Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Taco Time

Going on right now, people . . . I'm off for mine right now.

Just like the prodigal son

This past Friday all my friends went lame on me, and nobody wanted to go out. After a happy hour with the Kaiser, I was home by 7:00, and entertained myself by watching Go, which was on one of the movie channels, and reminiscing about how weird the ‘90s were in hindsight. At about 9:30, I decided I wasn’t going to completely waste the night, so I put my shoes on and headed down to the Pub.

Frankie’s waitress was not working that particular evening, and I had forgotten how truly cool that place is and why I used to look forward to going there. The place was packed, but Marti, one of the waitresses there – a bigger girl that I would totally do if given the opportunity – saw me walk in and produced a barstool out of nowhere so that I’d have a place to sit by the bar. I ended up next to the servers’ station, so I got to talk to all the waitresses that were working that evening: Misty, the super-sweet petite platinum-blonde ditz with the painted on eyebrows, who told me she was planning to be roller-girl for Halloween; Rosa, the Romanian who has the Eastern-European thing going, and is therefore harsh on the outside but totally kind once you get to know her; and Natalie, the machine, who is not the friendliest, but definitely the waitress you hope for on a crowded night due to her efficiency. Because I was at the bar, I dealt with Geoff, the bartender who was gruff with me for the longest time until I gave a $125 donation to Friends of Sinn Féin, whereupon he treated me like the regular I always aspired to be somewhere.

Anyway, the place was packed, and the people watching was spectacular. The Irish band they had playing did a bunch of very good covers, and the patrons were festive. I went outside to smoke, and found several of the regulars there, including “Drunk Josh” who moved in behind the Pub this year so that he wouldn’t have to risk any DUI liability. A beer later, I found myself talking with Diane, one of the regulars, who had shown up randomly at 11:30 and was completely sober. I asked her why she was sober and offered to buy her a beer. She told me she had just gotten off of work. I asked where she worked, and she told me that she had recently lost her job as an instructor at a local cooking school, so in the meantime, she was dancing at a local strip club to make ends meet. Strippers are to guys what firemen are to women: there’s an implied “hotness” and a presumption of “interesting” regardless of reality. That said, Diane is pretty good looking, pretty interesting to talk with, and she’s the first stripper whose real name I’ve known (rather than stage name: hers is “Jaime” – not very stripper-like, but whatever). We talked for a while before I headed home, and mused about how the night had turned out alright after all. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Restless thoughts

Back at what turned out to be the low point of the breakup with the ex, when she called me specifically to tell me that she was seeing someone else – a doctor – my pal Meno gave me what turned out to be a mantra. I repeated it to myself without believing at the time: “She’s someone else’s problem now . . . she’s someone else’s problem now . . . she’s someone else’s problem now.” Last night I suffered from a bout of insomnia, and of course, my thoughts turned to her and to us, and I thought about certain things that she had done, and lies she had told me, and remembered a talk that we had at a sushi bar one time and all the bullshit she said which turned out to be bullshit, but I bought into it. Like plans for the future and crap like that. And I started to get all pissed off, even though I haven’t spoken to her for close to two months now. And then I thought: “She’s someone else’s problem now,” and I looked forward rather than backward, and I was able to put her out of my mind for the moment.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Best of luck, y'all!

It's kind of interesting to me how many people make it to this blog by googling "prusik handcuffs" or some variation thereof. The out-click is invariably wikipedia.

Friday, October 26, 2007

This coming Tuesday, October 30th:

I love Nip/Tuck. Let’s hope that it hasn’t jumped the shark with their move . . .

As an aside, and inspired by these promos, I downloaded Giant Drag’s cover of “Wicked Game.” I now have three versions of the song on my iPod: Chris Isaak’s, HIM’s, and Giant Drag’s, and I’m fully convinced it’s one of the sexiest songs ever. I distinctly remember getting it on with the ex to the HIM version in the cab of my buddy Meno’s truck back in February, 2005, and the experience was all the more visceral and erotic because of the “soundtrack.”

Something I remember pondering one year ago

Here's a pearl for you, dear reader:

The dog that chases two rabbits will catch neither.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

Last night I was watching the Red Sox kick the crap out of the Rockies and I realized that I had forgotten to eat dinner. I didn't feel like ordering a pizza, and I'd had Chinese for lunch. My refrigerator is a typical bachelor 'fridge, with more condiments and beverages than actual food in it. So I opened my pantry and began to go through the cans. Tuna was too depressing, and beans/chili would wreak havoc on my stomach. My eyes alighted on the perfect meal in a can: Dinty Moore Beef Stew. I love this stuff. With a slice of white bread to mop up the gravy, it is truly sublime. I washed it down with a cream soda, and was eminently satisfied at the end of my meal.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vice Report

I more than make up my membership fees at the warehouse clubs on booze and smokes. Today's damage at Sam's Club:

Bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon: $24.12
Carton of Marlboro Reds: $44.25
Tax man: $5.54
Total: $73.91

The bourbon, in particular, was a pretty good deal, even if I didn't really need another bottle of bourbon in my cabinet. Now I've got four varieties of bourbon in there, to go with all the different rums I've collected over the years (Cuban, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, spiced) as libations primarily for the guests.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feeling October

I actually really like the feel of October as a month. It's not quite winter, but the weather's cooled down and you get to break out the long sleeved casual-wear. Right now, I'm listening to Type O Negative's "Bloody Kisses" album, not because it's particularly good, but because it feels very Octoberish. For the past couple of days, I've been watching, off and on, one of my favorite October movies: Donnie Darko. This is like the sixth time that I've seen this flick, and I think I'm finally starting to understand what it's about. As cryptic as it is, it's got a real earnest appeal to it, and I have loved it since the first time I ever watched it. Among the best parts of the movie is its awesome soundtrack.

Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," is on the soundtrack, and I hadn't listened to it in a while, but it's on a mixtape t
hat a girl made for me like seven years ago. I started thinking about how cool it used to be to make and give a mixtape to someone back in the day. Or what it felt like when somebody gave one to you. I mean, making a mixtape took thought, and effort, and planning. To quote Nick Hornby's High Fidelity:

To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You Off My Mind," but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs and...oh, there are loads of rules.

I used to go all out with the mixes that I'd make, with ornate liner notes, and everything. I compiled my last for a girlfriend back in January of 2003. I had a truck back then, and she had a car, and both still had tape decks in them. I don't think they even make vehicles with tape decks anymore. Women of my generation will someday have collections of mixtapes that boys made for them in high school and college and they won't be able to listen to them because technology will have forsaken us.

I sort of mourn the passing of the mixtape, even though I would never give up my iPod, or the playlists on it. I was inspired to find the aforementioned mixtape and to download those songs that I didn't already have on the 'pod, in order to make a playlist of the songs on the tape. Took me about fifteen minutes to do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Goodbye Art"

A couple of weeks ago, when all the monks in Myanmar were protesting, I told a couple of people: “I’m not going to be impressed until one of those motherfuckers immolates himself.” Because one of the most powerful pictures that I remember seeing as a kid was the one of the monk in Vietnam that had burned himself in protest. The balls on this guy. Particularly when you read the account of it. The incident was witnessed by David Halberstam, a New York Times reporter, who wrote:

I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think.... As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.

Which brings me to the whole point of my post. In my e-mail inbox this morning, Robb sent me the following video, which is pretty frickin’ awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, the “goodbye art” of Phil Hansen:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Femme Fatales

Today in history, October 15, 1917, the Frogs executed Mata Hari by firing squad for spying for Germany. According to Wiki: "The idea of an exotic dancer working as a lethal double agent, using her powers of seduction to extract military secrets from her many lovers fired popular imagination, set the legend and made Mata Hari an enduring archetype of the femme fatale."

Just last week, I was e-mailing back and forth with my former co-worker, Robb, and we were discussing of all things, the Middle East, and I remembered the story of Mordechai Vanunu, back in the '80s. Most people have forgotten about him by now, but the Mossad totally caught his ass by sending an operative named "Cindy" to convince the guy to fly to Rome with her for the weekend. Poor dude got to Rome and "Once in Rome, Mossad agents captured him, drugged him and smuggled him to Israel on a freighter, beginning what was to be more than a decade of solitary confinement in Israeli prisons."

So I asked Robb: "I wonder if 'Cindy' was hot or if Vanunu was just hard-up?"

And he answered: "I'm guessing she was not hot by today's standards, but she was probably the best looking woman who had ever paid attention to Vanunu. Poor guy. That's freaking dirty pool."

And you look at Mata Hari, and she's not all that hot by today's standards. Probably wasn't all that hot by 1917 standards either. . . But that's the thing: most guys are pretty much retarded when femenine wiles are properly used. Tale as old as time. Which is why the Circe story fascinates me so.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The part where Frankie starts to worry

Ask any guy, and he’ll inevitably tell you that “all women are crazy.” And I have to agree, although there’s a definite difference in the types of “crazy” that afflicts the gender. The first, unavoidable, and generally tolerable, is the estrogenical craziness that punctuates even the most rational, healthy relationships. By and large, we men can deal with that craziness.

More than a few women out there, though, are of the “make little race-cars out of their feces” crazy persuasion. I won’t describe the type – you know the ones I’m talking about. Ubermom likely falls into this category; time will tell. By and large, I seem to be in touch with the circadian rhythms of the type, and my dating history bears a series of hilarious stories as a result.

Here’s the thing, though: as guys, we too often can’t distinguish between the two types of craziness until it’s too late. Especially when the woman in question is attractive. Case in point: around 5:00 a.m. yesterday, Frankie got a series of cryptic text messages from his Waitress. Then, as he left his complex to go to the gym at 6:00 a.m., he noticed a car that looked suspiciously like hers parked across the street. She lives nowhere near his neighborhood. As he drove past the car, he saw her sitting in the driver’s seat. He did a double take, and then called her cell phone.

Was that you, parked on [his street]?”



“I got tired of driving back and forth.”

“No, I mean why are you even in this neighborhood?”

“Because I had insomnia.”

He called me to ask my opinion. I really didn’t know what to tell him about the whole situation – aside from that he should cut off all contact with her. And maybe keep alert. Our friend Samantha had an awesome suggestion: “Nothing says we're done like a TRO.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Old school.

My dad wore Brylcreem when he courted my mom. Brylcreem and Aqua Velva. Life was simpler back then. I'd get nowhere with either nowadays, I suspect.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Funny e-mail of the day

From a guy that we met at a mutual friend's happy hour a few weeks back that we ran into at the Pub on Friday night:

Hey dude,

I don't remember precisely how things went down Friday, as I was a real mess by the time I saw you and Frankie, but it was good to see you guys.

I had some drink called a Kentucky sidecar early in the night, and I'm never having another drink that sounds like it belongs in a sex-position email forward again. It's like playing cards with somebody with the first name of a city. Bad idea. I think I actually cried on Saturday morning I was so hung-over. anyway, good to see you guys again.

Never having heard of this particular cocktail, I Googled it, and here share my findings with you, dear readers: the Kentucky Sidecar is made with bourbon, Cointreau, sweet & sour, and a sugared rim, with a twist. Some recipes seem to substitute Frangelico for Cointreau, which is weird since oranges don't taste remotely like hazelnuts. Either way, I don't believe in diluting a good bourbon with crap like lemonade, so I'll avoid the cocktail altogether and give this post a rest.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rye report

So last night, I finally got around to trying out the bottle of rye that I bought last week. Let me put it this way, if whiskies were hair products, then rye would be Brylcreem. Gets the job done, but I can see why the market has pretty much relegated it to obscurity and it's associated with geriatrics. I may give it a second run in the near future, but I suspect it will become an "orphan" in my liquor cabinet waiting for the inevitable party at my place where the booze runs low, and somebody finds the inspiration to drink it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A morning of disappointment

Bringing an end to a promising evening turned mediocre, I stayed out way too late last night, and consequently overslept this morning, and missed mass, which gave me a good dose of the old Catholic guilt as I greeted the day. Hungover, and conscious of the fact that I needed to be at work by noon (on a Sunday, no less), I showered, and while getting ready, I developed a fierce craving for a pork chop. . . and eggs . . . with some hash-browns and white toast. That would set me straight for the day; I knew it.

I could think of only one place where I could get a pork chop: fucking IHOP. I hate IHOP and have pretty much boycotted it for the past five years or so since (a) they don't carry Heinz 57 sauce; (b) they count both hash-browns and toast as a side, so you're forced to order one or the other in addition to your breakfast; and (c) they have shit on their menu that sounds so silly (Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity Breakfast, anyone?), that I hate them on general principle. But they were always good for a pork chop and egg breakfast, even if they didn't have Heinz 57 to eat the pork chop with. So I went there this morning, and had to wait for twenty minutes while apparently all the huddled masses and their unwashed children waited for a table along with me. And then, I finally sit down, and I order some coffee, and I'm ready to order AND THEY DON'T HAVE PORK CHOPS AND EGGS ON THE FUCKING MENU ANYMORE, AND DON'T SERVE IT AS A BREAKFAST SELECTION! Talk about a real downer. I had to settle for a chicken-fried steak and eggs, which was quite inferior, and if that's what I had wanted for breakfast, I wouldn't have gone to IHOP. The waitress, Wendy, was very nice and understanding. She gave me Friday's USA Today to read while I waited for my meal. . . . I left and drove straight to the office from there, and the hits just keep on rolling.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Unintended dating advice

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. "
T.S. Eliot

Or as I like to put it, it's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. After all, he who risks nothing, gets nothing, right?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Conspicuous Consumption 101

Every type of alcohol that I have encountered in my years of drinking has had a unique effect on me. Tequila makes me aggressive and fearless, and shows me a good time before it takes me out back and sodomizes me; sake makes me stupid; vodka and gin are good for the long nights on the town and are relatively forgiving the next morning; and beer -- sweet, beautiful, refreshing beer -- has been there from the beginning and has never let me down.

My favorite distilled spirit, however, has got to be whiskey. Crown Royal, to be precise. While I enjoy a quality bourbon, and some nights a Bushmills Irish whiskey hits the spot, for me it was love at first sip with the regal Canadian in her purple bag when I was 19. I drink my Crown on the rocks, and refuse to dilute her with anything more than the water melting from the ice keeping her cool. Colas insult her royal majesty. My friends know my tastes, and on my last birthday, one buddy gave me a 1.5L bottle of Crown, and my former boss, who still loves me, gave me a 1.5L bottle of Crown Special Reserve. I keep a 375 mL bottle of Crown in my office . . . just in case. When I stood best man in a wedding back in 2005, I had a half-pint of Crown in my inside tuxedo pocket in case the groom got nervous. Instead of the groom, I got the maid of honor, the bride’s brother, who was also standing in the wedding, and two of the bridesmaids soused. Because a swig of Crown takes the edge off like nothing else. Before I walked into the interview for my current job, I pounded a miniature bottle of Crown and popped a breath-mint. Gave the best interview of my life. Yes, Crown and I go back a long, long way. My dream girl is like a bottle of Crown Royal: elegant on the outside, smooth and refreshing, and a damned good time when you get to know her. If you take that metaphor a step further, there’s not many ladies out there as comfortable at a NASCAR race as in a five-star restaurant.

On Sunday, I happened to hear Things to do in Denver when you’re dead, by Warren Zevon. There’s a line in the song: “Dressed in black, tossing back a shot of rye . . .” and it occured to me that to my recollection, I’d never had rye whiskey. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any bar where I’ve heard anybody order rye, and it’s never been at any party I’ve attended. And I thought about Don McLean’s American Pie, with its “good ole boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye” line. And so I determined that I needed to give the rye a try. (As an aside, I’m pretty sure it’s in these songs because it’s so easy to rhyme, rather than anything else). I went to the “fancy” liquor store to pick up a bottle, since I figured they’d have the best selection. Turns out there are a few brands out there. Distillers you’ve actually heard of make rye whiskeys, though, again, I’ve never seen these bottles outside of the liquor shelves. I recognized the yellow-labeled Jim Beam, for instance. I settled on a bottle of Wild Turkey rye, since it proudly set forth its 101 proof strength on the label, and it was a nice, round $20 for the bottle. I believe in doing things right, but dropping the ducat on “premium” rye whiskey seemed a little excessive, given my dearth of rye knowledge.

I was at the counter ringing up the dirty bird, when I looked at the shelf behind the cashier . . . the shelf with the super-premium alcohols (Johnnie Walker Blue Label, etc.). Sitting in all her majestic beauty was a bottle of Crown Royal XR (extra rare). I didn’t even know such a libation existed. I asked the sales guy about it. He wasn’t a very good salesman, but I did get this out of him (and the box the bottle was in after I asked to see it): XR is a limited-release blend of Crown Royal sold in serial-numbered bottles, and is made from the last batch of whiskey distilled at the Waterloo distillery, and there would be no further whiskies of that blend, since the distillery burned down. I’m a total sucker for marketing, and how could I resist the lovely lady to whom I owed so much? I cringed at the price tag when I first looked at it. I called the Kaiser so that he could talk me into it. It didn’t take much. I decided to buy the bottle and save it for a special occasion, to be determined. I passed the cashier my Discover card, since nobody takes Discover anymore, and I’ve had that card since I was 18, and it symbolically linked me to my drinking past. I’ve come a long way, and yet I haven’t. I hope I have something worth celebrating soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

After a three week lull . . .

I came home last night (this morning?) at 1:35 a.m., and found an Ulta Salon menu stuck to my door. It had been torn in half and scrawled on it in red lip liner (or maybe even lip stick), was the following message:
Lost your #. Call me.
Of course, it was signed by Ubermom. She'd gone radio silent the first week of September, after I did something sort of inconsiderate and I was convinced she hated me. I called her today, and she responded with complete nonchalance. Asked if I wanted to see her. I told her I'd call her later, as I was at work. How bizarre. Thing is, I have a complete "out" here . . . I don't have to call her. In the long run, I'm probably best served by not calling. There are a couple of more promising irons in the fire, truth be told. And by "more promising" I mean far less crazy.