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This is a true story, one I thought you all knew. Since the Grapefruit Gal didn’t know, maybe you don’t either.

When I was 12, Michael Jackson touched me in a Las Vegas hotel.

My family, in an attempt to one-up the Griswolds, takes a Christmas Vegas Vacation. I am 12, my brother is 10, and we are staying at the Excalibur hotel/casino, back when it wasn’t the (lovable) dump it is today. We arrive late, get dinner, and take a brief tour of the casino’s second-level entertainment & shopping area. We return back to the escalators when they stop with a heavy thud. (In other words, they transform into stairs.)

Immediately, a roar is apparent from the floor below us. Yes, every Las Vegas casino has a characteristic din, a combination of inhaled cigarettes, stacked chips, idle conversation, and slot machine bells. But this is different; this is, as I said, a roar. Not the kind that come from Sigfried and Roy’s white tigers, either, if they roar, which I don’t know if they do.

This is a roaring crowd.

Six burly, black-shirted, bald men storm up the steps, clearing a path for what comes behind them. Not that any path needs to be cleared; the escalator is empty and the shopping floor mostly so, given that it is after midnight on a weeknight in a family hotel. The only thing, living or otherwise, in their way is me, standing near the top of the escalator.

They don’t move me.

A glint catches my eye. Nowadays, these glints seem to be sourced by gaudy engagement rings. But on this night, the blue glare is being cast by the shoulder pads of a jacket — a head barely rising above which is covered in tight black curls, and the head turns, and big black sunglasses bend toward me.

Not rhinestones, but whatever the glittery blue material is, I follow it down the arms, where the right sleeve ends at a hand clad in a shiny silver glove.

The left hand is bare, and holds the right of a young black boy maybe half my age.

The figure, barely taller than myself, is looking at me. Or at least I think he is; the glasses are very dark. And there is no mistaking who this man is, and in fact I don’t need to see his face, sunglasses, jacket, or gloves to know.

I know because his presence announces it.

My right hand is extended due to my having been playing with the static escalator handrail just prior to his arrival. He grasps it with his gloved hand (and I should note here that it is not “the” glove, just ‘a’ glove) and peeps in a higher pitch than I expect,

“it’s nice to meet you.”

He turns, and another bald, black-shirted, burly man pushes me aside. The unlikely, to me, couple walks past us followed by another six burly, black-shirted, bald security guards.

And the roar swallows me. Hundreds of people, nearly all of them women, storm up the steps — most screaming, few comprehensible. Some are crying. The ones that I can understand are just yelling, “MICHAEL!!! MICHAEL!!!” over and over again.

I watch them rush past me. I am an island in their river of adoration, one destined to flow toward an ocean that does not exist. The crowd trickles down, and finally ends, and the escalators start back up.

The shopping floor is not that large, and when the ensemble returns to the escalators, I am still here, frozen. The escalators stop, the security guards walk down them, Jackson and his… friend… step gingerly down them, security guards follow, 250 screaming women follow, escalators chug back to life.

I have traveled more than the average American. I have been to states like Idaho and South Dakota, places nobody goes except for funerals, and even then they try and make sure something comes up that would preclude the trip. (I was there for work.)

I've been to Oregon and Alabama and Missouri, Nebraska (with my family) and Iowa (for sex) and Delaware, New Jersey, New York, the whole Eastern Seaboard, Tennessee and Kentucky and Illinois, Michigan, Texas. Nevada. Arizona. Louisiana. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and most importantly Wyoming (it was a flyover state I was unfortunately forced to drive through).

Alas, I've never been overseas, and my extranational travel has been limited to Ontario. Even then, I haven't been there since November, 1997, when the Sneakdogg and I tripped up to Windsor to meet Dan Stark to see this musician he'd been raving about, Sarah Slean, opening for Moe Berg (not the late catcher/spy, the guy from The Pursuit of Happiness) at a small place above another small place downtown. I was down with the five-hour road trip from Athens because I listened to good music back then; Sneakdogg was down because the drinking age in Canada is 19 and the Canadian dollar was worth then what the American dollar is worth now.

We only spent one night there, heading home in the morning. I haven't left the States since. But one thing I did that night, one small act, has come back to haunt me.

See, I used an ATM at the bar to get cash in order to buy Sarah's tape (yeah, she didn't have a CD yet, just a six-song cassette).

Why is this a big deal? Because the lawsuit by credit-card holders against the credit-card companies has been settled, a $336 million handover that offers anyone who used a MasterCard or Visa outside the U.S. (from 1996 to 2004) a refund on the jacked-up fees they were illegally charged. Even if you only spent a few bucks, you're eligible for the $25 "basic refund."

Twenty-five bucks is nice, certainly. Yet I'm a bit put off by how they managed to not only find me today (via U.S. mail) but deliver a personalized settlement form, featuring my current address.

Since the ATM transaction that made me privy to the lawsuit, I've made the following address changes:

Athens (1) -> Napoleon
Napoleon -> Athens (2)
Athens (2) -> Athens (3)
Athens (3) -> Napoleon
Napoleon -> Ypsilanti (1)
Ypsilanti -> Napoleon
Napoleon -> Ypsilanti (2)
Ypsilanti (2) -> Napoleon
Napoleon -> Zanesville (1)
Zanesville (1) -> Zanesville (2) [you might remember this house]
Zanesville (2) -> Tampa (1)
Tampa (1) -> Tampa (2) [not to be confused with the Tampa 2]
Tampa (2) -> Clearwater

That's 13 moves between 11 addresses. Yet they tracked me down, and with nary a sign of a forwarding address.

You should be scared. Also, if you used a credit card overseas at some point in the last year, you should be looking in your mailbox for a rebate form.

Incidentally, looking at the list I see I've lived in a lot of cities that start with a rare letter. I have A, C, N, T, Y, and Z covered. (W if you consider that my Tampa address was technically Wesley Chapel.) I should try and live in enough cities to cover the alphabet. Unfortunately, that means moving to China. The only cities on Earth that start with X and with colleges are Xi An and Xiamen. The only city (pop. > 5,000) in America that starts with X is Xenia, Ohio, so maybe I could live there and teach at Dayton. Xenia's a nice place, if you can get past the tornadoes.

Alphabet meme


This is how it works: Comment on this entry and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.

aeonite gave me "B". He also mandated a first-person present tense presentation. I add the stipulation that the stories be linked. Here goes.

On unions, doctors, and Thanksgiving turkeys

Tonight's Grey's Anatomy featured a nurse's strike as the umbrella plot device. While I wasn't happy with its portrayal, considering it fairly trite and one-dimensional, there were issues raised by it that stirred a few responses in me.

As promised, another chapter of the story

Chapter Two of the Boston NCA Experience. For Chapter One, click here.

Every year at NCA, it's my point of pride to make it to an 8:00am panel --the earliest scheduled -- every day of the convention. That never happens, of course; rolling in drunk, stoned, or worse at an average hour of 5am makes that pretty difficult. Yet I boldly set my presence at 8am panels as a goal, and do a decent job of achieving it. Sleep, as you know, can be acquired while rotting in the grave. I've never had much need for it, and NCA is the perfect example of my shunning of it.

Where the hell is Akron, Ohio

My time in Akron has come to a close, for now. Last night, I:

* Got horrendously drunk
* Hit on [info]berrydip's paralegal (successfully)
* Found a bar with Harpoon IPA (which I realize I haven't fully written about yet)
* Came home and typed things like <Bubbaprog> ogobllllel my 0ccc on IRC
* Ate less than I should have to avoid appearing a glutton
* Got pwn3d in Silver Strike Bowling
* Watched the UT Rockets put the hurt on the UTEP Miners
* Stole a glass from Parma Tavern
* Stole another glass from the Winking Lizard
* Managed not to break them
* Left the leftover pizza in [info]berrydip's car so I can't eat it this morning.


I'm leaving now for the Y-Bridge city of Zanesville, where I have not set foot down since July 31, 2004. My anticipation can really, truly only be appreciated by a few of you. And by that, I mean, well, probably no one. Nobody gets excited for Zanesville. Do they?

Well, I do.

James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, was found dead at 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday in his apartment in Lutz, Fla., a suburb of Tampa, Debbie Carter, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, confirmed Thursday.
A death investigation is under way, and the spokesperson said that the county medical examiner's office or the hospital at which James Dungy was pronounced dead would have a ruling on the cause of death.
James Dungy officially was pronounced dead this morning at University Community Hospital in Tampa.
Tony Dungy has left the Colts and is in Tampa. Indianapolis plays at Seattle this Saturday.

Lutz. A scary place. I'll be watching my back next time at the L.A. Hangout.

The saga begins

I realize not a lot of you click on the jump. The next few days, I'll start doing my stories from the past couple weeks. I assure you, it'll be worth your time.

I leave for Boston tomorrow. I've been finishing the paper I present Sunday this evening... the one on Wil Wheaton. (My other two papers I'm presenting were finished months ago.)

I realize you're all a bit behind on things.

Saturday night was entirely out of control. I guess before I got home, the cops had ALREADY been here. Hilarious. I don't expect to see Caitlin in this house again.
Sunday, I spent my day writing this identity-centered analysis of Neuromancer, then headed off to the Hangout, putting together a quite bad parody of James Taylor's Carolina On My Mind.

I waited for a while, hanging out with Tina and Charles and watching the Browns get destroyed. The Standup Open Mic night host still hadn't arrived, so Ed asked if I could grab my guitar and play awhile until the host showed up.

I ended up playing about 35-40 minutes. My set pretty much included all my comedy-related material... with a notable exception of a song I don't play anymore. Afterward, the other comics took the stage... one was funny, the rest really weren't. People liked me, they participated when I needed their participation, and in general it was a great night. I did my first full comedy set without even expecting it and came away okay. More than okay, really, but I don't want to come across the wrong way to y'all. The setlist, roughly: Carolina/Jailbait/VD/Spur-M/37/Bush Voter/Blondie's Got A Boyfriend/Sam To Your Clarissa/Shawn Kemp Is My Daddy Blues/Waterfalls.

Three hours later from writing the above, Ohio is getting mocked by Akron, I'm tired and wishing I could go out, but know I have to be up in just a few hours. There's a million things I could write about; there's a million things on my mind. But I'm tapped, and almost to the point of not even really caring about a lot of things anymore, because I'm emotionally exhausted for the time being.

Memories and Memorials

nonsequitur prologue A woman from my ISP called me this morning to inform me they were doing some service and I'd have an outage for about a half hour or so. How cool is that? T-W had outages all the time, they sure as hell never called me.

Memorials purport to serve as testaments to what once was, but is no longer. However, absence often creates a greater meaning than the original (person/symbol) ever exhibited. This is the nature of representation. Prior to 9/11, the World Trade Center represented an architectural past of superiority (for a short time, soon surpassed by the Sears Tower) and financial dominance. Today, the absence of the twin towers stands for a great deal more (and on a broader level). The Lincoln Memorial represents not the life of a dead president but the ideal of liberty. And so on.

I ask here whether the absence of more common objects can similarly retain greater properties of meaning than the object itself held. For sake of this discussion, we'll talk about clothing.

Vignette #2

People almost universally will bitch about airports. I actually like them. They're a great microcosm of the world society in a controlled environment. Thus, if you sit and pay attention to things going on around you, you can learn a lot.

Memphis airport. I know this place better than any other airport on Earth, with the possible exception of Detroit, which is so huge and sterile that nothing interesting ever happens there. Memphis, on the other hand, has numerous BBQ establishments (including Corky's, where I've eaten probably ten times out of tradition more than actual preference) and the glorious establishment that is the Budweiser Brewhouse.

Goodnight, Good Night

The last time I slam danced ("moshed" depending on your part of the country and/or musical influences) was January, 1993. I was a freshman in high school, and we used to have after-basketball game dances in the high school Commons. Being someone who always enjoyed seeing and being seen, I never missed an after-the-game dance -- ever -- regardless of whether my friends went or not.

I was a nerdy, five-foot-ten 125 pound fourteen year old. My high school wasn't big, but suffice to say that I wasn't exactly a BMOC. I tended to make a name for myself, then, by doing bizarre, stupid shit that would be memorable. In this case, I would go to those after-the-game dances and get into mosh pits with senior football players. I would get the shit beat out of me, but I earned their respect. I think. I also seem to recall doing a Michael Jackson impersonation, complete with a shiny, single glove.

Anyway, after a while moshing was banned at school dances and 15 months later Kurt Cobain killed himself and nobody really wanted to listen to Smells Like Teen Spirit anymore anyway. So that was the last time I slam danced.

Until Friday night.

Vignette #1

Instead of outlining the past few days, I'll pull out a few choice moments and then maybe construct a meta-narrative. But for now, moment #1.

The amber glow coming from my dashboard reminds me I need gas, NOW. Unfortunately, I'm stuck in 5pm traffic on I-275 just outside the Tampa airport, and significant movement anytime soon seems unlikely. I'm in a merge lane, so I need to get left, and dutifully have my turn signal clicky-clacking and my window down, as I lean out, hoping for someone to let me in. I'm in a hurry, though I didn't yet know how much.

A shining navy Jeep Laredo tailgates the silver Benz in front of it purely to avoid giving me a chance to merge. Behind the wheel, a blonde hides behind enormous brown sunglasses. I watch as the passenger window rolls down, and an unshaven man with scraggly black hair and squinty eyes leans out the window toward me.

He exhales a massive cloud of marijuana smoke into my face and immediately rolls the window back up. I sneak my Jetta in behind it.

The Jeep had New York plates.

On graduation day

Slightly long, but worth reading.

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 [info]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. [info]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 [info]berrydip and [info]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 [info]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 [info]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

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.

Time to drive back to Cincinnati.

The summer I was 21, I was living at home [Napoleon, OH: population 8,000 and high school graduating class of 152 for the uninitiated], working (kind of; that's a story for another day) and waiting for the fall to arrive and bring with it my first real full-time college teaching job at Eastern Michigan.

But mainly what my friends and I did that summer was sit out on our boat on the Maumee River, go to our play rehearsals for Hello, Dolly! at night, and follow it up with a trip to Napoleon's newest and nicest (and only, for the most part) bar: Rick's Sports Tavern, retitled "Rickety Rick's" almost immediately by my buddies and I.

We hit Rickety Rick's nearly every night of the week. We were some of the bar's best supporters in the early days, and knew nearly everyone who frequented the place. As the years rolled on, and we went our separate directions, we still hit up Rickety Rick's on Saturday nights, and it's a sure bet to see most of the people we went to high school with there on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Thus, I had concluded I was going to go there Saturday night, regardless of if any of my friends in town were interested in going with me.

My parents, the Hot Dog Man, and I headed over to BW3 in Defiance for some beers and trivia, and we spent maybe two and a half hours there, fumbling through trivia and eventually giving up and playing poker instead. It's weird that I spend enough time in bars that I go into "bar mode" regardless of the fact that I'm with my parents; I had to keep telling myself, "no, you can't go talk to those girls." But it was a great time, and we got home around midnight. I asked the Hot Dog Man if he wanted to grab a beer at Rick's and he said he was tired. So I headed out alone.

One thing about living in a small town is that your sense of distance gets totally warped. A drive downtown seemed like a bit of a haul, when we lived here, but I timed it and discovered it takes four minutes and 15 seconds to drive from my parents' house to Rick's. What a joke. I can't even get out of my neighbourhood in Tampa in four minutes.

I walk into Rick's and look around. I recognize no one. This falls in line with the article in the paper about a bad car accident near my parents' house that killed three people, ages 24-27, all from Napoleon, yet listing names I did not recognize. Everyone I knew here moved out and the replacements came from who-knows-where. They looked at me suspiciously, like I was infringing on their territory. I felt the same about them.

I was about to leave when this beautiful brunette comes through the door in a dress that is just slightly gaudy enough for me to recognize as a bridesmaid's dress. I look more closely and realize it's a girl I went to school with for eleven years and whom had always been a little strange toward me, for reasons I have never nor will ever understand. She was cute when we were in school, but she's grown to be a real stunner.

I almost didn't recognize her, but then I was like "LISA" and she was like "OMG TIM" and we decided to have a beer. I asked if the dude she was with was her husband; it was, and he introduced himself and those were the last words he said. Why all the cute girls from high school married quiet, gruff men I will never know.

So we talked for 20 minutes, catching up on who got married (one of her friends from high school, someone who was always much nicer to me than Lisa was) and who was at the wedding, what I'm doing, et cetera. The conversation was far longer than any conversation between the two of us previously in the 20 years I have known her. She and gruff husband left.

I went into the other room and realized two twin brothers that were in my high school class, collectively known as the Youngbuddies, were sipping bud lights and smoking cigarettes along the bar. I was not friends with these guys; they were well-known as drug dealers and punks. Truth be told, they're nice guys now, and I sat and talked with them about life, gossip, and how our hometown sucks now. We closed down the bar, pledged to see each other at our ten-year next summer, and I headed home on the frighteningly short drive. Napoleon used to be a "nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there." I'm not so sure it's even a nice place to visit anymore.


18th birthday to Calisa, who three years ago inspired Underage Columbus Girl, the first funny song I ever recorded.

138th birthday to Canada, a nation I have always loved and pretended to be from.

1st day in the Big East to my future alma mater USF and [info]berrydip's new alma mater UC.

1st day without Marshall/[screw'em] to the Mid-American Conference.

1st day of panic about whom W's first Supreme Court nominee will be.

(and happy 1st day of me using the Semagic LJ client. We'll see how it works out.)

Last night, I went over to New Port Richey to a) calculate exactly how long it's going to take for me to get to rehearsals for Joseph b) check out another open mic night at a place called Bourbon Street which is, sadly, not as cool as either its namesake in New Orleans or the rat-tastic casino of the same name in Las Vegas.

I got there and a high school band was playing in front of about 20 people. Ten of those people were clearly the girlfriends and parents of the guys in the band. They weren't bad, but it was funny to see the kid not say the word "fuck" in front of his parents as they covered Sublime's "What I Got." I drank a Bud Select, paid the waitress a dollar tip, and got the hell out of there. I might go play there sometime, because they do seem to have nice equipment (a real Hammond B3 organ!) but what's the point if there's no crowd? Nice place, but kind of empty.

So I went out and started exploring New Port Richey. I went downtown and found a place called Jilly's. I walked in and discovered they had NTN, which was a nice surprise. However, I sat at the bar for 15 minutes and saw no semblance of a bartender or Playmakers, so I got up and left. Strange.

I ended up stopping at a place called Wing House. It seemed to have beer and a lot of cars in front of it. Little did I know that Wing House is a clone of Hooters. And when I say clone, I mean, "developed from stem cells" or some shit, because Wing House had the following characteristics:

White, Black, and Orange colour scheme
GIrls in cleavage-revealing tank tops, shorts that more closely resemble diapers, and pantyhose (what the fuck is up with hooters girls wearing pantyhose with shorts and tennis shoes? that is easily the most bizarre uniform choice i have ever seen)
An emphasis on wings
Large, rectangular wooden bar
Calendars of waitresses available at the door
An entirely (ENTIRELY) male clientele

Now, I almost turned around and left once I realized the nature of this place. After all, I've gone on rants about Hooters many times. This is big time Hooters territory -- the first one is just down the road in Clearwater. I think their food sucks and their very nature objectifies women and is insulting. That having been said, I stayed at Wing House because I wanted a beer.

Then I realize there is one singular difference between Hooters and Wing House. Wing House has constant references to someone named Crawford Ker. I have no idea who this guy is, but apparently he played football for the Cowboys back in the 80's. I'm sure my father knows who he is. Anyway, you can buy items autographed by Crawford Ker for 11.99. I decided I would rather have something autographed by Steve Kerr for, oh, five bucks. Maybe.

As was, I ordered some wings -- hot -- and they turned out to be very, very good. Large wings, way better than Hooters'. The sauce was good. It wasn't BW3 quality, but it was good and the size of the wings made up for it. I got ten wings and a 32-ounce beer for 10 bucks and decided that was a pretty good deal. So I might actually go back, despite my feminist leanings telling me that I shouldn't.
Current Mood: hungry

I'm bathed in blue

Note to the slutted-out girls and the clone boys who follow them around the nightclubs here:

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, unless it's VD. In which case you have to take it home with you.

I am torn between doing a stream of consciousness or a regular journal entry. how about a hybrid?

i have come to the conclusion about why i'm always losing. either i reject the rules, or i refuse to play all together. this explains a great many aspects of my personal life. i.e. refusing to pay cover due to a dogmatic adherence to the principle that people who go to bars that charge cover aren't my kind of people.

on my flight to memphis i sat next to an eight-year-old girl who was so cute and precocious and pretentious that she reminded me in every way of myself at her age. her mother was in the window seat (i always, ALWAYS, take aisle) and adored me, so much that i ate dinner at Corky's at the memphis airport (as i do every time i pass through Memphis, bar none) with the whole family (the father and two younger daughters were in the row behind us).

nice people. i gave them my email address and i gave the girl the title of my favourite book when i was her age, Math For Smarty Pants. She said she'd seen it in the library so i am excited for her. she then told me about how she looked up googol in the dictionary.

seriously, this girl is like a mini-me, except cute.

cabbie was awesome, ran a few red lights for me, i tipped him well.

wandered around the strip for a few hours, drank a few beers, watched people, took notes. tonight, i was told, is the #1 night/weekend of the year for bachelorette parties. which, well, is a weird situation. i mean, you can't really interrupt girls on a bachelorette excursion, except they kept interrupting me, which was fine, but then they were headed to some shitty club that i wasn't interested in and had a $20 cover and i was like no thanks.

though i looked totally hot today, white oxford shirt, untucked, jeans, khaki linen jacket. hot. should have played it for what it was worth. didn't. dogma.

i fell in love with the girl sitting in front of me on the memphis-las vegas flight and wrote a song about her.

the guy next to me was a lawyer from cleveland so we talked about the Indians and Browns and law school and that was fun.

someone downstairs/upstairs/next to me is thumping music. this is a CLASSY STRIP HOTEL PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT THE HARD ROCK OR THE WESTERN INN


interviews tomorrow, and memorial day. remember.

Gender Trouble

There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender... Identity is performatively constituted by the very 'expressions' that are said to be its results. - Judith Butler

I love Judith Butler. I may disagree with her a lot, but what she writes is so brilliant your mouth just gapes open in awe at her transcendence. She's so amazing. I hope to some day be intelligent enough to really "get" what she's talking about.

Last semester, I took my first course in feminist methodology, and was introduced to Butler's work (for the most part, my previous research dealt with public rhetoric and nonsense like that, and having no feminist scholars on the staff of my previous workplace, I was pretty clueless. I was raised to believe I was a feminist, my mother having grown up in Toledo and in Steinem's shadow, but I had no theory background to back up this self-attribution.) Before I had this LJ, I did a lot of writing about gender, and my issues with it. I don't have gender issues personally, but other people have issues with my gender. It's a perception problem. The writing (which I have somewhere, and will put the essays I wrote here if I find them) dealt with the years I've navigated an odd public assumption that people have had since I was in high school. Despite my streak of hypermasculine heterosexuality, a large section of the public believes, upon meeting me, that I'm gay. Once upon a time, this was a problem for me, but around the age of seventeen or so I came to grips with it and laughed it off at the least and took advantage of it at the most.

Yet I'm placed in this section in between; I dress too nice to be a straight guy, but not nicely enough to pass sometimes. I use long sentences and complicated words, but with a deep, robust voice. My previous occupation is almost exclusively staffed by gay men, many of whom to this day refuse to believe I'm straight (to several of their's dismay). Straight folks lift their eyebrow; lesbians glare with distrust. I say with relative assurity that despite my mild-manneredness, I am a silhouette, a cast representation of something, but one that in the right lighting can be both deceptive and threatening.

Regardless of this public (im)perception, I perform me. Tim. I'm fortunate to be someone who really likes me, and continue to float in the in-between despite however long it's been since I last got laid (I quit counting months ago). I still read The Advocate and wear sweater vests and do whatever I'm driven to do, casting whatever public perception of my performative essence might be to the wind.

This all has a point.

Tonight I went looking for a coffee house I'd heard hosts Monday night open mics. I drove up and down Busch Ave. looking for the place, before finding a small building with a bunch of people out front. As I approached the structure, the scent of clove cigarettes confirmed I'd found the coffee shop.

I coughed up six bucks for a bottomless, grabbed the nearest magazine (which happened to be, of course, The Advocate) and took a seat on a sofa near the performance area. It's a cool place, but probably your typical bohemian coffee shop.

I soon realized that, apparently, a necessary quality for a Tampa Bohemian is homosexuality. Every individual in the shop was accompanied by a partner of the same sex. Cool, I thought; as young as the Tampa Bay area might be, it's sadly still Florida, and alternative lifestyles aren't as welcome in public spaces as, say, Ann Arbor or Athens or anywhere else I've lived. (Zanesville notwithstanding.) Yet, despite my choice of reading material, I was in that middle space, marked, with the stigma of a white, straight, male; an icon of the hegemony.

And the lesbians still eyed me suspiciously.

The rest of the night consisted of me slurping down coffee (which was quite good) and listening to the performers (who were quite bad). I decided, after hearing the third atonally-mumbled "song" in a row, that next Monday, I would bring my geetar and rock these people's world.

Then again, as my songs tend to be an outlet for my aforementioned hypermasculine heterosexuality, maybe not.

Re: I got a fever...

So I woke up around 3pm, a little peeved that I missed so much golf. Luckily, all the excitement was to follow and is still going on as I type.

I realize that a lot of people think that golf is boring. I know a lot of you think sports are stupid in general. I guess I would reply with a dramatistic perspective; all of life is a drama, and if you don't think the story that's told in Tiger's shot on 16 today isn't a compelling, evocative one than I want to shake you violently.

I met Dave at the bar last night, who begged me to go to the casino with him. So I went, and we left in his car around 11pm or so. Now, our Hard Rock is not really a casino, but more like a giant building with several thousand shitty slot machines and a fairly large poker room. So we arrive, and Dave is pretty drunk, but assures me he knows what he's doing. He doesn't, really, but we get our names on the list and buy chips and somehow end up at the same table, which we really didn't want but oh well.

So we sit at this table with these guys from UF who I keep mocking and we're there for a few hours. I'm up $60 at some point, but ended up losing like 40 bucks. I finish up and leave the table, but I realize all the bars are closed. All the bars, that is, except for the nightclub (there was a bar up front I didn't know about either, but that factors into the story later). So I try to get into the nightclub but apparently I wasn't dressed trashily enough (I don't know what it is about casinos that make the women there dress like hookers, or maybe they are hookers, but... anyway, I wasn't one of the pretty people I guess, regardless of the fact I looked pretty good yesterday and was dressed well) so they wouldn't let me in. So I sat on my ass doing nothing for a while, walked around the casino, then finally convinced Dave to leave, but we didn't leave, we went up front to that other bar, but they wouldn't let us in either. Dave goes a little nuts and finds the security supervisor. I don't know what he said to the guy, but the next thing I know, we're being escorted to the front bar (he'd asked us if we wanted to go to the nightclub, but Dave said no, the dumbass) and all of a sudden we have drinks.

Dave's mouth either brings glory or ruin; this time it was glory. After another drink, the bars closed down and we went back for more poker, though I really just wanted to go home. Dave bankrolled me 20 bucks (I had plenty of money, I don't quite follow why that happened)

This story is too long. Long story short, I win Dave some money, we eat breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and I get home at 11am.

Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Hookers: A Nashville Story

...actually, you'll have to ask MFRONE about the hookers.

I'm home. In Tampa. And while I can appreciate the weather and air and hot coeds in town for Spring Break, I'd rather be sprawled out on the floor of some cute Louisville fan's room. Or my own room. It would mean we'd won. We didn't. But shit. We tasted it. I looked up to the sky, raised my fists, and saw 60-60. And I tasted it.

There's a reason they use that metaphor. Because it's not really a metaphor. You really do sense it. It's something special. It's something I'll always have. It's something you'll always have. Very few people ever get it. We got it. And we'll get it again.

Other things I'll always have

our wonderful, sweet, delicate, unblemished Ohio cheerleaders dancing on the bar at the dance club

a sore neck from talking to d-lowe

the red UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns shirt I traded my green Ohio shirt to the cute blonde from LOOZIANA. I cannot think of a better way to get a girl to take off her shirt. Also, the shirt has an angry pepper on it. I don't know how many other teams have perturbed vegetables as their mascots.

Eddie George stealing my bracket printout. If he did it to steal my mathematical formula, i'm totally getting his ass in court.

shaking hands with Tim O'Shea a few hours after the game, at Mr. George's larcenious establishment, and putting to rest the years of criticism I've leveled at the man. Catholic guilt sucks.

the memory of having seats in section 302 but actually sitting in row 5 of section 105, right next to Dr. McDavis and his wife. I should try that with the Super Bowl.

windows that will forever read "GO OHIO" and "BEAT UF" which causes problems when I-75 suddenly closes all lanes and they don't give you a detour requiring you to go into Gainesville to ask for directions. well, the window problem will be taken care of as soon as i find some razor blades. for the windows, not me.

the telephone number of Jeanna, the brunette from the Florida development office

nick lachey's autograph (still trying to figure out how i ended up with that)

and most importantly

memories of the hundreds of people i met this weekend, many of them board members here, and the numbers of which are too great to name individually, but you know who you are. you guys make this community what it is; awesome. yeah, things have changed since the tcom days, but, hell, everything changes, and the fact that we have like 100000x more members than we did back then says that Ohio's doing something right. From the dozens of fans I met who had no interest in any of the eight teams, but just enjoyed coming to see some good basketball, to a girl I grew up down the street from and haven't seen in 15 years, to Ted Thompson, who accurately referred to me as a pain in the ass...

to all the girls i've loved before,

i will quote the great Beau Boughamer, whose name I mangled in my early years far more than anyone should ever have their name mangled, in an email he sent moments after the game ended.

"Our alma mater is the greatest university ever."


The harsh noise of the bedstand alarm clock brings me back to semi-consciousness. I'm in a hotel room - a lavish hotel room, though hotels don't much impress me these days. I've had a job for four years that put me in hotels from Jacksonville to Boise. But this is one of the nicer ones.
It's 7:30 a.m. on the morning after my cousin Andy's extravaganza of a wedding. I'm at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in downtown Cincinnati, and - God - fucking - headache - I'm being hassled by my brother to get my ass up and into the shower. We're having brunch at Aunt Becky and Uncle Mike's house over in Anderson at 8:30, so I need to get moving.
I'm used to the routine, so I handle my morning business quickly.
Why, why, why did I not drink water and take aspirin last night?

Zero visibility

I fidget in the passenger seat as the white SUV exits the freeway and pulls onto the access road that leads to my house. I glance at the large, bearded man behind the wheel, then to the stereo, which plays country music neither he nor I are fond of. Changing the station might lead to the two of us talking, though, so it's left alone. I'm getting a ride home because four straight days of snow combined with the city's reluctance to plow my street has rendered my Jetta immobile.

He pilots the mammoth vehicle to the top of the hill, where my small bungalow lies quietly belching out steam from an ancient furnace. I breathe a sigh of relief at seeing my street finally cleared - and realize it's the first positive thought I've had all day. See, the man driving the SUV is my boss. And I've just been fired.

Shitty first draft

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling
It's you, it's you must go and I must bide

Be somebody's fool this year

Eight p.m. The sky was empty, new moon being only an evening away. Cloudless, it gave access to a sea of stars normally washed out by the bright illumination of the city. At the top of a parking garage, I leaned against the fender of my rented convertible, picked out constellations I remembered from college, and waited.

Love actually

I had an assignment to write a story about this guest lecturer whom was an applicant for an open position in our department. She came and spoke to our class last week. Instead of doing the obvious I went in a bit different a direction.


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