Thursday, July 31, 2008

The mental needs a refit

This is a Vent Post!
This might have been a mental rehab post, but it's really just me yelling into the electronic darkness because I'm not really looking for an answer, I'm just talking to myself until I'm tired of listening to me. There are no answers here...and in this case I don't think I'm even trying to find some.

Okay...I realized last night after my second night of hanging out with pseudo cousin (don't ask) that maybe, just maybe...okay, definitely...I got issues that will eventually need real therapy.

First, I finished my law school prep class. That's right, I've decided at the ripe old age of too damn old that I'm going to sacrifice a lot of free time and the rest of my personal sanity and go back to school. Most of my friends are attorneys so it's like I'll just be joining the club. Shortly I start at GSU on the path to a few years of too much gut and scut work. Yay me! Well, at least the folks will be happy.

Okay, now back to my issue. I mean it's more than a passing thought, it's like I have to stop myself in the store from picking stuff up. I'm trying to figure out what's on my mind here, like what the fuck am I doing? Part of it was riding over to my pseudo cousin's spot and thinking "we need to go see what's good in there" as I passed a funky new restaurant when there is no we anymore. I mean in theory, this is someone else's job now. So why am I now mentally planning out what to get Sporty for her birthday?

Well, I already got like part of it.. so, it's not like it would be complete if I left out the rest. The date is a month and a half away. I'm planning things. Considering items. Um, problem? Yep, got one.

A little history. A few years ago at Christmas time, the first holiday season after she and I had started hanging out, I'd given her a gift bag of a whole bunch of stuff (she's hard to shop for) and she'd been delighted. So one night she calls me at home and asks my shoe size. She wants to buy me shoes for Christmas. Nice shoes. Okay, at the time I didn't know they were nice shoes, but they were really nice, fairly expensive shoes. And I told her not to get them.

Oh, for a time machine.

Not one of my better decisions. Turn in my playa card kinda bad. One of my great regrets.

Some say you shouldn't dwell on these things. I say you should learn from past mistakes, so you don't make them again. Some would ask why I'm putting my business out in the street. It's this or things get ugly, gotta let it all out somewhere and your modern day single black man has few options to vent without getting ostracized. Should have taken the shoes.

So, will I be getting the girl something for her birthday. Yes. Is it foolish of me to do so? Possibly. Do I really care? No.

So let it be written, so let it be...ooooh, pie.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Quick Restaurant Review - Landmark Diner Jr.

Mental Rehab Post #9
I'm knocking the dust off a concept, that I'm not sure I'm gonna continue. Most of these involved her, but a few of them don't, and since I gotta eat...well, when I remember, I may as well let ya'll in on what's out there. Even down and staggering, I still get out more than most. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

So it's Saturday and it's brunch time, and although there are probably a thousand other restaurants in the city, when you're hungry and want consistency, you go to a diner. Midtown I would say the Majestic Diner, where I've had some interesting meals, but in Buckhead it's the Landmark Diner, a twenty four hour little gem that hides inside it the ability the cook a breakfast that is near magical...and also unintentionally fleece you. Seriously, I did not know you could get Lobster and eggs. (Have I told this story already?)

After the Citysearch incident, I copped out on looking and went for the Landmark Jr up at the corner of Roswell Rd and 285, right at the top of the perimeter. It's a spot on a corner where out one window is that hustle and bustle of still traffic on Roswell and the out the other a side street with a couple of shops. But when you're at the Landmark (or in this case, at the Junior) you're not there to look out the window.

I was a little late and Schmoopy was on time and we tried to figure out the place mats which appear to be selling rejuvenating honey. Or something. Then before we could order, she broke the news...Schmoopy is getting divorced. I was stunned because at our last meeting she'd vowed to "work it out." On the upside she looked very happy about the whole thing. But then I guess if you're getting divorced you would be very happy. If you're sad about it, well then maybe you should have stayed together.

Yes, girl. I put your business in the street.

I ordered the bacon and eggs, with a waffle. She got the Florentine omelet with home fries. She said she was hungry, but I warned her the portions weren't small. The restaurant crowd was sparse so our food appeared quickly - before the forks got to the table actually - and the girl was impressed. The omelet was huge, instead of the usual three strips of bacon they gave five or six, and the food was almost falling off the platters they served it on. On a side note, you now have to ask for the home fries, as somebody talked them into serving hash browns. We got a side of home fries.

She raved about the omelet (my entree suggestion), which came with something green and feta cheese, and she added ham. It appeared too green but tasted delicious, at least the part she shared with me. And the waffle was huge so we ended up splitting. My eggs were done perfectly, not too hard or too soft, and the only thing missing was onions in the has browns I didn't know I was getting. Nitpicking on my part.

Seeing how Schoompy can't be more than a size 2 or 3, I can't imagine where she's putting all this food we're eating.

Incidentally, my dining partner joins a growing list of women, who've known me and then moved on to other folks, and it er...didn't work out. I think the list is at five or six now. Schmoopy called me the reverse of Good Luck Chuck. I didn't find that amusing in the least. We talked about her for a while, then me for a while (and in effect Sporty) and until finally I think the waitress was just mad we wouldn't get up and go. What we she mad for, I tipped her like 20%. Oh, and I found out Schmoopy eats peanut butter on toast, which I might have to try once just to see.

So if you get a chance, hit the Landmark in Buckhead, or one of the Juniors..up by Roswell Rd and the other on Cheshire Bridge. It's a pretty good deal.

Barkeep...oh, did I forget to tell you they serve too?

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Weekend Out - Second Stage

Mental Rehab Post #8
Sitting around the house ain't gonna fix nothing. The problem is you have to want to be fixed and I think I'm still just going through the motions. But my acting is getting better, and the I'm starting to find the shadows again. Ah the stage.

Last weekend I spent prepping, then attending and then recovering from a single party. What can I say, we does it big. 500 people at a house party may seem like an end all be all to you, but if my instincts are right the fellas are already scheming up the next function.

One of the signs I'm getting old is when I think 500 people might just be too many. I say we keep it to a nice level 75 or 100, but then I don't usually have full control of the guest list.

This weekend was the second in getting my mind back to right...well, the appearance of getting my mind back to right.

Friday was the Jack Daniels event, a fusion of art, music and whatever else was happening in that room called Art, Beats and Lyrics. With free Jack Daniels. I got there right as they were starting, and maybe next time I'll read the invitation. Although apparently I wasn't the only one, as there were three or four kids in line when the invite specifically said "no one under 21". That fabulous the rules don't apply to me mentality.

Inside they had those annoying fake guitars setup and apparently you could tap the keys in feel like a rock star for three minutes. Oh Wow. Then I walked through the smoke wall and things picked up.

The room is huge, although the last time I was in the same room with a Old School Saturday event I promise you it felt much much bigger. Back then it felt like an aircraft hanger, now it just feels like a barn. On little three corner stands they've got art setup by local artists. And it's some good stuff too.

Soul Brother #1 and then some.

Blackstar and his pieces.

I chat with a guy whose artistic moniker is Blackstar about a few pieces and even see about some commission work. He's got some colorful pieces which will offset the black and white I have from other favorite artist, who oddly is setup in the next space. I can't spot him, but I know I need to holler at him to see I can pickup a few more prints.

A few of photo exhibits looked good. I get a card before I realize I'm fantasizing about a mundane activity that's not going to happen. I keep the card anyway.

The Race Card

The set is nice. Gentlemen Jack Daniels for the free-free, a nice set of art, some good artwork on the walls too, they got a live band coming on later, with a DJ and break dancing to open. It's a throwback kinda festive and you can just chill.

Only I can't I've promised to meet on old college buddy who I haven't seen in years for drinks a little later. So although the JD thing is looking live, I slip out a side door and whip down to the Ultimate Bar on Camp Creek Parkway. For those who are unaware, the development on Camp Creek is North Atlanta development finally come to the Southside of town.

I get there and my first that Dugan's went upscale kinda moved to Camp Creek and setup shop (It's an Atlanta concept, sorry. I'll explain later). I run into my old buddy and we share a few beers and talk noise to chicks at the next table half seriously for the next two hours - he's married, I'm in recovery. Then I accidentally try to pick up the 20 year old waitress who has three jobs. Don't see that one happening though for a variety of reasons. Nah.

Saturday is a little reading and a little me time. Okay, a little wake up and then fall back to sleep on the couch time until I have to go catch Schmoopy for brunch. Afterwards I think brunch might not have been the best idea, as I end up back on the couch. Way too much food. Okay, the fact that it's 95 degrees in my house and maybe 85 degrees outside might have had something to do with it. My uncle is supposed to helping me out, but when you're getting help you're at the mercy of their schedule. That and his AC works. So really once I got back to the house I'm laid out sweating like below decks on the Amistad. I didn't even bother to call looking for trouble. Which I understand I could have easily found. Stayed in.

Sunday...I cleaned up. Did a bunch of Laundry. Watched a Jack Lemmon movie on TMC (that is a great channel). Did my "homework". Forgot to eat until almost 8pm. Talked to my folks a little bit. Then talked to God. Yeah, thought about Sporty. Can't help it.

Still got a long way to go.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I used to...

Mental Rehab Post #7
I'm finding out a lot about myself. Some things that I didn't know, some others that I knew and was actively suppressing that have morphed into something else entirely. But I recently found out something else.

Yesterday Schmoopy hit me up out the blue about brunch which we were supposed to be going to weeks ago but didn't and she asked me where we should go. She said around our agreed upon meeting time she would be up in my old stomping grounds (Sandy Springs nee Buckhead) and asked me to decide where we would eat.

Having not lived there in a minute, I switched over to my trusty online source for most things grub-wise in Atlanta, the always interesting Citysearch.

I found myself with tears welling in my eyes about two minutes later.

In an odd twist of fate, using Citysearch reminds me of Sporty. She and I ate out every week. Like every week. You don't understand, we went out EVERY week. Like clockwork. In 2005 I think we missed like three weeks. And whereas I hung out a lot, and ate at a lot of places before she and I hooked up, my m.o. is to find I spot I like and metaphorically camp out for while, learn the menu, become a semi-regular. What we did by design was that we explored a lot of Atlanta's restaurants and areas together, so there were times I would use Citysearch. Okay, let me rephrase that, I used the fuck out of Citysearch. Checking menus, directions, opening times, reading reviews, new spots, the works, if they offered the service I used it.

So apparently in my mind her and it are linked. And now I wonder how many other emotional bombs are lurking around in my psyche. I had already been a little leery of going a few of the places where we'd had a good time, just in case, but to think that something I wasn't thinking about will just suddenly sideline me.

This would not be good. Not at all.

Barkeep. Drinks. Contents don't matter.

Friday, July 25, 2008


It is the quiet moment that is my demon
skulking in from the outer edges
plucking at my dreams and heartstrings
sharp talons of regret and confusion
stirring the granite of my soul
like a fluid liquid
Ashes fill the bower of my mind
sentiments burned rather than remembered
no sunshine.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Listening to Jazz

Personal Rehab Post #6
Next in a continuing series of posts designed to let out the demons that lurk in the dark recesses of my memory. Okay, more aptly, to the kill the roaches of impluse that are skittering about as pack and fold away hopes and dreams of a future with somebody and put them into that part of my soul I keep locked. Isn't that a better visual?

And as I they say...the band played on. Sometimes you get what you ask for, then if you're'll get to see what it is you actually need.

A print from

I like Jazz and Classical music.

I used to listen to jazz infrequently, mostly as a side to something else or if a riff would catch my ear and stay there. I'd heard of the greats, Miles, Bird, Coltrane, etc. The same with Classical, where I knew the standards and would occasionally find a quartet or a chord that was simply moving. But I never gave it much thought. I knew how to find them on my music channels on DirecTV but that was about it.

But as of today my radio is tuned to classics all the time. In Atlanta the station WABE is the home for classics and NPR. I listen to them, some sports talk and a I'm considering upgrading to the CD player.

But, you say, you're a socially active nearing middle aged African American male? Shouldn't you be listening to a R&B station, or an oldies station or pretending your ten years younger than you are and listening to a hip hop station although the last time you went to one of the events they advertise you were mistaken for a narc? (incidentally, that's a true story)

Well, it's the Sporty thing.

You'd be surprised how many songs are about love. Or in hip hop about sex. And or both. Which is what I like to call bad juju. I have a hard enough time with the occasional stray thought that needs banishment, a few songs which I really like but had mentally associated with certain things can bring on a depression faster than a trip down an elevator shaft. I really like Angie Stone and John Legend, but can't listen to them right now. Same with Luther, Prince, and really most music with words. One semi-sappy "baby" and I'm about to break down.

Which is a bitch because I love all music. I grew up when there was no country music channel, no black music channel or Latin music channel, just MTV. So you had to sit through all the music videos to get to the one you wanted, and you got to where you could appreciate all of them and the music they contained.

On a side note, MTV sucks now precisely because they don't play any videos.

I listen to Country and Western sometimes, I mean I am from the country. And since Country and Western, not "New Country", the old stuff... is almost nothing but how you been done wrong by somebody that's out. I mean when you can name a song "When you leave walk out backwards so I can pretend you're coming in"...I mean really. That's pain right there.

So no hip hop or R&B or oldies, but why Jazz and Classical?

Jazz for the most part has no words. Classical when it does have words they're usually in a language I don't speak. It allows a concentration that's usually pretty emotionally undertow free. I read a lot, so it's cool to put on some Jazz or switch up to the Classical channel on my DirecTV, curl up on the couch and not worry about background noises. Or stray thoughts. Sometimes I'll turn it on and try to zone out.

I need to find a good Latin station, something where they don't speak English.

It's been since last December or so since I've listened to regular radio. Damn that's been a long time.

Barkeep. Just gonna sit for a minute. Listen to the melody.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Weekend Out

Personal Rehab Post #5
I'm starting to not like quiet times, for in those quiet moments I start to ask that question that will probably plague me for the rest of my life: "Why wasn't I good enough?" It's one of those things that will pick at the back of mind quite possibly until it drives me mad.

This post is about my first major rehab outing. It's a little lengthy.

Well I'd spent a few weeks in relative seclusion, eschewing outings and get togethers and generally trying to pull together a semblance of cool before venturing back out into the wilds of social Atlanta. It's been a long strange trip and since I've apparently got to get back on the trail I started with an annual event: my RP's birthday party.

RP is short for Running Partner, which in the parlance of area is people I run around with. In your area, it may phrased as your hang out buddies, your chums, them folks you know, or friends. I ran into him when I moved to Atlanta and we just got along, so it's like that.

The birthday party is an annual event consisting of fine mix of, it's a social gathering it's a huge party with about as close to a Circus atmosphere that you can get to before people get naked. One year we shut down his subdivision throwing it. I mean it's huge. Rough estimates put the usual crowd at 200-250 people, and this is for a house party. At a single house. My RP know a lotta folk.

Enough background, in food prep my RP said he would be doing everything the night before. Because sitting around all day Saturday waiting is less than a desirable activity, I volunteered to cook everything that morning. I happen to like grilling and so I offered to spen Saturday morning burning a little something. I bought the supplies, marinated the meat overnight, got my extras and showed at Event Site Zero at 9am. I've been having trouble sleeping lately so this was an accomplishment.

I cleaned the grill. Which apparently had never been cleaned.

I watched them clean the pool.

I keep saying we threw the party because only two days seperates my birthday and RPs, so usually it's a birthday party for us both even though I recognize I'm the undercard. Second billing at your own birthday party you say? How awful? It's a matter of opinion I guess. Wait, wasn't my birthday last month you ask. Well, yes it was, but this is the first free weekend we've been able to schedule, and since we've had it up to two weeks in advance, a little later isn't the worst thing we could have done. In the parlance of our situation, RP is strategic, I'm the tactical.

So I cooked. I cooked the chicken, I cooked the chicken...the hotdogs, the wings, the ribs. From roughly 10am to 4pm I worked a little outside cooking magic. Almost burned my hand a few times, didn't have all my usual grilling tools (used a kitchen fork and one spatula), wings didn't want to cook right taking for freaking ever, damn coals died down before I was all the way done. Man, it was great to get back out there again.

Handy tip: When grilling the bird - get the chicken fingers or tenders. They cook up so fast and easy it's scary.

So I got there early and cooked all day. Then I went home and showered and headed back out because I was also tending bar, which is another of my fine talents. Yes, I was gonna work at this joint to. There is a method to my madness, a trade secret or two that I won't go into but let's just say it works very well for me.

With your normal crowd of 200 I'm in good stead. I mix up Apple martini's and Cosmopolitans, keep the beer in a side tub so it's serve yourself, create fruity little mixtures that put a smile on the pretty girl's faces and get a chance to chat while I'm serving. If we start at around 7pm, I'll generally get a crowd, then a lull, then a second crowd, another lull and so on until I'll shut the drinks down around 1am. At which point it's down to the folks who actually came to party and not just spectate, which is a pretty fun crowd. And whereas the bar might be closed to speed people in the mindset of leaving eventually, folks we know can always "find" a drink. So we've got a plan.

So I start setting out the drinks. People who ain't seen me in a minute tell me I'm looking good, lost weight and all that. A few of my female friends give me a hug and we joke a bit. My mind isn't on other things.

And setting out the drinks. A few women I hadn't seen in a long while invite me to their party next week, another girl tells me about another party she wants me to go to, I'm steady pouring the drinks and talking, even doing some flirting on automatic. Getting the old mojo back to working, ya know?

And setting out the drinks. And setting out drinks. Wait a second, what the? Where is that lull I was counting on? Now we'd thrown the party at Event Site Zero because it's a large house on 12 acres (plenty of parking), it has a pool and a jacuzzi, game room downstairs, and the owner is cool. 12 acres sounds like a lot, hmmm? We ran out of parking. RP's current head count of the crowd is somewhere near 400. Or 600. He's lost track. People at the bar are telling me they parked at the Fire Station, which is a good half to three quarters of a mile away from the front gate (never mind the additional walk from the street) and I have two assistants helping me serve. Your selections have boiled down to: "Light or dark, which one do you want?" It's getting crazy.

Faces blurred cause I don't where they claimed to be.

When I was younger, we would throw a party and before too long we'd run out of liquor. We were broke and trying to have a good time. Now as adults we have a party and before too long we run out of chaser. Very few still have the cojones to bring just a bottle or two of juice. I try to anticipate this, but my expectation was considerably fewer people. So at one point have a single bottle of cranberry juice my co-bartenders and I are passing back and forth between the three of us. Madness.

As I said, normally one would shut the bar down around 1am. I had somebody go find RP and I told him we were shutting it down at 11:30. At least we never ran out of ice. The bartending gig went from fun aside to a South Geogia version of the Bataan Death March only with liquor and girls in bikinis in a mere matter of hours. Okay maybe not that bad because we did have some cuties. But I'm sweating like I'm in a sauna and praying that we run out of cups.

After that I guess the party started getting good: I hyped up the impromptu swim meet. Spent a hot moment in the hot tub (okay, I got in and the women didn't get out - and the water was hot. Technicality). Walked around in my footie socks and told people it wasn't my house for no reason at all (women kept offering to help me find my shoes). And at 2am I somehow got into an oblique discussion with a very defensive vegan republican with a me complex.

Okay, it wasn't all good.

Not sure if I'm up to an event where I don't have something else to focus on though. Truth be told that's pretty much what made this work. A whole night of concentration of other things. Without the distractions, well...I'm not sure.

All this for that hollow feeling at the end of the night. But then I'm working on the outside. Inside ain't gonna be right for a while.

Barkeep. Water. Yeah, I'm getting back but it's a step by step process.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things I've figured out

Rehab post #4 .
This was supposed to be my birthday post or end of June post, but if you read me then you know I was a little sidetracked around that time. But these items still hold true, so truths they would be then. That and good whiskey. The foundations of a good soul.

I'm getting old. Older. Let me put it this way, I've considered coloring my hair back to all black. It's gotten more than a little salt and peppery, and although I've had gray hair since I was 22 and women keep saying it's looks good or even distinguished, they're still not slavering away to get this man-candy.

Yeah, I said it. No soup for you!

I'm a nice guy, witty, thoughtful and personable. I'm in reasonably good shape, not bad looking, make decent money, and am generally open minded. I entertain well (understatement), could be a bit more aggresive and don't mind trying new things. And single like a mofo.

But lately I've been thinking. Maybe it's the bumps I hear in the dead of the night, the occasional twinge I feel in parts of my body that shouldn't be twinging, the current state of my relationships, but in the end I've been thinking and have divined some simple concepts....

1. We can't be naked all the time.

As I've gotten older, I've come realize that my mate really needs to be someone I like, not just someone who turns me on. We're going to spend a whole lot more time together clothed than we ever will naked...not that I don't intend to maximize that naked time, know that... so this other person needs to be someone I can actually talk to, joke around with and share with, not just the person who makes me think nasty thoughts in their prescence. I mean that's nice, but that strikes me more as infatuation/lust than love. I need that and more. More like someone who counts on me, cares about me and makes me want to be better so I don't disappoint them.

2. We change.

When I was a kid, I didn't eat pizza. My parents had to stop and get me a burger if the family had a pizza night. Now I eat pizza all the time. Three years ago I didn't eat indian food. Now I miss the quick sear of heat on my tongue if a while goes by and I haven't had any. I'm not the same me I was five years ago, and that's not a good or bad simply is. My tastes have changed, my dreams have changed, my plans have changed, and if I'm lucky they'll keep on changing. Everybody changes. If you still have the same goals now you had five years ago, then it's time to move your finish line.

3. It doesn't matter.

Quite a few years ago I simplified my life. No credit cards, no gadgets, simple car, simple clothes. I created some credit difficulties stemming from excess in my youth, oh so long ago, so partially out of a new way of thinking and partially because I didn't have any other choice, I cut it all back to what I could pay cash for, except for the big ticket items which means 90% of the time. What I discovered was that life could be simple if we made it that way. A lot of the concerns we have that are tied to what other people think about what we have or own. By removing a great deal of clutter from life, I didn't lose friends or stop eating out at nice restaurants or have to start shopping at goodwill. Life was still okay. I was able to cultivate new pleasures. I changed. So none of the things I thought were important really mattered.

4. It all matters

There are a lot of little things I overlook. Have a mildly obsessive personality but I strive to be a big picture guy, so there are gaps. As such I've realized that 90-95% of things that happen to me are my fault. In most of our lives, and particularly my life, one things leads to another, each little thing snowballs. I stayed up watching TV last night, so I woke up late to take a quick shower so then I forgot the lunch in the fridge because I was rushing and that's why I'm spending $7 bucks for lunch and smell like dirty shirt because all matters. It's not always bad stuff, it's good stuff too, but it goes back to some small thing you did that led to something else and so on. I've started focusing on little things now, making sure I did X and took care of Y because it's things like that come back to haunt you or bless you. It all matters. You probably shouldn't have had that snack anyway.

5. Things don't go as planned.

One of my favorite commercials starts with a black and white image of a little kid who states clearly, "When I grow up, I want to work my way into middle management!" Hardly a the dream of many, although this was a satirical look at job hunting, it spoke volumes to me. Sometimes life isn't going to work out quite like we figured. I'm not going to suggest we simply accept that, it's is our struggle making our dreams reality that makes the world better. But realizing that things don't always work out does make it easier to cope with failed plans, easier to regroup after a failure. It really wasn't my plan to blogging on the internet about whatever, middle aged, and in the "middle class". Let's just say that my plans included Halle's ankles next to her ears (or for the past few years Sporty's) and plane trips and Rio and Greek islands and, well know where that's going. I intended to be someplace else, and that's not to say I won't get there, I'm just saying by the plan I should have been there already. And that it's not the end of the world.

Okay, Sporty's leaving seems like the end of the world. AND that's as close to end as I want to get.

On the issue of Sporty...although this wasn't supposed to go here, I'm always going to love her. Always. My goal is to make it so that only two people know...well, besides you lot (shhh! it's a secret)...and that would be me and her. A lifetime Oscar-worthy performance. Wish me luck.

Barkeep. Bookers. A friend of mine said it was the shiznit.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life in the time of Plasma

Personal Rehab Post #3
After my stumble, we get back on the path to "faking it till I make it." Today I joked around with the girl who visits my desk all the damn time ....we'll call her...hmmmm... Swerve... and put the weekend and it's disappointments behind me. The journey of thousand miles. Man I hope I make it.

I was a broke college student. I don't mean the pansy broke that means you're cutting back on food quality, I mean the kind of broke where you're cutting back on food. There were times when dinner cost me $2 or less, as I would stop at the Spur gas station at the bottom of the hill leaving campus and get a bargin basement pint of juice for fifty cents and a dollar's worth of 'tater logs - potato wedges fried in chicken grease (about 6 or 8 depending on how they felt). Occasionally I would spring the extra quarter and get a Little Debbie snack to treat myself.

Thank god my neighbors cable signal bled through the wall so I had a decent number of channels.

But occasionally there would be a need for a boost, a proverbial (and literal) shot in the arm, a few extra dollars. And that, friends and neighbors, is when you would donate plasma.

I don't see plasma donor spots around anymore, so maybe the laws are different in Georgia. I used to like them because in 40 mins to an hour you could have a fast $20 in your pocket and as an added bonus you got free blood screenings. As long as they would let you donate you knew you were good healthwise. It was like being paid to make a doctor visit, so like groovy.

And that $20 to a college student was a fortune. Or it least it was when gas was a $1 a gallon. A few dollars in the tank, a four dollar six pack and two fifty wing special? Sheeit.

The other bonus was that donating plasma made drinking much more effective. I'm not going to lie, I had worked up a pretty high tolerance while matriculating. One night a friend & I polished off a bottle of 151 proof rum with no chaser like we were drinking soda. It was only after we were done did we then decide we probably should have cut it with something. However, after donating plasma...three beers might leave you to the sleep of babies, drunks and well hung men.

But then I sleep that way all the time. *Rimshot*

Combine the sudden low threshold with the beer barn special where they would fill a gallon jug of cold delicious hops and barley water for $3, young and less than discriminating women and cheap food...well let's just say sometimes you donated plasma to get the party started.

Good times, good times.

Barkeep. What you got back there from 1990?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Though I stumble...

What had shoulda happened this weekend, but I ain't been nowhere and ain't seent nobody. I swear I'm putting on the makeup as fast as I can.

Friday I should have gone to Sporty's long delayed Going Away/En.....well, Going Away party but she got upset with me because I told her I might not make it. I was worried I might not be festive and didn't want to put that on her. She told me she didn't want the drama. So we agreed on something. I stayed home on a Friday night in Atlanta depressed. Did I eat?

Saturday I could have gone to Utopia (around the corner), or Old School Saturday (a little further around the corner) or to a house party (I'd still be driving back from Villa Rica) but I stayed home and watched crazy movies. At 4am something with Nick Nolte and Terrance Howard in the 20's where they talked about deviant sex. Yep, a little depressed.

And now it's Sunday morning and the sky has opened up with a glorious rain that city needs desperately. So the Urban Soul pool party is probably off. Well, in this rain it probably won't be as festive as it could be. Bummer.

That would be 0-3 for the weekend and now the batter should take his ass back to the dugout.

I did send Sporty the internet version of "let's be friends still"...the silly pictures with even sillier captions email. I hope I don't have to break out the stupid videos.

In other parts of my life, Shade has moved to DC to pursue yet even more medicine. Schmoopy is trying to get me to go back out for another Saturday of Habitat for Humanity, bless her little too damn energetic soul. Slim is having her own semi-drama, and won't tell me what she means by her "magic trick." Her new semi-man betta get it together.

There is just too much going on.

Barkeep. What you got in the back? Way way in the back? It will do.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Personal Rehab Post #2
More of the mental diatribes that were running through my head prior to my personal debacle. I'm going to just keep it moving, another step and then another. I don't expect to make it anytime soon, but all I can do it close my eyes and go.

I've driven in a number of cities and rural backwaters. New York on the Skyway at 3am. Doing 120 just to keep up on the JFK in Chicago. That lonely stretch of I-10 between Jville and Tallahassee where I took my hands off the wheel for ten minutes doing 85. But I've never driven anything for pure evil and frustration like Atlanta's 285.

I once heard someone remark that they'd driven the world over, London, Hong Kong, South America, through minefields in Iraq, through parts of Africa where regulations are more suggestions than things you can break but they'd never seen anything like the perimeter that circles this jewel of the south. We'll not even get into Spaghetti Junction.

Most highways slow down if there is an accident.
Traffic on 285 can slow down because somebody is changing a tire on the side of the road. On the opposite side of the divider.

Most highways slow at rush hour.
Traffic on 285 can slow to a creep because it's Tuesday. Anytime Tuesday.

Most highways will encounter a reason for time to time - volume, sporting events, etc - that can cause delays.
Traffic on 285 will occasionally come to halt...for no damn reason at all.

Up until a few months ago, I was lucky enough to always be going in the opposite direction of traffic both coming and going to work. Unlike most people, I lived INSIDE the perimeter and worked OUTSIDE the perimeter. I used to joke I needed a passport to get to work. I never understood the need for a cell phone conversation in the car..or why a headset was important.

Then I moved.

Now as soon as I get on now the next exit is right there. Then there is a long long long ass gap between exits and if there are issues, they usually don't start until right after you pass that first one. Like maybe by 100 yards. And since the road curves right there as well, you can't really tell from the on-ramp and don't see the red tail lights 'til about 5 seconds too late. I get on, traffic is moving nicely and then slowly we grind to a halt. And creep a little bit and slow then creep then slow then creep. I'm only listening to classical and jazz right now (long story) and sitting there, looking at the clock wondering what the hell is going on is so frustrating.

Then, since my ride is something like 10-15 miles, I should be able to see what the issue is. Only once have I ever seen an actual accident that closed lanes. Sometimes traffic will get real real slow, then it picks back up again. No accident, nobody pulled over, not even a naked big booty chick walking down the side of the highway. Nothing! I'd really like to get some monitors and study the cyclical nature the damn system myself. Not that I'm in a rush to get to job and try not to commit interoffice papercide. But sometimes you're just like...WHAT IS GOING ON?

Is it so wrong that I want to know?

Since I like to imagine that I'd like to follow up that admittedly general inquiry with a small missile launcher and a backseat full of Molotov cocktails, and get someone's attention. But since traffic stops because the wind changes direction, a real incident might shut the city down for weeks. As it is now, I'm thinking of upgrading to the bluetooth headset. Please forgive me.

Now the city wants to add these little lights to on-ramps to ease traffic in slowly, thus creating backups on the ramps. Which ain't gonna help 285 any. The concept that I'll be mad when I get there hasn't struck anyone. yet.

Barkeep ...I'm driving. Make it a Whiskey Sour.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

El Moostache

Personal Rehab Post #1
Today I begin mentally rehabbing. You would not believe how many things can remind someone of...well, you know. I just got an invite to her "celebration" which really wasn't a bolt from the blue. But the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step, so I better get to walking. This spot however is marked on the map of my life however. Can't get around that. Not sure I want to.

I want to tell you I born with a full set of teeth and mustache, nursed on Jack Daniels and was riding out on my big wheel like I didn't have good sense before I could walk, but I'm not prone to that much lying in less than 50 words. Maybe 75, but certainly not 50. I do understand however that I never used a pacifier, which might be a whole other issue.

I did however grow a mustache, or the first wispy hairs of one, sometime between 13 and 14 years old. I know this because I was able to pass for 18 with the little bit of hair on my face to buy the "adult" magazines at the newsstand down the street from my dad's business. That or the old dude who ran the store just didn't care. At 13 with a real dirty magazine, not the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, I couldn't have cared less either. But I thus attached a certain significance to that little bit of facial hair. It meant I was a man. Or at least looked like one.

I keep the mustache all through high school, experimenting with the attached goatee, the pencil line, the thick bush, and all the other variations that beguile your average teen in a small town with no friends who live anywhere close. I groomed it. It looked good. In college it unknowingly became my brand. Let me explain.

In 1992 I was on internship, living in Rahway, New Jersey with two house mates, slipping up to NYC on weekends to club and be "in the city" and generally living large. Well, extra medium, but I was a kid from rural SC with NYC 20 minutes via the Skyway so I thought I was getting ready to take over. Between three guys, all of us had mustaches and one night we all apparently lost our minds. It started, as most nights do, with alcohol. We had been drinking and playing video games (Sega, I'm old) when our resident youth mentioned he might shave off his meager mustache. Why I don't remember. We other two doubted he would, but as the discussion wore on my other roommate mentioned that if the youngster would shave his off, he would too. In a moment of lubricated solidarity, I joined in the pact.

The next morning I awoke last. In the kitchen I noticed the youngster had duly removed the hair from his face. I was unimpressed, as the difference was a best subtle. My other house mate emerged from the single restroom a few moments later his face also cleansed and a thought suddenly struck me. What madness had I entered into?

Looking at myself in the mirror thirty minutes later, face hairless for the first time since I was 12 was, well, odd. I was amazed at how much that little bit of hair changed the shape of my perception of my own face. Frankly I thought I looked goofy. But the best was yet to come.

We had guests coming up that day from Philadelphia, a couple of girls (yeah, bad math 3/2) and so we would seen by people who knew us, to get an idea of how much of a change we had made.

Youngster opened the door, and the girls greeted him with nary a blink. The other roommate got an "oh, you shaved, you look different" comment, to which the girls then noticed the youngster was without. Then I entered the room.

The first girl's eyes bugged out a little. The second girl screamed and clapped her hand over her mouth. Apparently I wasn't the only person who thought I looked different. The very idea of me without facial hair seemed to fascinate them. Today's version has people saying I look much younger. But I digress.

That smooth faced bastard lasted a week and other than now I have always had a mustache in some form or fashion. The beard has been off and on, off lately because it's now straight gray, but you know. 16 years. Whoa.

Which actually leads into another story which I'll share now because it ranks as the oddest shopping experience I'll ever have. I hope.

Later on this same day that I had taken on a nude face and shocked the world so to speak, we found ourselves on 3rd Ave as the sun went down having wandered the Village and other hinterparts of NYC, now looking for someplace to eat. For the purposes of storytelling, we eventually ended up eating in New Jersey, so that part is irrelevant.

And as women are won't to do, we passed a storefront with what looked like interesting items and they wanted to stop in, so as men, shut up and wandered in behind them. It was a typical NY boutique, which has for the sake of argument has currently been transplanted everywhere else in the world, jam packed with wares for sale that look like nobody would buy them except the people that work there. And then only because they got a discount.

Only something was ....odd.

It took me a little while to get it. I'm from the country and maybe a native New Yorker would have spotted it in seconds. Or maybe not, as the store had a good number of customers. Or maybe we were all tourists.

All the people working there still had their coats on.
They didn't use the cash register and all the sales were cash. No coin change. No credit cards.
They would bring things out of the back, set some down for inspection and take the rest to a truck waiting on the curb.
Everybody working there looked a little nervous.

Now maybe I'm wrong, paranoid or just plain have too much imagination, because I suddenly was of the inclination that the store was being robbed and the enterprising criminals, probably interrupted by a nosy city dweller, had decided to cut out the middle man and had simply started selling the stuff right there. The cheek of the blighters. I mentioned my theory to one of the guys. Influenced by my insanity he drew pretty much the same conclusion.

So we'd walked into what I suspected was a robbery and the girls were so into the shoes they weren't even paying attention. Oh the dilemma. Do I scream like a little girl, give the game away and suddenly create a hostage situation? Leave everybody behind and save myself? Do I turn into SuperIdiot and apprehend the thieves? My body tensed as I plotted my course of action.

So the girls didn't find anything the liked and we wandered out with much the same speed had wandered in. Maybe the owner was too cheap to turn on the heat as he sent the slow moving stuff down to a reseller. Who knows? But as far as a shopping experience goes, it was memorable.
Either way it made for lively dinner conversation.

Barkeep...I thirst. Bring me solace and understanding on ice.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Someplace I haven't been in a while

I'm on the edge of real depression here. Once in college after a parting of company, I holed up in my apartment for two weeks and didn't go to class for a month. I spent most of the time sleeping and wondering why fate had done me so wrong. I can safely say that was bad semester.

Somebody once remarked that I wallow in my pain, instead of just letting it go. I say to them that if you can let it go that easy, then you really didn't feel anything when you did have it. Real emotion begets real pain. Sometimes physical. She made me feel shooting pains once.

Currently I haven't been able to look myself in the eye since Tuesday. Which has made shaving kinda hard, so I just went ahead and shaved it clean.

The last time I haven't had a mustache or a beard since I was able to get a mustache or a beard was the object of a drunken bet I made while living in New Jersey in 1992. I still remember getting up and finding out my two roommates had dutifully shaved as we'd agreed, much to my chagrin, and then the reaction, a single scream directed at me that came when when the girls arrived. That was the last time I didn't have hair on my face. There is a funny story there, but I'll have to tell it later. So shaving the face bald is kinda big.

I haven't been able to look myself in the eye because I'm ashamed that it came to this. That I let her..note, my underlying belief that I has some control here...that I let her get away. That there was no movie moment that changed everything. That I may not be all I think I am. Damn Hollywood. I think that's kinda big.

I haven't really been out, haven't seen anyone, haven't done anything. I visited my brother two days in a row (that rarely happens), and he noticed something was "listless" about me, but then we don't really talk about things like this. I put it down to job dissatisfaction and other upcoming changes. When I talked to Shade on the phone she said she noticed I wasn't myself either.

I'm going to need more makeup.

I'm having to remember to eat. Sometimes I've gone as late at 4pm before it strikes me that I haven't eaten, simply because I'm not hungry. Today I'm gorging myself on cereal, then a steak, and then something else. Or I was supposed to, because it's almost evening and I still haven't eaten. I went to the store and everything.

It's also amazing how often marriage imagery and romance dominates the modern television storytelling as well. I find myself switching off commercials, flipping away from shows I've watched all because they're not helping. It evens seeps into your normal action movie. Damn Hollywood.

Last night I had a dream about Sporty. She, I, and I guess him were on a couch all watching television. I don't remember the show, but we were all focused. I wanted to leave but my hand was trapped under her thigh. Then the show ended and they got up, but I was still there. I'm fairly certain it couldn't mean anything, other than my subconscious needs some heavy medication.

I can feel my emotions rippling like exercised muscles.

If people with what I imagine to be real emotional issues feel like this all the time (I'm hoping this is just temporary, really I don't want to join your club) then I understand medication. Cause this sucks. Like for real.

So I'm not looking at myself. Not eating. Listless. We're not even going to discuss my lack of interest in sex...or porn. Feeling worthless, maybe a little used. On the verge of emotional collapse.

And since I'm starting Law School in a month (Yay me!), have I job that I cannot stand whose circumstances are about to change, a new venture I wanted to start before that but now I'm getting lambasted over and feel that in the midpoint of my life I haven't accomplished that one thing that I really wanted to accomplish....

...oh yeah, good times.

Barkeep...Golden Grain. Dirty Glass. No ice.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

2008 been 'berry 'berry bad to me

I cried.

Last night I lay down on my bed and cried.

So hard my head hurt, curled up in a fetal position wishing the world would go away. Just like that day in Ms. Gordon's English class when I was thirteen. So hard that I had to fight the emotion back down and put it back inside it's proverbial box, to I guess, let it eat away me until I can afford good therapy. Really really good therapy.

The show is over. Sporty and I talked and... dreamtime is no more.

At work I can feel it behind my eyes when an errant memory flashes, a visceral emotion that threatens to cause a torrent of tears, which would then lead to a need for explanations. I suddenly would like the Lacuna treatment from that Jim Carrey movie I only half watched. I'm having dangerous thoughts. I feel like I only imagined the whole thing.

Sometime in the next few months, I'll open the door to that mental dressing room in the back of my mind and put on the makeup again. And pretend to be that someone else. Maybe forever.

I really hoped it wouldn't come to this. Playing at being someone that someone will like. I just wanted to be that someone that they did like. Really like.

I really really did.