? When I first heard it, I thought, "Man who is this sad Alanis wannabe doing the rote walk-through of this not-even-classic song?" Anyway, I heard it again this morning. I'll probably hear it again on the way home. Right after "Torn."

* This is gaybo to the power of 10, but there’s that episode of Friends where Ross is going to China and Joey tells him, “Make sure you eat some Chinese food while you’re there.” And Chandler enlightens him with (something like), “I think in China, they just call it food.” Anyway, likewise, “adult-contemporary music” becomes just “contemporary” when you’re an adult. Among other things.

Monday, January 16, 2006
Boiling Down the Weekend (With No Stats to Shape It)
Here's an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend about this weekend:
"Dude, I didn't say ANYTHING when Bettis fumbled. I was COMPLETELY stunned into silence. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The drama-writers in the NFL front office (or the replay booth in Indy) couldn't have written a more nausea-inducing series of twists. Jesus. When I saw Ben back there on that fumble return, I thought, "What the fuck is he doing all the way back there?" And THEN I was, like, "Tackle him. TACKLE HIM!" In my head. Because, y'know, remember the stunned silence. But somehow . . . SOMEhow . . . I knew Vanderjagt was gonna miss that kick. If he'd made it, and the Colts had gone on to win in overtime, I'd fully expect the Hand of Almighty God to descend from Heaven with a Golden Crown for Mr. Manning. Seriously."

Please let the Steelers be the Team of Destiny this year. Do it for Jerome, guys. And do it for Us All.

In other news, yeah, I've been busy at work. And we're preparing to move our computer at home. Several deadlines from the end of '05 are spilling over into early '06, and now I'm really behind. This doesn't include some things that I've completely neglected and are now becoming somewhat more important. Also, Mia's daycare was closed for MLK Day, but the office isn't, so I’m at work while Mia's "papa" is watching her and her cousin. I think I'm gonna do another couple things after my "lunch break," and then blow on outta here.

Looking ahead, there are two huge-ass social events on the Kamikaze calendar. The first is this Saturday's blowout at Mr. Glory Hole's place. This isn't another post-divorce introspective booze-fest; that's been done to death, I think. (This weekend was the continuation of wedding gift / memento destruction, which culminated in the burning of the wedding-cake topper after drinking a bottle of $150 champagne. I've never wanted to have a digital camera more than I did at that moment. Goddammit.) No, it's a combo-birthday thing. I volunteered to be a bartender, so I'll be mixing up pitchers of drinks, serving up shots (including some that I've invented), and making other specialty drinks. This will necessitate me being relatively sober. But I'll be fucked in the browneye if I don't have the Elph handy for THIS one.

The next event is a month away . . . a Girls on Film vs. Thunderpony show at Tallahassee’s penultimate college frat/sorority bar. We are splitting the whole night (from 9 p.m. to "last call"). Our repertoire doesn't equal three 40-minute sets, so we're gonna do some covers and songs from our previous band. This, too, will receive a lot of play on my Flickr page and here, I'm sure. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
What if You Threw a Party and No-One Came? Except Creed.
We played our debut gig as Thunderpony this past weekend. At what passes for a “professional” venue in Tallahassee. Meaning we were sharing the bill with three New Rock / Neü-Metal bands. Luckily we were first, which almost meant we didn’t get to eat dinner after "soundcheck." But because New Rock Band v.854.6 told all their friends that they were playing later when, in actuality, they were playing at 10, things got pushed back 30 minutes. Gyros for everyone!

The venue we played often does this ticket pre-sale thing. It’s really kind-of a scam. See, each band ponies up $150 for 150 tickets with face values of $6 each. Bands can sell these tickets for whatever they want (up to $6) and pocket the money; what they earn after the $150 investment is profit. So, the venue made $450 right off the top from the bands. And then they get all the bar revenues plus money from anyone who pays at the door.

The manager who booked us (correctly) figured we wouldn’t sell 150 tickets, so he offered us a choice: 50 tickets to sell or a $50 buyout. We gambled and took the tickets. There was a lot of unease, but we managed to sell / give away almost all of them . . . and made $75. Commerce for everyone!

What’s funny is that there were 500 tickets between the four bands. When we went on, there were between 30 and 40 people there. (I’m estimating, because I sure as fuck don’t care enough to count how many people are coming out.) We knew a lot of those people, who promptly left after we finished or shortly after the next band started. Which was about the time I left, so I can’t tell you how many more people showed up.

A few of us ventured over to the backside of the über-hip Waterworks, which is where you’d find the Spaceport. The Organ Lady was playing once more in town before venturing back to Germany. I bellied up to the bar. The doe-eyed bartender asked for my order. I felt like a kamikaze, so I ordered one. With Grey Goose. The bartender quietly said something about it being her first night. She was looking at a bar guide for the recipe to make a kamikaze. Uh-oh.

Luckily, the drink wasn’t that bad. But my next drink came in a bottle.

Thursday, January 05, 2006
"Do You Believe That Shit?"

If there's one thing worse in sports that bandwagonning and dynasties, it's hype. You think ESPN's pre-game comparisons of the 2005 USC team to the 10 greatest teams in college football history had anything to do with the Longhorns' collective determination? I love it when a plan doesn't come together.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
I didn’t really come out with an “official” list of resolutions this year, although I sort of made the promise to myself that I’d spend less time on “shit that doesn’t matter.”* Despite this, I will continue updating my weblog.

Seriously (more seriously), I’ve been thinking a lot about why I spend so much time doing silly things, and so little time doing things that, y’know, mean something. I don’t think I waste a lot of time, but I feel like I do. Just sitting around sometimes. First, I think I need to outlaw the channel-surfing. Our DVR / digital cable combo is a huge time-sucker anyway, but I need to train myself to only sit in front of the T.V. when I’m watching something specific. Or really, truly have nothing better to do (which, really, is NEVER). The “Let’s see what’s on” strategy is killing me.

The big news of the New Year’s weekend was that Michelle and her sister conspired to join forces in getting our house clean. Really clean. Like the-garbage-bin-outside-is-overflowing-why-does-our-trash-pickup-have-to-fall-on-a-holiday clean. To coincide with this purging and sanitizing event, I was half-planning a get-together with friends for New Year’s Eve. And doing semi-helpful things outside the house. Like mowing grass that hasn’t grown any taller since October.

So, now cleaning chores will be added to the list of things I should be doing. All the time. In addition, I plan to spend more time on the poetry thing and perhaps start the “novel” that I’ve been thinking about. (I say “start,” but I’m half finished with it . . . in my head. I’m at the point now where I need to do a formal outline and then actual research . . . like, in a library. It’ll be like college, only without the dressing in all black, slamming vodka, and passing out in goth clubs.)

Welcome to 2006, losers!

* I’m in America, where soccer, pretty much, DOES NOT MATTER. But this morning, I went to the FIFA World Cup website and printed out the schedule for the first-round matches so I’d know what days and times the U.S.A. would be playing and could extrapolate what time the games would be on T.V. here in the States if they’re shown live (the World Cup is in Germany this year). So now I’ll be ready when things get started. In JUNE.