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 see.....my 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: http://www.etalonhiphopblog.com/

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!

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