Friday, May 30, 2008

The middle of the night.

It's the middle of the night and I'm up. Can't sleep.

I've lost a lot of weight lately. I think it's stress over Sporty's departure but just to be sure I went to the doctor yesterday and they took some blood and ran the basics. I'll know by next week if I haven't "developed" something. Okay, I've stopped eating breakfast, no lunch most days and a spotty dinner. But then I haven't really been hungry in a while. So maybe it's that.

I got the extra hot wings tonight (first food all day) because I missed the spicy food I used to get with her. And there will probably be fewer restaurant reviews going forward, as my main dining partner has...well, you know.

We've been IMing each other so it's not a total break. Yet.

The job however, has lost it's luster. When I first started there I hated it, then it got worse. Then Sporty and I started hanging out, so I dealt with it. Now she's gone and never has the old country song "Take this Job and Shove it" ever hit so close to home. And that's messed up on so many levels. I will not be there much longer.

This blog will probably go back to bad jokes, political rants, bits of inspirational fodder, the occasional college story of lesser import and the semi-regular blast from my slowly reforming social life, if I decide to go back. Might add in the occasional funny picture. I got some big things coming up soon...It's wide open.

Or not. We'll see.

Barkeep. Whatever's handy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And the band played on...

In the grand tradition of all short timers...I was leaving in a week, well damnit I'm going today.

Instead of Friday, yesterday was Sporty's last day at our job. She's moving away (I might not have mentioned that) to get her new business started, and I'm left here to pick up the pieces of my soul and figure where to go from here.

We spent a last few minutes in the office as she set up my new blackberry to make sure we can IM each other, and that I had all her information.

In typical fashion, a day late and dollar short, I sent her this missive last night:

My time grows short.

Not my lifetime, for with the genes fate has granted me and with miracles of modern technology barring my own reckless stupidity I'm going to see the other side of ancient. That time is long in coming and promises long periods of the mundane punctuated by frequent bouts of adventure by accident and excitement in short intense binges.

No, something more important grows close to it's end. The end of a dream.

I don't think I have ever clicked better with any woman I have ever met. She's smart, she's funny, she's passionate and she gets me on so many levels. I have seen myself spending years with her. She is the first woman I have ever seriously considered asking to marry me. We became a term I used in describing things. She shared herself with me. She counted on me and expected things from me. And despite my previous hedonistic nature, that feeling of being needed felt nice.

And now that is coming to an end.

She says I didn't do anything wrong, but I believe I was born a few years too early, or wasn't expressive enough or a shade less aggressive than the next man, and as such this great experience that I used to thank god for in the dark of the night is now fast approaching a conclusion I thought might not come for forty or more years. I want to say I wish I had done this or said that, but that might have changed that delicious flavor of what we were. Sometimes the two ships passing in the night actually do pass.

But I still love her. And I always will.

I never learned how to stop caring for someone. I've seen it as a neat trick in others, how they are able to care for people one day and then have a argument or disagreement and suddenly somehow discard those feelings as though they no longer fit or have become toxic. I have never been able to do that. I don't know if I would be better or worse if I could, but for this last of the romantics love is forever. Come what may. I eventually mentally come to a working understanding of how things are when the feelings I want to share are unrequited, but it will only be that I've figured out how to suppressed my emotion. They'll still be there, shifting and breathing underneath a calm carefully constructed countenance.

And the world will go on.

I mean, I have notes and scribbles of half though ideas I haven't looked at in years that I can't bring myself to get rid of, so a living breathing person whom I adore and care for, sometimes more than I cared for myself, and who shows concern for me, well her moving on to the next part of their life wasn't going to devolve me into a "who's next" or a "just let it go situation." She is not replaceable. I am her friend because I was her friend, because it was the only way to really love someone is to like them first. And thus we existed as more than friends but less than lovers.

I'll still feel the same even if... even if her future plays out without me, to put in a way I can write with getting emotional.

Soon I will awake from this wondrous dream I called my life for the past few years. I could no more ask her to not go than I could stop being concerned for her. As long as she is happy I will figure something out. A selfless concern that borders on the silly I realize, but that is me. As for what awaits me in the world I know not, but it will be returning to the shadows from the sunshine. The solo hedonism that I return to has lost it's appeal. She changed me.

It's something I probably should have sent or should have said years ago. But the old lack of communication skills in this field do not serve me well.

Her reply is that she's speechless, but that we're friends to the end.

Exactly. She had no idea.

And the band....played on.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Burger Review

In a desperate effort to lighten my mood, and turn the tide from a pity party over Sporty that I seem to be falling into, I will now attempt to move on to lighter fare, something a little funny.

I like a good hamburger. Not a cheeseburger, or bacon cheeseburger or anything jalapeƱos or served with slaw or an egg or anything like that, but a good old fashioned bread - ketchup - mustard - beef - bread style hamburger. (Okay, I put fries on it too, but that's a separate issue.) If you go in most fast food restaurants you have to ask to they just serve a plain hamburger the menu is so chock full of "other" items to give you the full range of choice.

I don't need choice however. I need a hamburger.

A well made hamburger is a thing of beauty. I had one the other day at a cookout that had green and red chili's cut up in it with onions, just like you had when you were a kid. But then I don't like those hamburgers. I'll end up giving them my kids (provided I ever have any) so they can have the experience, but well made hamburger is just well formed meat. It's juicy without being overly greasy. It's got a texture that doesn't make chewing it a chore. The bread needs to be a bun, seeded, that's warm and soft.

You'd be surprised how few places make this burger.

With the advent of "toppings" the basic taste at the beginning, the burger, is washed away. So caught up with the other flavors you begin to wonder that if you took the burger part away would anyone notice. It's kinda like being able to appreciate the subtle taste of vanilla, which makes the rest seem like dressing up nothing.

Some notes....

A fairly decent burger. It's a little too greasy and a good mouthful goes down almost too easy, with only a mild beef taste. They make up for it with fries.

Burger King
The whopper, which if you stand there and actually watch them make you would hesitate at eating, it the most burger tasting of the "cheap" burgers, although $3 for a sandwich isn't exactly cheap. They need to work on their fries, which vary between edible and horrible.

You don't really expect a review here did you? Did you read my previous post on McDonalds?

I like the burger, but it's not juicy enough. I like the fries, which are clean and crisp. I don't really like the bun. Watching them make it makes me less hungry.

Five Guys
I don't know who these five guys are, but shole do know how to make a burger. Two patties on one bun as the basic, juicy but not greasy, bun is warm...the fries are hand cut! Now I want one. Damn.

I used to eat Hardees as a kid. Loved it. I actually preferred their fried chicken to KFC. They they invented the Thickburger. And the quite frankly the thickburger ain't worth shit.

The Varsity
I understand the Varsity is and Atlanta institution and speaking badly of it may have me up on charges. That said I will never eat from there again if I can help it. The fries are good when hot though.

There is a reason the place is a drive thru. Because if you could go back and reach across the counter and smack the people who made this sorry excuse for a burger you would. And take note, not everybody likes seasoned fries!

Wing Factory
Oddly this place I love for the wings makes a pretty good burger. It was almost astonishing when I got it. And Double Bonus - The fries are crinkle cut!

I used to dream of Fuddruckers, then I starting working at a place where one is down the street. I don't dream that dream no more. I mean the meat is still good..but he bun...and the sorry, and do mean sorry fries. Come on...for the loot I'm spending here! Geez.

That's the quick roundup...a few other places around here - Backyard Burger, Zestos, the Vortex - I really don't go to often enough to get a good feel, so rather than be biased I'm leaving them out.

Barkeep - Can I get a Vanilla Shake? No, seriously.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekends have lost their zing..

It's been a long weekend. It should have made me happy but it didn't. Where to begin?

It has been a long standing opinion of mine that little old men who do yard work should have a state sponsored pension plan. If you've ever had the services of one you'll find out they can do everything. Yard work, painting, plumbing, drywall....the list just goes on and on. And they're willing to it all for cheap! I feel bad when they say "pay me what you think it's worth" because I can't afford what it's worth.

Saturday afternoon this guy shows up at my house. When I was out in the yard earlier in the week he'd walked by and offered to cut the grass, so I said holla back at me later, not really expecting anything. I mean how often does an off-hand comment comeback to bite you in the ass?

He shows up.

So we work out a deal where he cuts the grass for like $30, and then cleans out the branches and leaves by the side of my house (which is still pretty fucked up from when I'd first moved in) for like another $70. Does a damn good job.

It turns out Starz had all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies on all day Saturday and Sunday...and still haven't seen them all the way through. I messed up and watched the first one and was, I'm ashamed to say, hooked. Crisp writing and dialog and Captain Jack Sparrow. I'm sorry, did I get on the bandwagon late?

Then my partner called and I ran up to this cookout that was chock full. It's odd when you go out and things that would in the past have gotten you...excited... are now, less than exciting. My mind is still not right.

Then Sunday morning me and my new yard man go over and clean out Sporty's dog run that I been promising to clean out for three weeks now. The little fenced in cube looks like a jungle, with poison ivy and hanging branches and trees than have grown into the fence. He knocks out what looks like six hours work in two. Barely broke a sweat. I suddenly felt very puny. The times I've missed the gym were suddenly very bad. The pile of brush must have been twenty feet on the sidewalk five feet high.

Then I find out and old friend is having a cookout, roll over there to watch the game and run into the HBCU reminder squad, which goes over the basic concepts and highlights of the old alma mater and continually reaches the conclusion that we're all still surprised anyone actually ever graduates. Then when the 25th dude showed up and it was still only the original 8 girls, I raised up stakes and went home. Hard leg festivals are not my thing.

To this...

It looks like it might be starting again. I'm getting too old for this shit. I got used to liking it when...well, those new days seem to be fading just as fast. Old is all I got. But lately everything seems to be losing it's flavor.

Barkeep...I dunno. Something.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The End of the World as We Know it

It only took six months for my hopes and dreams to unravel. From November 2007 to May 2008 I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the words that mean the end has come from Sporty. It's been a wonderful ride. I had hoped it would last forever, but then nothing ever does.

It's moments like this that I wonder what God has in store for me, what my purpose is. Sometimes it feels like my existence is a doodle in the margins of his creation, and I'm not connected and never will be.

I feel empty and drained. Last night over the three hours Sporty and I hung out, dinner downtown and then dessert in Buckhead I wanted to tell her so much and say so many things and magically change reality, And then the movie would end with tears and promises and all that we'd live happily ever after. But this isn't a movie, the popcorn isn't fresh and gas is almost $4 a gallon. What I was ... was all cryptic and stoic and basically trying to not start crying, because apparently I'm even bad comedy relief in the film that is my life. I could have thrown it all there, pour my feelings and my heart out to her, but for what? It's not going to change anything. I'm still going to be alone again.

But then I'm not sure I ever stopped being alone.

You know....I could have sworn this blog was supposed to be funny. As it is it's turned into a online therapy session and restaurant review with the occasional odd quote and weird blog entry thrown in for variety's sake. Where are the funny stories? Where the tales of snaking through clubs and mornings spent coercing young misses to get naked hours after meeting them? The alcohol soaked memoirs of college nights and coed days? Witty political dialogue? Funny observations about life? Where is the fun? What happened?

I think I got old.
I think it's all getting old.
I think I just don't want to play anymore.

I mean If I'm so great, how come nobody I want to be with wants to be with me?

Barkeep. Can we just talk for a while?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Maybe I shoulda been a therapist...

Friday was a day that will live in ...well it wasn't that bad. Shade called me up to vent on Friday morning. She and her bestest and dearest friend - who shall be referred to as Scoop - were at each other's throats. And not in the oiled up and rolling around naked way that I've often imagined.

Scoop is a woman I like and admire, and not because she introduced me to her husband of three weeks as the man she would have married had he not stepped up. I like Scoop because she has the ability to let issues go...a talent few other women I know possess. I've known women to stop talking forever due to a disagreement over who met somebody first. Neither dated him, but they were adamant who met who first.

Back to the matter at hand, Shade and Scoop are like sisters. Scoop described their relationship as "marriage minus the romance and sex." They've stopped talking, then started again in continuing cycles and I don't think they even know why they still hang out. In reality they do love each other and have let a lot of petty foolishness get in the way of them being them. I still think they could work out with some baby oil and a bit of whipped cream.

And Shade reads this blog, so yes...this is what I think.

So Shade and I talk for the better part of an hour. I get to work, sit down, blow off a meeting. But by the end she's feeling better, and I may have accidentally agreed to mediate a session between them and given her some relationship homework. Accidentally.

The the woman in my office who won't get a nickname shows up at my desk. She won't get a nickname because ...well, because. She has her own issues and damn if we don't discuss them too. I could have sworn my degree was business. She explained she left a previous fiance because he was depressed. He'd been out of work for year, so I wasn't sure why she thought he should have been happy go lucky. She didn't seem to get that a guy not working (and with minimal prospects) would not have some reservations about living with their regular spending habits. That he might want to cut back. That he might get depressed. Didn't click with her for some reason.

Silly me.

But that was another hour of conversation. And now I think she's looking at her reaction to the relationship in a different way.

Is it just me? Maybe I look like a damn therapist. Ah, physician heal thyself!

But I am a good listener.

Oh well, Barkeep...something smooth and shiny.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Quick Restaurant Review - Maxim Prime

The table we ate at is the one in the background.

It's a short week with mother's day preperations and all, so Sporty and I went out on a Tuesday to see what the buzz was with the spot on the other corner across from the lackluster Thrive, the men's magazine inspired Maxim Prime. It's in the Glenn Hotel, a place I've never stayed, and takes the space that was formerly occupied by the short lived Bed restaurant. Sporty and I went there ages ago and found the idea of eating while lying least in those surroundings...a less than joyous affair. No matter, Maxim is supposed to be something new.

I got there early and hit the bar.. and it was smoking hot. Dark and intimate, the glass topped bar and the diamond motif ceiling are sweet, and when Sporty bounced in a red thigh high dress looking all scrumptious, I think that for a second we even considered sitting down there to eat. I was that nice. But we came to see the whole place, get the Maxim vibe, so we headed up stairs.

I want to note there are supposed to be these thoughts, phrases... "maxims" if you will, in the stairwell, but the whole effect suffers because all the fonts are the same, so you can't tell where one stops and the next starts. I tried for a few minutes and could only make out one. It's a bad effect that different fonts (a simple change) could have fixed.

The room is just as I remember it, long and with a feeling that lacks softness. We get seated next to a large loud party, but we make the best of it. Table service is quick, actual wait service is so-so. Sporty is a little upset because she was thought it would be more..festive, instead it's upscale. I'm upset because I think our waitress might be a man. I expect more from Maxim, jeez, I actually used to read this magazine. Where are the uber hot bimbos? Whatever, we get the Kobe sliders to start, which are yummy, and she gets the short ribs and me the 6 oz. filet.

Did I tell you she looked absolutely beautiful in this dress. She doesn't wear dresses that often, she's still got some tomboy in her, but when she does .....whew!

So we get the food and well, my steak and the sauce were okay, the truffled fries were okay even. Her short ribs were fatty. Maxim shouldn't feel bad, as South City Kitchen's short ribs were fatty as well, but I doubt this fatty. They gave her three ribs...she ate one, picked over one, left one.

Her words: "I guess this one is a strike."

I read up on Maxim after I got back and there is a quote from one of the people pushing it who said "This restaurant will not be another Hooters!" Well I've been to both, and they might want to reconsider. Say what you want, but Hooters been in business more than a minute. The downstairs bar was great, the rest of the Not to mention expensive. more of the sparkling water. Seriously.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Odd Quotes

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive..."

- Oriah Dreamer

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another Saturday Night

So last night after a nothing day my folk call up and say let's go to Old School Saturday. I hadn't been in like least a I was like cool. Only this chick is like let's not go till late. Well the doors open at 9 and she don't want to go till like 11:30. So I'm skeptical this even gonna happen.

I kill the evening, run up to Five Guys for a burger, futz around the computer, etc and so on. Shower and shave and I'm ready at 11:00. Then she gets lost on the way to my house. So now she's running late, and we got to pick one more person - Slim - who keeps calling talking about she's gonna fall asleep if we don't get there soon. Slim and I both have cars and why we waited is beyond me. We scoop and end up rolling up to the spot - The Westin Hotel - at like midnight or twelve thirty.

And I remember why I don't go Old School no more.

Old School started out of the remains of First Friday. When those idiots took a cash business to court over who got what and the judge asked to see the books... well let's just say that was the end of that. A few of the guys who were a part of that group got together and started this new gig, Old School Saturdays. All the music is at least 15 - 20 years old, no new stuff. When it started you could hold it in a restaurant...and not move a bunch a tables. Then they moved up to they get the ballroom at the local hotels. And pack them. Wall to wall. Seriously.

So when we got there it was again wall-to-wall and the line was wrapped around itself. At 12:30am. For a party that ends at 2am. And they're charging $20. And there are two guys in cream gators and bowler hats. And a chick at least 300lbs in short shorts. After that it gets less pretty.

I am not feeling this.

So we hang out for a minute then say fuck it and hit the hotel bar get a few to hang out for while, only... they just had last call ON A SATURDAY at 1am. But the waitress is all college girly like we're closed but you can go up to to the bar on 73 and get a drink, they're open till like 2 at least. So we say cool, and wander over but something looks fishy. Wasn't this hotel hit by a tornado like a few weeks ago? The bar on 73 - the Sundial - still doesn't have windows! I check and the front desk is like the Sundial is closed.

I am so not feeling this.

So we hang out so more, talk about folks as we sit in the lobby and call it an evening. We didn't stop for breakfast or go no place else or nothing. Oh, and dropped my wallet in ole girl's car so I'm stuck like chuck till she calls back.

Great weekend. Whoooo. Not feeling it at all. Hey, I like the guys who run it...and their motivation is to make a few bucks so more power to them, pack'em deep! But they just need to call me when they're next thing starts. I'll run through that.

Barkeep...hey! What do you mean last call was thirty minutes ago?

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Quick Restaurant Review - Mali

Thursday night in Atlanta. There is the Leopard Lounge. Esso's is hot now. The guys at work got together at Hooters for a party for a guy transferring to another section. And Sporty and I ended up in Thailand via the Virginia Highlands. Sporty has always been into spicy food, the spicier the better. She enjoys it when we eat and I'm sweating at the table. So we ended up at Mali in the VA.

It's on Amsterdam, but don't be confused. It's not on the mini-mall down in the gully end, but on the other end tucked back in another semi-mini mall. They've got a little post office and dog groomer and a furniture store and like no parking. I lucked out and found a spot as the mini caravan of five of us made our rounds through the lot. It was like musical chairs as the guy in front got a spot when someone pulled out, I got a spot when someone else pulled out and the guy after me and so on.

Upon entering I realized something else. Mali is at 7/10ths scale. What I mean is that the restaurant is not built for normal sized people. Or to put it more bluntly, management really maximized the space. The waitresses are all waifs because it's the only way they can get through the tables. A crowded space is the term, but jammed up in there is more descriptive. Seated the back of my chair touched the chair of the lady sitting behind me. I felt a need to join in their conversation. I wanted to try the appetizer at the next table it was so close.

But no matter, again I go for the company, not the ambiance. For an appetizer we got these rolls with chicken and shrimp and the pork satay. Or it could have been chicken satay. Tasted kinda like pork. Maybe. Doesn't everything taste like chicken? They look exactly the same, chicken or pork. I noted in an odd time warp, the table next to us seated, after us, not only got their appetizers first but got to order first too and everything.

So difficult parking, crowded space, semi-bad service. Things are not looking good.

I got the beef curry and she got the Panang Chicken. But it's going okay otherwise, we're chit chatting and looking at each other funny, which we do sometimes and it's all okay. Then my food comes. And hers doesn't. For like ten minutes. I'm uncomfortable eating when my dinner partner isn't eating and the manager gave us the rigmarole - "I'm so sorry" ten times and cussing out the help - when her food did get there.

So difficult parking, crowded space, actually bad service....but good food.

The place's saving grace is the food. If they lose three tables in the main dining room and get a valet, this would have been sweet. The curry was spicy but not too much. The beef was tasty, the rice was sticky but not too much. It was like my sweet old Thai grandmother used to make...had I been Thai. Sporty thought it was good food too, but the service had soured the whole experience.

We got our to-go boxes, the bill didn't reflect our inconvenience with the service and Sporty wore heels. She rarely does that. I like them on her. I changes her walk, which I liked before, but it's a nice change. I like it either way.

So...good food. Crowded space. Difficult parking at peak hours - the parking lot was fine when we left at nine. Around the off the beaten path. But I was with Sporty...and with her I can get through anything.

Barkeep --- would you believe they had no sweet tea!

Somebody Turned on the Lights!

They're closing Disco Kroger.

Okay, they took Buckhead and all the seedy clubs that gave Atlanta a nightlife and made it more of the international city it claims to be (note: International cities don't close at midnight). And then they came for midtown, with Trump this and Tower that, gentrifying the hell out of what gave the city it's character. Then the projects... okay, I'm kinda glad for that one. and now they come for the Disco. It is a sad three am in Atlanta.

When I first moved to Atlanta, Disco Kroger was my nearest grocery store, just off the corner of Piedmont and Peachtree. I was working for an internet startup and my hours were my own, so I could end up trolling the aisles at 3pm just as well as 3am any night of the week. It was interesting what you could see at Kroger at 4am. A lady in a evening gown getting cheese and eggs. Two punk rockers with Captain Crunch and milk. Two slacker looking dudes with a stack of frozen meals and juice. Three party girls - two of whom were drunk - with a passel of snack food. And a roast chicken.

Disco Kroger was the great equalizer. It didn't matter which club you had started at, you all ended up at Disco Kroger. Or Backstreet. I loved that store.

Reportedly they're going to be opening a new high end grocery there, kinda like Harry's used to be (if you don't remember Harry's it's complicated). Which is cool. Or would be if it didn't mean excising Disco Kroger.

Does this mean that Bones is in jeopardy? Or Buckhead Backlot? Where are my memories going? Sometimes I think the city needs to slow down and appreciate what makes Atlanta the city it is, and it's not the location, and occasionally it ain't the people, but the semi pseudo institutions that have lived and thrived here despite. There should have been a special dispensation for Atlanta's twenty four hour nightspots. Closing a Waffle House should take an act of the State Senate.

Who in Atlanta doesn't have a Kroger card?

Barkeep - Give me some of the that Big K soda.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Unsent Letter

This a letter that I wrote to Sporty that is never gonna get sent. Every time we talk she sounds happy about the move, excited even, and so I don't want to dampen her enthusiasm, or even make her feel like her leaving is a issue. I told her I didn't want her to go when she first said it, but then her determination (read: hard head) is what makes her lovable. But this has become my little vent wall. So here it is:


I've spent the last four years terrified that if I said the wrong thing, made the wrong move, that you would walk away and never speak to me again. I had no idea why you'd taken the initiative, no idea why you might be interested in spending anytime with me, and so I did the best I could to give you what I thought were good reasons to hang around. But it wasn't enough. Now as you said, I didn't do anything wrong...but the moment I've dreaded most is going to happen anyway.

Everyday it seems I wake up with the execution date of my soul one day closer...and I put on my emotional makeup and pretend that everything is fine. Because as much as I want you stay here in Atlanta love share your life, I want more for you to be happy and successful in whatever it is you want to do. I just wish your plans would have included me.

But it's seems that is not to be.

And so I scream into the dark battling the nightmares now and the lonely that will come with your departure. Those nights out we laughed and talked gave me the patience to make through days filled with headaches and endless revolving deadlines, and I don't know if I can take the stress without you. We clicked on a level that left me warm and fuzzy and soon that will be no more. I wish I could have been more of whatever it is you feel that you needed.

And I dread that I'm going to stand alone in the space that once held an us, and that only I will miss our time together. My head aches when I think of it, my legs go numb when we talk of it and my mood darkens as the realization that my own personal living dreamtime will soon be coming to end.

And yet, it is your happiness that concerns me the most. Even in the face of what I know will be depression, my concern is that you are happy. That you succeed. You could tell something was troubling me and told me to put in God's hands. But I kept my troubles and asked him to take care of you. And so quietly, I'll sacrifice my hopes, my dreams, my plans in hopes that you are able to see yours through. And maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I do when I love someone.

love you...and I always will,