Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Uberprologue

I broke up with my ex-girlfriend last October. I’ve never been the best at breaking things off cleanly, and for all intents and purposes, I kept on seeing the “ex” for several months afterward. My close friends knew that it wasn’t healthy for me, but there wasn’t much they could do to convince me of that. The holidays were painful – I spent Christmas and New Years without her for the first time in several years . . . went to Vegas with the ex over MLK weekend . . . and then she started seeing somebody else in March. Maybe even as early as February. I found out in March. A guy who treated her so poorly that I could count on a semi-weekly phone call from her in tears over something he’d done to hurt her. My “leave the cage door open” philosophy got to wear on me pretty harshly as time progressed. So it goes.

Frankie and the Kaiser were two guys who were there for me from the beginning of this experience. I day-drank with the Kaiser and his lady through many a Saturday, and Frankie was always available for a bite. Of our group, Frankie and I were the last two not in a long-term committed relationship. We hung out at the Pub by my house, and around St. Patrick’s Day, we decided that we were going to use the Pub as “training wheels” to hone our “game.” For most of our twenties, we had been out of the game so to speak, due to long term relationships. Neither of us felt particularly confident at the time. The Pub was a perfect place to experiment, as it is frequented by a truly diverse clientele: teachers, Goths, lawyers, eurotrash, hipsters, lesbians, Mexicans, etc. As I mentioned before, our ground rule was “there is no failure, only feedback.” For at least three nights a week for a few months there, we honed our game – played wingman for each other – good cop/bad cop, etc. We hit the most success with the “sit in a high traffic area – if possible, on the way to the ladies’ room – strive for eye contact (even if it's an inappropriate leer) and follow with a 'hello.'” We encountered rejection mostly, but sometimes success. Back to the drawing board no matter what. After all, all human action fulfils a positive intent at some level – and we had merely to show that we could be that positive intent. We got to the point where we could run certain “plays” by rote – like our “Iowa” pitch. Introduce me and Frankie to a single girl from Iowa; I’d bet on one of us pulling a number from her by the end of the night.

Frankie ended up dating one of the waitresses from the Pub for a while. It was a “be careful what you ask for” experience for him, and we really don’t hit the Pub much anymore, but that’s a story for another time. It does, however, have a little bearing on the story at hand, as you will soon note.

On Saturday, July 28, 2007 Frankie called – he said it was time for us to switch-up our game – time to take it to the next level. No more dive-bar shenanigans. It was time, he said, to go to one of the happening bars or clubs in town – one with a scene – time to take a ride around the block without the training wheels so to speak. I hesitantly agreed, as much as I hate change, and left it up to him to pick one. He chose one of the trendier new bars: Carpe Noctem. We decided to get dinner before the outing, and opted for the food court at the closest mall: I treated myself to Panda Express. Good stuff. Around 8:30 we headed to the bar.

Nostalgia for the 80's

Remember that one flick, Red Dawn? It's the sort of movie that could only have been made in the 80's. Man, I remember being seriously afraid of the Russians. Red bastards. Bring them on, though . . . get a load of this. I don't fear the Russians anymore. Or the zombies.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The empty can rattles the most

Janice: I've got the perfect girl for you!
Jeremy Grey: [sigh] Janice, I apologize to you if I don't seem real eager to jump into a forced awkward intimate situation that people like to call dating. I don't like the feeling. You're sitting there, you're wondering do I have food on my face, am I eating, am I talking too much, are they talking enough, am I interested I'm not really interested, should I play like I'm interested but I'm not that interested but I think she might be interested but do I want to be interested but now she's not interested? So all of the sudden I'm getting, I'm starting to get interested . . . And when am I supposed to kiss her? Do I have to wait for the door cause then it's awkward, it's like well goodnight. Do you do like that ass-out hug? Where you like, you hug each other like this and your ass sticks out cause you're trying not to get too close or do you just go right in and kiss them on the lips or don't kiss them at all? It's very difficult trying to read the situation. And all the while you're just really wondering are we gonna get hopped up enough to make some bad decisions? Perhaps play a little game called "just the tip." Just for a second, just to see how it feels. Or, ouch, ouch you're on my hair.

Here’s a little story for you. It begins the first Friday of this month. My secretary thought I'd be a good match for one of her friends -- Charlotte. Now here’s the thing . . . I have no reason to think my secretary knows what a good match for me would be . . . her perception of me has got to be pretty skewed, but she was so emphatic about Charlotte -- talked her up, described her positively -- the whole enchilada, that I bit. It turns out that Charlotte would be at a happy hour with a bunch of her friends that upcoming Friday and I could just drop in to talk with her, etc.
So as to not be completely awkward before the happy hour, I give her a call on Wednesday. Conversation was a tad stilted, as expected, but not so much so that I lost any sense of enthusiasm that may have existed. I mention that I’m planning to be at the happy hour, and that I’m going to bring my buddy Frankie, if that’s cool too. . . she says sure, the more the merrier, and she asks about Frankie, so I give her the thumbnail sketch of the guy. She says she has a single friend that might be interested in meeting him.

I make it to the happy hour . . . as it turns out, Charlotte was evidently into me, but I was not so much into her. In fact, the whole evening took a turn for the surreal when Frankie and her friend, Becky, really hit it off, keeping us at the bar long after the happy hour crowd had dissipated. I have no poker face, so I suspect my disinterest in Charlotte was tangible, because she called it a night at 10:00 (and I later learned, went to my secretary’s place to watch Zodiac). I hung around a little longer, watched Frankie and Becky get along a bit; excused myself to go puke, as I’d been drinking since 5:00, came back and jabbered a little, and then finally headed home. Missed a booty-call “I’m bored” text message from ubermom at 12:08 because I was well passed out by then, but that’s another story.

Well, now, Frankie’s been seeing Becky since – and I’m learning that Charlotte now hates me. Hates. In fact, she’s been telling Becky she shouldn’t be dating Frankie because – get this – we might all have to go out as a group together eventually. I can’t feature this . . . she’d crater her friend’s potential happiness because of the possibility of social discomfort at some obscure point in the future. Plus, Frankie has found himself making excuses for me as to why I haven’t called Charlotte/why I didn’t show more interest that Friday, etc. And my secretary asked me similar things, but it’s a real easy explanation: I just wasn’t into her. I suppose I could come up with a litany of things I didn't like about her (like her voice) but that just seems unduly cruel. And the thing is, aside from not being into her, I can’t think of anything I did wrong. Chicks reject me all the time – I don’t take it personally. Well, I sort of take it personally, but the not like this. So, anyway, because I have a small tendency toward being a jerk, now I’m looking forward to the next time I see this young lady. I might turn on the charm – just to keep her guessing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This might not suck

Harold & Kumar 2

I was pleasantly surprised by the first Harold & Kumar flick. By the way, I thought Eurotrip was pretty fucking funny. In fact, I own it on DVD.

Morbid thought of the moment

During the Tripartite Dinner Meeting at the Tehran Conference, Stalin proposed executing 50,000-100,000 German staff officers. Roosevelt, not realizing that Stalin was serious, joked that perhaps 49,000 would do.

I wonder who was the most brutal dictator in history in terms of body count? My vote is Alexander. Then again, it was probably some Chinese guy I've never even heard about.

Out of curiosity

You know that song Me and Julio Down by the School Yard by Paul Simon? What exactly was "against the law" in it? Clearly unclear, but I remember it was playing in the background the time that I talked with the Head Shop Girl (who never responded to my call/texts by the way), and she was adamant that it was about an interracial relationship, and I was convinced it was about two gay guys. She didn't bite when I suggested it might be about a homosexual interracial relationship. As an aside, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes do a decent punk cover of the song.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sic transit gloria II

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


You can't always find what you're looking for on YouTube. Unfortunately. Like the Kaopectate commercial from the 80's with the Japanese businessmen.

Monday, August 13, 2007


I get on the elevator this morning, and a stunningly attractive blonde gets in as the doors close. I'm going to the 9th floor; she's going to the 4th, and she's starting her morning off with a Cherry Coke. Faced with the "captive audience" that I crave so much when I make these pitches, my mind starts spinning as to what I can say, if anything. Call me optimistic, but I happen to think that given the right introduction, I can get digits here: so, I ask myself, "What would James Bond do?" Because that son of a bitch would never fuck this opportunity up. But alas, I'm not James Bond. So I say "Ahhh, Monday." And she nods. And says "have a good one" as she exits the elevator. Sometimes I feel retarded. And so, I say again . . . ahhh, Monday.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Life is very long

You know the ex that I mentioned in last Friday's post about Moose, below? The last time that I had spoken to her was around Christmas last year, when she was back in town visiting her family, and we talked about maybe meeting up and catching up, but she ended up flaking. I haven't actually seen this girl since December of 2004. She left me to go to grad school September of that year. I remember when she was writing her personal statement for grad school (business), she sent me this as her first draft:

I don't like my job. I'm tired a lot, and lonely. I want to go to your school mainly because I need a change of scenery, and I'm kind of hoping to score a rich husband there. Interestingly, though, if history is any predictor, I will probably end up incurring $100k in debt and then marrying/supporting a philandering local bartender anyway. My family is strange. I love them, but they're all crazy and drunk and cry all of the time. By the way, since I'm not a minority, I'd like to state that I'm French like it's an important characteristic integral to my uniqueness...just in case. I used to be smart, but I really did a LOT of drugs in high school. But, I think that somewhere in there is still some intelligence. If I can get through the anxiety disorder, I think I can really blossom.

I liked her a lot. She made me laugh. Well last night, I was getting a beer at the Pub with my friend the Kaiser, and we were talking about old flames. As serendipity/God having a sense of humor/luck would have it, she called. She had been drinking and wanted to "drink alone, together" with me. She was pretty nostalgic about what we had back in the day, and it was good to hear from her. She told me she was getting married in Maui on the 18th. The conversation didn't fuck me up like I had thought it would. I only hope her husband treats her like she deserves to be treated. The test of love, I've found, does not come when you're together with someone. It comes when you part ways, and realize that in spite of "breaking up" the love is still there. Again, our relationship was several years ago, and time heals these things, and the call did not impact me as I feared it would, but still . . . .

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This morning's playlist

How It Ends -- DeVotchKa
Born To Please -- Sound Team
Gas Tank -- Home Video
In My Head -- Psapp
No Dice -- Tipper

Special thanks to old friend Meno, who filled my prescription for "good shit that I'm not familiar with." Those five have gotten top play off the long list he sent.

Thoughts on the nature of time

People say that time is money, but that's simply not true -- there's a lot more time than money.

Monday, August 6, 2007

One of my favorite mythological moments

Circe turned Odysseus' men into swine. When Circe had used on Odysseus the magic which had up to then been successful and to her amazement saw him stand unchanged before her, she so marvelled at the man who could resist her enchantment that she loved him.

For some reason, I've always associated that story with the following qoute from Ferris Beuller's Day Off:
Cameron has never been in love - at least, nobody's ever been in love with him. If things don't change for him, he's gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she's gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won't respect him, 'cause you can't respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn't work.

Thing is, I became aware of both Ferris Beuller and the Circe story around the same time frame in my life, and I was reading Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises where Robert Cohen refers to Lady Brett as a Circe. Man, I really liked that book.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Gin & Tonic Kind of Life

Back when I was in school, I lived in a high-rise dorm in Chicago for three years, and had a tight-knit group of friends that I'm thankful for to this day. Back in the spring of 2001, my friend Jacob and I went on a three-month bender, starting on New Years Eve and ending when I got back from Spring break. We got sloppy drunk every night except Valentine's Day in that span. Typically, we'd get out of class around 3:00 and go to the supermarket and buy the liquor of the day. More often than not, we'd get a fifth of Seagram's 7, since it used to sell for less than $10 back then. We could then go back to the dorm, buy Sprite at the dorm cafeteria on our meal plan and really start the day.

Why did we stop the bender, I hear you asking? Well, I came down with an upper-respiratory infection from my spring break adventures in the 3rd world and got put on some pretty heavy meds that the booze just didn't go right with. So it goes; I suppose going on the wagon for a while didn't hurt anyone.

But back to the story -- for a while we got on a gin kick. Bombay. Tanqueray. Gimlets with the Odwalla we'd buy on our meal plans were particularly tasty. So one day, we needed to get ice for our gin and tonics. I lived on the 9th floor, and there was an ice machine on the 4th floor, so we got on the elevator with an ice bucket. It was like 3:15 p.m. A girl got on the elevator on the 6th floor, and did a double take at the ice bucket.

Jack: "Gin and tonics . . ."

Girl: "Gin and tonic kind of day???"

Jacob (shrugging): "Gin and tonic kind of life."

It really was very funny. Especially since we got off on the 9th floor before she could respond. That era was my last great bender. Jacob ended up marrying my next door neighbor in that dorm, whom he met in my room. One day, I was reminiscing about it, and found the quantity of alcohol consumed to be excessive, so I suspected with age I was exaggerating it, but she verified that indeed, back then, I was a drunk.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Life is weird sometimes

I've got this friend -- Moose -- and I've known him close to six years now. We were all right friends back in like 2003, and we had even planned to go on a booze cruise to Ensenada, Mexico around that time, but then he went falling in love on me and ended up getting married, and then I changed jobs, and Moose ended up becoming more of an acquaintance than a friend, although I still thought he was a pretty cool guy. Anyway, Moose took me to dinner tonight. He can always write off my meals as biz dev, so I never say no unless I have something better to do, and for like the last two years, every time he's pulled this, he ends up dropping some big news on his front. Tonight he told me he's going to be a dad. His wife is 10 weeks into the pregnancy. I was really happy for the guy. I remember when he had a silly crush on a cocktail waitress back in 2002 and she shot him down solid, and I had to get him drunk and told him he could do better than that anyway. Who'd have guessed he'd be the one with wife/life/kid on the way, and my life would be the example of stagnation?

As an aside, I met him through one of my exes, who went to high school with him back in the day and ended up working in the same office with him after college. She left me to go to grad school in Chicago back in 2004 and Moose and I stayed in touch, while I fell out of touch with her. As it turns out, she's getting married on August 18th. Given a long enough timeline everyone you love will reject you or die. Am I in a weird mood? Very well then, I'm in a weird mood. So it goes . . .

"There is no failure, only feedback."

That's what I've learned from the "being single" game. I was reading a bit on neuro-linguistic programming earlier. I can't say that I exactly buy into it, but I have discovered a few of the basic principles on my own, which anecdotally seem to support a bunch of the NLP babble. From the article:

NLP does not view communication in terms of success and failure. Rather it sees in terms of competence or lack thereof, or learning and failure to learn. As a field which utilizes trial and error, not all actions are expected to "work", rather they are intended to explore, and the results should be utilized as a source of valuable learning and new focus, rather than cause for negativity and despair. Do not dwell unnecessarily on the failure, instead explore what you have learned for the next time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

This morning's playlist

So far:

1. Midnight Rambler -- Allman Brothers
2. Heat of the Moment -- Asia
3. Southern Cross -- CS&N
4. Our lips are sealed -- Fun Boy Three and the Specials
5. When will I be loved? -- Linda Ronstadt
6. Kiss me Deadly -- Lita Ford
7. Mad World -- Tears for Fears
8. Memo from Turner -- Rolling Stones

I need a clever name for that list so that I could save it for Wednesday mornings such as this one.