Coming Back to Life

There’s a lot on my plate for the coming days.  I need to think about the idea of moving, figure out what’s feasible and how badly I want/need to change locations.  I need to get my work situation figured out, maximizing money and minimizing work hours (among a billion other bits of criteria).  There’s some long-overdue freelance work that I need to knock out, and a couple of jobs that I need to play irritating bill collector on.  And of course, there’s all the usual madness of working, working, gigs, working, screening movies, and sleeping when I can.

In the meantime, I’ll be hoping that this feeling of temporal displacement either goes away or makes itself useful; I’ve been feeling more and more over the past seven days like it’s 1998 all over again.  Naturally, this is making me think both about Melissa and new relationships a lot — that’s what was happening to me this time that year, as far as memorable events.  There’s nothing comparable this year, and the feeling like it’s eight years back isn’t helping me ignore that. Now, if this is some sort of signal that a new romance is coming my way, more power to it.  If not, I’d like to say that it’s less pleasant nostalgia and more bedevilling torture, so please, cut it out.


Watched John Cleese’s WINE FOR THE CONFUSED last night as I was passing out, and again during lunch today, since I apparently lost consciousness during the preview part of the DVD. I’ve never been much of a wine aficianado (or, as I like to call them, fucking booze snobs), though it’s nice to have a bottle with the right meal every now and then.  I learned a little about wine during my time at PF Chang’s, but really just enough to be able to sound competent when I described the expensive bottles and recommended them with every meal.

WFTC, though, is something I’d highly recommend to any of you who like wine but not enough to become some sort of elitist prick about your drunk. It’s a little cable-TV-Python-lite in a few moments, but for the most part, it’s a “Wine for Dummies” in 45 minutes.  The first half of the program is about the grapes and the differences they produce in wine types; the second half is, equally importantly, about buying wine (both in stores and in restaurants), storing your bottles, and serving.  Quality stuff if you just want to know enough to find something you like.


It’s a rather dry time for new music for the next month or so for me.  I’ve got The New Black to look forward to in a bit, but not much else, and looking backward hasn’t really gotten me too much new (I finally tracked down the first Dark Suns disc, Swanlike, but it hasn’t held my attention too well after only a week; the new Tool disc is great, but I’m overhearing it at the bar; all the death and thrash that I’ve been checking out is mind-numbing).  The long and short of this being: I need some new music.  Feel free to make recommendations.

The Fine Art of Getting Away

Sure, there’s the beach, the mountains, or just going to a hotel in another city.  And all of those ideas sound great; one of these days, I’ll have to check them out again, if only just to remind myself how the rest of you live.

This past weekend, though, I decided that it was time for a little mini-vacation. Working that second job, though, creates a minor obstacle — that second job keeps me working until early Sunday morning, so even an extra day tacked on to the weekend doesn’t leave me much time. Top that off with an iffy financial situation (one that not only discourages me from spending extra money, but won’t really allow me to skip nights of earning the “extra” cash), and I had to do a little creative thinking in order to get some time to myself.

Of course, when your apartment is without central air or sufficient window units and the temperature is creeping towards the mid-90s, just about anything is an improvement.  Which is why crashing on Garth’s couch from Friday until Monday was less like part of the Memorial Day weekend’s decadence (although you could certainly see it that way) and, by leaving my cellphone at home, more of a true getaway.

To anyone whose phone calls I seemingly ignored this weekend, sorry, but — well, for a few days, I finally managed to escape, so can you blame me? And if the answer is yes, remember that I have dirt on all of you that I’m not afraid to take to your significant others or the newspapers.

Besides, it was a whole lot cheaper and less painful than the plastic surgery that I considered.

Sure, meme – but DARK TOWER, damn it!

The Dark Tower Character Test

You are Alain! Quiet and introverted, you prefer thinking to talking. Even though you aren’t that social, you have a kind heart, and will help those in need. You often see things from a unique perspective, but people seem to ignore your feelings. Learn to speak up, and show that you take pride in what you do!
Take this quiz!

Trouble never comes early

What is it that makes people get so drunk that they lose their shit, completely and indefensibly? I’m not concerned if you want to get a little loud, or overly flirtatious with everyone around you.  That’s fine.  Comes with the territory (although I swear to god, Garth, if you try to hump my leg one more time while I’m making shots for people, I’m giving you over to the gang of drunk bikers for experimentation).

But the real drunken fun never happens early in the night, when I’ve still got the energy or the patience to deal with it.  Last night, things feel like they’re winding down.  It’s about 3 AM, the band has packed up and left, and Jason and I are making last call drinks for folks. In stumbles a couple of girls, both obliterated.  Alternating between screaming and laying on the bar, it’s apparent that these two have been hitting bottles fast and hard for some time now, and I decide without a lot of debate that they’re not getting any drinks from me.  Too much to deal with, and I’m well past exhausted with another hour or so to go.

Five minutes later, as I’m in the back bar shutting it down, I hear screaming from up front. Keep in mind that it’s been loud up there all night, so it takes me a second to process that the tone has shifted.  I get up front and out from behind the bar (Jason and Garth are in the back with Tyler and the XBox 360) and see one of the two girls being forcibly separated from one of our regulars.  There’s a lot of screaming, some flailing, and it’s clearly time for someone to go home, or at least out of the bar. So I grab her and aim for the door.

I hate having to deal with drunk women.  Guys, no problem.  If things get a little rough, so be it.  But growing up with a kid sister meant getting routine lectures on not hitting girls, and that has stuck with me to this day.  Enough that, if you’re ambitious enough, you can make it really tough for me to remove you from the bar.  Last night, good example.  This girl, whatever her problem was, was not interested in — well, reality, I think. She was screaming incoherently (although I did keep catching “motherfucker” and “let go” and “kill you”, which was enough) and alternating between twisting and writhing like a greased pig to get out of my grip and falling to the ground like an overcooked noodle.  Between this and my kid glove treatment, it took nearly two minutes to get her from the bar to the door — a trip that normally takes about ten seconds.

We finally get to the door, and I’m impressed with the fact that, aside from some embarassing (for her) moments, no one has gotten hurt.  A guy she seems to know has appeared (took you long enough, douchebag), and says that he’ll take care of her.  I remind him that she’s got to go, no more bar for her (which starts a fresh round of “kill you motherfucker”), he smiles sheepishly, and it’s done.

Oops.  It’s never that easy, is it?  She drops to the ground one more time, just as I’ve started to release my grip on her — and then pops back up, jack-in-the-box style, and wheels around and punches me in the face.

Fucking. Drunk. Women.

It’s not an issue of it hurting (it didn’t, and probably wouldn’t have even if she had been sober and actually knew what she was doing — she was way too small to be taking a swing at anyone, drunk or dusted or whatever).  It wasn’t that she was in danger of getting hit, although it was one of the rare moments when I considered dealing with my mental blocks after the fact.  I think, more than anything, it was surprise, plain and simple — to think that it was all over, done, and finished, and she decides that she needs the last word…

Guys and girls alike: drinking that much is just not worth it, on any level.  I guarantee you she’s sore from all the twisting and falling down she did in that two minute space alone.  Not a single person in there had anything nice to say about her after she left (and she was a fairly attractive young woman, I’ll add).  The only places that anything was going from there were home or jail.  What’s the point?  And yet, you see it night after night after night, morons getting so drunk that they feel the need to test out their invulnerability at every opportunity.

I will drop this hint for you: doormen and bartenders deal with you every night, and so whether they’re bigger or more trained than you or not, they’re certainly experienced enough to deal with you capably.  Oh, and we’re not drunk (at the very least, not as drunk as you), which gives us a huge edge.  And while your friends might come help you out (if they’re not busy shouting out their desire for you to tongue their asshole, as her friend was doing every five seconds to any guy with a pulse), our definitely will. And should you accidentally run into the doorframe two or three times while we’re escorting you to the sidewalk — well, you probably shouldn’t have had so much to drink that you stumble like that, yeah?

X3: The Last Straw

You know the movie you’ve just seen is bad when you have better memories of the trailer for Ghost Rider (a movie starring Nick Cage about a flaming skeleton demon crime fighting biker — chew on that for a bit) than the movie itself.  When that movie is the third and final installment in a trilogy that has been, up until now, a brilliant and shining example of how comic books can successfully transition from print to screen, it’s crushing.  And when that trilogy is about the X-Men, the linchpin of your inner nerd, it’s as memorably traumatic as having your original Mint on Card Star Wars figure collection sold as the penalty for making a B on your physics test.

I’m kidding, of course, about that last part, and it’s obvious to anyone who’s known me for long enough.  I never made above a C in physics.

Needless to say, spoilers are rich in abundance, much like my hatred for the collective team behind X3: The Last Stand.

Continue reading

Night and Day…

WANTED: SWF, 23-30, for low-key romantic relationship. Should identify strongly with Mary Magdalene in order to compliment my Christ complex.


I’ve been having random dreams this week, mostly nonsensical from what I can remember, but there was one about Melissa the other night. The gist of it boiled down to both of us deciding that the divorce had been a mistake, and so we were going to get back together. But then she turned around to leave, and I noticed the black wings that had sprouted from her back. A blazing sphere of chaos materialized over her head, and through the nightmarish unlight, I could see the voices of a thousand tiny children screaming as they were woven into the flesh of virgins. A skeletal cat pounced through the opening and told me stories of hate engines being constructed from fire and bone and the tears of angels, and how these dark machines would burrow into the headmeat of every living being until the trumpet signalling the coming of the Dark Lord sounded across the lands.

And I think we still ended up getting back together.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not to eat Cocoa Pebbles right before bed anymore.

How hazardous this business

I’m not entirely sure why, but we all worry about Pete. Probably because he’s the smallest and youngest of us at the Bar (strangely, although we’re more protective of her, we worry less about Mariel), but maybe it’s because he’s also the nicest.

JP, Garth, Tyler — they’re all scrappers (Tyler less so these days, but still…). They love to get physical. I’ve seen many nights where Garth is all but itching for a fight to start in his vicinity. It’s dangerous, sure, but that’s maybe why he’s behind the bar instead of working the door these days. Better to have his hands full of beer cases and clean glasses than working the security angle.

Jason and I — perhaps due to age, or experience — are less apt to fight. Not that we won’t or haven’t, but only if we don’t have options. Pete’s the same way. He’s not afraid — I’ve seen him step into the middle of two guys who both towered well over him and had enough alcohol in them to make logic and reason as incoherent and unintelligible as their pickup lines were. He’s just quiet, unassuming — and damn it, nice. I don’t say that in a bad way, I should add.

Garth and Pete are the first ones that people tend to turn on at Bailey’s. If surrounded by the six of us (sorry, Mariel, but I’m leaving you behind the bar for this), they’re the smallest of the two. And the other night, there was a guy who had the option of turning to face me or Pete, and he chose Pete. Words commenced, and it was here that I saw Pete’s only problem: inside a bar, late at night when the alcohol has already flowed freely, talk gets one chance, and then it’s gotta go outside.

And so as I hear Pete telling Joe Schmuck that if he’s gonna give him grief about leaving, then he can say it to his face — that’s the point where I start to put the drink that I’m making down and head for Pete’s position, surrounded as he is by what may be innocent bystanders or possibly friends of the Schmuck. Before my glass hits the bar, and before Jason can head out (well, over is really the direction that Jason takes) from behind the back bar, Garth zips by, a flash of blue jeans and black tshirt and cigarette still hanging from his mouth. Schmuck has an arm behind his back and — to quote Garth, at least — is being led out to the sidewalk by his mop of hair.

Jason and I laughed. It was funny. You have to trust me on this one.

It’s moments like this, though, that make me feel ultimately comfortable in my bar (not to mention the sheer volume of regulars on any given night that will stand behind us in a tense situation). No matter what happens, no matter what goes down, I think that any one of us (including Mariel, thank you) is more than capable of taking care of not only ourselves but each other. And there’s a good balance, too — not just between the readiness to jump into the fray, but among personalities, as well.

I thought about this today because my sister asked how I was enjoying my return to the world of bars, and it made me think about the past jobs I’ve had, the past crews I’ve run with, the past contexts. All things considered, I can’t imagine ever working a better bar with a better group of folks. I’ve certainly never done so in the past.

(Screenplay Research) Time Dilation

BBC – Radio 4 – Frontiers 17/05/2006
When time seems to fly or drag, it’s nothing to do with our internal clock speeding up or slowing down. It’s how the brain processes time-related information that generates the illusion.

When a person’s life is in danger, a phenomenon known as ‘time-dilation’ can occur. This is when, during a car crash for example, time seems to slow down or become frozen.

In these cases the body’s internal clock speeds up when facing a potential catastrophe, so that it can take in more information more quickly and function more effectively in an emergency.

This is also a phenomenon actively sought by elite sportspeople, when they get ‘in the zone’.

Some of the chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, can affect our perception of time. Deficiencies in these chemicals can lead to brain disorders.