Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 360 - Full Circle and All That

A note to Miss Stephanie:

Our last conversation didn't go as I'd meant it, because I didn't think it out well enough beforehand. That and I was nervous.

I always get nervous around women...but this is something you already know. ;)

What I should have said was this: back towards the beginning of my year at Jack's, you helped me realize that I didn't have the skill to talk to a woman one on one at the bar. (Remember that time we were alone at a table and I walked away because I was too afraid and just didn't know what to ask you when you said "ask me anything"?)

I resolved to try harder after that. A few months later I met a woman at the bar and asked her out on a "non date". That meeting led to another non-date, then another. Fast forward a few more months and now we're happily together and I want to marry her.

Thank you for teaching me that a man should be ready when a woman gives him her complete attention. Thank you also for teaching me that beauty is something rendered from who people are; it's a composite of their lives, their passions and their feelings. Beauty has very little to do with what people look like.

Discovering beauty in others comes from talking to them. You taught me this, with your descriptions about you and your life. Listening to your stories was like hearing a book being read aloud. Every word you spoke made you more complete and more real. I found that to be both amazing and hugely intimidating.

Thank you for that lesson.

It was good to see you at the bar tonight. You'll always hold a special place in my heart, Miss Stephanie. Please take care and please see to your happiness as much as possible. You are a beautiful woman and deserve all the happiness in the world.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 326 - Muppets Behind the Bar!

Today’s one of those days at work where I’m imagining which Muppet Characters would best fit the bartenders at Jack’s.


When Aimee came to mind, my first thought was Oscar the Grouch.

Then I remembered he’s not a Muppet. He’s also not a she. Hrm…

It all started with my idle mind conjuring up an image of the Muppets taking over Jack’s. It was just Kermit at first, and then I imagined myself as Jim Henson, operating Kermit from below.

As soon as the bar owner shows up, Kermit freaks and then disappears under the bar. An instant later he pops back up, but in disguise as Tanisha, complete with bee hive hairdo and big (yarn) boobs.

Then the owner says, “You aren’t supposed to be here,” to Kermit before saying hello to a customer, so Kermit flies underneath the bar again and reappears an instant later dressed as Aimee. He’s having problems with his disguise though; all of his press on tattoos (little kid ones) are peeling off.

Absent Kermit trying to be everyone, which other Muppets would match up to each bartender best? Tanisha as Miss Piggy? Charlie as Fozzie Bear?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 314 – Baby Beers

After-work bar visits are more fun when you’re in the bar, anticipating the moment when your girlfriend walks through the front door, her eyes scanning the crowd for you.

You imagine the smile on her face as your eyes find her brilliant brown peepers. You wonder what she’ll be wearing: warm sweater or winter coat with scarf? You can imagine the texture of both under your hands because you’ve held her close in both outfits before. Will she be wearing perfume? How will her hair smell? Or will you not be able to tell at first because she’ll be wearing the gray beanie that she looks so pretty in? The one you gave her the other morning when her hair was wet from the shower and she didn’t have time to dry it because you’d spent a good chunk of the morning shower time doing something else in bed?

You know you’ll feel the cold on her clothes and especially on her hands and you’ll be glad she’s in the bar where the temperature is set as much by heat emanating from the bodies of bar patrons as any warmth flowing out of the overhead vents from some unseen heating unit.

Regardless you’ll hold her close and make sure her cold hands find their way into your warm ones before she so much as touches a cold beer glass.

The best part is when she walks through the front door and all your questions are laid to rest.


Thanks go out to:

Thunder “Errol Flynn” P. for the Amaretto whiskey shot and the cherry vodka shot. You always go out of your way to treat everyone great at the bar, including those of us who may or may not have tried to insert large pieces of construction grade lumber into your rectum when you were passed out.

Tanisha for the baby beers. You kept me and Priscilla going while we waited for Christian to finish up so the three of us could head out and learn the fine art of Emma-sitting at his place.

Aimee B. for being an awesome bartender. I hope your piggy banks all fill up fast and you get to travel to awesome places.

See you Thursday at Jack’s!

:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

So last night at the bar...

...Rod, the former Marine Captain, had to walk himself in the rain to Der Wienerschnitzel to purchase coffee so Travis (the bartender) could make Rod an Irish coffee.

Rod announced that Der's coffee is pretty good. Travis even served up the drink in some sort of fluted glass with a handle that I've never seen before at Jack's, but that looked like it'd be right at home in some barista's arsenal of glassware to serve his or her customers with.

What the hell else do they have hiding behind the bar that I don't know about?

I think I need to get really drunk there and get myself locked in overnight. Then the exploring will commence.

And when I'm done, I can make a nice bed out of spent cardboard boxes (the ones left over after the restocking is done) to sleep on, like Charlie did once. I know this is possible because I saw the picture. It. Was. Awesome.

See you at Wednesday at Jack's!

[P.S.: Hi blog! I missed you!]

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 277 (88 days left) - Why Do Big Women Get Dissed?

OK, let me preface this post by saying the men of the bar are pretty much good people. They're polite, well meaning and basically don't go out of their way to make other people uncomfortable.

For all that, if you get a few of us together you sometimes hear jokes or comments about big women who come into the bar. If one of our number hits on a big woman, the guys will laugh at and tease the guy doing the flirting (especially if he's in his cups and basically ambles right up to her and sits down after the woman so much as looks in his direction).

Let me state here and now I've done a bit of laughing at a friend's expense under just such a scenario.

More to the point: there are some ideas (memes) about big women I've heard repeated by several different men at the bar, whether the men are sober or good and buzzed.

The two most common memes are 1) that big women don't get as much sex as other women, and 2) big women are desperate for sex and relationships so they'll chase drunk guys (after downing several drinks themselves) just so they can get a guy and bring him home.

My response to these memes: bullshit.

First of all, what the fuck counts as a "big woman"? Do you go by height? Hips? Ass? General body shape? Women come in all different shapes and sizes...I've seen women get pointed out and laughed at who weren't truly overwieght, but just because they had large hips or a short, square-ish frame...why does that make them something to joke about?

By that measure, half the roller girls I've seen should be considered undesirable (wide hips and muscled thighs owing to skating). Yet in my opinion these are some of the most amazingly sexy women ever to grace Jack's Bar with their presence.

And as for the women that are truly overweight, so what? There are fat men...why aren't they the subject of jokes or under-the-breath ridicule from the ladies? Sure women will blow off men they find to be unattractive, but a confident "fat" guy can do pretty well with women because women tend to find confidence attractive (this is something I've heard repeatedly from several women at the bar over the past nine months; I've also seen it in action at the bar, time and again). Why don't confident big women get the same respect (hellz, even just half a chance) from men?

In my experience, big women are just as good in bed as any other woman. I'm no (s)expert, but this is one thing I'll hang my hat on: big women get just as wet, work just as hard at foreplay, come just as hard (and just as frequently) and want it just as bad as thin women.

From watching people at the bar over the last nine months it's my opinion that a "thin" woman who's not had sex in weeks or months is no less or more likely than a "big" woman to have some drinks, loosen herself up and find a partner. (Men, it should be noted, do the same thing. And they're far more obnoxious about it when they're drunk then women are.)

Please don't take this as me stating all women are loose. What I'm saying is that the population of women who will engage in this sort of behavior is comprised of women of all shapes and sizes.

You can't just pin it on "big" girls and some bullshit notion of desperation.

It frustrates me that pointless societal notions of what's considered pretty, attractive, sexy and desirable fall under such base, thoughtless criteria as body type and size.

Granted men are free to live their own lives, so they're going to have their own preferences about what kind of woman they're attracted to.

All I'm saying is that I wish for fuck's sake that men would pull their collective heads out of their asses and really stop to think and consider a big woman instead of automatically disregarding her because of her size. Big women are smart, sexy, have a life history worth knowing and are possessed of desires every bit as powerful as any other woman.

It's not a "big" woman's fault if a man is chicken shit* and not up to the challenge of approaching her, flirting with her, bedding her and pleasing her.

See you tomorrow at Jack's!


*You might be offended by this line (for which I apologize). If so, your mental response to my statement might be, “I’m not chicken shit, I just don’t like big girls.”
This all may be true, but have you stopped to really think about why you feel this way? I dare you to honestly assess your thought process. If you do, I'll wager you come to realize your reasoning is based on assumptions rooted in biases that you picked up when you were twelve years old. Ever since then you’ve been looking for half-truths to confirm the bias true, not looking for reasons to debunk it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 272 (93 Days Left) - Jeff Had a Stroke

Today I learned that one of the former bartenders at Jack's—Jeff—had a stroke.

My thoughts and prayers and those of your friends go out to you Jeff. I love you very much buddy and wish you the speediest and most comfortable of recoveries.

If any of you who read this blog from time to time get to see Jeff in the hospital, please do your best to remain as absolutely positive as you can when you see him.

Having read My Stroke of Insight recently, I can tell you that one of that book author's main points is that people who have strokes can recover from a stroke, but the recovery is contingent upon the victim being surrounded by extremely positive people who always encourage, but never lose patience and never give up.

If you see Jeff, please keep these ideas in mind. If the Doctor and Nurses seem to forget these concepts, remind them of these facts in a civil manner. Also, it wouldn't hurt to draw the blinds as bright light can exacerbate the pain in the beginning of recovery.

One of my favorite memories of Jeff is how he always stood up to people. He wasn't rude, just businesslike and to the point. If someone was rude to him or said something inappropriate (like bluntly implying or outright calling him a racist) he'd simply invite that person in close, lean over the bar and tell them to their face that A) he's not a racist and B) not to call him that again, especially when he's working and serving people at the bar.

It was like he knew where he stood at all times in the bar, and so was unshakable from that foundation. This is something I've always admired about him and always will.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Countdown: 99 Days Left! (Day 366)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dear Reader,

I don't drive anymore. Did I tell you?

I voluntarily suspended my vehicle insurance (they let you do that for six months at a time at my insurer) and I registered my truck as non-operational.

Why do such a crazy thing in a city (hell, a country) where vehicle ownership is practically mandatory to get by? Couple reasons, actually.

One is saving money. Another is I can't get a DUI this way (though I can get a BUI [i.e. Biking Under the Influence] which I hear can be near as bad as a DUI penalty wise). Lastly, I'm less likely to turn my truck into a 2000 pound battering ram of death when it's perma-parked in my driveway.

What will I do with the money saved on insurance and gas, you ask?

Probably spend it at Jack's Bar & Lounge in order to complete my goal of sampling every bottle on the shelves of the bar before the year is out. ;)

Lord knows I'll be thirsty enough to do it, considering that hauling my lard ass around on a bicycle every day has left my thighs in fits. I swear they're ready to pick up stakes and move to a new, more sedentary body belonging to someone else.

It was those same wobbly legs that I used to walk myself into Jack's this afternoon right after a ride through downtown San Jose from the train station. The usual bunch of Thursday regulars were in attendance.

One of these was Devito. Myself, him and Matt the Builder (who says Bob should get all the credit?) had a lengthy discussion about the merits and flaws of Evgeni Nabakov's departure from the Sharks after several years of excellence. Nabokov is going to play in a Russian League, which means he won't get to break several Hockey Records for goaltending that he was on track to topple.

In addition to my regular pint of beer I sampled the Effen Vodka, which is a black cherry and vanilla vodka made in Holland. When I asked for a screwdriver, Tanisha offered to make it how she would drink it. As usual the result was awesome: Effen, orange juice and a splash of 7-up over ice.

I left with a good buzz and yet another set of happy memories from Jack's. 98 more days left after this and I think I'm going to miss it. Not saying I'm leaving Jack's after the year's over; rather that it feels good to know there's always one part of my day that will always be awesome no matter what.

Thanks to Tanisha for the drink and for the insta-beer as soon as I walked in the door. That's forever damn awesome.

See you Friday at Jack's!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 235 - A Simple Night

Monday, August 23rd

I walked to Jack's tonight. It was a warm night out; the crickets and the air conditioners knew this because unlike last week (when I walked to Jack's and it was silent out but for the sounds of cars rolling buy) tonight everyone and their mother who had an AC unit was running it and the crickets were chirping away in the light of the full moon.

Walking into the bar I was greeted to by the sound of the bartenders and regulars saying my name out loud. I so feel like Norm (from Cheers). And you know what, it's a pretty fucking awesome feeling. Thank you all for the warm greeting.

I spoke to Trey tonight. He's a young kid (well, young man) with a solid head on his shoulders and a load of good stories for someone fresh out of college. If you ever meet him, take the time to ask him about the victory arch some kids formed for him as he was completing the return leg of a three block run wearing only a pair of skivvies plus the shoes he wanted to buy from the store owner who dared him to make the run for a $10 discount on the shoes. (The skivvies were complementary, as it turned out).

We swapped stories and I told him of my adventures in Long Beach for the Flugtag over the weekend. Now that I think about it, the trip was more like a three day journey to Huntington Beach, with a side-trip to Long Beach on Saturday.

The reggae seemed like it started kind of late so I didn't get to hear any of the good music; it's too bad I had to go to bed early tonight because reggae has its hooks in me and whenever I hear it I want to dance to it. But I did get to see some pretty ladies who were real nice to my beard before they graced me with sincere smiles and gave me warm fairwell hugs as they departed.

I'm also convinced Grant can punch a hole through a 2x4 with his thumbs. Only thumbs that strong are capable of kneeding the ever present knots out of my shoulders.

The walk back home was uneventful. I do wish I could have spoke to Wes a bit longer, but I'll see him again.

Night all. See you Tuesday at Jack's.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 223 - Did You Need A Tampon?

"A little sip of Perrier here. I had to stop drinking alcohol because I used to wake up nude in front of my car with my keys in my ass."
--Robin Williams, Live At The Met

 
I like walking into Jack's in the midst of a conversation going on between patrons and the bartender.
 
For example, today I walked in as the bartender was saying to the largest and quite possibly the most dangerous man in the bar, "I see your vagina's bleeding. I've got a tampon if you need one."
 
Hehe. Good start.
 
Today at Jack's a man introduced himself to me. Turns out this guy was making his first trip to Jack's Bar & Lounge.
 
He'd sat quietly watching the TVs until at one point he asked Aimee B. what the Flugtag was all about (there's signs all over the bar for it). She gave a general description which I was happy to elaborate on: five dudes, one themed "flying" contraption, no taller than 10' and has to be pushed off the edge of a 30' tall pier. 
 
The new guy said they ought to have a party bus follow the Flying Rock Clan and their contraption (a flying rock) from Jack's to Long Beach for the event.
 
This led to me telling the guy about my first and only trip on a Jack's party bus, at which point he noted he was originally from Chicago and "back home" they used to have so many neighborhood bars that you'd go on busses to the White Sox game, then come home and there'd be tons of food laid out at each bar for people to eat no charge and have a drink with.
 
He said he's been gone so long that he's not sure what it's like anymore. Just like me this guy has been moving up the coast of California over the years, following work and opportunities as they come along. Unlike me, he made the jump from San Diego to "the city" (i.e. San Francisco) and has been slowly moving down the peninsula until he finally ended up in San Jose.
 
The guy had the kind of short, one syllable name you'd associate with a mid-level mafia boss, but since I didn't get his permission to use it I won't post it here. Hope to see him again.
 
Not much more happened after that as I'm still on the one-and-out program this week.
 
See you Thursday at Jack's. Wait..before I forget: Aimee B.'s behind the bar this Sunday morning from 11 to about 5 or so. Sunday mornings are tough if you're nursing a hangover, but it's not so bad when you visit Aimee and have a round or two while you count the minutes until the headache goes away.
 
Come and visit, if you have the chance (and the intestinal fortitude to drag your hungover self out of the house—a pair of cheap sunglasses helps, believe me).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 222 - Some Real Hard Lessons Learned...I Just Hope They Take

Lessons learned at the bar today.

1. Man up. If you messed up, let people effected by and concerned with your behavior know that you realize you screwed up and that you apologize for your behavior. Don’t wait around. Talk to everyone you think might have been effected.

2. We all have a responsibility to check each other at the bar. It does not matter that some or most of us have gone on drunken benders in the past. It does not matter if we're all friends with an otherwise high tolerance for drunken shenanigans. If one of our number is out of line, regardless of who that person is and regardless of our own past nutty drunk actions, it's the responsibility of those of us "still in line" to check that person. A good rule of thumb is this: if the action would get you tossed out of any other bar, then the person in question needs to be checked. This does not automatically mean a confrontation; a request for help from the bartender or door person works just fine.

3. Speak your mind. If someone wrongs you or wrongs someone you care about, speak up. It does not matter if they're drunk, belligerent or sure to respond negatively: speak your mind without delay. However, don't sweat the small stuff; only something that well and truly bothers you requires the effort to speak your peace. And when you do speak your mind, be simple, direct and honest. Don't look to start a fight—instead state the facts and your feelings. Don't fear consequences. Get it off your chest and be clear about it. The bar will support you in the long run.

I'm glad I learned these lessons and I'm thankful to the people who taught them to me tonight. To tell you the truth I'd pretty much determined I wasn't going on the Flugtag trip later this month, but now I'm feeling enthused again. Because of tonight I'm not turned off on the idea of going on the trip like I'd felt the past couple days.

As for the particulars of why these lessons were learned: no need to discuss that. I'd very much like to give you the reader some context—and in just about any other bar situation I would—but not this time because it's too close to me and others.  Thus, there's no need for names.

You know who you are and you both mean a lot to me. Thanks.

Other random thoughts and notes in no particular order:

Thanks to Devito for coming down to see if I was at the bar today. I'm sorry I all but abandoned you like as soon as I got in the door and that I couldn't make time tonight to do some serious foosball training (you really need to level that table anyway -- it totally favors the home team in my not so humble opinion) but we can make up for lost time in the near future.

I'm looking forward to George Clinton this Friday and possibly a room with a view just prior to the show. Thanks you-know-who (no, not Voldermort) for the Friday invite.

Thanks to Christian for squaring away the Flugtag trip plans.

@Erin A.: On Sunday you told me that you read my blog and really enjoy what I write. I responded that I hadn't written in awhile and my tone came off somewhat accusatory, as though I were implying you actually hadn't read the blog recently because that would not have been possible due to the scarcity of posts.

You paused, then said you did in fact like the stuff of mine I had written.

I'd like to take this chance to apologize. When I said I hadn't written much of late, I meant it as more of an apology/excuse and not as a "Aha! Caught you!" type of accusation. You see I felt bad for not writing regular, consistent posts to the blog after having earned the privilege of good people like you taking the time to read what I write.

Your praise means all the world to me and I really do appreciate your taking the time to check in on the blog.

One last thing: Tanisha, thank you very much for poring a beer and handing it to me in person. I hope you know it's a real privilege to receive that kind of service and I don't take it for granted.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 216 - Stealing Poetry

Not stealing, actually. More like borrowing without permission.

Today at work I ran across a poem that was drinking related, so I'm going to post it here because A) it's topical to the blog, B) you obviously haven't been reading any poetry lately (and that's not healthy), C) I think it's cool and D) nobody who reads this blog will make a fuss about me borrowing the poem anyway (amirite?)*.


Without further ado:

"For the Drunk"
by Carole Oles
This being part two of a set of two poems found in Tri-Quarterly, #61, Fall 1984, page 98.


Where the river cleaves
our city from theirs
I watch from the sidewalk at 10 a.m.
him dart in front of the ranch wagon
which rocks to a stop
as he bends, disappears, behind the front fender

muttering, scoops up a handful of something,
cover it, with the dome of his palm,
zigzags onto the pavement
where the wind yanks
off his hat and drops it in traffic.

I'm reading his back
Santucci Bros. Contractor
wondering is it safe
to walk close when he

unlids what almost killed him —
two black bars on a yellow down face,
the most lost, puzzled duckling
that ever wanted its mama.

I handed him his hat.



So...if you see a drunk during your wider travels around the world, be kind. You can keep your windows rolled up, of course. Just don't assume the worst of him or her, especially if it's me (I'm not a drunk, but I do one hell of an impersonation).

...and in case you're wondering if I work in a book store or have lots of time to look shit up online...well you're close.

I work at a library in a very esteemed university here in the Bay Area (rhymes with, well, whatever Stanford rhymes with) . I don't work for the University, rather I work for a popular tech company (rhymes with frugal) that happens to have a voracious taste for books, new and old.

See you Thursday at Jack's.


*Carole Oles did graduate from the University of California at Berkeley (and Queens College) so that's like "E)" on the list of reasons.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 209 - Socially Promiscuous

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Am I socially promiscuous? That is, do I intend to meet lots of people (at Jack's) at least once and then not talk to them again?

Yes. And no.

Yes, because there are always people I'll be introduced to by my bar friends that I'll likely never see again. I'm happy that I've re-met a good percentage of these met-only-one-time-before-people...say 30% or 40%...but most of them are people I won't meet again.

I'm also sometimes still hesitant to talk to people I've met before, so even if I see someone again that I sort of recognize I don't always have the courage to approach them (though I'm working on that).

No, because the set of people I know who go to Jack's regularly are people I always try to talk to if I'm sitting next to them or am within earshot. Even if it's just a handshake, that counts for something.

....................

Today at Jack's there wasn't much to report. I had a fast beer and was out the door pretty quick.

Aimee did get sprayed by a recalcitrant beer keg that wasn't in the mood to cooperate. This meant there was no PBR on tap (bad keg + recalcitrant keg = fail), so it was tall cans from that point forward.

I got the last PBR on tap, now that I think about it. Anyway, Aimee cleaned up pretty fast and Travis was on hand to help set things right with the kegs.

Some guys to the left of where I sat at the bar looked to be big time soccer fans. One even more an Earthquakes jersey and both fellas were talking in a rather knowledgeable way about the English Premier League.

I hesitated only briefly before asking them what the difference was between the English Premier League and the Champions League.

You see there happened to be an exhibition soccer match on TV #1 that these two guys were watching. The game was between a US-based Major League Soccer team and a team from the British Premiere League and although the sound wasn't on the news-like ticker at the bottom of the screen kept scrolling news about something called the Champions League.

They were nice enough to explain that the Champions League would be like something designed to bring together the winner of the World Series in the States and the baseball champions from other countries (like Japan and possibly Cuba, etc...) for a final playoff.

In the case of the Champions League, it's comprised of teams from each of the major soccer leagues in Europe (like the English Premier League for Great Britain) who all play each other to determine who's the best in the region.

As the man to my left put it, "You know how we had the World Cup? Well this is like the European Cup".

There were several regulars in the bar but I didn't get to do much more than say hello and shake hands.

See you Thursday at Jack's!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 208 - Holding Your Own at Jack's (and an alcohol radiation factoid)

Alcohol is radioactive too—at least the kind we drink. Rubbing alcohol usually isn't, unless it was made organically—that is, from wood. In fact, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tests wine, gin, whiskey, and vodka for radioactivity. A fifth of whiskey must emit at least 400 beta rays every minute or the drink is considered unfit for human consumption.

...from Physics For Future Presidents, by Richard A. Muller (W. W. Norton; New York, London; 2008)


A little factoid for you, Dear Reader. Something you can pigeonhole the resident science geek in your local bar (or wherever) in the event you need to knock him or her down a peg or two.

In other, non-radioactive news, today at the bar I practiced the art of keeping my space.

I also practiced the art of holding my own in a conversation.

Now if you know me at all then you know I'm a natural listener. You talk while I sit right next to you and listen intently; occasionally I'll nod my head in a sage-like manner indicating I understand what you're saying; I'll rarely interrupt when you're on a roll unless I really don't understand something; I mentally catalog as much as I can (that's interesting) for later use in the blog.

Truth is it's hard for me to keep focus when I do this. The art of not letting my mind wander towards worries or issues or whatever's on the back burner of my brain while someone is talking with (well, to) me at the bar is a skill I've been practicing, but haven't mastered.

Part of this stems from my habit of going to Jack's to turn my brain off; sometimes I just want to zone out even when others are trying to talk to me. Other times I want to interact with others, but am too afraid of offending them or otherwise working up the nerve to really talk with someone in a truly interactive way.

What I'm coming to realize is that actively concentration based on just listening to someone isn't best in a bar situation. Yes, you want to listen to them obviously, but that's only the half of it. You need to talk back and otherwise interact with someone since bar interactions are primarily conversations and not something like unto a student-teacher interaction.

My problem is, I think, that since I'm not actively chatting back at someone my brain uses up its remaining potential to ponder other things (even when I'm zoning out), which ultimately distracts me.

Today though I didn't wait to catch myself mentally strolling away from the conversation. And I didn't allow myself to get "cornered" when there were several empty seats at the center of the bar.

As soon as space freed up I moved one seat away from a bar buddy of mine. Gave myself a seat's worth of space either side of me. Right as I did it, it felt good to have that space.

When my bar buddy saw this, he half-seriously said "I'm slightly offended you moved over."

I just said, "Don't worry about it" in a tone that really meant just that. Then I told him I needed some space around me and went right back to the tall can of PBR Tanisha had served me when I came in earlier.

And it felt just fine to do that. With space on either side of me, I could opt to not face my bar buddy if I didn't want to during the conversation that was sure to come, even if he turned to face me and look right at me while talking. Plus I figured he'd not put his hand (specifically a few of his fingers) on me to emphasize a point as he's wont to do.

Not that long after I moved over one seat my bar buddy chatted me up (toldja he would...and I was wrong about him not trying to touch me to emphasize a point: he reached right over and did it anyway, but at least the touching was much less so than before + I didn't have to deal with alcohol breath and him leaning in too close).

During today's conversation I picked moments to cut in. Not rudely, but in a way that allowed me to follow my own thoughts by saying them out loud. I asked questions and steered the conversation to topics tangentially related to the main focus.

I never realized just how thoroughly I let myself get run over sometimes (conversationally speaking) at the bar. Some folks at the bar like my bar buddy—well meaning though they might be—will just mow right over you if you let them. Even if you try to cut in, they'll keep pushing forward by talking over you. My bar buddy knows this on some level, I think. As you can probably imagine it's not that hard to talk at me if you want.

As I was leaving (that's another thing I did: when my beer was done, I got up even though we were mid-conversation...normally I'd stick around to hear the end or even buy a courtesy beer and stay to chat longer, but not today) my bar buddy told me he really enjoyed our conversation. He usually says something like this anywyas, but today he sure sounded like he meant it.

Based off today's success I'm going to continue trying to walk into Jack's with a brain that's revved up and ready to go.

That makes for the best interactions with other people + let's me establish my "space" at the bar.  I feel more of an equal that way too. And that's a good feeling.

See you Wednesday at Jack's!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 207 - Did you miss me, Dear Reader?

I missed you. I hope you are well. In case we don't see each other here again soon, you can always find me on Facebook. There's a link here on the blog (lower left corner) that features my FB updates as I post them

Note I always post at least one update on FB per day is about Jack's.

Send me a friend invite. I can always use more friends (and so can you, I imagine).

....................

The hardest part about today was that I couldn't even look at her for more than a few seconds.

I mean it was tough enough with Moe and Melissa there, but Katie is always too much for me to handle.

Being around her is like being 13 again. You're a pubescent teen in school and you realize there are girls in close proximity to you—even when they're halfway across the classroom (or in this case the bar) it's still enough to leave you panicky.

Someone like Katie catches your eye and you become completely unnerved and realize you don't know what to say to her. And even when you do know what to say you're self-critical of everything that comes out of your mouth as you're saying it.

Later, when you're at home, images of her play across your mind's eye while you're busy trying to get things done like homework, or in my case weeding and watering the garden. Or cooking dinner.

Figuring out how to talk to her is a challenge. One I haven't solved yet.

See you Tuesday at Jack's!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

Indeed, it has.

I started this post wanting to point out how the most beautiful women found at Jack's are on average to be found on a Monday night.

But now I find myself thinking about you.

How have you been, Dear Reader? Are you well?

More important: are you happy?

If not, what can I do to help?

Your happiness matters, after all. To me if nobody else.

And that's the truth.

I saw people at the bar tonight. A reggae night, it was.

Men and women...were they happy? Was Crystal happy letting that SOB off easy? Was Fallon happy with the man she walked in with?

P.McGee seemed happy.

And I admit, she made me happy just because she was there. Mercedes didn't hurt either. Nor Travis, Rina (on the bar) and Caitlin just as they are. Travis made it easy on me to show up tonight.

It's not always easy for me to arrive comfortable at the bar.

K.C. and G-Nyze were there and it was good. Ras Dank too, after a strategic wake up call from K.C. ;)

And now I'm wandering about in my own blog post, thinking more about all the people who made me feel good and not about you.

I hope you are well when you read this.

I hope good fortune comes your way.

I hope you sleep well.

I hope you find a better day.

-J.

edit: P. McGee said it right when she opined that it's hard for folks to have just one drink at Jack's. Take tonight, for example. ;)  Thanks Chriss for the shots, Travis for the beer and the shot (drank with Caitlin, that was a pleasure and a rare treat) and Chriss and Fallon for the further shot offers.

Tonight's lesson was all about learning to say no, that I might survive the second half of this year...and be able to perform in bed when called upon. ;) But mostly it's about surviving (and keeping my day job).

Take care, Dear Reader. Take care.

And if you can't sleep, download Pink Martini on your iTunes and listen to the album "Hang On Little Tomato".  Their song Let's Never Stop Falling In Love always gets me (and puts me to sleep, with nice starter dreams).

Sweet Dreams, then. See you at Jack's sometime in the future!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 165 - 171: Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaal! (and the US Got Robbed!)

June 14th to June 20th, 2010

Bar Factoid: One of the lovely bartenders at Jack's used to be a ballerina. Can you guess which one?

Jack's was pretty much open early (like 6 or 7 a.m. early) all this week for the World Cup. They still have black Jack's logo T-Shirts—featuring the World Cup logo also—for sale at $10 bucks a pop and still have some stock left too.

Thus the bartenders have been working epic schedules, and some days it showed. ;)


Monday the 14th notes:

Aimee didn't greet me with her usual JEREMY! holler. She was listening to Tanisha tell her a story. Of course sensitive me got worried (was she mad 'cause I hadn't yet paid up on that picture I've been giving her bits of cash for over time?), but I told myself to stop worrying.

Even when she talked to other bald dude, I got worried, but then told myself again to not worry.

Just learned from Aimee B. you can put citrus juice on apples and other things to keep them from browning and keep them fresh

It was dead inside. Aimee on bar. Texas Loft watcher dude aka Scuba Steve, motorcycle dog friend man, bald white guy name I forgot. Tanisha and her boyf(??) were to my right, but they left and she looks a whole hell of a lot better. Not as sick it seems.

I listened as they told a story of a dude who tossed another dude's bicycle since he was being a jerk for some reason, then that guy Another-Dude ran into Bike-Tossing-Dude in a super market like the next day and that's when Another-Dude literally ran away from Bike-Tossing-Dude.

There were also stories told of self-arresting (that is, the art of getting oneself arrested all by one's self) and undercover SJPD stopping a near-knife attack at a downtown night spot.

Will I be able to pay off Aimee B. for the picture by July 1st? Time will tell!


Tuesday the 15th notes:

Tanisha is back in action. White collar types were back in attendance too. Tanisha was pretty sick and that's all I'll say about that, save that she's returned now and feisty as ever (No, Tanisha, that does not qualify "as something negative on the internet about you." Stop being so damned sensitive, m'kay?*) Quick afternoon visit right after dropping my coworker Tres Gringos Steve off at his place.

Yep, carpool FTW.

One beer FTW too.

Moving on...


Wednesday the 16th:

Today was a day where Wes shared his box (like a whole cardboard box) of Chinese food from Wings up the street. It was also a day where Thunder bought copious shots and called me assorted sexist names (Faggot! Slut! Whore!), kindly offered to sexually abuse me (I'm going to fuck you in the ass! Then I'm going to fuck everyone in the ass!) and otherwise made patently false claims (It's my birthday!)

Keith invited me to attend the 1st annual (well, as far as I know) Cornhole Tournament at Jack's later this summer. (Official rules here.)

This tournament does not involve the anus in any way, so I feel safe. By the way, Keith and I will win. So you can cry your tears of fail now and get it out of the way. Then you can start saving your pennies to buy me and Keith beers all day after we win. That's very nice of you.

After giving Thunder a ride home I tried to bounce Thunder's balls on a 2x6 piece of wood repeatedly. For the record, this also did not involve the anus. He was fully clothed, mostly passed out and was practically crying out to be abused. Mercy is a virtue.


Thursday the 17th:

Tanisha was working the bar when I strolled during happy hour.

Charlie was outside painting the walls either side of the entrance (having already removed the Jack's logos—which will be refurbished, painted and re-hung later this week or next).

This was one of those days where I stayed too long at the bar and lost track of all that I had to drink. Fortunately I got home at a decent hour (like before 1 a.m.) and went to work with no hangover. That, believe it or not, is an improvement.

Things recollected:

*During the game I cheered and raised my hands up and managed to hit a guy's glass. This guy (named Eli) spilled his beer all down his shirt. He'd a probably been more uppity if it wasn't for the fact that he was such a shorty. Still I apologized and offered Eli another beer, but he declined and said he was already closing out. Didn't keep him from shooting daggers at me with his eyes.

*Tall Nicole telling me a story of a thin white dude all but disappearing into the vagina of a (very, very) very big black woman at the entrance to the Exotic Erotic Ball. In her words, it "was like vaginal consumption!" Fastest $100 she ever spent, as she was in and out the door after witnessing that spectacle.

*Tall Nicole telling me a story of Reggae on the Rocks. She saw this old school hippy white guy busting a move with some other woman (I think it was a big black woman). Then Tall Nicole said a phrase of some sort that she coined at the sight of those two people and saying it again made her laugh her head off in the bar. I can't remember it though.

*Charlie buying me a shot.

*Helping Jenny finish her shot from that round.

*Jenny thoughtfully asking Tall Nicole "..now how do we get Jeremy laid?" Thanks Jenny. I appreciate you looking out for me, you tree hugger you! ;) (She'd just come back from seeing the redwoods today and as I understand it you can't help but hug the damn things when you're right next to them. She didn't see any Ewoks though.)

*Another Charlie shot.

*Met a guy named Bahb (like Bob, but spelled insanely) who was a sponsored skater back in the 70s and retired more or less in 1978. He skated with Tony Alba at the Pipeline Skate Park in Los Angeles. Also with some guy named Peralta too. ;)

*Met a man named Paris. He's a Bay Area man, a strong looking fellow, friendly, and wondered aloud why I was limiting myself to alcohol. I think I've met him before.

*Yesenia of The Big Purple Root (Day 32)showed up, pretty as ever, with a friend of hers. Yesenia did a smell test on my beard and pronounced it clean. She did recommend I scent it up with cologne, but I can't remember if it was Calvin Klein or some other fragrance that she suggested after I queried her as to her taste. You ask me, I think my beard ought to smell like Whiskey so that's what I'm drinking. Yesenia has a big smile, beautiful teeth and hair that's cut short and curly. Something tells me she'd rip me in half in bed, so I’m not gonna go there. Yesenia wore the Aztec calendar on a round pendant attached to a necklace. (Yep I was looking real close...when you're buzzed and sitting next to someone you consider to be potentially physically dangerous in bed, you can't help but tempt fate a little.)

*Joaquin walked in, lifted me up like a rag doll, gave me one of those WWE bear hugs and swung me around a bit. That I didn't hit anyone else's beer with my feet is a miracle. And my back is still a wee bit sore.

Aside from that, I wrote down in my notes "Angel Essence FTW!" but I can't remember what that's about. Anyone?


Friday the 18th

Can you say, "Jeremy drank A LOT"? So can I.

Today I was fed 5 (that's "five" in letters) shots by certain not-to-be-named bar people. I could tell you why I'm not naming them, but I don't want to in order to protect them, just in case.

I will say this: THANKS! :D

Today Tanisha told me, "No slamming cans!" I explained I'd slammed it down in celebration of completing my tall boy and from having lots of fun (after several shots, you'd slam yours too!). She replied that it's like I'm demanding another beer from her ASAP and that's not to be done.

The bartender makes the rules, so that's how it goes. My apologies, Tanisha!

Later that night I elbowed Tanisha in the head (not kidding). Total accident. Honest!

This was one of those nights where I took a break to run home and get my beer koozie. I left my card with Lindsay so she could order another beer, which she did. When I returned, I ordered up a pitcher (which the koozie fits just fine) and had lots of fun well into the night.

Something cool: Brian—who works at the Hyde Park Cocktail Lounge off 4th and Commercial Monday through Friday until 6 pm each day right here in San Jose—told me is that a customer of his (some sort of reporter) knew about the San Jose Sharks players who had visited Jack's on Day 144

Q. How'd she know if she wasn't in attendance?
A. She explained to him that she'd read it on my blog.

Kick ass!

I remember Brian being there that day, but I don't think I knew who he was at that time.

Then Brian told me his all-access pass story when USC played Stanford. He rubbed shoulders with everyone and anyone football famous, then got right up on the edge of the playing field to watch the game. If you'd been at the bar with me and seen the look on his face, you'd know just how intensely awesome that experience was for him.

Charlie mentioned he'd like to write a movie script titled, "The Modern Drunkard".

I recall talking with Fremont Matt at night. I also recall singing "A Boy Named Sue" with Grant and Christian when the sun was still up. That was fun.

I also recall Tanisha in Aimee's clothes. She wore a red butterfly in her hair that matched the red flannel-ish button up shirt she had on (the one Aimee ordered from Japan, if memory serves). Total Incredible Hulk moments, those. See me for clarification.

Speaking of Aimee: It seems like she's turned a corner in my eyes. Somehow she's more, oh I dunno, at peace? No, that's not right. Well, it is, but it's more a place holder word for another, better word I haven't figured out yet. Let's just say she's more awesome and leave it at that.


Saturday the 19th

I was supposed to attend Thunder and Crystal's Summer Kick Off BBQ party today, but dodged it as I was feeling especially dead in my soul.

Were I wise I'd have dodged Friday partying in lieu of partying today, but the idea of back to backs (that is, a Saturday party and then a Sunday party...yes, I have a social life now thank you very much) seemed 100% not good at all to me.

I'm sure I'd have tried to have a ton of fun if I'd gone, but my heart would not have been in it.

Today I was up early (had to give a lady friend a morning ride to her car) so I found myself on an equally early trip to Jack's today.

The World Cup was of course showing on all the flat screen TVs and Jordan kindly filled me in on the particulars of the World Cup rules for advancement to the final group of 16 teams, as well what the US team needed to do in order to make it into that select group. Thanks for answering my many questions.

Travis was at the bar too and had put out a dare on Facebook that same morning: if 20 people responded to him he'd wear a dress to work at Jack's tonight. He thought nobody would be up that early on a Saturday so he'd be fine and not have to do it.

There were more than 20 responses by the time I gave him a ride home an hour or so later.

In between then and, err...then, he consoled himself by dunking cinnamon Pop Tarts into Whiskey.

Tall Nicole was sleepy behind the bar and I can sure understand why. Back to backs must be tough as hell when working at a bar.

Thanks Jordan for buying us two rounds of shots. I was only intending to drink Coke at the bar, but damn if whiskey doesn't wake a person up (for another hour at least).


Sunday the 20th:

Doggy Days at Jack's! Today was the first of four monthly affairs at Jack's where everyone is invited to bring their dog and enjoy free BBQ (which was damn good, let me tell you). The dogs get to enjoy some free doggie treats, plenty of water and the company of other dogs.

They had a flat screen set up out back for World Cup action.

Thanks go out to Lindsay for the quiet get-together at her place Sunday night. Incredible pasta, good wine, good bread, cool sunset air and friends.

My last act at Jack's was to return later that night and pick a lovely friend up who needed a ride from the bar. It's good to be able to return a favor.

See you all next week at Jack's!



*Just kidding! Things are back to normal now that you've returned, Tanisha. I'm glad you're well and hope you stay as healthy as can be. I can't do this without you.

Ok, maybe I could, but it would basically suck if you're not there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 159-164: I Feel Alright Tonight

Tuesday, June 8th to Sunday, June 13th


Dear Reader,

Run away and don't look back if you're allergic to poetry. Don't say I didn't warn you.


I Feel Alright Tonight

This week Fallon fed me alcohol
and Wendee fed me kisses

This week I ran away and then right back
to a woman could be called "the missus"

This week I watched a man leap on a friend
who was already on top of a dude

They fed us whiskey from the bottle
And nothing they did was considered rude

This week I fell into a rut
Yet somehow fell back out

This week I spent every day drinking with friends
finding in this little reason, if any, to pout

This week I met a suos-chef
Who who wants to buy the veggies from my garden

I'm not all that sure how to spell "sous-chef"
If misspelled, I humbly beg your pardon

This week I met Crystal's mother
I saw pictures of Crystal before she had tattoos

I'd pick the mother over the daughter
if ever I was forced to choose

This week ends with me writing at home
In the wan light of the setting sun

Happy that the year is not yet half over.
Happy for a life filled with friends and fun.

See you Monday at Jack's!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 158 - Old School Joe and WTF?!?!?

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Dear Reader,

[pardon me for a sec while I pay this overdue Comcast bill online. Thanks Sugi and Carter for the three way help on that]

...

Today at Jack's I met a woman named Gail and a man named Joe. I didn't get to talk to Gail much, but I did speak to Joe.

Joe sat under TV #1, at the foot of the L-shaped bar. I sat between him and one seat over from Gail.

Joe wore faded blue jeans and a durable looking light blue button up long sleeve shirt. He had a hat on, but I don't remember the color or any logo.

What's unique about Joe is his eyes. Why? Because you can't hardly see them! Looking at him, it's hard to tell if his eyes are even open all the way. He seems like someone who has worked outside all his life, without benefit of sunglasses the whole damn time. (I know people who've grown up in the snowy mountains of Colorado who don't squint that tight.) Anyway, I was to find out real soon that this idea of mine about his life was dead on accurate.

And the nice thing was, the more we talked the more his eyes opened up. Eyes open and smiling and that old, wrinkled, tough as leather-looking face became animated and happy.

So, Joe was born in 1947 (or 48?), he's is retired, is drawing on Social Security and lives in a trailer on a ranch up Mount Hamilton way. That ranch covers 40 acres and he looks after all of it. He has to put in a minimum of ten hours a week. Any more time spent and that's "on him" as he says, but he "don't mind doing more."

When Joe was a kid he used to play in the ditches that bordered the farms around Steven's Creek Boulevard where the Cadillac dealership is now located. He spent pretty much his whole life picking crops in the Bay Area.

His uncle (also named Joe) owned Standard Produce of San Jose and his dad used to work there too. Standard Produce was located where the Gordon Biersch brewing facility is currently located, right along the railroad. According to Joe, this whole part of San Jose (Japantown and the surrounding warehouses north of Taylor) was once a centralized hub for shipment of Bay Area-grown produce to all parts of the state along the railroad, with things really humming around 1955.

From time to time you can find Joe cooking up the free barbecue they sometimes have (courtesy of the owner) at C&J's Sports Bar in Santa Clara, just off Lafayette street near the Jack in the Box. C&J's has been showing a lot of the big fights recently and according to Joe it gets pretty packed some nights.

If Measure J goes through for the new stadium, C&J's is the first bar you'd hit on your way out after a game, or so Joe says.

Aimee B. was tending bar today and the bar itself wasn't all that packed. Maybe eight of us total, not including Aimee. I made arrangements with Aimee to contact her later this week so I can make the final payment on the photograph I've had my eye on the last couple of months. Can't wait to hang it above the mantel piece!

See you Tuesday after work at Jack's!

...

As an aside: WTF? I meet someone cool at Jack's. I hang out with this person a couple weeks ago in Japantown. We have a good time. I discover this person is smart, has led an interesting life, is in a serious relationship with someone else and is perfectly willing to make plans to meet me in Mountain View (today) for some serious book store browsing action after work.

Totally platonic, btw.

But for my own basic inability to keep track of my personal finances (thus precipitating a trip to Gilroy for funds acquisition, which in fact ended up not happening in lieu of alternate last minute arrangements closer to home), the aforementioned trip to Mountain View is exactly what would have happened.

OK so this person got called away by work so we sort of ended up dual canceling on each other for different reasons, but what really got me was that after I suggested we try to communicate in the future this week to find a good time to retry the get together, later today this person notified my by text that they had to stop hanging out with me because their significant other got wind of the fact that we visited (once) and got all upset about it.

I say again: WTF? What am I, a best-friend stealing thief? Has the significant other looked at me lately? I am most certainly not the amorous heart pick pocketing type! A bristly bearded, shaven-headed man of my girth does not naturally ooze the sort of manly confidence (read: charm) that allows one to go around randomly burglaring a love interest away from the love interested.

Travis has that power, I suppose, because as bartenders go he's a Jedi Master (and has a nice head of hair; and his facial hair is entirely under control).

I, however, do not have that power, in the bar or out.

Anyway, I am of the opinion that if you love someone, you do everything in your power to make them the best version of themselves that they can be. Above all, you ought to ensure they are happy.

In this I think my friend from Jack's and I would be in agreement.

But where I think we would disagree is at what point you draw the line betwixt providing for a love's happiness and seeing to your own happiness.

So to review: either I was lied to and the person I was to meet just plain old doesn't want to hang out; or the person I was to hang out with is so immesurably, deeply in love that any possibility of causing discomfit to the significant other in his or her life would be a pure crime; or the significant other is impossibly insecure and so has created a black hole relationship that swallows up any possibility for the bright star that is the new friend I made at Jack's and was to hang out with today of making any new friends.

In closing, I realize I should be careful. After all, I can't exactly judge a relationship for which I'm entirely ignorant of its complexities and particulars. Yet I can't help but wonder: what price, happiness?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 152 - 157: Of Falons, Flugtags and Fail

Tuesday, June 1st to Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Falon is a handful. She's tiny, but a handful. She's a devil because with her it's details galore and I haven't even scratched the surface of who she is or what she's about. Details follow:

Look for the type-face font, all lower case in classic black tattoo ink on the top of her left wrist: it spells out a single word. "live." ...if memory serves.

Identify her friends as the ones that have the same style of tattoo, but with a different word for each woman.

See the Betsey Johnson earrings she wears: a tiny dark-bejeweled skull, with an almost invisible pink ribbon adorning the top of the skull, one on each ear.

Compared to those earrings, the brightly-bejeweled Hello Kitty bracelet on her right arm practically shouts out its presence, with Kitty's head big around as a half-dollar coin.

Fallon likes skulls. In her words: "I have a skull fucking fetish."

Make sure you read that right, Dear Reader. That's "fucking" as in "wow, that's fucking awesome!" (i.e., for emphasis) and not as in the act of fucking a skull.

Tonight Fallon had an hour and a half long case of the hiccups. I didn't have the heart to try and scare her out of them, even though she kept asking me to.

Fallon knows how to make herself comfy. She can take her socks and laced up shoes right off without using her hands. But she's not so good at putting them back on after 3 a.m.

Luckily helping a woman put her shoes on is something I learned to do a long time ago. It was nice to put the skills back into practice before getting Fallon into the truck and on the road back to Jack's.

Fallon is good at alliteration, too. For example, she uttered the following F-Bomb triple pack on the way back to Jack's from Thunder and Crystal's place: "Fuck you, fucking fuckers!"

To be clear, she was speaking in the general direction of a certain SJPD patrol car that was busy ignoring traffic lights a half block in front of us as I drove down Taylor.

She also has a very pretty belly button. I bet she can't remember when she showed me, or why. ;)

Falon has a taste for chicken nuggets and is not afraid to holler at you in order to get your attention. I am certain I'll see her at Jack's again, and I can't wait, because she's awesome.

In case you need further evidence of this fact: you may recall all the way back on Day 1, where I described a group of women who bought and tried on Jack's tank tops, with one of them changing in the bar while the rest went in back to put there's on? The "one" was Fallon.

She asked me then if I danced, and I said no (needed to be way more drunk to dance). Because of that question (and for a few other reasons) that's what I'm going to do next year: 365 days of learning how to dance.

She's a bartender, can pace you shot for shot and knows how to dance. Her sister is very talented too.

She's left her mark on me. So, like I said, she's awesome. Meet her, if you get the chance.

....

Hardcore Braves Fan was at Jack's on Sunday the 6th. He sat at table 2 and I sat with him. He was busy watching game two of the Lakers - Celtics championship series and casually mentioned he'd run a triathlon this morning.

Yep, chill as can be.

Soon as he said it I looked at him for visible signs of tiredness, but he wasn't showing it. No rings under his bright blue eyes, no slow movements when he got up to get another beer. Hellz if I'd just run one of those I'd be at home sleeping the rest of the day, I'm sure of it.

When asked, Hardcore Braves Fan made it clear he was tired, but not so tired he couldn't go to the bar for a couple beers and watch some sports. I'd like to be in that good a shape.

...

Have you seen the new art at Jack's? It's awesome.

...

You can buy sponsorships for the Jack's Flugtag team. $20 gets whatever you can fit on a slip of paper (more or less), with that phrase printed on a t-shirt with the Jack's logo and other sponsor's messages for the Jack's Flugtag Team.

The T-Shirts themselves will be priced at $10, with proceeds going towards financing the Team's trip to Long Beach in August. Look for the Whiskey Avengers to make a showing at Jack's in support of the Team too, or so I hear.

...

Saw Gabby on Sunday as I was leaving Jack's. She was dressed in black and looked painfully pretty.

Oh, yeah: Sunday fail. I'm sorry, Wendy. I really am.

...

See you Monday, so we can do this all over again. Take care until then, Dear Reader.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 145-151: Taking It Easy...Well, Mostly ;)

Tuesday, May 25th to Monday, May 31st, 2010

When I look back on the last seven days, it occurs to me that I was fortunate enough to spend time with several notable women each day, whether at Jack's or Cinnabar, at Roy's Station, at the Giants game, squished together in a car at 3 a.m. or in a stranger's kitchen where there were truffles on crackers, real butter from France (seriously) and Rum from the Dominican Republic.

I mention this not to brag, but to put in writing what is for me the highlight of an otherwise depressing weeklong state of affairs (read: state of mind).

Bang!-Bang! once told me that in his opinion a bar is just not the place one should go to meet people. Based on my experience, I don't think that's true—and I may have even said as much in a previous post or two. But I think it bears repeating now, if only as a testament to the fact that Jack's is, if anything, an exception to this rule.

There are not many things that fill me with warmth and pride. The success of my fledgeling garden is one (you only need one hand to cound the number of plants that have died so far). Keeping the Jack's streak alive is another (though I still wonder sometimes just what the hell it is I'm doing). Being fortunate enough to have women—real honest-to-God women—approach me out of the blue with a warm smile and even warmer embraces; that ask me about my day, how I'm feeling and what's going on in my life; who look forward to seeing me and feel comfortable around me; who want to drink, dance and have a good time with me...well, that's something I'm extremely proud of.

Would that all men measured themselves by the relative esteem they were held in by the women in their lives.

I still need to work on building up the nerve to really talk to a woman. To try and show some wit (yes I have a wit, somewhere), look them right in the eye and keep them talking to me. They're giving me chances, I just have to figure out how to keep their attention, now that I've found the nerve not to run away. ;)

....

These last seven days I've made a point to not stay too late and drink at the bar. ACME had invited me to Jack's late on Thursday to celebrate the completion of his last college final. My plan was to do a two-a-day visit (sort of like in high school football where the coaches would have players do a morning and late afternoon practice), with a visit to Jack's right after work, then a nap, then head out at 10 p.m. to see ACME and celebrate.

When I got home after the after-work bar visit, the desire to return later that night utterly left me. I absolutely did not want to drink late into the night. I mean I could feel it in my body, as though every cell was joined together in a sing-song chant of "Hell no, we won't go!"

I felt guilty for not showing up, but I also felt great the next morning after a full night's sleep. The anger I felt towards the young men who were slapping women's asses and pinching them (including Sugi's, twice) on Wednesday night was still riding hard through my brain by Friday morning though. That night I'd told Ras Dank about it right after Sugi complained to me, but he was very busy and failed to see each of the subsequent three instances where those drunken assholes dancing in the front of the bar harassed women as they tried to get by.

Being tired of drinking late at night, not wanting to have my beard grabbed and experiencing anxiety over how I might react to someone mistreating a friend of mine all put a damper on my desire to visit the bar and drink this week. I wish I had Ras Dank's and Travis' ability to remain totally patient and calm when dealing with people. Going from zero to boiling mad is not a recipe for cordial relations between bar patrons. ;)

These things might seem small to you, Dear Reader, but they often stay with me for days and weeks at a time. I make no excuse of it. It is simply who I am.

This week's conversations with Christian were quite fun and illuminating. The idea that he and I might find our way onto a television show sounds awesome. What's the harm in trying, right? I have a goal to get my name on the list of credits at the end of a major movie (even if it's just "Lead Bus Boy With A Beard" or what have you) so Christian's plan is a step in the right direction.

Aimee B.'s graduation party was a blast too. Grant grilled up some fantastic food and the celebration was a lot of fun. I'm happy to have been at Jack's for that.

Looking into Katy's eyes at Cinnabar was intense and unnerving. I can't wait to do that again. If I have to chase/walk Thunder safely home again in the dead of night as part of the deal, I'll gladly take him anywhere (even if he hollers at tall buildings at the top of his lungs and proclaims entire city blocks are his to sleep with).

I spent most of today (Monday) suffering under the oppressive weight of my house (read: depression), but thankfully Lindsay Lee threw me a lifeline on Facebook that snapped me out of my funk and got me on my way to the bar.

Sorry for running late, Lindsay, and thanks for saving me so to speak.

To recap: The pendulum swung away from Jack's at the start of the week, then right back to it at the end of the week.

Hope you enjoyed the three day weekend. See you Tuesday at Jack's!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 144 - Bidding Adeu to Los Tiburones and I Almost Punched A Woman

Monday - May 24 - 2010

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were awesome."
-Old School Doug, speaking to Thunder


OK, bad part first. Out of the blue a pretty woman (who wasn't all that drunk from what I could tell) got a (double?) handful of my beard and made a closed fist, pulling the hairs in tight, then she slowly pulled down.  White hot pain erupted under my chin and flowed down my neck as she pulled.

The pain was more than just what you feel when the hair on your head gets pulled. The skin on a man's face is extremely sensitive underneath a beard (ask any man who's just shaved his beard off and he'll tell you his face feels super sensitive to the touch, to the point where he can fully feel air moving over it).

I held my anger in but my heart was racing because I was raging fucking mad.

It's scary when you're good and drunk, because the mind doesn't always take the step of thinking about the consequences of an action. For example, when she pulled my beard it hurt like a son of a bitch so my mind came up with A) make the pain go away and B) punish the person who hurt you. If I'd had any more to drink prior to the event, I'm afraid I might not have stopped myself by realizing the consequences (going to jail for assault) of the action I very much wanted to take (punch my abuser square in the nose to make her let go).

When I consider how close I came to actually doing that...well it's just not something I think I could live with, if I'd actually hit a woman.

As it was she let go and I focused all I could on the conversation I was engaged in with Hair Puller's friend as we were sitting on the flower planters together out front of Jack's. I could feel my heart banging away in my chest because the anger and pain was still going strong and I think at one point I actually tried to fireman's carry Hair Puller, but thankfully lost my balance so she ended up picking me up off the ground with her friend's help.

A little while later when I was walking across the street to go home I spotted Hair Puller and her friend by their car. Here once again the first urge I had was to grab Hair Puller by the hair and give her a dose of the pain I felt. It's weird because I wasn't actively angry any more, rather the urge to do it just popped into my head and drunk as I was it seemed like a perfectly justified thing to do for at least the next few strides as I crossed the street.

By the time I got to them I'd thankfully mastered that urge and instead put a hand on both their shoulders and told them both it was nice to meet each of them tonight. I'd actually had a decent conversation with Hair Puller's friend (Melanie) and wanted to get to know her better.

At one point I turned to Hair Puller and told her point blank (but not rudely or threateningly) how much she hurt me and that the closest I've ever come to hitting a woman in my life was when she yanked on my beard. She seemed surprised by my statement. Then her friend asked for my number and we talked some more about this blog. I look forward to talking with Melanie about the blog (and this post in particular) after she's had a chance to read it.

The lesson here is that it takes two to tango: the woman (Abigail?) was at least buzzed, if not drunk. I was loaded drunk. That doesn't make what she did OK, but neither does it dismiss my responsibility to accept the consequences of my choice to stay late into the night when people are drinking. If you make that choice, expect that sometimes bad things can happen, even at the most well run of establishments.

The second lesson is that I should have had the one after-work beer and gone straight home, Sharks or no Sharks.

Prior to all that, I had a whole hell of a lot of fun observing Sharks players as they drank and played beer pong. Aimee B. was behind the bar and a few other bartenders were relaxing and hanging out.

I have to say the Sharks players were pretty well behaved and everyone in the bar had a great time. They played a lot of good music on the jukebox (Kenny Chesney, Dave Mathews Band, Soggy Bottom Boys, Fleetwood Mac--Setoguchi's mom used to play Fleetwood Mac in the car when he was a kid), were very patient with JoJo when he hit on them, and a couple of them took the time to shake people's hands before they left.

It didn't look to me like the ladies minded all that much when a player took his shirt off to try on a Jack's tank top. ;)

Old School Doug noticed an older, red flannel wearing player with a trucker hat and dirty black handle bar moustache growing over a short-cut black beard who was hanging back, watching all the other guys as they had fun. That player sat where Doug normally would sit in the bar (under TV #1) and just like Doug he had his back to the wall and was sitting comfortably, as though he wasn't so much sitting in the bar as he was putting the bar on. Doug said that players was in escort/papa bear mode and it seemed to me like he was too.

It occured to me that I couldn't recognize any of the players in civilian clothes. I couldn't tell if they were all of them players, or some of them players and others friends they might have invited to come along for the night.

It's too bad the Sharks season ended short of the Stanley Cup Finals, but they seem like a solid bunch of guys and I wish them all the best for next season. I'm glad they got a chance to just be themselves, hang out at Jack's and have fun.

Before I forget: Crown Royal Special Reserve was tonight's around the world drink. It was smooth, almost sweet and made my lips and the skin underneath my moustache tingle whenever I let it sit in my whiskers after a drink. This one's best to drink dry. No need for water or ice.

And thanks to Patty M. for the Tuna Melt and fries. That hit the spot.

See you Tuesday at Jack's!

Day 143 - Lost Season Finale

Sunday - May 23 - 2010

I never watched the television show Lost. Well, I saw bits and pieces of two episodes. And I liked what I saw, but it just never hooked me like Survivor or CSI: Las Vegas did.

Inside the bar on Sunday night the lights were up and it wasn't too crowded. Lots of people were talking even though the season finale of Lost was playing on TV #4.  Some people were grumbling to each other about the series and how it seemed to them like it'd been stretched past its useful lifetime as a show.

Me? I was just curious to see if I recognized any of the characters just to see who was still alive this late into the series. It was cool that the jumping back and forth from the island to the real world was still taking place, as this was something I saw happen on a mid-season episode a couple years ago and I thought the dual-life format was pretty entertaining.

Ras Dank was behind the bar tonight and it was a pretty chill evening. Just what the doctor ordered after Saturday's endless drinking on the Party Bus.

I had my one beer and called it a night. See you Monday night at Jack's.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 142 - PARTY BUS!

Saturday - May 22 - 2010


Pictures are easier then words sometimes. Thus:



The bus has arrived.



We all like beer (and jello shots and jungle juice and J├Ągermeister and whiskey).


Every one of these people has to piss like a race horse.


 The Away Team in action. Thanks to Grady, McBride and Charlie for the grub. Big hot dogs, polish sausages and burgers, with the option to have them dipped in wing sauce, barbecue sauce or chili before serving them up on your bun. My mouth's watering while I write...

You can't quite see the old school Star Wars hat on her head. It's kick ass.


Their food makes you this happy.


Anna, our driver. Thank you Anna!


Chips, Salsa and Joaquin.



View of the field from the bleacher seats. Joaquin and I had to get a security gaurd to help us find a pair of seats. Everyone (and I mean everyone) was saving seats for people that never seemed to show up.
 Crazy, grumpy, snarky crowd at the game today.


After the game: thanks, man.



The going home party bus crowd. Shot by Patty M.


I have to poop. After you take this picture, I will fall over. But fortunately Jeremy and Sara will break my fall with their bodies. And that's a Jello Shot stain on my hat.


Home sweet home.


Thunder and Crystal, at the bar before the game.


 Thunder and Crystal, after the game. ;)

A few different people told me that this party bus was relatively tame compaired to the previous trips. If this was tame...damn! Those other trips must have been insane.

For all that, it was a blast to hang out with a legion of cool people. Thanks Jack's for all your work to put this together and make it so much fun. I'm already looking forward to the Raiders - 49ers Party Bus later this year.

Several of the Party Bus goers stayed at Jack's after we were dropped off.  I enjoyed talking at length with Christian and Jenny and their two friends, but I can't remember their names. Drank some more with Joaquin and enjoyed the sunset air as the breeze the was blowing all day made its way into San Jose.


Travis says "Hi!"


Wingmen.


Bryce and Nick: post-game grub.


If you were on the bus and want to add anything to the tale, leave a comment below.

See you Sunday at Jack's!

Day 141 - Another Sharks Loss and Strung Up In El Paso Texas

Friday - May 21 - 2010

The biggest payment you'll ever make as an artist is a copyright infringement payment.
-The Photographer

The Photopher and I were sitting out on the back patio of Jack's tonight. I asked him if he was the type who asked to take someone's picture or if he would rather take the shot, then show the subject the picture just taken then ask for permission to use it.

The Photographer said he would take the shot first, then ask for permission (unless it wasn't practical or didn't seem necessary)

Shut methods don't come without consequences, though.

With his camera hanging from a strap around his neck in El Paso Texas, The Photographer was busy taking pictures for a multi-city film project. He went into a bar with blacked out windows and took a picture of a man who'd prefer his picture to have not been taken. That man literally grabbed the camera, twisted it and lifted The Photographer up by the neck.

The Photographer was able to smooth things out, keep his camera and keep the picture. But now he doesn't carry a camera around his neck anymore.

Earlier in the day, when the sun had not yet set and the Sharks had just lost for the third straight time to the Chicago Blackhawks, I met a man named Clemente.

Clemente is 72 years old and had a hand in the sale of the bar to its current owner. Clemente and I shared Table #5 while his friend chatted with the owner of the bar. I told Clemente about the blog and how I plan to spend one day every year at Jack's. I remarked on how sore everyone was over the Sharks loss, how the bar cleared out so fast and that maybe people would still be at the bar if the Sharks had won.

When Clemente his reply, his words were often cut short; he didn't seem to always pronounce each word fully when he spoke. His sentences were very short and to the point. His tone was always low, his voice raising up only on those parts of each sentence that were the most important to hear.

He said his philosophy was as follows: "My father would say: be a man. Your team lost? Be a man about it. Some guy gives you trouble in the bar? Tell the bartender this guy's giving you trouble, and you walk away. What's he worth to you over some trouble? Nothing. If he [really] wants to fight, you say OK it's you and me and we'll fight. Everyone else [on either side] can watch. But if his friends want in, you walk away. He's not worth a fight because he's not a man [about it]."

As his friend walked to the table Clemente and I shared, Clemente stood, turned towards me and shook my hand. His hand was very cold. As we shook, he turned his hand so mine was over his, then he placed his other hand on top of mine and said, "Remember this. What I told you." Then he let go and they both left.


Tonight I learned from Travis that there will be an "away team" for tomorrow's party bus. There job will be to set up the barbecue and get all the food and tables ready for when the bus arrives. I love it when Star Trek references find their way into normal conversation. Kick ass.
 
Tonight was a fun night. Joaquin and I traded pitchers of beer together after the game ended. I watched Charlie and Tanisha come out from behind the bar to serve drinks and ultimately a check to a trio of women at Table #2, then busy themselves with prep, cleanup and the transfer of power from one bartender to the other. (You don't often see the bartenders bring drinks to a table.) I met a pair of beautiful women named Carolina (Caroleena) and Irene (Eerehneh), and talked with them for a good half our on the back patio. Carolina's mouth was small, her lips a metallic shade of red like you'd find on a sports car. It didn't occur to me until I sat down to write this blog post how closely Carolina resembled my high school sweetheart's mother. God those lips....
 
What else? Ah! Over the course of the night I danced with Maria, chatted with Martha and traded sly smiles with Mercedes. Wendee arrived near midnight after working all day long and hung out with her friend Cessie.
 
I like women. ;)
 
See you Saturday at Jack's for the party bus!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 140 - The Flugtag Conundrum

Thursday - May 20th - 2010

Jack and Jill
Have shut the till.
They're sacked! We weep for sorrow.
But greasy Mac,
The Brewer's jack
Will open up tomorrow.

--from "Time, Gentlemen—for Some New Pub Songs", E.S. Turner, Punch, July 3, 1974, page 7, Vol. 267
 
 
After yesterday's adventure in getting bodily high, I knew that I wasn't interested in a second adventure of any kind, even if it was alcohol-fueled only.
 
My best bet would be to get in right after work, drink the beer up and get out. And that's what I more or less did.
 
Tanisha was behind the bar today. The place was not that full. Maybe ten or eleven people in the bar and nobody seated at any of the wall tables.

I spoke to Charlie and later Christian about the Flugtag contest in Long Beach coming up this August 21st that Jack's earned a spot in with their cave man entry video (sorry, no linky yet that I can find--but trust me it's hilarious).
 
The consensus was that going on a "field trip" with the Jack's folks to Long Beach would be well within the purview of the bar blog...it's like going to school and one day they're like "hey, we're going to the zoo and it's a school thing so it's not like you're taking a day off or anything; technically you're still at school."
 
Same concept here. I wouldn't be at Jack's at all on Saturday the 21st (I'd be in the LBC), but it would still "count" as a trip to the bar and I'd have one hell of a blog post to write too.
 
Thing is I can't quite wrap my head around it. I mean I can see the "field trip" logic and it makes sense, but I'm hung up on physically going to the bar each day. For me it's walking in to the bar on a new day that counts. If I didn't walk into the bar on that particular Saturday, the streak would end.

Charlie's idea is that if I stay late at the bar on Friday night and into Saturday morning (i.e., after midnight) then I'm at the bar on Saturday. I'd been counting such overlaps as part of the day prior, which would normally mean for Saturday to count I'd have to show up later in the day after any true Saturday bartender was on duty (because then it's Saturday and no longer Friday).
 
Anyway, I've got plenty of time to think about it. The more important thing to recognize is that Charlie and Christian were nice enough to encourage me to come along with them to Flugtag. I really appreciate that.

What's your opinion, Dear Reader?
 
You can let me know in person Friday at Jack's. Or, post a comment below and let me know what you think I should do. Take care!