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? ;)

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