I've really only been in love twice. The first time, it was over about three years, during college. I spent every afternoon with her, and it even kind of carried over into grad school. I moved on, but I still admired her from time to time. Maria Bartiromo, thank you for giving me a quality education in how the financial world works without having taken a single class in my life.
Sometimes you wake up and someone has drawn all over you. This is usually due to you passing out and so-called "friends" taking advantage of you. That's never happened to me.
Sometimes, though, you wake up with things written on you and you're entirely aware of how they got there. Sometimes it's a girl's phone number, and you scrape to find a pen and paper so it doesn't wash off or smear, but inevitably it does, and you never call her.
And then there's the times when you experience things that need to be captured for posterity, and there's no paper or bar napkin to be found. These are the nights when you find things like "bloviate" and "3am they were making out in the pool" written on your palm or forearm, and you thank yourself for your clever clerical skills.
Upon walking up to the Hangout and through the crowd of Thursday-night bikers I noticed a lithe brunette with hair shorter than mine (and that's not saying much, evidence pic to come some day) and filed her away for future reference. She later joined her friends inside the club area, while I noticed another woman, a blonde, whom I'd seen at other BRO shows. While on the bar side talking to my friend Rachel, she approached bartender Jen for a drink, and I used my usual tactic of insulting women to hit on them.
"Why are you always so serious?"
"What do you mean?" she replied.
The following hour and a half would make me regret ever uttering a word to her. I couldn't escape her rambling narratives about being from England, having a father who worked for the NSA as a mathematician, how she teaches high school French, how she takes care of her boyfriend's kid, blah blah blah blah blah. I excused myself and went over to the club side where she quickly found me.
She was all sorts of crazy. I quickly found it was time to execute Blue Collar Suicide, which I swear I've written about before but can't find any reference to on this blog. (Strangely, I found one on Mel's blog though.) Blue Collar Suicide, to explain for what feels like the tenth time, is a management procedure by which you dispose of someone you need to dispose of in a (at least at first) kind, generous manner.
The lithe brunette was dancing, and I said to the crazy blonde, "You see that girl over there? I have a crush on her."
Usually in Blue Collar Suicide you lie, saying something like "I just realized I'm gay" or "I contribute heavily to Al Qaeda support funds." In this case I was being brutally honest, but it didn't work, because the crazy blonde went over to the brunette and started talking to her.
As it turned out, the brunette was single, but she left before I had a chance to talk to her, and the blonde ended up coaxing my phone number out of me, which is unfortunate insofar as I gave her my real number, and I have a feeling I'm going to regret that whenever I finally find my phone, which I think is in my car somewhere.
And "What a bad idea" is still in black ink on my right palm.
It's been at least three weeks since I've had a normal night's sleep. Most of my sleep hasn't been at night at all, but from noon to 8pm or from 5pm to midnight or from 10am to 5pm. Last night I slept from midnight to 7am and I feel terrific today. I'm going to borrow Rob's bike and go tooling around the neighborhood this afternoon, I think.
I realized last night that I haven't had a crush on anyone in more than a year. This is after spending every waking moment since the age of 14 having a crush on at least one person. I guess it's a testament of Pinellas County that no one here is crushworthy. In any case, I feel like less than a whole person as a result, and I'm looking to resolve this situation.
Happy feast of St. Valentine. Once again, I find myself single, much as I did the previous 27 St. Valentine's Days in my past. (That's not ENTIRELY true, but four days a relationship does not make.) You might think this would make me bitter. Me? Bitter? No, never, never.
Anyway, despite my prolonged celibacy, I'm not averse to the S - E - X. In fact, I have a particular affinity for what I call "pure sex." Pure Sex, to me, is a song that strikes a very specific groove. A groove that makes you want to, well, groove. "Pure sex" isn't about sex, per se, it's just a designation -- there are other, more vivid realms to explore for... that sort of thing. So today we're featuring five songs that I feel are exemplars of "pure sex." Feel free to appropriate them for your own uses later today, and I even bothered to make flash players for each song. (Reading via RSS/XML/Bloglines? Click through to the entry if you can't see the music players. If you're using IE or Safari, your mileage may vary.)
On with the pure sex!
1. Zero 7, The Waiting Line
You probably heard this in Garden State. Part of what makes a great song "pure sex" is having a chorus/repeated line that is of an atmospheric or rhetorically-questioned nature. "Do you believe in what you see" is a perfect example.
2. Delerium (featuring Sarah McLachlan), Silence
I first heard this song in the back of Dan Stark's Mustang GT, on 4 August 1997. Yeah, I know the date. And no, Dan was not in the back seat with me. He was driving. Mia Vlah was riding shotgun. I remember feeling drunk with the beat coming from the subwoofers in the hatchback. I still feel that way every time I hear this song. It became a radio hit a few years later, thanks to a shorter edit Dan made that he never got credit for. This is one of several fantastic, sexy songs on the album Karma.
3. Ivy, Edge of the Ocean
I am in the group of people who believes Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger is America's greatest living songwriter. Not only is he responsible for FoW's brilliant music, he wrote the songs for several fake movie bands like The Wonders (That Thing You Do!) and the eponymous band in Josie And The Pussycats. His side project is Ivy, and this song (which I discovered in the first season of Veronica Mars set the bar for "pure sex." It's the first song I ever assigned that attribute to, in an email sent to a girl we've long forgotten, one year ago today.
4. Thievery Corporation, Lebanese Blonde
Also from the Garden State soundtrack, and probably the best song ever to utilize the sitar (shut up, Beatles fans.) I've noticed a lot of songs in the "pure sex" category refer to drug use. I cannot fathom the connection. I've never used drugs in my life.
5. Goldfrapp, Train
Alison Goldfrapp is finally getting some much-deserved attention. I had a hard time picking one song off this gorgeous Black Cherry album (Strict Machine is another perfect song) but this song, while more upbeat than the previous four, has so many perfectly-placed bizarre sounds that combine with Goldfrapp's voice to create what can only be described as sublime. The video's even better.
So there's your V-Day. I hope you enjoy yours. Mine will be spent working all day, and then more working. Maybe I'll have a drink when it's all done, but your NCA submissions are due tomorrow, kiddos, so don't slack off with your sweetheart.
Oh, and feel free to reply with your personal favorite "pure sex" tracks.
I've just returned home from an amazing evening with a young woman I'm very interested in seeing again. Yes, I realize I owe many of you a story I previewed Tuesday. I cannot finish the story until I locate a working cassette deck. I think my roommate's stereo has one, but it's in her room. And she's sleeping. So that will have to wait.
Anyway, the afternoon started with a performance of the latest Jobsite show at the Performing Arts Center, which is a performance of Jean Claude van Itallie's The Serpent. It was considerably different than Jobsite's usual fare, but it provided a lot of opportunite for discussion afterward. We then wandered through downtown Tampa in search of food, but finding all of downtown closed (being Sunday evening and all) we invariably ended up on Harbour Island, and we wandered into Jackson's Bistro which is perhaps better known for being a weekend hotspot. This evening, things were considerably more low-key. That's a good thing.
We ate alongside the river -- I had the swordfish and she had chicken Napoleon. The food was fantastic and the view was unspeakably gorgeous.
I haven't had very many nights like this in Tampa, but today was pretty fantastic. Plus the Bobcats won. I have to get back to writing a paper, but sometimes you just have to write about nice things in your life. Today was a nice thing.
There is a girl sitting next to me reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, & Steel. I have the book on my iPod; it's next on the list after I finish The Long Tail. She has on black plastic frame glasses just like I like and she is a brunette. She keeps looking at me.
Here's me, right now.
TSA in Indy is nice and I joked with them about the bands A-Ha and Yes and how those names make for an excellent Abbott and Costello-like duo scene. They were young and spirited, unlike those in the TPA who were old and character-actored.
Sitting in the bar, stuck here a few hours in Indianapolis. Listening to the Browns game over the internet like a complete nerd. Thinking about the girl I hung out with on Friday, a blind date whom, it turns out, actually could see perfectly fine. She didn't even have glasses.
And she was all sorts of cool.
I am loath to return to Florida, yet I'm burning with the feeling that I've figured it out. I don't have to fit in, anymore, because I *don't* fit in. I won't. I'm an Ohioan, and I love Ohio, and my fellow (lowercase) buckeyes, and I want to return to my home state and never return again.
The dude on the other side of me, his name is Chuck. He's on his way back to Spring Hill, FL, where he's a retiree. He's on his way home from Duluth, his home, where he spent eight days hunting. He went to Northern Illinois. He's a cool dude, and we talked about hunting; I pretended to be a hunter, as I am quite the pretender when it comes to dudes you meet at airport bars, and it's only a white lie to play something up in order to build rapport. I learned it from my friend Bill. You might know him by his formal name: Former President Clinton.
I kind of have a crush on my blind date, but she reads this blog, apparently, so I should sort of not say anything more about her anymore, I guess. Though I just wrote that, and when I sober up, aka LAND, I'll probably erase that.
The leaves blow along the bricked sidewalk with a warmth entirely malapropos for November. The leaves blow eastward; they blow along with the traffic on Fifth Street that leisures by, unaware of the dramas happening amongst them.
The wedding ended without fanfare; there was no Pottery, nor any Crowing of any sort. Not that it matters. Chinese poker is like any game; you play the hand you're dealt. Sometimes it's a good hand, and sometimes it's a bad hand. Either way, you're looking to hit the heart, mind, and body.
The top is the heart, and you're faced with making that connection that can't be described. Maybe it's a nut flush or a full boat; a straight flush is even more solid. Yet the most volatile, the most important round is the middle: do you take two pair to the mind or hold one over to satisfy the body? You play the hand you're dealt, but you have myriad decisions along the way.
You play the hand you're dealt, as you consider your flight back to Florida on Sunday. The paired Aces could have made the trips on top a boat, but would they hold up? Would it sacrifice the mid and bottom? The mind and body?
She drives away and you'll replay the hand forever. You play the hand you're dealt, until it's played to your satisfaction. It's never to your satisfaction.
So I have a long-lasting and unrequited love for a cartoon character.
Specifically, I have a crush on Jeph Jacques' character Faye from his fantastic daily comic Questionable Content. I wouldn't normally admit this to you all, except that my having a crush on Faye came into play at the Hangout last night.
Amidst Reno the Team Trivia dude playing songs of mine he'd ripped off a CD I don't even know how he acquired (and his claiming to not even know it was me [!]) and THEN handing me the mike and ordering me to sing along with myself, and then the cute blonde who, seredipidously, will be in Cincinnati the weekend of Sicky's wedding, yet won't be my date as she's "going to see this guy," to which I responded, "Yeah, but you could be with ME," assuming this was a persuasive argument, which is a fantastic testament to my self-confidence and/or self-delusion, and yet her name was Bethany and that would have just been weird anyway.
Oh, wait, that's a sentence fragment.
Amidst all that, across the bar I see a girl down a Boilermaker (i think it was; it might have been an Irish Car Bomb or something along those lines) with the speed and expertise of a long-time drinker. She also happened to have the exact haircut of our friend Faye; she was missing the glasses, but the haircut was so spot-on I simply had to talk to her. You know, because women totally think you're straight when you want to talk to them about their hair.
So I go up to hipster/emo girl (couldn't tell from looking) and complimented her drinking ability. It was her 21st birthday, her friend explained, and isn't she already a pro? Frankly my Faye is a few years past 21 and I sort of lost interest, in addition to the phenomenon known as Whiskey Myopia having led me to believe she was Faye-worthy but really was just a mousy girl with fantastic hair who really sort of looked like a boy which was creepy.
So her name is Gina, and her friend's name is Katia, and I tell her that Gina isn't a very good cartoon character name, and shouldn't it be Faye, or Dora, or Hannelore, or ... (I bring up pretty much every female character from QC). She agrees, and says I can call her Gina, as in 'gina, as in a long I. I tell her that's interesting, because I happen to be long myself, but the joke was distended and I was disinterested and I went next door to try and convince Bethany she ought to go to Sicky's wedding with me.
I do not know how Pauly or Otis do it. They live this schedule for six weeks, and I am falling apart after four days. Half of my face comes off every time I wash it (it sort of resembles a piece of limestone right now) and I might lose a toe. I'm ready for my Stacy Adams shoes to be broken in; right now, all they're breaking are my feet. Even my daily workouts aren't helping my body recover from the poisoning it gets on a nightly basis. Here are a few more observations from the past few days that I found interesting. Also some pictures from the crappy camera I bought from Wal-Mart that I was warned sucked and does. Plus some camera phone pictures and video.
Here is a camera phone pic from the VooDoo Lounge where I was Thursday night, looking south:
Here is a video of Phil Hellmuth dancing at VooDoo Lounge. I don't know how I forgot about this, but I found the video in my phone and a note about it in my Moleskine.
The hallways are a fire hazard as there are thousands of spectators and players and they all want to be in the Amazon Room at the same time. Here is a video of the typical hallway outside:
Here is James Garner opening Day 1A of the Main Event with the "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" of the poker world, "Shuffle Up & Deal!"
He would probably appreciate if I stopped calling him Phil. Also, he's old. Very old. If you, like me, invest in deadpools, add Phil James to your list.
There is an enormous expo area with booths set up for major poker sites and other poker-related enterprises. One booth is a sports memorabilia store, and they brought in Pete Rose to sign (overpriced) autographs.
Except they brought him in when the Media/Celebrity tournament was scheduled.
So there I am, looking at Pete Rose, sitting forlornly by himself, wondering why nobody was around to talk to him. They were all inside the Amazon Room staring at Cindy Margolis' boobs or Shannon Elizabeth's makeup.
I've been hanging out with some Xavier grads, one of whom is playing tomorrow. He's a PokerStars qualifier and so we were lucky to get some early access to their suite and swag. I'm going to have to mail all this stuff home, unless some of you want it, I mean, I have all sorts of T-shirts, hats, gewgaws.
An Asian girl at VooDoo Lounge refused to believe that I am not myself Asian.
Johnny Chan cut in front of one of my Xavier friends at the Rio's fast food Chinese place. He got sweet and sour chicken, then ate it by himself in the Rio sports book. I meanwhile watched him eat and hit a 64:1 exacta.
Anna Benson hit on me. Well, if you call her walking up to me and saying "I just have to tell you, that's an awesome tie" hitting on me. I don't know why she's here, but she has a booth for her web site in the expo center.
Bodog has a booth where you can go into a "bedroom" and get into a pillow fight with promo models in lingerie. The line is very long and consists mostly of fat and pasty PokerStars qualifiers.
Johnny Chan later handed me a deck of cards, to which I responded, "Thanks, Champ." The world no longer comes to a stop when Johnny Chan is in the room. Then again, maybe it never did, and that's just a line in a movie. Nevertheless, Johnny Chan was the ugliest promo model in the expo center.
I met Louie Anderson as he was getting ready to take on Chris Moneymaker in sumo wrestling. Err, I mean, poker. Hachem and Raymer were there, too, for a PokerStars heads-up challenge on the computer. There is nothing more enticingly boring than watching the last two champions of the World Series of Poker Main Event play each other in computer poker.
Really, that's Joe Hachem and The Fossilman.
Louie Anderson is fantastically fat, moreso than nearly any person I have ever met. I don't know if they gave him a special chair or something for his seat in today's Main Event, because I haven't gone over there yet. He's not been busted yet, so I'll have my chance in an hour or so. He did get a ten minute penalty for dropping the f-bomb. There are only two things banned in the cardroom: smoking, the f-bomb, and dotcoms. Wait, that's three.
Chris Moneymaker is very quiet and not very attractive. He is fairly friendly, though, not as much as Raymer, but friendly.
She sat down next to me at the bar at the Scottish Pub, Tilted Kilt. "Where are you from?" I asked. She responded, "Uh, I'm from here." "That's not very interesting," I replied, and got up and left.
I found a VIP card for Club Rio on the ground the other day, so I stood in line for an hour (apparently not a big enough VIP to go to the front) and got in for free. I left after about 20 minutes because it was about the stupidest, worst club I'd ever been in. Maybe it gets better later, but at 1am on a Saturday night it sucked butt. There were, by a bouncer's estimate, five times the number of men in the room as women. The few girls that were there were fat and ugly. They looked nothing like the barely-dressed woman in the poster advertising Club Rio outside. If I'd paid $20 to get in I'd have to kick my own ass. I guess that's why VIP cards can be found abandoned on the ground. I left for the small lounge next to Club Rio. I saw the bartender flairing and flashed my L.A. Hangout VIP card.
"You know Alcohol Paul?" he asked.
"I'm his best customer," I lied. It's amazing how many people here that dude knows, and how many doors my L.A. Hangout VIP card opens. Greg knows Paul from his Kahunaville days.
I don't have much to say after that except I woke up this morning in my clothes on top of the bed and half a glass of Captain Morgan on the nightstand.
Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) knocked me over in a hallway. He was apologetic.
Ron Jeremy asked me the time
Cindy Margolis rubbed her magnificently fake breasts across my chest
Made out with a dental hygenist (sp?)
I name-dropped Alcohol Paul and drank for free at an amazing club... overlooking the Strip... my blood is 90% captain morgan now
I walked through Rio and was amazed at the number of people saying hi to me, until a few minutes
later I realized Phil Hellmuth was walking right behind me
I danced with Daniel Negreanu's press agent (maybe did more? can't remember)
I talked to James Garner
I talked to two women who did not know who James Garner was ("Maverick, Rockford Files?" "Not ringing a bell."
I bet on dogs at Tampa Greyhound with a real-life card cheat
Okay, I didn't bet, but I pretended to and drank every Miller Lite the cocktail waitress could bring
Doyle Brunson hit me with his crutch (on accident)
I talked to Wil Wheaton while he was fuming over losing a hand to a total jackoff jerk (whoops)
and I've had my fantastic seersucker suit and white bucks outfit complimented several times
I have always been a fan of economics, particularly at the micro level, and read Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics several times. It quickly became one of my favorite books, ever, and Steven Levitt became one of my heroes.
I’m going to have a team of researchers in Las Vegas running some experiments on decision making by poker players. We are looking for serious poker players who (a) will be in Las Vegas between July 21 and July 27, (b) want to make a little money and get a signed copy of Freakonomics, (c) read about themselves in the sequel to Freakonomics, and (d) have about an hour to spare.
Are you kidding me? I arrive in Las Vegas to do MY work on poker the 26th. Could I possibly meet up with the man himself? Could I discuss a chapter of my dissertation with THE Dr. Steven Levitt? Stay tuned.
Wednesday night ventured out to explore the bars and taverns of my new neighborhood. Stopped in Norton's, only a block away, and found it pretty dead. A Select and round of bowling and I got out. I can't just walk into a place and walk out if it's dead -- I know some people can. I can't. I figure I owe them at least the amount of time it takes to guzzle a Select, which is about 90 seconds.
So I drove around downtown Dunedin, didn't see much going on, until on Alt19 I came across Eddie's. I popped into the place and found 2-for-1s to my liking, so I fired up a deuce of the Dunedin Brewery's Pale Ale. Chatted with three kids at the bar, teachers, and when their friends showed up we moved to the other room for some darts and air hockey. I have never, EVER, been so bad at darts as I was that night, but the crew didn't seem to mind, and my partner was on the phone with her fiance most of the time anyway. Two more Selects, more darts, and the crew (some of which had moved down from Chi-town three days prior) took to me okay, though the women were all taken. I skipped out on meeting them Thursday at the Roundup, as the country dance thing ain't my style.
Took my leave and found myself as open mic night was winding down at the Dunedin Brewery, which inexplicably was closing at 1. Hello? Pinellas already chokes itself with the inane 2am bar close, and you're going to cut things off even earlier? I lounged at the smoking patio with some hipsters and some guy who apparently gave me his business card... I think he wanted to hire me to do landscape work. Not sure. Rolled in, slept on the floor.
Thursday was a meetup with the old gang at the UA, though my night was somewhat interrupted when a cute blonde in a bright pink shirt asked if I had a quarter. I'm a poor ass, so I didn't have a dime on me, but I directed her to a change machine. She asked if I could break for her friends who were playing pool. Never one to back down from a challenge, I walked away from my crew and headed up to the tables. Pinky introduced me to her three friends, one a smokin' brunette in a soulful shade of blue. I can't remember sh*t for names lately, so it helped the initials in the order I was introduced made the memorable acronym of KAML. I chatted up the brunette who looked back with wide open eyes. They weren't USF students; in fact, they'd just moved here three weeks ago from Madison.
"We're on a one-year fellowship mission."
I'm a good Catholic boy, but my brand of Jesus isn't the same as these gals, and I found myself torn between trading come-ons for Jesus' love and ended up settling on a topic we could all agree on: the evils of Scientology.
"They just haven't found the love of Jesus Christ yet."
I sank the Eight and headed back to my friends, not after accepting an offer to head to their apartment Sunday for spaghetti. I dunno if that's a euphemism, but a boy can dream.
A quick beer at the LA and a shot of Marnier and it was time to head home. Or not. Dropped in on the Chase Club for karaoke night, slow, but rocked the house with some New York State of Mind and rolled with some insurance salesmen. Male-Female was about infinity, so I stuck around for two Blues and rolled out.
It's Friday, and I'm a loss as to where I'm headed tonight.
While northwest Ohio is currently suffering an enormous brain drain, there's always one (or two) occasions during which most of the city's sons and daughters return for a celebration of our fatherland, or at least our fathers and mothers. Inevitably, one or more nights will be spent in the close quarters of Rickety Rick's, the town watering hole (I leave out the Town Tap, featuring even closer quarters, for the sake of brevity).
Here at Rick's, the alumni of Napoleon High School can be found in various conditions, with clothing choices reflecting where we've all gone in our new lives far from home; the professionals now involved with the law or finance in natty turtlenecks or cable-knit sweaters, the teachers in hooded sweatshirts emblazoned with the name of some distant high school, and the military men and women in t-shirts proclaiming their allegiance to the Air Force, Army, or Merchant Marines. (The latter being extremely rare).
Two nights before Christmas 2005, I found myself leaning against the bar, talking to a fellow member of the Class of '96 who was among the few that failed to escape the event horizon of Napoleon, a gentleman who spends his days in the noble profession of carpentry. It was then I saw the closely-cropped dark hair and round glasses of a guy two years my senior, a man who was very close friends with my very close friend Bethany.
I ended up talking to him a half hour, and learning all about his new life in Geneva, Switzerland, as a finance consultant for expat Americans. I left fascinated by his career and with an open invitation to visit and go skiing.
Fast forward to today.
In the shadow of today's Switzerland 2 Togo 0 World Cup match, I received an IM from someone very, very close to me, an individual currently working a summer internship in Switzerland for the State Department. I've not heard from her since she left two months ago, and have been curious as hell to know how she's been doing -- I was even thinking of her only this morning, as I went to class.
The IM was one line, and basically referred to the fact she'd met a guy who I went to high school with who mentioned he was on my Little League team.
This is down from 26th in 2004. I fail to see, really, how either ranking is really suitable. Then again, Forbes isn't exactly a publication with its finger to the pulse of Young America. Yet reflecting back on my social life here in Tampa, I really have to question what I think is so fabulous about this city in general, as far as being single goes at least. (Sports, Theater, and other entertainment activities are great, of course.)
I suppose it's okay to be single in Tampa if:
a) You're wealthy.
b) You live in South Tampa. [see "a)"]
c) You drive a nice car. I have been asked what kind of car I drive an amazing number of times; never once in Ohio was anything even resembling that query addressed to me.
d) You're really really ridiculously good looking. I am really good looking, but not ridiculously so.
e) You're female.
In all seriousness, I can count on my ten fingers the number of single women in Tampa with whom I've had extended conversations. It's not like up north, where women are happy to be single. Here, EVERYONE is involved, engaged, or married. It blows my mind, sometimes, but it's the honest truth.
I realize I'd meet more single women if I hit up the trendy nightspots. Yet this isn't really an option, because I don't fit into the qualifications noted above. I suppose I could save up for a month to go to HPC or sommat, but... for what?
The key, of course, is the chance encounter at Target with someone who rejects all the bullshit expected of the young professionals in this town, and just enjoys hanging out and being crazy. Best of luck that she enjoys your company and doesn't lose interest after a while.
1) Saturday was a great day. My Ohio Bobcats won. My EMU Hurons Eagles won. MY USF BULLS BEAT #9 LOUISVILLE. Suck it, novenine.
2) Saturday was a terrible day. Jim, who played Simeon and sang the cowboy song in Joseph, never arrived for our Saturday night show. We went on as usual, and one of the kids sang his song (and did it surprisingly well; I'd always sung when Jim wasn't in rehearsal and was fairly perturbed at handing over the reins to someone I'd never heard sing before, but to Cody's credit, he pulled it off). Come to find out afterward he, well, let's just say he was suffering a medical problem and needed to go to a hospital. Except he hadn't gone, because he's self-employed and doesn't have insurance.
That's a rant for me to go on another day, and it was the topic of the best conversation I've had in a year, the kind of conversation I've been missing, with a person I've been missing. But Saturday night was really upsetting, because we didn't know where Jim was, or why he wasn't answering calls. And it sucks when you can't find a friend like that.
3) Saturday was an ugly day. Er, night. While things are semi-resolved, suffice to say that I, for once, did the right, responsible thing and made a decision based on the ethical guidelines by which I was resolved to make it. Yeah, it upset someone who I really like. And it sucked to drive home knowing that. I'd write more, but you know my policy on writing a story before the story's done. And this story is definitely not over. Anyway, it was the right thing to do. For now. All I know is, the last two months or so have seen a whole lot of acts of arson on my psyche, and the firefighters are either from the wrong department, in the middle of a shift change, or, uh, too far away.
So I burn, baby, burn. And I can't be held responsible for my behavior while fire-hot. I need to have custody of myself taken away from me. I'm an unfit parent.
There is no better litmus test of a town's true nature than a stroll through its Wal-Mart. Particularly in towns where there is no other big box store, Wal-Mart serves as a microcosm or cross-section of a community at any given moment. Simply observing the mannerisms of individuals in a small-town Wal-Mart can give you a pretty good idea of what the people in that town are like.
My observations began early, when I saw not one but two cars that formerly belonged to high school friends of mine in the parking lot. Both small, GM convertibles from the early 90s, and both in truly rotten shape.
My brother and I had driven up in my shiny silver Cobalt rental, parked in a spot close to the grocery store side of the Wal-Mart. This Wal-Mart was built a few years ago, to replace the one up the road. It was built with massive local government subsidies, as clearly life for local citizens was made better by the fact their Wal-Mart now has a grocery store in it. Never mind the eyesore along the US-24 highway that the empty shell left by the old store.
We walked inside. Immediately, my eyes took in an interesting coincidence: every man in the store was wearing a tank top. (I am trying to get away from the usage of the obloquy "wifebeater" for while I appreciate the negative light it casts upon the article of clothing, I find the term rather misogynistic.)
Most had hairy backs and deformed, twisted tattoos that used to resemble something on their flabby arms. All wore mesh trucker's caps and several were accompanied by homely, obese wives and unruly children with either fittingly unruly hair or a mohawk-in-the-making.
This is my hometown the place where my parents live.
I proceed to the bakery with the Hot Dog Man. We are tasked with picking up the cake for my father's retirement party. After several minutes of waiting, a short, elderly woman emerges from the back room. My brother, who worked at Wal-Mart for four years before finally finding gainful employment last week in Columbus, recognizes her immediately.
The woman recognizes me, too. I am blank. Hot Dog Man says, "You remember Mrs. Fisher, right?"
Ah, yes. Mrs. Fisher. The woman who spooned out applecrisp and square pizza to me for eight years as the head cook of the Catholic grade school I attended. She hands me the cake, which reads -- not surprisingly -- "Happy Retirement, Mike," and I head toward the front of the store. I get in the "20 Items or Less" line and remark, as I always do, that the sign features improper grammar and curse its position just slightly out of my reach. I would be tempted to fix it myself, but instead look around for anyone capable of comprehending why it's grammatically incorrect. I see many people, but I see none who fit that category.
I conclude that as I saw no one I recognized in Wal-Mart (mind you, even five years ago I could go to Wal-Mart to pick up batteries or something and be there an hour owing to the number of acquaintances I would run into and my fairly loquacious nature) that the town suffered some sort of nuclear blast that eliminated its residents and replaced them with imported citizens from the Ozarks.
We arrive at Rick's East, a restaurant/banquet club on, yes, the east side of Napoleon. It was, once upon a time, a disco. Then it was a supper club, then a bar, then condemned due to knifings happening on a nightly basis. The Rick (not his real name) of RIckety Rick's purchased it and it's actually a very nice place. Nicer than I would expect.
The food my parents have been slaving over for days is spread out, and as some of my parents' closer friends arrive, they bring more. I pray that people show up, and that they eat the food, because there's a ton. Chicken wings, cake, fruit, veggies, crackers, cheese, and the other typical party foods reside along the south wall. Inoffensive music from XM plays on a small PA system. Notably, however, is the large pot of my father's piperki, a dish i cannot even find info on via google. Suffice to say, it is roasted peppers and sausage in a kind of sauce that you dip bread into. It's Macedonian, yeah. Also, there is piperki who has the best LJ user name ever.
People start to arrive. Teachers. Coaches. My old high school principal, one of the few men I hug instead of shake hands with upon seeing. sickdogg and Jen arive. My senses are a little overwhelmed; many of these people I haven't seen in five or ten years, and I can barely remember their names. My grandmother and aunt show up, and I'm impressed because they aren't even from my father's side of the family. Everyone wants to know what I'm doing, and if I'm glad I'm not in Florida right now. (For once, I am.)
I see an old history teacher of mine and tell him I continue to use the phrase he taught me back then ("The weak will fall by the wayside. The strong will somehow endure. I am a living example") in my classes. I make my rounds and try to talk to people as quickly as possible, because while we were expecting 40 or so people, more like 70 show up. The bar is open and I am lubricating my throat with Miller Lite and Black Velvet (separately).
My parents' speech coach, who taught me speech my freshman year at Heidelberg, arrives and we have one of our famous conversations of rapid speaking and conversation about academia. This dude's pretty much been the reason I've been successful at anything in my life, so I oblige him the time and enjoy it.
Then someone shows up whom I would have never expected.
For about five years, I had a crush on this girl who was a year behind me in school. We worked together a few summers teaching tennis lessons, and became pretty good friends. I'm not even sure anyone ever knew I had a crush on her, but berrydip and sickdogg would have to attest to that, because they're the only ones whom I would have told if I did.
She and her sister had played tennis for my dad, and they came in with their parents (including her father, whom berrydip once worked for and dubbed "Jizzbrain"). I think his real name is Steve.
Anyway, she looked ... great. I mean, you always say that, but for some reason, I thought she looked amazing. I hadn't seen her in at least five years. She lives in Oregon, now, works for Planned Parenthood, and drives a VW Golf. I tentatively ask if she's a Mac user, too, afraid that if she says yes I'll ask her to marry me right then and there. And yeah, I checked for a ring. There was none. (Though sickdogg had a longer conversation with her elsewhere, so she quite possibly could be in some committed relationship, but I didn't ask. Hopefully he'll chime in with an answer to that question.)
She said, "yeah... why?" and I reminded myself to breathe.
As people started to leave, I prepped myself for the "Hey, I want your email address" question but she beat me to it. We laughed about how we're old now and have abandoned our silly email addresses for simple ones that are firstname.lastname@example.org.
She walked away, and I lingered upon her for a little too long, for dramatic effect if any other reason.
We cleaned up. I came home and napped off my booze-haze. I dreamed about my ex, again. Except she didn't look like my ex. She looked like that girl.
Woke You Up girl informed me last night, one day after I sang the song I wrote about her in front of an audience for the first time, that she was moving away this weekend because she found a better job (lots of demand for hyperbaric professionals out there, apparently.)
I know I really trivialize her by calling her Woke You Up girl or whatever, but, honestly, she's the only girl I've met in my nine months here that I've actually *liked*. (Let alone the only one I've been naked with.) So there's something sad about it, I guess. I know I pretty much had no chance with her after waking her up, but she was still someone I saw on occasion, and always knew when she was in the bar if I heard Round Here playing on the jukebox. In fact, when it came on last night, I immediately jumped up from the table and went in search of her.
So that's kind of a bummer. I guess I'll have to go in search of a new crush. I hope it doesn't take another nine months.
I watch a lot of movies and television shows. My friends put me down for this, being the elite academes they are. Shit, a lot of my friends don't even have televisions at all. Meanwhile, I pretty much catch every episode of Alias, 24, the West Wing, CSI, Law & Order, ER, Numb3rs, Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy, the Simpsons, Family Guy, Arrested Development, and the Daily Show. Not to mention the nightly news, PTI, Sportscenter, and other dailies.
My DVR and TV bittorrent sites are my friend, as I'm rarely around when my programmes are on. For the most part, I spend saturdays from morning to when i go out at night catching up on my week's TV, while my friends read books.
I think TV shows are just as valid as a fiction book. Sure, there's a point to which people ought to read more; until about age 22, I think people ought to be reading constantly. The influence of reading on spelling, grammar, and vocabulary skills is consistently underrated. I think my skills in those areas are fine. I watch television for the narrative.
And I think the narratives are just as evocative as any story I could read.
I was moved, heavily, by Thursday's ER episode -- for a lot of reasons. First, I've been on Wrigleyville balconies just like the one that collapses in that episode, and wondered at the time if it was safe for so many of us to be out there. Second, it's pretty fucking sad that Carter is leaving. We're not fortunate in this age of free agency to have the luxury of watching an actor refine a character for such a long stretch of time. I'm not familiar enough with TV to know, but I'm guessing that playing the same character on the same show for eleven years is one of the longer runs.
For similar reasons, I was bummed at the end of Episode III last night. Not because it wasn't a good film; it was terrific. (Though I think Natalie Portman needed to look older; she really didn't appear to have aged since Episode 1). I was bummed because that was it, and it was such a rise up to become re-enveloped into the narrative, and while I realize there is an entire universe of extensions from the canon created by novelists, and indeed I even read several of them when in high school, it's not *real* to me. As I escaped the theatre, I wanted to be looking forward to the next stage. There is none (unless this alleged tv show becomes a reality).
I think the narratives television programmes can provide are overlooked, and I'll stand by the many mindless hours I sit in front of the tube. They're far from mindless.
I have a headache today, which means I must have had a good time last night.
a few random items which will some day be cohesively placed into a story
1) i saw dick vitale last night. i actually took his photo.
See, there he is. He actually lives down in Sarasota.
2) I met someone last night who was both engaged (with a quite large diamond) and a Harvard graduate who called attention to neither fact until quite late in the evening. I found that very admirable and gave her my number. She won't call.
3) I have fallen to a hypermasculinity around gay men that I don't quite understand. I guess it's from all the years of having mainly gay friends or something, but now I have this really odd behaviour where I always make some comment relating to my heterosexual lifestyle when I am in conversation with gay men I've just met. This is as opposed to just letting them assume I am gay and then telling them later "actually i like girls, sorry."
4) I don't want a girlfriend. I don't even want someone to sleep with, really. What I want is someone to have a crush on. I haven't had a crush in a really long time, and I sort of need that feeling of falling off the proverbial flagpole.
4.5) Is there a way to ameliorate the grammatical issue with "have a crush on"?
5) What proverbial flagpole? I'll write about that next week sometime. I've been planning a post about my high school philosophical axioms for a while. The flagpole theory is just one of a handful of things I came up with when I was sitting in math class, bored, 14, and far smarter than I am now.
There's an excellent film called The Slaughter Rule. In little league we called it the Mercy Rule. The game ends early if it's obvious that one team has such an advantage that the other team will never come back to achieve victory.
I called the Mercy Rule on the Woke You Up girl tonight. While I've been living the Jimmy V "Don't give up; don't ever give up" lifestyle, it just became obvious that she was a war that I'd never win, because I was so far behind.
I apologize for updating this so infrequently. It's been a busy couple weeks, what with yesterday's NCA deadline, projects, papers, performances, and social obligations.
Speaking of NCA, for the zero of you interested, here's links to html-ized versions of two papers i submitted yesterday. They're long gone, so I can't really make any changes, though I'll think about submitting them to some journals eventually.
I think Microsoft Word does an okay job of making them html, though the formatting gets a bit screwed up.
Last night I totally abandoned my friends to talk to some women I hadn't met before. That was kind of shitty of me. So, I feel bad about that. The women were very nice though and I now have two new friends. After they left (the lot of them; I still had half a drink left), I went next door to say goodbye to my friend Kim. While talking to her, this stunning brunette with curly hair, big eyes, and, well, suffice to say she was gorgeous, comes striding up to me and asking if I'd dance with her. I glanced over at her companion, a towering hulk of a fellow who resembled in every way Mr. Incredible. I'm not joking, this guy's neck was as thick as my ever-shrinking spare tire. "My brother," she explained. "He's a bodybuilder." No fucking shit. I had him pegged for a Java programmer.
I never actually ended up dancing with her, because the only danceable song the rest of the night was "New York State of Mind" and I was singing.
I haven't sung at LA Hangout karaoke in a few weeks bc the wait is so long, but, last night was, well, different I guess. And New York State of Mind really challenges the vocal folds of a bass-baritone like me, but the Captain & Diets I'd been drinking loosened things up and I really belted out something I didn't know I had.
I guess it was poetic, in a way, too; I've been thinking about New York a lot lately. I'm sad that I can't be there to see The Gates at Central Park or smell the smells and be all... excited all the time. And the breeze and the smoke from manhole covers and taxicabs. And being around people like Corporate Mofo all the time. Not that I don't adore my friends here, but ... I just crave sensory overload sometimes.
The woman left with my number. She left with the guy who brought her, her brother. She left reluctantly.