Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31 - Month #1 Complete

Lolz I didn't realize until I set out to write the title for this post that I'd completed the first month of visiting Jack's Bar & Lounge.

Reading back over the blog, I find it remarkable that a month has already gone by.

I do like the utility of the blog though. Of being able to remember things more easily through the words; they act as cues for my memory. They bring images to mind of each night's visit and remind me of all the things I didn't write and that I chose not to write.

There are some times now that I won't visit Jack's. This is not to say I'll miss a day. Not at all.

But I can't say why.

Perhaps when eleven more months have gone by and I'm done with this silly project, I can return to Jack's at those times and make it clear I'm just like everyone else, with no inclination what so ever to write.

You know what, fuck that. I won't go in because I'm behaving like a pussy. Those words I lined out also imply it's others who make me feel uncomfortable, but the truth is nobody at Jack's does that. Not one person. If there's an issue, it's with me.

Moving on....

The walls at Jack's were still bereft of artwork (hanging is on Tuesday, IIRC) and was full of people I didn't recognize, save for three.

There was Rina behind the bar, in a particularly jovial mood. Her laughter came easily and drowned out the sounds of the Pro Bowl coming from all the speakers, as well as the conversations of the patrons, but it wasn't unpleasant.

Rina has the kind of laugh that sort of grabs you and lifts you up as though a whole crowd of people were laughing at a shared joke and you feel the need to get in on it so you can have fun too.

There was a couple I've seen before. He: handsome in a simple t-shirt. She: all dark, curly locks of hair, with a face that makes you want to capture it in every form of media imaginable because it's so incredibly beautiful. I know their names, but won't write them.

I tried to find substitute names for them ala the Naming Conspiracy, but I'd have to use an Archangel and a Porn Star to do it. Doesn't seem right.

Plz get ur phone fixd soon, Drew!

Anyway, I had my beers, watched some football and made to hit the road. Fortunately I ran into Shannon and Lisa as they were walking in, then my bar buddy Gary outside.

They lent a sense of "this is what I'm used to" to the night.

Good man, that Gary.

See you very late on Monday night at Jack's.

Day 30 - Of Wolf Moons and Mexican Jokes As Told By Latinos

I met a one legged woman. I asked her her name and she said it was Ilene. I thought "Ok" so then I asked her where she likes to eat. She told me IHOP. Damn!

Two Mexicans were drinking at the cantina and went out back to take a piss. They were going about their business when a cold wind blew through.
One guy says, "It's a little chilly."
The other guy says, "Speak for yourself, mine's a big chili."

Q. What do gay horses like to eat?
A. Haaaaaay.

-As told to me by da Vinci (Naming Conspiracy, remember?) and let me tell you da Vinci rocks.

I knew even before I walked in to Jack's Bar & Lounge tonight that mine would be a short trip. Heavy alcohol consumption wears on the soul and I just didn't feel like trading in the essence of my being for the privilege of having yet another hangover.

The wolf moon was in full effect, ducking in and out of the fast moving clouds like a headlight in the fog. A chill had settled in after sunset and I could see my breath as I walked across the street from the Happi House parking lot on 5th and Taylor to Jack's.

I saw da Vinci standing in the front yard of his neighbor's house and stopped to say hello. He introduced me to his neighbors and told me several jokes, some of which you were forced to read above. ;)

Swearengen (formerly the Godfather, Jack Black, Sean Connery and Burt Reynolds, but otherwise known as Travis) greeted me at the entrance to Jack's. We'll see you at Flames tomorrow morning, Travis.

From outside I could see that the interior walls of Jack's were bereft of paintings and artwork. Matt told me that his artwork was taken down because it was Aimee's turn to put up her work, which will be hung next Tuesday. Matt spent a good part of today patching small holes and repainting the walls.

That's something I've noticed about how Jack's is managed: they do a lot of regular upkeep and keep the bar looking new and fresh.

I don't like it when the walls are bare. Doesn't feel right. I am looking forward to what Aimee has in store, though. Her nudes are some of my favorite works. ;)

Inside the Shark's game had just ended (Shark's won!) and every seat in the house was full. I'm not sure if the crowd was into the game or not, but I did see at least one Shark's jersey. Matt returned from his break outside and poored me a beer while the DJ set up to start spinning.

Spent a lot of time out on the back patio where Dank* was working, just chilling (in the cold, haha), trying to avoid the water condensation that covered all the patio tables like a cold, wet blanket, writing notes to myself on my Blackberry and listening to three regulars smack talk about work.

Someone managed to pull around back and turn the corner at the patio fencing and park their car. I hope they don't drink too much, because backing out is going to be a bitch and that fence might take a hit or two when they try to get out.

At least the four people who exited the car were wearing so much perfume between them that it temporarily masked the scent of skunk that wafted in on the evening air as they walked around front to go inside. Made me think of a cheap Sex Panther knockoff. ;)

Dank turned on the heat lamps and I watched steam slowly curl up like cigarette smoke and evaporate into the night air as the metal lamp hoods heated up.

Dank's girlfriend Drew (Barrymore, my Naming Conspiracy co-plotter) was in attendance tonight, but she disappeared and I don't know where she went.

Back inside a crowd had started to form and I knew my time was short. I made to finish my beer when I saw a hand waving at me from the bar. I hadn't seen Gary in awhile but I sure as heck saw him tonight. His date was really beautiful and I'm glad I got to finally meet her in person. There's something about the smile of a beautiful woman that gets to me and tonight was no different.

Speaking of beautiful women: there were quite a few of them at Jack's. I like the gal who has the spiderweb tattoo on her arm (mentioned her previously in this blog, I think).

I went outside to speak with Swearengen some more, saw the bar owner slip inside to start his shift next to Matt (I really can't think of a code name for Matt --help, Drew!), checked the moon one more time and hit the road home.

See you Sunday at Jack's!

*Note: "Dank" is what this particular Jack's employee prefers to be called in the blog; thus Dank is not an actor or the name of a character from a movie -- you can find Dank spinning on Monday nights and working the door and tending bar several other days of the week.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 29 - Hold Space

Lolz too busy to write up my Friday-at-Jack's experience. Will be back to finish later.


Ok, in short order:
  • Saw Jeff tonight. Hadn't seen him in awhile and it was like a surprise visit from a long lost brother. I miss him so damn much. Bought him and Gabby some drinks.
  • Thank you Gabby for teaching me more about the back history of Jack's and Mission Alehouse. It was a a thrill to finally get to talk to you. Wish I'd have worked up the courage a long time ago, but know this: you're definitely worth waiting for.
  • Thank you Christian for the Jägermeister shots, for the beers and for letting me sleep over.
  • Had a great conversation with the bartender's mother. She remembers a time when bars were for old men only. We talked about hard work, working long hours and the wisdom in getting one's degree before one gets married. It was a pleasure to talk to you.
  • To the three bartenders and the crowd for making Friday so much fun.
See you Saturday night at Jack's!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 28 -Of ACME and The Shot Whisperer

Quote of the night:
Ever since the Raiders sucked dick, I've been a Shark's fan.

Before I forget: My apologies to Doug. I thought you were Mike. All you white people look the same to me.

Jack's Bar & Lounge was semi-full for the Shark's game tonight. Sucks that the Sharks lost to Chicago in overtime. Impressive comeback from a three goal deficit though. Watching Shark's games with a crowd is always fun, especially at Jack's.

People met tonight:
  • Tina, who plays Rugby with men or women and tells a good brain teaser (I would have kidnapped the woman of my dreams and left the old lady and the average woman on the side of the road). Hell of a coach, I'm told.
  • Chris, who remembers the halcyon days of Sacramento bars, particularly the one that would clean off its walls each year, then have them filled with bras belonging to newly christened 21 year olds by the end of the year. Those were, in Chris' words, the days.
  • Jim, a friend of Tod's, who's back in the Bay Area and looking to make it big one way or another.
  • The aforementioned Doug, who I thought was Mike from last night. Damn white people.
To be given a name is a blessing or a curse. If I overhear your being given a name at Jack's, it will very likely go on the internetz for all time. Thus, Jerry hath been christened by Travis as the Shot Whisperer.

I'm not sure why Travis did this, but it doesn't matter; it sounds cool.

Operation Naming Conspiracy got some wind in its sales tonight, via the executive decision to include animated characters as possible choices. Including fictitious corporations from animated TV shows is stretching that decision, but I'm easy like that.

If you read this blog regularly, you know I always mention anyone who buys me a drink. Today's entry is no exception. We could have called him Hawk from M.A.S.K, we could have called him Hefty Smurf, but no, we went one step further. His name shall be ACME.

My thanks to ACME's generosity tonight for the PBR and the Blueberry Press. Who would have know that soda water, 7-Up, ice and Blueberry flavored Stoli could taste so good? On ACME's advice this shall become a future summer drink, for when the days get ugly-hot.

Lord almighty it's a miracle. Not only did I get home before midnight, but el blog is done too!

Friday at Jack's should be fun. No curfew then. ;)

Before I forget: Dank is behind the bar on Saturday from opening until the night shift 'tenders arrive. If live bands are more your speed, check out Fat Cat's on Saturday. Travis (lolz, let's just call him The Godfather) will be there and so will three (or four?) local bands.

Until then, take it easy. See you at Jack's!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 27 - Of The State of The (Jack's) Union and Spousal Knife Fights

Borrowing from J. Robert King here: Garrison Keillor wrote that reading a self-indulgent poem is like finding a condom on a beach. You know someone has been there and has had a good time, but it doesn’t mean that much to you.

Hee hee this aint poetry, but I'm as self-indulgent in my writing as they come. So mind your step as I guide you along the sandy beaches of my mind. ;) 

And if you can't hack it, just drive yourself to Jack's Bar & Lounge instead. Whole lot less dirty that way.

So I feel better about walking in to Jack's. Kinda like I got my groove back after a rough, uncertain week, you know? Just don't call me Stella ....well, wait: you can call me Stella, if you also buy me a beer.

Speaking of strong, sexy, intelligent and opinionated women, I had a nice conversation with Lisa (who's happily married btw; all you Lotharios can look somewhere else--and besides, I saw her first) at the bar this evening.

Lisa gave me permission to use her first name in the blog (lolz The Naming Conspiracy is somewhat on hold, though there was universal agreement tonight that Travis would be better described as Jack Black, as opposed to Sean Connery or Burt Reynolds).

Lisa has some definite ideas about why people come to neighborhood bars. As she wisely pointed out, we all of us have excellent home stockpiles of liquors and beers, thus we can basically buy or mix the drinks we order at Jack's for a lot cheaper than the bar charges.

The reason people drive to a bar and pay more for their drinks, Lisa says, is because of the most basic benefit a good bar provides: socialization.

People come to the bar to meet other new people and to talk. Lisa pointed out she would have never met me had one or both of us not chosen to visit Jack's occasionally. We'd have not given each other more than a second look on the street if we'd walked by each other.

But because we visit Jack's, we've come to know each other and benefit from each other's company by being able to gripe about work, gripe about life, share the things that make us happy and talk about the things we each are doing like house projects, planning for and taking vacations and so on.

She agreed with me that some people come to a bar to disappear, so to speak. But even these people open up eventually and get to know those around them (yours truly being just such an example).

Aimee was tending bar and had the guns out (Ron Burgundy style). I've not actually seen all of Aimee's tattoos on her arms, so it was cool to be able to check them out finally.

A shift change was just around the corner, so the night crew arrived in short order: Rina to take over for Aimee (enjoy your trip!), Dank for door duty and DJ Benofficial to spin.

Met a guy named Mike and his two buddies, also JT, his girlfriend and their two friends. Major fail on writing names down. My bad.

My bar buddy Christian arrived soon after and spent the better part of the night giving me pointers on how to meet women. Lord knows I need them.

Thanks to Christian for the beer, the whiskey shot, for buying late night Der Wienerschnitzel and for telling me the story of how you met your incredible wife.

You had me totally fooled on the spousal knife fight and duct tape story, too.

I only hope my advice was as much use to you as yours was to mine.

Anyway, I'm late for my next trip to Jack's. See you there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 26 - Of Happy Campers and Naming Conspiracies

I'm going to spend the time from now (1:12 a.m.) until I actually fill in this blog entry later today after work deciding just how much I want to share about the very pretty woman I had the privilege of speaking with at Jack's Bar & Lounge tonight.

She's a really something else and I'm feeling a little selfish about her; i.e. I’m not all together in the mood to share because I want to keep this memory for myself alone. ;)

Regardless, I'm going to bed with a satisfied mind and a warm feeling right around my heart, and that's the truth of it, come what may.

We'll just call her Grace and leave it at that. All you fracking BSG fans ought to get the reference.

Later that day, as our hero returns from another epic battle in his eternal struggle to defeat the infinite legion of squirrels who secretly run Stanford University (that's why Stanford's mascot is a tree, by the way--and don't believe the Wikipedia entry on the tree either; despite what the squirrels want you to think, not everything on the interweb is true).....

Welcome back, dear reader!

No change on the first half of this blog post. I like it just the way it is, sappiness and all.

The Naming Conspiracy is in full effect. For some time to come, people who wish not to be named (or who I don't care to name, but still wish to talk about) shall receive either the name of a famous celebrity or a character from a movie or television show.

For example: Travis the bartender is fine with me using his name (he even said so), but if I were to give him the treatment, I'd refer to him as Burt Reynolds. My co-conspirator (see below) would call him Sean Connery.

The choice of the actor reveals how my closest advisor and I see Travis in different ways, which is part of the fun.

For those of you who don't go to Jack's Bar (your life would be less boring if you visited btw) this will not confuse things as much as you might think. After all, a name is just a name; it's the descriptions and stories that matter.

If you keep reading, you'll get the idea of who is who.

For the bar regulars, be warned! Though your true identity is as protected as Batman's groin, your Conspiracy name may change at a moment's notice depending on the particulars of each night, the advice I receive and how much you've had to drink. ;)  Figuring out who is who should be fun, I hope.

If not, I'll buy you a drink by means of an apology and we can forgive and forget, m'kay?

Thus, the time has come to reveal my co-conspirator. We shall cal her Drew. Drew Barrymore. Drew is wise, can defeat you in hand to hand combat easily and is in the works to make Julia Child look like a rank amateur.

It seems fitting that the first person to get the treatment is the pretty woman I spoke to last night. Take care, Grace Park. I hope the planetarium visit was a blast and all the little humans had fun.

See you Wednesday night at Jack's!

(Jeremy -woops, I mean Fabio- wonders what mentioning all these celebrities is going to do to search results the next time this blog is indexed.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 25 - Since I'm Still Awake....and You've Been Dempsied!

At Jack's Bar & Lounge, the following are thanked:

Thanks to the two brothers for the shots, kamikazes and four beers (and to think there are four of you in the world at the same time!), Anne for the innuendo (if you say that with a deep southern accent, it sounds like you're asking for butt sex) and the promise of Story Time With Anne to come (Scotch on the Rocks at the minimum, right?), Dave for laying the musical foundation, Dave's gf (who requested I not use her name) for teaching me that making hollandaise sauce is like way beyond difficult (gratz on nailing it in two tries), KC Rizzel for the conversation about tagging blogs and how to find good music on YouTube, the pretty lady from Boswells for simply showing up, Waukeen and Dave for being so cool and friendly, Rina for being the absolute anchor via tending the bar (can you say "Vespa"? I can too.), Travis for the humor, for watching the door and for keeping an eye on everything (thank you for not nailing me with the Patrick Dempsey cologne samples), all the women who danced alone to Reggae (my bad, I'll learn to dance to it someday and then you can all dance with me at the same time), Gary for the early arrival (why leave so early, we both just got there!?) and G-Nyze for grabbing my soul and toying with it like a good natured cat that doesn't always eat everything that it plays with.

I may not  see you at Jack's on Tuesday, because it's already Tuesday and I stayed until closing from Monday into Tuesday.

Travis says he'll grant me a we'll see. Take care and make the trip to Jack's if you can!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 24 - Thanks Grant and Ask the Wookie

Seriously Grant, thank you for reading this entire blog, for spreading the good word, for the kind words and compliments, and expecially for the excellent advice. It's really, really appreciated.

Sunday at Jack's Bar & Lounge went by fast. I stepped in after the Saints - Vikings game ended. Wasn't in the mood to watch football anywhere, I guess. The crowd had apparently thinned out quick so there was plenty of room to step up to the bar and get a beer from Matt while Aimee went about counting down her register.

I told lots of people about this blog and my plan to visit Jack's every day this year. I don't think I scared anyone into never coming back. ;)  People were very receptive.

Notes on a day that turned into the night:
  • I met a rare regular from Fat Cat's Pub & Grub, the other establishment owned and operated by the fine folks at Jack's. I've visited Fat Cat's and I have to say I like it. Lots of room, excellent placement on the flat screens and a nice kitchen. Look for Travis, Brad or Jordan if (no, when) you choose to visit. Now's the time to become a fixture at Fat Cat's!
  • Thanks to Eric for the Crown Reserve on the rocks. It's a sipper for sure and just as you said the flavor really opens up as the ice melts. Pretty good with a sprite on the side.
  • I talked with a local about what it's like to be unemployed. Also about what it's like to try and climb that last wall in the Sherriff's test. Best of luck to you next time Sabrina! It was nice to meet your bf Anthony too -- hey, you gonna make good on your threat to read this blog and leave opinionated comments or what?
  • Met a nice guy named Nick and mentioned the blog to him. He gave me the OK to talk about our conversation. Nick was a veritable fountain of info on how to use tags and labels to help search engines and other search features index and find this blog. Yours truly is a Padawan* learner when it comes to blogging, but with Nick's help I'll be an apprentice sooner rather than later.
  • Nick grew up in San Jose, went to college in LA then came back because all of his college friends moved to San Francisco post-graduation. We got to talking about the San Jose scene and Nick theorized that most San Jose state students skip downtown San Jose and hit the scene near where he works at Santa Clara University because SJ is just dead by comparison.
  • Thanks to Matt's friends for buying me a shot of whiskey....mmmm, whiskey is good. Free whiskey is even better. ;)  I can even watch you dudes dance with each other because of free whiskey.
  • J/k you guys are way braver than me.
  • I spoke with an interesting fellow named Bill. Mentioned the blog and got the OK to talk about our conversation. Bill explained to me what it's like to be a drummer and make music in a band, to the effect of (paraphrasing here) making music in such a way that it brings down an individual's ego and sense of personal accomplishment, replacing it with a realization that performing in a group allows all the members to do more together than they ever could alone. It "unifies" people and brings them closer to a sense of spirituality. Pretty cool guy, that Bill.
  • Matt the bartender was totally awesome, but that's par for the course.
There was much commings and goings of humans on the side. I saw many regulars and I felt a whole lot better leaving Jack's than I did when I walked in. Again my thanks to Grant and Matt for smoothing things out and pointing me in the right direction.

See you Monday night at Jack's for Reggae!

*Don't know what a Padawan is? You should be embarrassed.  Lolz check out the Wookiepedia for the info you need to only be like ten years behind everyone else. ;)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 23 - Of Epic Journeys, New Awnings and Pity Partays

They say Epic Journeys begin with a single step.

My trip to Jack's Bar & Lounge on Saturday started with me stepping on the gas pedal, because even with the hint of blue sky on the horizon it was still dark and cloudy overhead and there was no way in Hell I was walking to Jack's in the cold rain.

Charlie demoed the new awning that was assembled and anchored over the back patio Saturday morning by Charlie, Jordan and Erin, with John and his buddy supervising.

There's a whole bunch more, including a long talk I had with Lorenzo (nice to meet you, btw), but I'm hung over and think I need to go back to bed now.

Somebody wake me before Sunday is over. I need to go to Jack's and buy me some water and a new drink invented by Rina: The Pity Partay (yep, I spell it like it's supposed to sound).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 22 - Of Tasty Friday Beer and Time Capsules

They say we'll get some sunshine on Saturday. You wouldn't know it if you -like me- traveled through the rain-soaked chill to visit Jack's Bar & Lounge last night. It was just really damn cold and wet.

The L-shaped bar at Jack's was full from end to end when I walked in. Their was a spot on the corner between Doug and Tim so I squeezed in as best I could.

Turns out that spot belonged to someone else just returned from the restroom, so the whole bar made to move over like a bunch of hockey players making room to let a player take a seat on the team bench after his shift on the ice ended.

Taneesha was behind the bar and served me a beer lickity split. I still think that's the coolest part of going into Jack's every day and I probably always will.

Today I was introduced to someone named Dan, but didn't get to talk to him all that much. I also met someone named Anne, who I had a very long conversation with about Physics. We talked about the spin of particle pairs, whether or not black holes evaporate (they do, in fact), predetermination and the concept of free will.

I don't actually know all that much about the science of Physics, but I'd been listening to Brian Greene's audiobook The Fabric of the Cosmos for the last week at work, so I was prepared to fake it rather well. ;)

Before speaking with Anne I enjoyed talking with Doug, Tim, Gary, Tod, Mark, Christian and Jenny, and Ed. I agree with Jenny's idea that the vacant property near Japantown San Jose would be enhanced by the construction of both a Taco Bell and a Nordstrom Rack.

On the other hand I'd visit such a Taco Bell as much as I do Jack's Bar, which would reduce the air quality in my house considerably. ;)

Tod had an excellent idea about creating a time capsule and burying it at Jack's. It could be sponsored by a neighborhood and/or local business association, and be filled with pictures, notes, keepsakes and memories from and about the people who've been to the various incarnations of Jack's Bar over the years.

My conversation with Anne went off and on throughout the night. I'd already mentioned to her about my plans to visit Jack's every day and write this blog, so we are in negotiations of sorts on just how many drinks the ironic stories she has to tell are worth.

At one point she told me a story about going to Mission to meet a Christian, later she was walked home by a guy named Moses. Then the conversation moved to the parallel evolution of humans and horses, and how Genghis Khan had a Napoleon complex before anybody knew what that was.

Thank you to Tim for the rounds of Kamikazes and to Doug for the beer and for telling me about your adventures in basement plumbing and the epic skills of the staff at Conleff Plumbing Supply.

Unlike you, I would have ripped that damn bolt off the pipe because I'm just not that patient. It's pretty cool though that the guys at Conliff identified the pieces you brought into their shop before you'd taken two steps in the door. I'm going to check that place out.

Before I forget: Jack's has new signage up, which reads: Cheese Steaks, $5, 11 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday, $1 off any draft or well with purchase.

At some point Charlie and Jordan came in to relieve Taneesha, Dave and then Travis showed up to work the back patio and front doors respectively and DJ's Overflow, Boogey and D-shot arrived to spin. Like last week, a super-crowd followed them in so it was time for me to hit the road.

See you Saturday at Jack's!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21 - Thoughts On Writing About Jack's

After returning home from today's rainy post-work trip to Jack's Bar & Lounge, I got to thinking about what this thing is that I'm doing.

How would I feel if I were in another person's shoes, such that I learned my conversations with someone at the bar ended up on the internet in a blog? Would that make me not want to come back to the bar? Would that make me angry or leave me feeling spied upon or tricked, etc...?

Could this blog negatively affect business at Jack's? Is there an unspoken Las Vegas-style rule to bars? (I.e., "what happens at the bar stays at the bar" sort of thing.)

I sure as hell don't want to be the cause of Jack's losing business. Nor do I want to piss anybody off. Overall, I think I've been careful in deciding what to write about (and what not to write about).

Part of why I write this blog is that I can use it as a conversation starter. Lots of fun things happen at Jack's and saying to someone "I'm going to be here every day this year and write a blog about my experiences and the people I meet" is a great way to get a potential new bar friend talking.

(As an aside: I'm amazed at the number of people I meet who tell me they're visiting Jack's for the first time. They're curious about the bar, the scene, who mixes what music and on what nights, and I like to do my part to fill them in so they'll come back.)

What I realized tonight is that telling someone I write a blog sort of serves as an unintended warning in the sense that I'm basically saying to someone that I might write about them. Forewarned, they can make their own choices about what to talk about or to not talk to me at all (for what it's worth nobody's refused to talk to me yet).

There have been several instances already where I've participated in conversations and felt the need to say, "Hey, do you mind if I write about this?" (again, no refusals).

Going forward, I'm going to make sure I continue to let people know what I'm up to and observe closely how the regulars and the bartenders react to my presence.

See you Friday (God it's Friday already?) at Jack's!

Day 20 - Ed Is God

I'm here to write, so let's get started.

Skipped Happy Hour at Jack's Bar & Lounge in favor of a later-that-night meet up with a former coworker of mine named Ben.

I got to Jack's and Ed bought me a beer and a round of shots for himself, me and Tod before I even had my damn coat off. I like Ed. A lot. Aimee served up Ed's order and I said hello to Jessica and Craig further down the bar.

Ben rolled in as I was talking with Tod about abandoned silver mines in Idaho and his first step father. I bought a pitcher of Blue Moon, introduced Ben to Tod, pored them both some beer and made sure to buy Ed a beer.

We got to talking, DJ Benofficial showed up and we all had to move over. Then Ed bought us all a shot.

We talked construction. Then Ed bought us another shot.

Rina walked in to take over for Aimee and Dave arrived to cover the door, then Ed bought us another shot.

Ben and I caught up on old times at work ("Well if there's two apples [on the desk] then there's gotta be a banana somewhere" brought back lots of hilarious memories) then Ed bought us a round of shots and Ben bought the next pitcher.

Turns out Tod and Ben both worked at the first Home Depots to go up in the Bay Area. Tod once worked at a Toys"R"Us that was haunted. I listened to them go back and forth (and I'm not kidding here) Ed bought us another round of shots.

Christian and Robert swung by around 11 p.m. and jumped into the conversation. You know what happens next: Ed bought us a round of shots.

I can't for the life of me remember saying goodnight to Ben, though I know for a fact he got a ride home from a friend. I didn't see Tod or Ed leave. I cooled my heels, puked in the toilet (I'm a straight shooter on that sort of thing; I've cleaned up puke in bathrooms before when I was a busboy as a kid so I'll be damned if I'm going to make a rank mess for someone else to clean up), drank plenty of water and would like to thank Rina and (especially) Dave for making sure I was in good shape before going home.

See you tomorrow at Jack's!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 19 - Tuesday - The Gang's All Here

Quote of the day: "I'm doing pinche homework!"

Due to the crapy weather, I put on enough layers to stop bullets, drove to Der Wienerschnitzel to park my truck and hastily made my way through the driving rain around front to the welcoming entrance of Jack's Bar & Lounge.

Inside something I've long anticipated but have not yet experienced until tonight occurred.

I call it a Boulevard of Broken Dreams moment. This is when I walk in to Jack's and see only regulars at the bar, there are several of them there and I know all their names.

The key difference is of course that everyone is alive and well, and I get to live the dream by hanging out with them for awhile at Jack's.

I thought to myself "this is totally cool" as I walked in to hellos, hugs and handshakes from Jason, Marcus, Lisa, Shannon, Dean, Grady (Justin) and Tod.

Rina was behind the bar and looked fantastic as ever, with minimalist glitter makeup and her hair recently done. Rina did not attend the getaway with her coworkers, instead she ran through the rain in San Francisco, Audrey Hepburn-style.

Speaking of coworkers, Matt, Travis, Jordan and their friends returned from Tahoe 9:13 p.m. Not sure if the others made it back. Travis took over for Rina and she headed out the door to finish her homework.

Notes on the night:
  • THANK YOU to Jason for buying me a round from his 1-4-24 winnings on the night.
  • Lisa was almost in tears describing how good Shannon is to her. There's not a night that's gone by where she hasn't sung his praises. It's nice to see real life true love.
  • Epic three person games of 1-4-24 were had at the corner of the bar between Marcus, Jason and Lisa. I played a few, too.
  • Travis managed to fall out of bed and hit his head on the dresser only once during the whole trip to Tahoe.
  • Dean was nice enough to ask if I was missing my bus as he headed out the door. Thank you Dean for keeping an eye out for me!
  • 8 pm, the lights went down, "Hey Ya!" by Outkast was played via Marcus' iPhone and Rina danced behind teh bar while Shannon did a hips-up dance on his bar stool.
I reserve the right to not put my phone behind the bar for any reason, because Travis reserves the right to play with it indefinitely and not give it back (ha ha Marcus).

FYI: Rina's church is having a crab feed fund raiser. Will advise on details as I learn them, but know this: you owe it to yourself to experience at least one crab feed in your life. They're awesome.

OK I cut some things out of this one but not everything needs to be listed here like a damn all in one laundry and grocery list. Besides, it would be another 2,000 word blog post and we both know you and I just don't have that much time to read on weeknights.

Better to spend it jawing at each other at Jack's anyway.  ;)

See you there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18th - Day 18

Rain and cold wind brought a chill to San Jose last night, but inside Jack's Bar & Lounge the thumping bass reggae sound created a warming friction between air molecules and the calcium in our bones with equal ferocity.

Eric was kicking ass behind the bar and Jack's was full of people and full of fun. Where to start?

Well, it was Gary's birthday party one day early. Happy Birthday Gary woohoo! (Gary's "woohoos!" are way better than mine; you should have been there).

Gary was at his post at the center of the bar, sitting next to Stephanie (I'm smitten, just plain smitten). To Gary's left was Wakeen, who made a point of telling me that Jack's Bar was the only place where he felt like he could have his back turned and still feel safe.

Wakeen is 6' 5" tall and is used to people "always going after the big guy." I couldn't tell if he was seriously expecting trouble or not so -being something of a coward- I asked half-jokingly if it was OK if I could hide behind him in case anything happened. Then I put on my most confident smile and said I was glad he felt safe at Jack's and I was happy to see him there.

We talked about his friend Gene (DJ G-Nyze, first mentioned 1.3.2010) who Waukeen has known for 20 years. Wakeen remembers when Gene got his first turntable. In addition to G-Nyze and KC, DJ Dread Ramas was spinning up a storm.

I wrapped up my conversation with Waukeen and made to step outside, but not before getting roped into my first ever game of 1-4-24 by Waukeen's neighbor at the bar: Jason. Jason is a funny and sarcastic man who's always well dressed and put together. I got to visit with him and several other people I know from the bar at Brook's place briefly over New Years and had shots with them while Brook's black lab tried to burry its nose in all the men's crotches whenever it thought we weren't looking.

Jason's friend put up a stake for me ($1) and then left to go have a cigarette while Jason taught me the rules of the game. As a long time D&D and Yahtzee player, I automatically assume any set of dice are putty in my expert hands.

Not so, grasshopper!  I won the first demo round of this dice and cup game, then the round after that, then suffered a pair of back to back ego-shattering loses to the all knowing 1-4-24 Kung-Fu Master Of The Dice Cup, Jason.

Next game I'm calling bottoms like every time.

Tail between my legs, I abandoned my trip outside and returned to Gary, who advised me not to let him have too much Honey Dew.  KC stopped by our spot at the bar to wish Gary happy birthday (I'd mentioned Gary's birthday to KC when I walked in), which happily surprised Gary since he doesn't know KC all that well.

It's kind of weird to see KC and Gene at Jack's on Reggae Monday's without Dave being in attendance too, since Dave normally spins with them. But he was off with the rest of the Jack's crew to Northstar at Tahoe. Dave's absence did not mean his incredibly awesome girlfriend Patti was absent though.

Patti snuck up on Gary and I and gave us both a hearty hug. Pattie explained she was there to deliver some parts for the DJs. Gary was both happy and surprised to see her, as was I, since we thought she'd be at Northstar with Dave. Turns out this was a no-significant-other gathering. Patti also had culinary school homework to do which meant staying home.

Another reason to be glad to see her surfaced soon after I told her I'd just learned to play 1-4-24. Patty is apparently very experienced at this game. With only $2 to spend, she made her way over to Jason and proceeded to efficiently whittle down his tall stack of $1 bills.

Emboldened by my friend's winning ways, I walked out of Jack's like a cheerleader stepping off the bus after his team just kicked the other team's ass.

Outside I got a chance to talk to Stephanie --Did I mention I'm smitten with her? I swear cupid must have nailed me with a fricking artillery shell-- about her job as a pre-kindergarten school teacher. This week's topic: Dinosaurs!.

Stephanie is a huge sports fan and loves the Sharks. She was wearing a black Shark's t-shirt with pride. She's also diehard San Francisco 49ers fan, "I'm not a fair-weather fan, I'm 49ers all the way. My family came to San Francisco from Vietnam and it was like they new all the rules already."

Some other guys came over and noticed the "AMS" on my hooded sweater. That led to drywall talk and Stephanie's swift exit (damn!). The moment was somewhat saved by my introduction to Mike and his friend Mark.

These two guys have plenty of experience doing drywall in the Bay Area and are working on a studio here in town, hence their curiosity about my sweater and my line of work. I told them I'm no longer with AMS, but spewed forth all I could about drywall and sound dampening systems.

In addition to drywall, it turns out Mark is a well-traveled roadie. Specifically a drum tech. He'd just come back to San Jose to see the Shark's play tonight (they won 9 - 1 by the way fuck yeah!) after being on tour with Pink and prior to that Velvet Revolver. Is that cool or what?!

I walked back into the bar to find Gary and overheard Jason smack-talking Patti. Patti's response, "You want to play another round? OK, I got more of your money right here." Oh snap!

Let's bar buddy Marcus came in with his date Deanna (great looking as a couple let me tell you!) and I said hello to Aleesha (waits tables at Boswells at the Pruneyard in Campbell and had a good, busy couple of weekend shifts). Then Christian rolled in and we talked for a few moments about his new art piece: made of wood, 2' x 4' and he's in the "nervous" phase and not sure how it's going to turn out. I'm sure it'll be really cool.

If not, I do have a fireplace.

Stephanie introduce me to a cool guy named Ricardo (Cadu to those who know him well) who is a musician and is friends with DJ Benofficial (myspace - blogspot). Kadu offered to give me a free CD, so we headed to his car out front as it began to sprinkle. He opened the car door and fished around for a clean CD which he no-look-handed to me while he shifted some more stuff around and emerged with his guitar case in hand.

Inside was a well traveled, sticker-covered guitar, the wood faded below the sound hole from much playing, with yellow "Brasilia" tassels hanging from the tuning keys. Cadu explained how it took him four years working as an independent cable installer/contractor to earn the money to buy this guitar as he crouched down on one knee and wedged his still-burning cigarette between the strings and the head of the guitar (see this image for the guitar-parts challenged :wink:).

He sang a beautiful true-life bossa nova song in Portuguese about love and growing up in the slums of Rio. It's the first bossa nova style song Cadu ever wrote and is the first track on his demo CD.

As he finished, Cadu's good friend and partner MC Indefinite walked up. I asked for his first name but he wouldn't give it to me (best if the government doesn't know or something to that effect). He and Cadu are working on a collaberative project called The Barter System.

They then performed a mixed-style piece from their project (damn I didn't write the piece' name down); Cadu led off with soft vocals in English accompanied by his guitar, then MC Indefinite jumped in with an up tempo, hip-hop style wrap about love and feelings from the heart as Cadu played under his MC's vocals. They went back and forth like this, each playing off the other with transitions that were, well, pretty fucking cool.

The sound reminded me of Digable Planets. When I mentioned this, MC Indefinite smiled and nodded enthusiastically.

I thanked them both for performing for me and really wish I'd spelled Cadu's MySpace page right in my phone (I've been trying the link as I write this blog, but no luck).

MC Indefinite did provide me with a blog link for some of the style he enjoys:

Thanks go out to:
  • Gary, for insisting that he buy the first round and for the man-kiss on the cheek. You only get to do that once a year, Gary.
  • Marcus, for the man-boob grab as I was being manhandled by Gary. 
  • Patti, for witnessing the abuse and laughing her head off at my predicament. I feel dirty.
  • Stephanie, for buying a round since, "You bought the last one, so it's my turn."
  • Eric, for poring an extra PBR pint by mistake and letting me drink said mistake.
  • To the mysterious stranger who bought me a beer. Thanks stranger come again!
  • Jai for the plumber's crack at the bar and for the spittle in the face (energetic man, that Jai). It was nice to meet your girlfriend Amy.
  • Cadu for serenading Stephanie outside. There was something about the way she looked as she listened to him play that grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go.
  • Stephanie, just for being there and for the giant goodnight hug. I hope to see you again real soon.
  • To Everyone, for being there at Jack's.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to accept kindness, but I recognize it's fucked up to let the birthday boy buy a round and not at least get him back.

Thus I'll take care of Gary in the immediate future and will note it here in the blog when I do.

Tomorrow the Jack's crew will have hopefully returned, assuming they don't get snowed in by the oncoming storm fronts. I look forward to Travis' stories. ;)

See you Tuesday night at Jack's!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday - Day 17 - Substitute Teachers

A cold wind blows on Sunday night.

It heralds the arrival of familiar faces taking on new identities and a chill rain waiting for the dark of night to spread an icy wet blanket over everything.

I drove by Jack's Bar & Lounge on Sunday evening on my way back from OSH. It was supposed to be a quick visit; just checking to make sure tonight's bartending substitute Eric was not planning to close early due to the lack of business so I could make my planned 10 p.m. arrival with confidence.

When I walked in Eric was standing behind the bar in his bright yellow Swedish men's soccer jersey, Gabby sat at the bar where it turns the corner near the door, Doug of the Ballet sat on the short side of the bar underneath the flat screen, a woman with dark black hair and tattoos down to her wrists (but not actual full sleeves) who I've seen before but whose name I do not know sat on the other side of the bar corner next to Gabby, and a man with an "Independent" beanie on his head sat between tattooed-arms-woman and Doug.

Had I stopped to think about it, I would have remembered that Chris Burkhardt was due to perform later tonight (every first and third Sundays at Jack's) so he would have acted as an anchor of sorts, keeping the bar open for my planned 10 p.m. arrival.

There is also the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday on Monday. Thus I should have grasped that people would come to Jack's much later in the evening, after they'd realized they did not in fact have to show up to work tomorrow.

I ordered a soda and did my best to be supportive of Eric. Unfortunately I'm still not all that good at making conversation. Fortunately Eric's brother James (kla-klow bang-bang!) showed up to do the same, then Andii came in after getting off work at Chevy's (that woman kills me; she's so incredibly beautiful, does her makeup perfectly and is whip smart to boot).

Eric checked his phone for the time, then announced the Simpsons would be on in twenty minutes. Much back and forth cartoon banter (mostly Family Guy quotes) flowed between Andii to James to Eric, with me in the middle trying my best to keep up.

I figured since interesting people were at Jack's now I ought to order a beer.  I asked for my usual: pint of PBR for $3 and handed Eric a $5. I made ready to give Eric a $1 tip from the $2 change I was expecting after Eric served me my beer, but Eric didn't return with any change.

I looked at the register and saw he'd rung up the beer for $5.

Not exactly sure why I didn't say anything at first. I should have let him know on the spot, especially given my limited bar budget and the fact that he was subbing and might make the same mistake again.

I did eventually let him know a little later that night after his brother James bought us pizza from Round Table and I was ready to wash it down with another beer.

"You made sure to pull $2 from my change and put that in the tip jar, right?" was enough to get Eric to double check the price card on the counter between the registers.

Just to be safe, though, I handed Eric five $1 bills for my second beer. I saw him ring up $3 on the register and take the change and put it in the tip jar.

Mission accomplished!  ;)

I heard Eric say "$3 please" many a time after that as the first wave of bar patrons all departed and were replaced by the second wave of customers who filled just about every seat in the place as Chris Burkhardt arrived and started unpacking his gear for the 9 p.m. show.

Eric said, "Oh shit, I didn't know Burkhardt was playing tonight." I asked myself mentally why I hadn't realized that either.

It's cool that people cruised in to Jack's later that night, but almost nobody clapped for Burkhardt after he finished his songs.

Having learned the art of "fuck those people - you're here to have some fun so have some fucking fun dude" from Jeff at the bar, I decided to abandon my inhibitions and clap and holler like a true fan of Burkhardt's after each tune ended. Chris was ripping it up tonight and deserved some recognition for his fine skills.

He came by on the break after his first half-hour set to thank his "cheering section" and I told him it was my fucking pleasure.

My bar buddy Marcus showed up along with Jason, then friends and housemates of Eric and James came in when Chris started his second half hour set (John --recently freed from bathroom captivity by James, John's beautiful girlfriend Caitlin, Chriss who works at the Bella Mia with Eric, a woman named Toni who they call "campsite" for some reason and, Toni's boyfriend whose name I did not get) then Tim, George, Kelly and their friends a few minutes after that, so proper applause was had even when I was outside taking in the pre-rain air.

Thanks to the following:
  • James for buying me a beer and for the aforementioned pizza.
  • Eric for letting the warm beer foam from a new PBR keg settle in a pitcher and serving me up the condensation, which amounted to about 80% of a pint.
  • Chris Burkhardt for buying me a shot of Maker's Mark and a Heineken chaser. I'd never drank Heineken before, but found the sharp flavor of Maker's Mark easily masked the bong-like aftertaste of the Heineken (green bottles being very apropos).
Before I forget: congratulations to Jon's girlfriend Jessica and their friend Brian for graduating from the Nursing program at San Jose State University.

I lived with two friends who battled for three tough semesters and finally made it through the program last year and can say with confidence that yours is a tremendous accomplishment. It was a pleasure to meet and party with you all and good luck to you both!

I stayed until closing, said goodnight to everyone, thanked James and Eric, said goodnight to Eric's girlfriend Katy and gave Burkhardt and his gear a ride home.

See you on Monday at Jack's for Gary's birthday party!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 16 - Of Defense Attorneys and Found Money

Quote of the night: There is not a better show on earth than Loony Tunes.

$20 found on the floor in front of the ATM machine and Jukebox at Jack's Bar & Lounge on a busy Saturday night begs the question: do you take it or do you ask around?

Do you have faith that those you ask if the money belongs to them will tell you the truth? Do you give it to the Saturday bartenders (Jordan or Matt)? Do you think back to who was at the ATM last and go hunting for them on the assumption they were drunk and didn't even register all the $20 bills that came out of the machine? Are you more likely to ask if there are females near the money than males, because screw the guys if they lose money but if it's a lady then you're going a good deed?  ;)

I couldn't remember anyone being at the ATM machine, so I settled on asking the eight people around me. Nobody claimed the funds so I bought myself a round and later in the night bought my new bar acquaintances James The Bartender a Bud Light and Claudia a couple glasses of wine.

$20 well spent, in my opinion.

I'm glad the money didn't belong to the man named Thunder that my bar buddy Gary introduced me to. It was all I could do not to sort of call him Thundar (i.e., Thundar the Barbarian).

Kidding aside, Thunder was a man of few words, with wide shoulders visible beneath a soft blue and white stripe button up shirt, who wore blue jeans and sensible shoes and was quite amiable to talking about how he got his name, "I'm the oldest of five and the bastard son, so that's the name I got."

Every time I saw him in the bar after that, Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue kept popping into my head. So I give you that name and I said goodbye, I knew you'd have to get tough or die....

Gary had given Thunder, Isaac and his girlfriend Crystal a ride to Jack's. I'd like to tell you more about Isaac, but every time I looked his way, Crystal's creamy white skin, strategically placed tattoos, low cut blue jeans and clingy white cotton top (cut like the leather vests bull riders wear) kept stealing my attention.

I like Crystal not just for these things; rather it's because she's one of those awesome people that brings Pemmican Beef Jerky to the bar and is keen to share it with those around her. Thank you Crystal!

The Bay Area is big and full of lots of people. Yet the circles we operate in are small. Tonight I learned that Shannon and Lisa's friend Andy worked for Cal Drywall. Then I learned Shannon did too! In my last job I shipped thousands of square feet of drywall, steel studs and drywall muds to Cal Drywall. Small world indeed.

A lot of my time at Jack's tonight was spent outside, either out front or out on the back patio.

First trip outside I ran into James the Produce Manager (at a local Safeway) and lifetime Minnesota Vikings fan who I haven't seen in awhile. There I met his cousin Chris, who was thoroughly fucked up. Chris thought it smart to go urinate on the palm tree in front of Der Wienerschnitzel in plain view of everyone, so Travis -who took over for Dave on the front door watch- refused him re-entry.

Chris spent the rest of the night trying to stealth his way back into Jack's in the not-so-subtle way that drunk people do: hiding behind people taller than him, asking to borrow someone's ID like it was some kind of disguise or attempting to Houdini his way through the narrow gaps in the back patio fence.

Dave had moved to back patio watch, so Jack's had it covered.

Andy from the Esplanade came by too. Also haven't seen him in awhile. Andy is either from Arizona or just went to college there. He's a really friendly guy, clean cut, with a devastating smile, who knows how to party and keeps his trusty beer thong at the ready so he can have both hands free at the bar. Andy is half Lebanese, so naturally our conversation shifted to the growing of thick, manly beards.

(Side note: I couldn't remember Andy's name when I saw him. I had to call up Christian to get a refresher on Andy. My bad and thanks Christian for fielding bizarre phone calls from me at 10:50 pm!)

Does the female party crowd from Arizona have an overlarge sense of entitlement? Perhaps. Much later in the evening I learned they're capable of attracting the attention of up to three police cruisers when they refuse to pay for a limo reservation when the driver shows up late at Jack's.

Net positive: they stayed, strutted their stuff in tight skirts and heels and spent their downtown second stop money at the bar. ;)

My time on the back patio was most interesting. I met Ben Arsenian, a private defense attorney who looks a bit like a much taller and all grown up Harry Potter, minus the glasses. Ben is representing a young man from Gilroy accused of being liable for the death of his friend by gunfire when they chased after some gang members who'd thrown rocks at their car.

The young man didn't shoot his friend, but the Dolores Carr-led Santa Clara DA's office is charging him with a crime since he supposedly "should have known" his friend would get hurt if they went after the other gang members.

I also met another James who'd come in with Ben. This particular version has been bartending in San Jose for nine years and was incredibly generous with his time by answering my many questions. He's a fit fellow, bald like me, with keen eyes and an unflappable sense of self-control about him.

James The Bartender has served drinks to Sean Connery at Firehouse. He knows Dolores Carr's son, who is a bartender at The Brit, said son dating the daughter of someone high up in the San Jose police department.

James talked about how these two people have to be careful in their relationship, since they work the nightlife scene in San Jose and their parents are both seeking higher office positions.

James noticed I was typing notes from our conversation into my Blackberry World Edition, then said he works on improving Blackberries as a hobby and advised me to go to for new apps and ways to improve my device.

Words of wisdom from James:
  • A sane person wouldn't go into the bartending profession, because you work Friday through Sunday, mostly at night.
  • Bartenders appreciate cash tips over credit card tips, since the later can't be tracked with regard to taxes.
  • Bartenders know which places are good to work at and which are not, in terms of customer clientele. Some places in San Jose are more likely than others to have customers who do crazy shit, like using lost or stolen credit/debit cards then bouncing without paying a $300 bar tab.
  • Good bartenders are the ones who bring in customers. They know how to comp without earning the wrath of management, to network their customers (such as mass texting to fill up the bar on a slow night) and to network with other bartenders and support each other (by not paying cover or having to stand in lines).
  • Experienced bartenders are not phased by any of the crazy things that happen where they work. After a while, you really do get to see it all.
Thanks for buying me a beer, James The Bartender!

I mentioned my blog to both Ben and James. Ben gave me his card. First card from a lawyer I've ever had.

Emily the hotel manager came outside to see Ben and was soon followed by her very good friend (and lifetime Raiders fan) Kelly. Kelly works at Netflix and is engaged to be married to Felix Delarosa. Felix is a really cool guy who bought me a drink in the past and is fun to hang with at Jack's. Tonight Felix brought his mother, dad and sister along to celebrate.

Emily is planning Kelly's wedding and Dave the doorman and superb Monday DJ is doing the music.

Congrats Felix and Kelly!

Gary came outside and introduced me to his friend Claudia, who's son is a huge Star Trek fan. She and her son went to conventions together and translated much of what they saw into Spanish so her son could share his experiences with his classmates. Claudia knows Martha and Mercedes (totally awesome Jack's regulars) and hadn't been out to party in awhile. She's a blast to hang with.

Eric, his older brother James (the James of kla-klow bang-bang! fame) and their buddy Chris showed up, followed by Curtiss and his neighbor Lyle, then George (fine beard on that George - lots of color), Tim and Kelly - also a lifetime Raiders fan but not to be confused with the soon-to-be-married Kelly I mentioned earlier- arrived at the bar.

With the Avengers assembled, much good times, good talk and even some dancing were experienced by all. Claudia fixated on James the Bartender's tight behind (her words, not mine) and was convinced at one point he was a bald version of Evel Knievil.

Before I forget: Thank you Ben and Emily for the whisky shot and soda chaser! I like Jack Daniels lots. :)

Soon Dave asked us to step into the bar so he could close the patio, then the lights came up and last call for alcohol was announced. As the night came to a close, I stepped outside to see Dave doing an impressive job of herding bar patrons like cats, directing them politely to their cars and moving them off the sidewalk.

Jerry was one of the last people to leave the bar. Turns out Jerry was the latest victim of VTA's schedule changes, so there was no light rail service he could catch home.  Jerry's a good guy, a friend of Travis and someone I can totally relate to RE: getting hosed by mass transit scheduling issues, so I gave him a ride home.

On the drive, we talked at length about Jerry's five year Star Trek-style mission to explore the hard realities of his relationships with the opposite sex and his friend's relationships.

Jerry's conclusions: If you're looking for sex, especially in eight men for every one woman Man Jose, you just have to lie. If you're looking for a true love, though, be honest to a fault.

Jerry's a pretty sharp guy. I don't agree with everything he said, but I appreciate that he's spent a lot of time thinking about it.

Some closing notes:  My buddy Gary is celebrating his birthday one day early at Jack's this coming Monday the 18th between 8 and 9 pm. Come one come all!

As the crew at Jack's is going up to Norhtstar at Tahoe on Sunday so trustworthy people from the local scene are coming in to cover, one of which is the superb Eric, who works at the Bella Mia downtown.

It's going to be like I'm watching my favorite sitcom, except for one episode only the writers throw in totally different actors.

See you at Jack's on Sunday!

Other random moments and overheard things:

"I love your penis! It's gigantic! I love your penis man!"
-spoken by a woman to her boyfriend on the back patio, before she turned around to bump and grind on him some more

"Street Fighter is way more thumb work than Tekken. But DOA rules them all. Best fight game hands down."
-overheard on the back patio

"Cockroaches are the most sophisticated animal in the world. You can cut their heads off and they stay alive. You can take them to Africa or the North Pole and they won't die. They can have sex with themselves."
-Taxonomy 101, free classes every Saturday night on the back patio at Jack's

"But Jordan's right, we both shouldn't have been standing out front."
-Travis, after Jordan grumbled at he and Dave becausee both of them were standing at the front door. Jordan didn't see Travis come in early, nor see him bus tables, check the back patio and both restrooms before returning to the front door to confer with Dave on the situation at the bar before Dave could start his back patio shift. What can you do, eh? ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 15, 2010 - Day 15

Quote of the day: It was very temtatuous.
-Justin James John Grady

My visit after work to Jack's Bar & Lounge found me happy to be out of the post-rain chill and surrounded on a Friday night by eighteen or so people, eleven of them men and seven women, with Taneesha behind the bar.

My time there was punctuated by many moments of activity; some were small, some lengthy and most of them worth noting. Thus, in no particular order:

Taneesha insta-served me a beer as I walked in. That's so awesome, I'll never get tired of that.

Unfortunately she forgot the shot of whiskey I ordered (I was going to quietly toast Jeff with it). In her defense she knew many of the customers in the bar and was chatting with all of them as she bussed tables and restocked. When I asked for the shot again when I ordered my second beer, she realized her error and apologized and said it's OK to holler for her if next time.

The vibrations of a phone on the bar travel at least the length of five bar stools. So much for quelling the sound of a cell phone ringing.

I saw a guy with a thick black horseshoe moustache that bent around his mouth and down to his chin where it got so bushy it looked like a pair of sasquatch legs trying to grow feet and run away.

Three days in a row I've brought in a copy of the latest Metro. Three days in a row I've failed to leave with said copy, as pretty women keep taking them. Good conversation starter, that Metro.

No Dean at the bar. I think he's away on business.

Taneesha's happy hour customers were the first to doodle on the mini-clipboards used to deliver up credit card receipts at Jack's. In Taneesha's words, "These boards aren't new, but my customers were the first to write their names on them. Now they're all covered." I suggested those would make good pieces of artwork. Taneesha thought Aimee could probably take good pictures of them.

Robert (the cause of last Friday's smart phone envy) has in the past fallen asleep across three bar stools (not at Jack's, mind) at a local San Jose bar and woken up groggy and hung over the next morning to find the cleaning crew silently working around his prostrate form.

Man-I-Do-Not-Know has a name: John. Unfortunately, I've met John before, I just forgot it was him --I do that a lot, it seems-- thus the blog. ;) Anyway, John is in the business of independent commercial real estate financing and is quite knowledgeable about finding and taping sources of funds outside of the regular banking system in order to make such available to people in need. I can't help but think "modern gangster" but perhaps I'm projecting more than a little. He has a buddy named Jeremy (super name, Jeremy) who services computers for local school districts.

Charlie the bartender rolled in for a bit, as did Jordan, both saying hi to the many patrons before they departed. There's a raw coolness about Charlie that I haven't quite figured out. When I do, I'll write about it.

Kevin Bacon is getting old. Saw him on MTV on one of the flat screens; he looked like a cross between Bill Nighy and any one of the all-teeth characters Jim Carrey played on In Living Color years ago. Unlike Mr. Six Degrees From Everyone, Sandra Bullock --also at the MTV show-- is apparently made of wax and is entirely immune from aging.

The ebb and flow of the bar population led to the departure of the lawyer crowd and the arrival of Shannon, Lisa, Tod, Mark (a sturdy man-beard on that Mark, also known as Devito, though he's a half-body taller than the actor of the same name), Mark's buddy Justin and Dave, who was moving with the swiftness of a man in need of a restroom.

Justin James John Grady is local to the Bay Area. Born and raised in Oakland, the "John" in his name is his confirmation name. Justin is part white, part black, part native American and wrapped out spoken word style the essence of the Bay Area and how the best ethnic mix to be found is in Oakland; it's like a fine mix of incense, according to Justin. He strikes me as a man with a big heart. He also knows how to do battle with Campbell's Towing and win, by means of a water hose and a getaway vehicle.

Mark of The Beard has an extensive history playing roller hockey. He's competed all over the country and in Canada. I did not know that hard checking was all but banned in roller hockey. Teamwork and precision thus become major factors for success, according to Mark.

The wise sages Doug and Tim were at the short end of the bar, closest to the door. Doug told me that he's been in San Jose for 62 years, less six months spent in San Diego and eight months in Orange County. He grew up on South 9th street and remembers when that part of town was considered "south San Jose". Further south from where he lived, "there were orchards everywhere."

Poor Tim was sick and looked miserable, but that didn't keep him from ordering up kamikaze shots for everyone. Thank you Tim I hope you get to felling better over the weekend!

I think Friday's visit best matches the album Tiger Army III: Ghost Tiger's Rise. Especially the song Through The Darkness (My Love Shines).

See you tomorrow night at Jack's and thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14 - Andii Saves My Back

Day 14 at Jack's Bar & Lounge. It's a Thursday but gawd I wish it was Friday.

Taneesha behind the bar, seven men and six women in attendance and a whole lot else I just don't feel like writing about, save for wonderful, glorious, highly talented and skilled Andii, who came in at just the right time.

She was nice enough to use her skillz on my damn back and work out some of the sharp pains and aches that have plauged me since I started working again.

Thank you Andii.

Ah well, since I'm here: Christian and James (bang bang!) were at the bar and made for lots of interesting conversation as usual, with much of it centered on life in college, art design with wood and life aboard nuclear powered ships. Later on Shannon and Lisa showed up, Shannon worked his magic on the jukebox and things really picked up.

The three ladies at the end of the bar were loud, fun, they sang and danced. I like white girls who talk black.

Let's try again on Friday. See you at Jack's after work!

Day 13 - Stupid, Unlucky 13

Today I learned that Jeff is no longer working at Jack's Bar & Lounge.

Damn it, damn it, damn it.

I had a great time at Jack's last night; was there for eight hours. Aimee started things off well by serving me my usual. Met some nice new people (Stephanie from Saratoga tops the list) and had a great conversation with Matt (late shift bartender for the night) about Matt's artwork hanging on the walls at Jack's.

But the news about Jeff just killed it for me. Jeff has taught me a great deal about how bars work, why bartenders make the decisions they make and how to keep a good vibe going.

Matt and I toasted Jeff with shots (mine was Jack Daniels, something Jeff taught me how to drink and to drink well).

Take care, Jeff and best of luck to you. I'm going to miss the hell out of you behind the bar at Jack's.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12 - Foreign Invasion Plans

My daily journey to Jack's Bar & Lounge is not a particularly long one, but it is punctuated by many stops along the way. Two bus trips, two light-rail trips, two train trips and two shuttle trips on weekdays.

I found myself chatting with a pair of fair inspectors/police officers on the first light-rail journey of the day. Officers Jimenez and Jackson (no first names as they have enemies; seriously!) advised me that since I was doing the train thing to and from work, that meant my average number of miles driving each month would go down considerably.

They advised me to call my car insurance provider and request a rate reduction, as most providers will lower your rate if you show proof of less mileage driven.

Over lunch break at work I did as they recommended and am now looking forward to a $25 decrease in my monthly insurance premium starting next month. Nice guys, those officers.

That's one thing Jack's has taught me: how to approach and talk to strangers.

Speaking of Jack's, I walked in out of a slow drizzle and found Jack's to be comfortably warm. Only three customers and the bartender were present. Dean was leaning over his smart phone, plotting the overthrow of a foreign country. Another guy was on his laptop at the front of the bar and a third gentleman occupied the center of the bar.

Taneesha was tending, so I said hello to her and Dean and ordered up my usual.

Dean put his plans for conquest on hold as we watched news from CNN about the major earthquake in Haiti. He critiqued the blue jeans and suit jacket wearing commentator as someone they probably called in last minute, as that outfit didn't match at all.

Dean and I talked about the US invasion of Haiti in the past and I mentioned a factoid about the Marine General in charge of the Corps at the time wanting his men to lead the invasion so they could recoup their "Hoo Ra!" after losing it over the bombing of their base in Lebanon.

Dean corrected me, noting that this was probably a reference to Grenada, as Haiti wasn't invaded by the US until the 1990s.

I imagine Dean knows quite a bit about a lot of things, in addition to overthrowing foreign countries. If ever someone suggests playing Trivial Pursuit, I want Dean on my side if he's around.

After wiping out a whole bowl of goldfish, a soda and a beer, I beat feet for the door and caught the bus home.

See you tomorrow at Jack's!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11 - Marriage of Figaro

Yikes! Getting distracted by Facebook. I suppose you could call it Facecrack, but that's too much like ass crack and then I think, "linin em up like ass cracks ladies ponies at the track its my chocolate attack" and that's a feel good song (literally, Feel Good, Inc by Gorillaz) and that's basically off topic, so never mind.

Ahem....Jack's Bar & Lounge.

Walked in to Jack's after work today, looking exceedingly handsome in my thick coat and wool beanie, with manly beard in full effect; all earth tones and ruggedness. My one-shoulder blue backpack did detract from my otherwise fetching outfit, but that can't be helped. Perhaps a switch to a domo-kun beanie would help offset things?

You're right, it wouldn't.

Aimee was tending bar, Dean was controlling the entire internet from his wee little smart phone and Christian was conversing with a fellow I've not seen before at Jack's.

I took a seat at the far end and promptly forgot to count how many people were at the bar. There were no ladies in attendance besides Aimee, so that's probably why I didn't do a head count.

Aimee greeted me with a hearty hello, I said hi to Dean and was promptly served up a pint of PBR (that's 16 oz. of beer for you ignorant Americans out there). $2 for a pint is pretty damn good, if you ask me. Christian left man-I-do-not-know and came over to chat.

My brain was already half asleep so I don't remember what we talked about. I do remember consuming lots of goldfish, though.

Some indeterminate time later, Christian and I stepped outside. Me: for fresh air. Christian: for a smoke. Those things are not as contradictory as you might think.

While there I met a man named Doug who is a facilities manager for Opera San Jose. Doug does the all-in-one handyman type work for the five buildings owned by the Opera (two apartment complexes, two industrial type buildings and one über-old house).

Doug can with practiced ease unclog opera toilets while fielding 2 a.m. phone calls from performers who've managed to lock themselves out of their car or their Opera San Jose supplied apartment, but can't huff or puff or blow the door down to get in (they've got to save their voice for the show, after all).

More seriously, Opera San Jose is, according to Doug, a "teaching outfit" and a one of a kind deal for performers, who can sign on to one year contracts with a shot at up to three yearly extensions. Each contract supplies the performer with housing and a chance to take on major roles in up to four shows.

A performer (ahem, "resident artist") who gets contract extensions can beef up their "I've been in this show and that show and these shows" parts of their resume rather easily. Per Doug, there's no other opera (Do I capitalize it? I dunno...) outfit like this in the United States.

I thanked Doug for good naturedly answering mine and man-I-do-not-know's many questions about his job (he was totally OK with me comparing him to an au pair). The night chill was setting in so we went back inside, but not before Doug encouraged me to attend the upcoming performance of Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.

Figaro, Figaro, Fiiiigarooo. Yeah, that one.

Much time had passed so I finished my beer, said goodnight to the cool humans inside Jack's and took the 61 bus home.

See you tomorrow at Jack's!

Day 10 - I Was There

Sunday morning at Jack's Bar & Lounge.

Yep, I was there. I saw the pho. I ate Subway. I drank the new sweet tea (thank you Taneesha!) i.e., Firefly, which is basically like Snapple for adults. I sat back as Taneesha and Aimee held court and weighed in on subjects germane to the bartending profession such as:

  • Rude customers: Jack's is the type of place that does not admit of that sort of ill-behaved person.
  • If you order a round, it goes on your tab unless you ask to split it; why is this so hard to understand, oh customer?
  • If you talk shit within earshot of the bartender or come at them sideways (that is, you're new to the bar and already are being demanding like you're God's gift)...well pardner, said bartender may not be so keen to provide you with excellent service.
  • Corollary: just because a bartender's back is turned does not in fact mean their ears stop working.

I also learned that the vagina is, according to Dr. Oz, a self-cleaning oven.

Grant and I talked a bit about tire chains and how he's been on skis since he was a child and his dad tied a rope around him and held both ends to both let him loose and keep him close.

James (kla-klow bang-bang!) walked in after and much man talk about things I can't remember took place.

Thank you to Grant for buying a round of sweet vodka!

I ran into the Beautiful Burping Beauty Queen and got her name as I headed out the door.

Never went to bed last (Saturday) night, actually.

See you Monday after work at Jack's!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 9 - Lots and Lots of Humans at Jack's

I haven't been to Jack's late at night in about a week. I said hello to Dave who was checking ID's at the door tonight and strolled in to Jack's Bar & Lounge a little before 10 p.m.

DJ Trapps (see Travis' profile at and download last year's mix recorded live at Jack's annual Christmas party) was spinning up a great mix of hip hop and old school variety. He's there every Saturday night at Jack's.

I quickly found my bar buddy Gary at the center of the bar, said hello and proceeded to catch up with him. Gary had had a great day (the guy went on a date with a very pretty lady today, then later on out to a movie with yet another pretty lady - he does well, that Gary) and paid for my first pint. Thanks, man.

No sooner had we toasted to his good day when a woman approached us. She announced that her friend was getting married and my services were required by the bachelorette party immediately. I soon found myself standing before a legion of incredibly beautiful women, who occupied two tables pressed together, with the bride to be at one end. (How did I miss them when I walked in, I wonder?)

The bride's name was Sara. I learned it was my job to bow down before her so her picture could be taken while she kissed my shiny bald head. They forgot to put the coupon book of "things to do before you get married" in the picture -which apparently is required as proof- so we did it again.

My new motto is, "Anything for a bride to be." ;) Also, thank you Sara for giving me permission to write about that rather enjoyable moment in this blog. Congratulations and I wish you and your future husband all the best.

A bit later Matt showed up to back up Jordan for the rest of the night behind the bar. When I think about it, it amazes me just how fast the bar filled up after that.

By my count there were at least four birthday groups at Jack's (all girl's birthdays) plus the bachelorette party. It got so crowded in the bar that at one point I literally could not leave to step outside for some fresh air. That big a crowd might seem a bad thing, but I think it's good. The more $ that rolls into Jack's, the better for all of us. Gary held our spot at the bar and I bought the next round.

When I finally did get outside, I got a chance to speak briefly with Dave about a minor altercation that took place at Jack's on Wednesday. Some peole just don't know how to behave, but Dave (who was there that night) sure as hell knows how to safely restrain a misbehaving person and remove them from the bar. Dave also kindly introduced me to his former roommate Cami.

I went back inside to continue chatting with Gary and watch the replay of Superbowl XXXII, where the Broncos (my team; go jump in a lake, Raider fans!) kicked the crap out of the Packers. I was introduced by Gary to a well dressed man named Jerome and his beautiful date (can't remember her name; sounded Greek, though), I saw Brook and Jason for like a split second before the swell of the crowd blocked my view and noted there were several women with flowers in their hair all throughout the bar.

Gawd I'm a sucker for flowers in hair.

Soon it was time for more fresh air outside. I stepped out the door and saw a man who had a cigarette, but no lighter, so I asked if he needed a light. After I lit his cigarette, he asked if I worked at Jack's (I get that, sometimes). I said, no then introduced myself. He said his name was Joe. Joe said he was a General Contractor who builds and remodels restaurants and clubs from Los Angeles up to the Bay Area.

Joe is of Portuguese decent and is working on getting dual citizenship in Portugal. He wants to move out of the US and live either in his ancestral home (I can't remember the island chain where his ancestors came from) or in Spain. According to Joe, once you have a visa of European origin, the European Union rules say you can live anywhere in Europe. I hope he gets his new citizenship.

Unfortunately poor Joe was a bit too deep into his cups. At one point he literally put his hands on one of a pair of women to stop them as they were passing by. I thought he knew these ladies, but the "Oh please, give me a break" from the lady said otherwise.

I expected Joe to let her go, but he didn't. I akwardly stepped up to Joe and gently brushed him back with my body while putting my arm around him. Joe let go of the first lady, tried to reach for the second but they were able to get by and back into the bar. Joe said, "C'mon man, aren't you in your thirties, right? You need to live a little!"

I told him, "Joe, I just like to sit back and take it all in. I'm going to be here every day this year. Something good will come to me."

"Yeah?" said Joe with an impatient shrug, "when?" I just smiled and told him it was time for me to go back inside and find my beer.

Once I finished that beer it was time to go. I said thanks to Gary for holding the fort and grabbed my coat and hat. After letting 11 people squeeze past me (yep, I counted mentally and they just kept on coming) I made it to the door where I said goodnight to Dave.

James walked in to Jack's as I was walking out. Good luck getting inside, buddy. ;)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 8 - Chatty McChasterson and his iPhone

First off: THANK YOU to Taneesha for buying me a round on the house. You rock and you extended my stay at Jack's long enough for me to learn about Jack's history from Tim (see below). I really appreciate it.

Another good crowd at Jack's Bar & Lounge on Friday after work. To me a good crowd is all the bar chairs taken up, less one for my tired butt. There were about 16 men and 5 women in the bar, including the bartender.

Taneesha was behind the bar again tonight and I noticed this time around that a lot of people seemed to know her. She was talking somewhat animatedly with three or four bar patrons and got excited when someone they were talking about showed up out of the blue.

A guy named Ron came in for one quick drink to say Hello to Taneesha. Ron is a nice guy -he bought his wife a car for Christmas even- and just got a new smart phone. I experienced severe pangs of phone envy when he whipped it out. It's called an Eris and it leaves my Blackberry in the dust.

I drowned my envy in beer and watched some Italian league soccer on one of the flat screens, between Chievo and Inter. This game was violent. I'm used to soccer players from opposing teams touching hands, then falling over in feigned agony as though every bone in their hand was broken, but for this game it was all real pain, which the sports network was keen to show over and over.

First contact: two guys bump backs while trying to head a ball. Guy one lands, elbows guy two in the back, guy two responds by doing a swift horse style kick to guy one that catches him between his legs, lifts his nuts up slightly and drives them into the front of his crotch. I even felt pain on this one.

Impact number two: two guys jump up to head a ball, but they were both running so their leaps are as much vertical as horizontal. Neither guy heads the ball, but they sure as shit run their heads into each other like a pair of rams battling over who gets to nail the ewe first. Both guys fall to the earth and are taken away on stretchers. What an impact!

Collision number three - a one sided affair. Once again a guy jumps up to head the ball, but guy two on the other team is thinking he wants to close the distance to guy one and jump over him to get to the ball first. So guy two runs and leaps like a goddamned gazelle over guy one and leads with his right knee raised up when he does it. Guy two does get to the ball first, but also nails guy one in the back of his skull so hard his nose damn near kisses his chest. Guy two gets a yellow card and guy one goes out on a stretcher.

WTF kind if soccer is this? It's the awesome kind! The guy sitting to my left with his ass crack hanging out plumber style and his buddy one seat over both thought it was pretty cool too.

But for all the human drama going on for our viewing pleasure, the highlight of the night was my conversation with the man to my right: Tim.

Tim moved to San Jose in his early twenties and his lived here for something like twenty or thirty years. He told me he's been going to the Wienerschnitzel (faster, this time) next door to Jack's for at least 25 years and says Jack's has been "Jack's" for at least 14 years.

He also noted that, up until the current owner of Jack's took over, Jack's was filled with hardcore local patrons who'd all grown up with each other and gone to high school together. These folks liked to start drinking early and were capable of giving a withering team stink eye to anyone and everyone they didn't know who dared set foot in "their" bar. Didn't matter if the bar was full or not. In Tim's words, "These guys were assholes. Real assholes."

Tim told me how when he learned Jordan would be taking over Jack's he warned Jordan about the asshole regulars, to which Jordan replied that he knew about them and had a plan.

So it was that Jack's opened later for some time (5 o'clock-ish, much later then when the regulars would want to start drinking) and generally worked the jerks out of the bar.

Things are much better at Jack's now, according to Tim. I have no frame of reference like he does, but I sure as hell agree with him that Jack's is great.

Other factoids from Tim:
- Togos was founded by a San Jose State student. It's first shop was on the south side of San Jose State university.
- He knew Rina (the bartender) when she worked at Mission and was all of 21. Said she's one of the best bartenders he knows and that he and his buddies were sort of hesitant to talk to her at first because she looked so damn young! He theorized she might be one of the many Dave & Busters dropouts who moved on to other, similar jobs in the Bay Area.
- Mission Alehouse failed because the owners -in addition to making numerous little mistakes- bought the building their shop was located in at the height of the market, which then crashed at took the building's value with it.
- Knows Tod (the sailor), who I had a blast with during the first of last year's Jello-O pudding wrestling events at Jack's.

Tod's awesomeness grew in my mind with the stories Tim told me about him. Thanks Tim for letting me in on the history of Jack's and the San Jose bar scene!

Quite a lengthy blog post, eh? If your eyes and brain are tired out, head over to Jacks and buy yourself a round or two to liven up a bit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7 - Beehive For The Win

Moment of truth: I'd wanted to title this blog post "Beehive Hairdos and Really Fantastic Boobies" but I just didn't think it would do Taneesha any justice.

So I'll focus instead on the only-time-I'll-see-such-a-thing-all-day nature of her hair, and leave her other charms and her tattoos for you dear reader to discover on your own on your next trip to Jack's Bar & Lounge here in San Jose.

If you should visit, the cardinal rules apply: be nice, be respectful and above all else please be sure to tip. Taneesha, like all the other bartenders at Jack's, will take good care of you if you take care of her.

Thursday found me standing at Der Wienerschnitzel (speed bump - I've even trained my computer to think "Der Wienerschnitzel" is a not a misspelling of any kind) prior to walking next door to Jack's. Extremely fake hot dogs with even more fake cheese (just this side of plastic, really) and hot dog buns that look like they'd make good, long lasting foam cushions for seats or arm rests if you baked them just a bit longer was what appealed to me and gave me the strength to stand in line in the cold after an exceptionally long day prowling the stacks at the library.

While waiting for my food I ran into Gary, which is to say he was walking by and I said, "Hello." We resolved to go in to (in to/into - when to use which?....Help!) Jack's together.

Food in hand, we found ourselves amongst a surprisingly large number of people. I wouldn't call it a sausage fest; the men were a bit more well dressed and put together than that moniker implies, but a gender count would confirm the men outnumbered the ladies, 17 to 4.

Taneesha was working behind the bar and greeted us both with a warm, friendly smile and hellos as we walked in. And -as previously mentioned- Taneesha wore her hair up in a beehive style which I find to be quite cool and always demands I spend a few brain cycles wondering how she'd look with all that hair let down to cover her shoulders and frame her face. Stunning, no doubt about it.

Gary commented that Taneesha's look is very "old fashioned" ....well, he might have said "old school" but I really can't remember. Either way, it was spoken with a tone of appreciation that I am sure mirrored my own internal ruminations.

It's quite easy to stop and think about Taneesha for as long as one wants, but my stomach asserted itself at that moment so I quickly ordered myself a drink, then sat and ate my food in the normal way while Gary and I talked about Taneesha, work, travel to Vegas, travel to other places (that Gary goes; you could put a wall up around the Bay Area and not impact my travel schedule at all) and the practicalities of finding side-work or a true second job.

I heard a rumor earlier in the day that Cirque Du Soleil is hiring. If they set up shop again just up the street from Jack's on Taylor right off the highway exit (and quite near my light rail stop) all the better.

I should very much like to say, "Why yes, during the day I work for Google at Stanford while in the evenings some nights I work at 'The Cirque', and I don't even have to drive to do it."

I could leave out all the messy details about being a contract employee, too, just to sound more cool.

Soon enough the wonderfully tasting fake food was gone, my beer was drank (I'd written "drunk" initially, but I don't think beer can technically get drunk) I was dead as dead can be tired and it was time for me to go.

Chris Burckhardt stopped in as I was preparing to leave and saying my farewells to Gary . But for a few more dollars in hand I'd have loved to stay and talk with him; I've questions about how he learned music and just how he found his steel guitar that I want to ask him. He mentioned he's due to meet George tonight so they can work on picking some songs to record. I can't wait to see what they do!

That same few dollars would have bought me some time to talk to Ed, too (Ed is EPIC, by the way, and another reason you, dear reader, should come to Jack's and hang out) who was sitting at the center of the bar, being awesome just by being there.

The bus showed up in its usual timely manner and off I went, to home.

If you've noticed a change in tone and/or the writing style of this particular blog post, you can blame Neil Gaiman. I've been listening to him read aloud the audiobook version of his book "Fragile Things" on my iPod for a couple days now at work and I'm afraid he's reprogrammed the writing part of my brain when I wasn't looking.

When I write this, the writing voice in my head is his and not mine. I wonder if that's a unique skill I could get paid well to utilize? That way I could spend more time at Jack's, with less missed opportunities to talk with interesting people.