Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 58 - Hanging With Wendee and Thunder Gets a Promotion

Saturday, February 27th

After a nice dinner with Wendee aka Rosicrucian (thanks babe), she and I repaired to Jack's for drinks and people watching.

After Matt served us up our drinks (screwdriver for her, PBR for me), Wendee proceeded to check out Crystal's shoes and I said hello to lots of cool people and made sure to introduce Wendee to any of them that came over/came by to say hello, including but not limited to Tody, Andy, Jason, Elena, Aaron, John, Tuna Can Johnny, Lisa, Shannon, Crystal and Thunder.

I also made sure not to do anything that might remotely irritate Thunder (like look at Crystal's awesome boobs or her equally awesome tattoos).

This is because I decided that in a battle between Thunder and Gigantor, I think Thunder would win. Congrats on the promotion, Thunder. You are now The Most Dangerous Person In The Bar.

Speaking of Gigantor: he was on a water diet when I came in. He's so cute. Teddy Bear Cute. Doesn't scare me any more cute. C'mere give us a kiss you big squishy cute (just no tongue, please).

Travis, Ras Dank and DJ Trapps were not too far behind. If I recall DJ Vagabond was there as well. Vagabond and friend are working on some new tracks for a demo CD and I hope to get my hands on one very soon.

Oh, by the way: If you get shot by a squirt gun, blame Wendee. She bought 'em for the bar for Matt's birthday. I wouldn't mind so much, if Jack Daniels was used for ammo.

Our drinks done, Wendee and I stepped outside, but not before I quickly said goodbye to Crystal and Waukeen.

Wendee found a dog to pet (his name is Bones) who has a very well behaved owner. Rina showed up about that time and gave me a hug and I almost squished the pretty yellow flower in her hair. My bad.

Dank, Travis and Shannon were energetically chewing the fat (remember 3rd Rock from the Sun, anyone?) and Trapps -after a few ear-splitting wrong speaker/wrong cable moments- got things rolling on the music side

See you Sunday at Jack's!

Day 57 - Poopoo Kitty and Jack's in 3 Parts

Friday, February 26th

Part 1: Sugi

Part 2: Starbuck and A Drink To The Face!

Part 3: The Taco Bravo Adventure

Day 56 - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson May Wear Spandex; The Rest Of You Men May Not

Thursday, February 25th

Quote of the day:
Grant (to Matt): How was your pizza?
Matt (to Grant): It was fucking phenomenal.

The very lovely Wendee (aka Rosicrucian--she's a superior kisser, did you know?) brought pizzas to Jack's. The occasion was the birthday of none other than Matt the bartender.

Happi House was graced by the presence of my truck at approximately 9:34 p.m. The parking lot was packed and I could see that Cielito Lindo was walled off behind a barricade of stationary SUVs and trucks, with a crowd milling about at its front door. Busy night in this part of town.

Rosicrucian should be here, as should Lindsay aka Starbuck, and many a bar-going regular. Perhaps Stephanie would be here as well.

My suspicions were confirmed inside the bar. To my right as I walked in, Wendee and her girlfriend Cessie were perched on a pair of bar stools at the table closest to the door. Next to them sat Shannon, Lisa, Andy and some more regulars.

As I took the view in, going counterclockwise from the tables to the bar, I saw many people I recognized and several I did not. Dean and Sailor Tod were at the short end of the bar on my left, nearest to where I'd walked in.

I saw Dean bust a move later in the evening. Serious! Methinks the man can dance. About that time of night I also talked with Tod, mostly about found backpacks and how stressful it is to lose your gear. In the spirit of this, I pointed out to Tod I'd lost my black beanie today on the Cal Train, to which Tod pointed out that his backpack was far more useful. Thanks for the sympathy, man. ;)

But all this is foreshadowing.

When you walk into a bar where you know several patrons, one can't not say hello. So many greetings were exchanged as I found a perch for my coat near the back and turned around to find a spot at the bar to order. I met some new people who's names I didn't write down. I don't think I even got to sit down with Wendee and Cessie for at least five minutes after I came in.

I wished Matt a happy birthday then too. That was the most sober he'd be for the rest of the night. As predicted yesterday, Aimee (and Ras Dank) were soon in attendance to take over.

But the moon! I forgot to tell you it was bright and full in the sky when I got to the bar, with a wide, white ring around it which was not unlike the Blue Moon over Jack's on Day 1. Matt's beautiful girlfriend Heather was outside, as was Travis.

One or both of them described the moon's halo as a bright areola, with a hard white nipple in the center of the sky. A day would go by before the memory of this caused me to make the connection to the Ice Queen from the Narnia books.

Heather palmed her boobs and did the flashlight maneuver (not the "flash" maneuver -dirty, Dear Reader, dirty- but the "turn the lights on" sort of move) and somehow or another it was decided having flashlight nipples would be very practical.

Then the question of where to put the "on" button was considered and I thought to myself that I'm very good at finding such a button, even with my eyes closed. All you need is a sensitive tongue and a head start. If there's hair in the way, that's fine; you don't have to know I'm imagining myself an explorer hacking through jungle vines and growth to reach my destination, one swift thrust of the tongue after another to clear a path.

Bushwhacking, indeed.

I even said something to that effect before going inside the bar and now I'm quite mortified that I did. But at least my statement was grounded in truth. I'm good with buttons. Or just one.

Please forgive me Dear Reader! I've mislaid the rest of the bar and you followed me back outside to chase a memory, not read about my kink. So let's go back inside, what do you say?

Beer in hand, I sat down at the table with Wendee and she introduced me to Cessie (short for Cessilia -- I'm sure I've absolutely butchered the spelling of her name here). Cessie had long, beautiful black hair that runs all the way down to her thighs. She has eyes that are not wide or large, but just very there. She watches people like I do and later that night I would come to envy those eyes that have observed the regulars at Jack's who were once regulars at Mission for far longer than I have. Her lips were glossy and lined a shade darker on the edges and you might think she was from India if you chanced upon her with just a glance.

Wendee wore a top with a low cut and had her hair pulled back tight. I love it when her hair is down. She smiled that wonderful smile of hers and I felt very welcome at their table.

Both of these lovely women have spent much time together at Mission Alehouse and between them recognized everyone I've ever learned about who went to Mission. I enjoyed listening to them recount stories of the place.

At one point Cessie asked if I thought Wendee should wear spandex. I said yes and elaborated that I thought she'd look great with her hair down, scarf around her neck, wearing a long, thick gray sweater that went just past her bum, with black spandex/leggings/whatever that end in knee high boots or uggs.

A bit more than Cessie asked for, but I thought it best to be precise. I asked if they thought I ought to wear spandex.

Some responses don't require words.

But at least we determined Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson could wear them. Cessie's eyes said it was OK even before she spoke the thought out loud.

At 11:25 p.m. while outside for some air I looked up to see a bright star by the moon. I asked Eric aka ACME and his brother James if they knew whether it was really a star or a moon, but they were of no help. I glanced back at the entrance to the bar and saw Ras Dank undulating side to side like a snake while rubbing one nipple under his shirt. I think it was Travis who got him to dance that way, but I'm not sure.

I laughed, looked away sort of uncomfortably and then I saw a black cat run accross the street. No problem, I'm impervious to black cats (though not necessarily bad luck).

I looked back at the bar. Ras Dank was gone. Then I looked back and I saw a black cat run across the street.

Déjà vu = Matrix moment!

I think Keith aka Keith was at the bar by then. Or it might have been shit-faced drunk Anurag. Anurag was a teacher in the East Bay for a year and a half. It, in his words, "fucking sucked". Later in the evening Anurag opened the bathroom stall on me while I was occupying it, but that's OK. I'm sure it was just a safety check.

Do you know how it is that I know I use the word "indeed" too much? It's because whenever I use it, Anurag says it reminds him of the "fucking Britishers".

Still outside, I marched right up to Gigantor like a redcoat trundling along in a line of men, waiting to get mowed down in a hail of musket-fired bullets from the other side, and talked to him for the second time this evening. What, exactly, was I thinking? Alcohol is a risky sort of courage.

Gigantor followed me inside when I tried to disengage from our conversation about whether it would rain this weekend and the state of California's reservoirs. Gigantor saw Cessie and forgot all about me. My bad, Cessie. Little did Gigantor know that Jerry had already claimed that spot.

Lolz Jerry is the Kraken. The Kraken was recognized by the Wendee and Cessie earlier in the night and in a fit of silly I went over and gave Jerry a big hug and pried him away from Travis. Jerry was smitten by Cessie (I could see it in his eyes) and tried to get the girls drunk --well, at least buy them very stiff drinks.

All he ended up doing was getting me drunk on their drinks. Swear to God that wide, short glass filled with Kamikaze diluted with too much vodka was absolutely flammable. The ladies asked me to take the drinks away when Jerry was not there so I thought the fastest way to do it was gulp them down. Cheap, but effective.

This is how I learned that when Ras Dank pours drinks it's like a heavy hammer striking a nail, except you don't feel the pain in your head until the next day and the glass never breaks from the blow.

Hrm...when the Kraken releases I don't want to be there. Nope not one bit. Makes me think of a very large bull (when I reread that sentence, my eye looks ahead, sees the "b" for bull and my mind completes it with "balls").

But back to "now" and Jerry has returned to see Gigantor standing very close (Gigantor is a very up close and personal talker, after all) to the object of their attention: Cessie.

In the Kraken vs. Gigantor battle, the Kraken won! No cities were destroyed, no super powers were used and Jack's is just as we left it (dirty, with a hole in the wall above the urinal that will very likey be poked, prodded and expanded by free hands not holding penises before Charlie or Matt patch it up; a word that looked like "fuck" scratched into the head of the urinal, but then scratched out as though the author changed his mind and realized too late you can't exactly erase words in metal; also lemons in the urinal, but that wasn't me and who knows maybe lemons in the urinal is a good idea?).

All Gigantor and Jerry (Tom and Jerry v2.0?) did was look at each other and communicate by man-speak telepathy that was broadcast by eyeballs set in wide, flat faces like radio telescopes that were perched upon barrel sized torsos held up by legs as wide as tee trunks.

From my hiding-on-my-bar-stool vantage point it looked very much like two mountains vying for the sweetest spot on the mountain range. Mt. Gigantor understood he was in Mt. Jerry's spot next to the lovely Cessie and he moved on.

In a way it was a lot like Bo Jackson vs. Brian Bosworth (and not because Jerry is black and Gigantor is white - although that's more than 50% of the reason). I could say Godzilla vs. Mothra, but it just wouldn't work.

Jerry, you're my hero. Gigantor, you rock too. I'll get permission to use your name someday.

Sometime after that Wendee and Cessie left. I walked with them to their car and kissed Wendee goodbye. Cessie tried to get to the car first but Wendee and I were not about to let her avoid seeing us kiss each other goodnight.

Some summary:
  • I thought Heather was her twin, because sometimes she was holding Lucy and other times not.
  • Heather's dad is really cool.
  • Lucy takes very good pictures. Her dad is great at getting the best expressions out of her. Ask to see Heather's phone and you'll see what I mean
  • Jerry bought me a shot of Jack Daniels. Thank you! I'm sorry I wasn't such a good wing man. I tried to warn you not to touch Cessie's hair without permission but by then it was too late.
  • I met Sarah and Natalie, who fin slap regularly (that's a Shark's fan thing). One of them was wearing a custom made hoodie with shark fins and eyes sewn into the hood, with a spot where you could attach a shark fin on the back. Look for them at the Shark Tank during the NHL playoffs! And actually Wendee hadn't left by then, but would soon after. Oh, and one of the two ladies had her nails painted in Shark's colors. Even had a pic of them on her phone.
  • Stephanie arrived much later that night, showing off her new tattoos and looking beyond fantastic. I've always scene her in pants and a gray sweater of one kind or another, so this was an awesome moment. Unfortunately I was too drunk to appreciate the moment and she left with her friends not long after. DAMN and FAIL!
  • The headless green fat woman with red x for nipples sticker on the door frame in the men's restroom is something I always look at.
  • I went up to the bar to buy one last beer, but Eric cut in and bought it for me. Thank you!
  • Thanks for not killing me, Mr. McBride. It was fun to talk to you about your coworkers that do the, "Have you seen a penguin come?" joke by tossing ice cubes on the bar after the questioned person naturally says, "No, I haven't."
  • Aimee clapped very energetically to Sweet Child of Mine from behind the bar.
  • DJ Vagabond promised me a CD as he left at last call at 1:18 a.m. Living Dead Girl was playing and Grant had been watching the door for some time after Travis left for the night.
  • 1:24 a.m. - ACME bounces a drink off the floor and Mr. McBride does an improvised mockery of ACME's fail by making up new words to Sweet Home Alabama. I can't remember a word he sang, but Eric did give McBride a "yes I've been adequately mocked, you can stop now" look as Katie smiled and pulled her pants up a bit.
  • Speaking of Katie: when the very lovely Crystal walked by (it was super nice to talk to you for a bit, Crystal), she looked and Katie and said, "Fuck, she's pretty."
  • Did you know that the guy I think of as Errol Flynn who hangs out with Crystal is really Thunder (that's not a code name, but his real name), who I've met previously at Jack's? :sigh: Jeremy's memory is teh suck. Also I probably should be glad Thunder didn't kill me either. I mentioned she seemed taller on facebook and she said her boobs are bigger on facebook too.
  • Kieth aka Keith was very helpful and awesome! I got to meet a couple of his friends (sorry, forgot names) and we talked about a game called foursquare on his iPhone. Keith is the mayor of Jack's and encouraged me to play. I just might, after I figure twitter out, since any game that rewards you with free (albeit fictional) PBRs is awesome.
  • Keith very kindly bought me a beer before he left and informed me that "AMF" --something I'd mentioned in a previous blog post was a term I didn't know-- stands for adios motherfucker. I look forward to hanging out with him in the future!
  • I didn't get to spend as much time with Lindsay as I'd wanted. But we'll get to hang out on Friday.
  • At 1:31 I got some water from Aimee and with Grant by my side we watched Eric and McBride get down and boogy to ABC by the Jackson 5.
  • "I'd rather be a short woman than a tall Amazon" was overheard. I'd Rather Be Short woman has a husband who's getting a Master's in something lucrative.
  • I ate some food out on the back patio at 1:43 a.m. What was it? Oh yeah, pizza! Matt talked to Grant about that outside.
  • Aimee and Heather talked animal separation anxiety.
  • Matt was beyond faded.
  • The red glare of the Jack's sign dominates my point of view as I walk and text from the back patio to the front driveway, water bottle tucked under one arm.
  • The bar closed, I stand outside to collect my thoughts. The cars roll by and the sound is a lot like sunrise in Grand Theft Auto III --if you've played through a full in-game night, say on your PS2, you know what I mean-- and I can hear the sound of glass clinking against glass as the staff at Jack's unload the dishwasher and restack bar glasses from behind closed doors. I know that sound by heart now. It's the sound of closing, the sound of unwinding and the final bit of speech from the night telling me it's time to go home and go to bed.
At 2:03 I drive home and see Curtiss and his buddy walking with I'd Rather Be Short up Taylor.

See you Friday for another Epic Journey to Jack's!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh sweet lord I just learned how to blog from my phone. The world is no longer safe. Wells at least I can text notes to the blog and sort them out later.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 55 - Several Shades of Dirty and Stubby Fingers (and a Birthday Notice)

Wednesday, February 24th

Dear reader: get your head out of the gutter. ;)

Were you at Jack's Bar & Lounge with me today, you'd have seen three men occupying the corner of the bar closest to the door.

One of them had a friendly face. He even smiled at me in a way that suggested he knew me, though I did not recognize him (this is a danger for me now, you must understand, as I hold a kind of celebrity status approximately the size of a grain of sand).

He would recycle your used silicon wafers, if you had any leftovers you didn't need, and if he still had his job.

The friend of Friendly Faced man wore a sharp looking 49ers cap and a white sweater. He had a trim black goatee and eyes that were not even visible behind almost touching eyelids, which suggested this man spent much time outside. This may be true, though I don't know for sure. What I can say is 49ers Cap Man can recycle your silicon, since he is still employed in that line of work.

The third man in our little troop would be the one to go to if you needed help with bail. He's also a Cowboys fan and he and I exchanged comments about the Chargers letting go of Ladainian Tomlinson today, as well as the release of Briand Westbrook and Jamal Lewis.

The bondsman thinks Westbrook will go to the Cowboys next year. I'm inclined to agree and think Westbrook will be a good fit for the Cowboy's franchise.

Now lest you think I favor the corner over any spot at the bar, I should tell you a man sat towards the center of the bar. This fellow had a round face covered in stubble, wore glasses and a red hat, and had small, calloused and dirty hands that ended in thick, stubby fingers that have seen a lot of hard work.

Small as they were, I'd no doubt those hands were capable of forming one hell of an iron grip around whatever they grabbed.

Dean came into the bar about the time I started talking with this fellow, who goes around in a trailer and works jobsites for a general contractor. You might just see him at Santana row come May. You'll also see more parking lot disappear around that time too.

Trailer Man and I talked construction, construction supply and how glad he is that the rain has come. Trailer Man wishes we'd get more rain like we've been having, too. He has a buddy that went down Interstate 5 the other day and said it was green as green could be all around during the trip.

This surprised me, since I'm used to I-5 being several shades of dirty browns and smog grays. I still can't believe they keep all that land irrigated and farmable.

Aimee was our bartender this evening and I'm going to fail to describe how awesome she looked, she was and she is, because I don't have the right words yet.

Blogging is fun because I get to try new words on to see if they fit, but dressing Aimee in words requires more than my meager skills can manage (I know, metaphor stretched beyond breaking at this point).

You try it, dear reader (you can leave comments anonymously, after all). I welcome the help!

One thing I can say about Aimee is that, in my opinion, she wears clumsiness like a disguise. I've seen her trip over beer cases and crash into things. But I've also seen her speedily climb around the bar with the grace of a ballerina and the swiftness of a ninja (or better: like Spider Man), without the need to pause and catch her balance.

It's just a series of deft, one-two-three movements and she's on an appliance, removing bottles and cleaning glass shelves.

She's Jackie Chan like that.

I've also seen her swim on a bar stool, but I don't think that supports my point. So never-you-mind that last.

Before this post closes, I should mention to you that it's a certain handsome bartender's birthday tomorrow. Come see him at nine o'clock when his shift starts and be prepared for Aimee to take over not long after. ;)

Moment of random: I've learned how to be the perfect date for a woman needing to fill the "and guest" part of a wedding invitation, provided said woman is recently divorced or has just left a long term relationship. (Thanks, Stephanie Klein, for writing Straight Up and Dirty, for teaching me such words as "wasband", for the advice on first sex encounters, i.e., men should keep the word Astroglide out of their vocabulary, and for pointing out that shiatsu is a form of massage and not a martial art.)

I wonder if I'll run into anyone needing just such a well-rounded fellow as myself on Thursday at Jack's?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 54 - Thinking About The Matrix At Jack's

Tuesday, February 23rd

Yes it is you've got the magic fucking wand in your hand.
-Tanisha, to a customer who got his hands on the TV remote

The wind picked up this evening as I drove home from work. It pushed my truck around on Highway 280 and threatened to push out the kind of wind-driven rain that stings when it hits your face.

Fortunately it wasn't raining when I parked one up from the sweet spot at El Tarasco (we'll call this parking space "son of sweet spot"). With my truck door open I could hear the sound of wet on tires, a crew chief hollering at his men as they tried to wrap up their work on Fourth and Taylor, the beep-beep-beep of a backhoe working in a confined space with those workers as they scraped and shoveled.

For all that tumult the most prominent sound was the chatty chirping of several birds up in a tree situated in the back corner of the El Tarasco parking lot. Seriously it was like little bird central.

Two uniformed officers in bright green vests were directing traffic. The officer in the center of the Fourth and Taylor intersection signaled with crisp, sharp movements that were no less precise than a marching band conductor, but not nearly as showy. It's interesting to see someone convey authority like the officer did with just hand and arm motions.

Someone had a good set going on the jukebox when I walked in (The Doors, Def Leppard, A Perfect Circle) and just about all the seats at the bar were taken up by the 14 people inside.

I chose to sit at a table so I could work on an idea for a story about Jack's, then got my beer from Tanisha (insta-served FTW). I said hello to Gabby and George (who looks like Elijah Wood).

Canada was playing Germany at the Olympics on the TVs and as I worked on my story I saw a man sit very close to Gabby. He faced her with his legs open and his knees past the back of her seat. It seemed to me for a moment like he was going to eat her with his groin.

I saw a white Philly Cheese Steak box on the floor in the bathroom hallway when I went to take a leak.

I ran out of story ideas and walked out of Jack's at 6:32 pm, wishing I'd taken the time to talk with Gabby before she left. She's pretty and interesting.

See you Wednesday at Jack's!

Day 53 - Give Me A Pitcher and A Straw

Monday, February 22

Monday, Monday, Monday.

Mondays are good...well, no, they're not. No use being nice to Monday.

This particular Monday I found myself at Jack's Bar & Lounge with a little bit of extra money to spend. Were I wiser or smarter, I'd have had my $2 beer and got the hell out of there. But this was not to be.

I left sometime Tuesday morning (I can't remember when) having consumed four beers, two pitchers of beer and three or four shots of Jack Daniels.

I bought Doug a shot of his favorite drink, shared beer with Wes and Drew Barrymore, and received a beer from Doug and a shot of Jack from James aka Produce.

For the record it's Tuesday night at the time of this writing, and I'm just now feeling better opposite the absolute worst hangover I've had this year.

Yep, going back to "$2 and outs" at Jack's, starting tomorrow. See you there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 52 - USA Defeats Canada In The Olympics, 5-3

Sunday, February 21

I just don't know how else to tell you this, dear reader: I get to sit with the best, most interesting damn people in the world. They're handsome, energetic, sincere, lovely, friendly and more often than not they smell real good.

And that's just how it is.

...tonight, I sat next to a woman who has a tattoo of an Incan or Mayan-looking mask -perhaps a death mask?- on her back, at the top of her spine and just below the start of her neck.

Twice now when she's turned to look at someone or something I took the opportunity to take in the shape of her back, her neck, her head and her hair with my eyes, trying to memorize everything.

And just as before, that tattoo poked out from the top of her shirt and looked right back at me, as if to say, "She may not have eyes in the back of her head, but she does have me, and I know what you're all about, mister."

Thwarted again. ;)

But I do know she has another tattoo, somewhere. Else why the appointment earlier in the week? I also know she's great to have around for hockey games. She yells, hollers, cheers and knows the players on the team.

And she's just one of several that were at Jack's tonight.

More later.

Day 51 - A Chat With Tall Nicole

Saturday, February 20th

Jack's bartenders are like angels. Some of them even have wings, it's just that they keep them hidden beneath their clothes. Their wings can be seen, though, if you know where to look in the bar.

More to come.

Day 50 - Of Racial Insults and Needs More Jason

Friday, February 19th

An official hearty thanks goes out to Comrade Smirnoff, Messrs J. Daniels and J. Walker and Senor José Cuervo -- all whom spring to mind and bounce off the liver as ever-present and faithful companions to this task. The rest of you can all piss off until somebody pays me for the zol.
Lovejoy, Al. Acknowledgements. Acid Alex. Cape Town: Zebra Press. 2005. xiii-xiv (google books link)

A Friday visit to Jack's Bar & Lounge always goes better when you travel there with good friends and expect to see more friends once you reach the bar.

Tonight was special because I would be attending with my good buddy Sugi. We met at my place and there I learned our friend Eva would be joining us. I informed Sugi that I expected to see Lindsay aka Starbuck and Keith aka Keith (lolz) at the bar.

Shoes were strapped on to feet, beards were combed, guns were taken out, lip liner was applied and off we went into the night in my gloriously green truck.

Happi House offered up its parking lot for our use, forever free of charge, then Sugi and I walked across the street to Jack's.

Tall Nicole was behind the bar and said hello. I introduced Sugi to Jason, who was sitting in his customary area on the short side of the L-shaped bar nearest the door, then Starbuck hollered at me from the back of the bar. Sugi ordered the first round (thank you!) and I went back to hang my coat up and say hello.

In addition to Lindsay I found John and Tuna Can Johnny sitting side by side. Hellos and handshakes were had. At that moment I remembered I'd touched Lindsay's blond hair the other night and recalled just how soft it was. I wondered how it would feel on my lips as I hung my coat up.

Sugi brought our drinks to the back and I introduced her to everyone (she already knew Tuna Can Johnny, but I didn't know that) and I proceeded to be a jerk by sipping my beer before Sugi and I could have a toast. My Major Bad.

I apologized to Sugi, we clinked glasses (to what I can't remember, I was too embarrassed to remember much at that point), then I talked with Lindsay a bit and with the two J's about looking up curling on the internet while Sugi chatted up a rugged looking fellow (call him Sierra Nevada for now) to the left of Tuna Can at the bar about the match between Sweden and Norway(?). I remember thinking that the Swedish Women's curling team were all very pretty, in a blond sort of way. Norway's team all seemed to have hair in shades of red.

Eva showed up some time later and we took over the corner of the bar, using coats and purses to claim seats while we alternated between spending time in the bar or out front.

There was a party of about six women and one man behind us and they were really getting their drink on. They danced alone, danced together and some of them ground their bodies into each other as the music played on the jukebox. One woman kept bumping into me and I tried to guess which of her body parts made contact without looking. I hoped she didn't have a drink in hand to spill on me though.

Turns out Lindsay went to Jr. High with one of the women from that party. Little did I know what a foul mouth said woman had.

Matt the bartender arrived looking handsome as ever and Tall Nicole proceeded to count down her register. Matt has a good, firm handshake and his smile is always genuine. I like that about him.

Not long after Ras Dank arrived and proceeded to exit the back of the bar; there he arranged tables and fiddled with the fences that would form the perimeter of the patio area to be opened up for use by bar patrons later that night.

Sugi and Eva were smoking outside and I alternated between talking with Jason and Lindsay.
  • Now if you've never met Jason you should know he's a pretty sharp guy and very handsome, with smooth brown skin. If you tell a lie, he'll likely know it. Spend more time with him and the better he'll get at knowing your truths from your prevarications. Sitting next to him, I noticed he has a small scar on his face like I do on mine: chicken pox, if I'm not mistaken. Jason is from St. Louis, spent some time in North Carolina before coming back and then making his way out here. I asked about St. Louis and he told me that nobody is in a hurry out there. You can talk to people there and have genuine conversations. Here people are in a rush and always seem to have an ulterior motive. When I asked he told me that the best way to spice up my blog would be to include more Jason. Will do! ;)
  • From Lindsay I learned that she's a single mom and works to promote local music. She showed me pictures she'd taken today with her phone of a radio station office that's moving (I can't remember which). I told her how when Tower Record on Blossom Hill closed, Sugi took as many pictures of everything as she could to preserve the memory of the place. Nicole was genuinely happy to be at the bar and out of the house. It showed in her smile and the tone of her voice. Before she left for the night Nicole gave Lindsay one of the left over PBR tin cans and that made her even happier.
Sugi and Eva returned and I admired their tattoos for a moment before stepping out front. Both women have ink on both arms and wore outfits that highlighted this. Lindsay asked to see Eva's tattoos in detail so she took off her coat/vest and I traced the line of ink up one arm, across her ample chest and down the other arm.

I really liked standing next to those three women. Smart, intelligent and sexy as hell.

Outside I listened to John and Tuna Can Johnny talk about TCJ's day. Turns out TCJ coaches track and field, is a Gemini and noticed the cherry tree blooming in front of his house the other day. He offered me a cigarette and I declined.

About that time someone reached around from behind me, grabbed my beard and used their other arm to lock me in place. Must be Fremont Matt. ;)

Fremont Matt is as big and wide as I am. He has a full, commanding voice and I relaxed in his arms since he got the drop on me and there was naught I could do until he let me go. Once free, I turned around to shake his hand and saw he'd arrived with his lovely wife and a group of about six people. I asked him how his all-day BBQ went, then realized too late that this was going to be on Saturday, not today/Friday.

Eva stepped outside to smoke and kindly repaired the last of Lindsay's two bent cigarettes. Then she expectorated like a cowboy and the drunk party of females were minded by sober friends just arrived to the bar.

Back inside and still Charlie had not shown up. DJ Vagabond, Demodulate and Cole arrived, though. I spoke with DJ Vagabond about his regular crew of guys he works with on Fridays (normally with Overflo and B Rich), but tonight he was with different set.

In fact, he wasn't even on tap to DJ tonight, rather he helped with the setup and got to step back and let Demodulate and Cole (the later works in San Francisco and " a monster" per Vagabond) run the show.

And run it they did!

DJ Vagabond said Jack's is one of the best kept secrets in San Jose. He taught me about the concept of dubstep, it's roots in reggae, it's tempo and how you can transition to slower and faster beats-per-minute music with it (from 70 to 140 or vice versa).

Thanks DJ Vagabond for the lesson and for letting me chat with you.

Around 10:30 more friends of the DJs rolled in and Jack's was really filling up. Fremont Matt's party had moved to the back patio and Matt the bartender had his hands full behind the bar, though you wouldn't know it just looking at him. Matt's composed like that.

Sugi, Eva and Lindsay were outside so I saved their seats at the bar. I could see the party of women behind me were many of them drunk as shit. One was all but passed out on a table. I turned around and chatted up the man to my right by talking about beer. I could tell by the shade of his drink that he was sipping on Sierra Nevada. When I asked if that was his favorite he turned towards me and I saw the logo of same printed on his shirt. He then showed me a series of text messages that went something like this:

Brian: Did you call me?

Unknown woman: Nope.

Brian: I'm at the bar. Should I go to sleep?

Unknown woman: Oh is there a bed at the bar? Call me.

Smart-allecky women are the best.

I made to step outside for more fresh air, but introduced myself to my at-the-bar neighbor first. When I mentioned I'd be at the bar all year, Brian said, "I know. I saw you on Facebook."

Holy fuck he already knew who I was, sort of. Not used to that.

I looked up at the TVs and saw Tiger Wood's face for like the millionth time that night. At that point I decided I was extremely tired of seeing the Tiger Woods apology being replayed over and over on several of the flat screens.

About that time Lindsay's drunk as shit acquaintance (hereafter known as stupid white woman) from Jr. High let loose with, "Drunk ass nigger!"

I turned to see Ras Dank patiently escorting her to the door. She cursed him again with the same phrase over and over, but he kept his cool. I went outside and stepped past stupid white woman as she stood stubbornly at the front entrance, trying to explain in a disjointedly drunk way the reason for her saying what she did and why it was justified.

Jason put a stop to her yapping with a well deserved, intelligent rebuke, but stupid white woman rebooted and started over. That would have been an unfair fight, even if she was sober.

I find it remarkable that Dave kept his cool the whole while. I could see Sugi looking after stupid white woman's friend who was puking her guts out in the bushes (Sugi bought puking woman a bottle of water to hydrate since her friend wasn't doing anything useful), and whom I later learned Dave had to escort out because she was too drunk to remain inside (that Dave had to do this is I believe what set stupid white woman off in the first place). Eva was all but furious at the spectacle.

The sober bunch of that group got their drunk friends out and into cars and the lone guy came back to apologize. Jason advised him not to apologize for something the man didn't do, but he apologized all the same.

I'm a little surprised the house didn't ban stupid white woman for life. She got away with waaaaaay too much, in my opinion. Eva remarked to Dave that he was a very good man and always cool.

I could tell Dave was hurt by the remarks, but he let off his stress slowly the rest of the night through conversations with Travis and other people at the bar.

Aaron and another group of friends rolled up to the bar after that. I like Aaron because he's handsome like Jason, has a friendly smile and -like me- keeps a shaved head. Lindsay got her hands on both our heads at one point and rubbed them at the same time for good luck.

Jason left around 10:30-ish and I walked by the two J's as they did shots of Jägermeister on my way to the back patio. I enjoyed the warmth radiating from the three heat lamps and watched Fremont Mike as he told a story to someone I didn't recognize by using his hands as much as spoken words.

TCJ came out back to smoke and offered me a cigarette again but I said no thanks. I talked with Lindsay about single parenting and zodiac signs and I remember thinking about how all the zodiac talk made me think more and more of Battlestar Galactica.

I looked up at the sky and saw a wedge of moon had risen over the northwestern sky.

TCJ insisted on buying me a drink (good man!) and someone surprised him by buying him a drink. Thank you for the sweet taste of Jack Daniels, TCJ!

After finishing his shot, John turned to me and says, "Have you seen Son of Anarchy?"

I immediately think of Jason aka Son of Anarchy, then it occurs to me John meant the TV show Sons of Anarchy, so I say "yes" and he looks at TCJ then back at me, pokes me in the chest with his index finger and says, "You're Opie!"

I reply, "But I don't have any hair!" To which John replies, "It doesn't matter, keep the hat on!"

I have a friend back in Colorado that I haven't spoken to in far too long. He is a roadie for Insane Clown Posse and made the nickname 'Opie' look good far before the actor Ryan Hurst came along to be decorated in fake tattoos and play a character of the same name on Sons of Anarchy.

My nickname back then was 'Fish' because I swam all the time and was a lifeguard, so I'll accept Opie in my buddy Matt's honor, knowing full well there are others who wear it far better than I.

Opie from Sons of Anarchy:

Back outside Ed rolled up to the bar on foot and Travis had arrived to watch the front door sometime before that. Travis talked about pulled pork and summertime BBQs at Jack's on the back patio. According to Travis the lunch crowd kind of ebbed and flowed this week, with things going slow mid-week but picking back up on Friday.

Travis also told me (three times) that he can't get over how much I look just like Yukon Cornelius. You be the judge:

Speaking of Ed: At some point during the night I told John and Tuna Can Johnny that Ed used to be able to put his legs behind his head. He'd do that during stretching for basketball practice.

Charlie rolled in around 11 o'clock and all the DJs and DJ friends hollered whenever one of them played something the others like. One of the DJs played Let's Get It On and Charlie started dancing behind the bar. I shook Charlie's hand at one point and remember him smiling and saying, "I've heard stories about you."

Not long after that Eva departed for home. I remember hugging Lindsay and wishing her goodnight, but I don't remember when that was.

Sugi was thoroughly buzzed and insisted on driving home. Carter had her keys, smiled at her as he held them out of reach and said, "Don't you need these?" to her playfully as she made several 4' 10" tall drunk-person leaps to try and grab them.

I shook hands with Carter, said goodnight to Sugi and Travis made a bit of a grunt as Sugi turned, drunk-smiling, to wave goodnight and give us a thumbs up. At the time of this writing her car is still parked in front of my house. Wonder if they forgot about it? ;)

I left Jack's at 11:48 pm, wishing I had the funds to stay and get thoroughly wasted. Friday I'm In Love by The Cure was playing on 92.3 so I switched off the Sugi-friendly music and turned on the CD player, letting Lamb of God sing me home.

See you Saturday at Jack's!

Day 49 - The No Gas Adventure

Thursday, February 18th (noted, since I don't always write entries the same day I visit the bar)

First, a little house cleaning: I've fixed the day counts from the last couple of days. Everything should be sequential now, with no "Day 44" repeats.



Getting to Jack's Bar & Lounge would seem a simple task, or so you'd think. 
  • Get off train.
  • Check out interesting people (and look for beautiful women, to be honest) exiting train.
  • Smell the air for familiar and unfamiliar scents -train exhaust and perfume- and to check the temperature and any hints at the state of the weather; also pinch ears shut as you walk on the island between two loud-as-thunder trains idling on either side of you before you make it to the ramp and exit tunnel that leads under the islands and to the train station proper.
  • Walk down the ramp, trying to keep up with the flow of people (why in such a hurry?), listen for the click-click-click of someone walking a bicycle close behind you (jerks, they're supposed to wait), then back up the ramp into the heart of the train station; continue watching people (do I recognize anyone from this morning - if yes, are they in the same mood?) and checking out the women.
  • Exit the train station and walk to the truck, dodging buses (God if even one of those bus drivers ever loses it then we're all of us dead), cars zipping in as though they were being driven by valets eager for a good tip --when really it's just the husband or wife or significant other of a fellow train-goer who also happens to be rushed-- then unlock the door to my totally awesome, smells-like man truck once I reach it.
  • Drive to the best bar on the North American continent: Jack's Bar & Lounge.
Simple, right?

Aha! Not so!

For today I was running on empty. The little, yellow-orange "you're about to run out of gas, you fool!" light blinked on as soon as I started my glorious truck. No problem, I thought, I'll just drive to the gas station on Coleman. I fished for my wallet inside my backpack, took it out and it felt pretty light. I opened it and found no debit card inside, no gas card inside and no cash inside.

This is my I'm not in charge of the nuclear weapons.

What to do, though? I looked up from my belongings in the passenger seat of my truck and searched the facade of apartments on the other side of the train tracks for an answer, but all the hanging signage encouraged me to do was take out a lease that I couldn't afford.

I cursed myself for idling my about-to-run-out-of-gas truck while my brain searched for a solution at far fewer cycles per second than my computer runs at home, put my truck in reverse and backed out of my space.

Another curse escaped my mouth: as I pulled out of the parking lot onto Cahill I found myself at the wrong end of a line consisting of five cars and a bus, all waiting for the light at Santa Clara Street to turn green. The big screen signage on the Shark Tank distracted me and I didn't discover that the low-fuel light had gone away until we got the green arrow and I turned left on Santa Clara.

Hrmm...maybe I could make it to the bank? I resolved to drive to the WAMU-turned Chase [i.e., the "we suck at banking and lose your deposits in our ATMs" Chase - with apologies to any Chase employees reading] at the Coleman shopping center, then either drive (if the gas gods smiled on me) or hoof it to the Valero gas station further up Coleman.

Down the hill and under the train tracks bridge, then back up and a quick right turn onto Stockton Avenue. I panicked for a second as the warning light came right back on when I went down that hill and it stayed on for half my trip up Stockton, but then the light went away and thankfully none of the street lights intercepted me before I made it to Taylor.

I hit the CD player and punched up some Lamb of God. Things always go better with Lamb of God.

Once at the bank, I parked on as flat a surface as I could find and went inside. I felt silly not having a debit card, but my ID served well enough and I got to fill out a withdrawal slip for the first time in awhile. All of the women behind the counter were extremely pretty and helpful. Way better than an ATM experience, I decided.

Cash in hand, I returned to my thirsty truck, apologized to it as I got in the driver's seat and promised we'd get it something to drink if it would only take us both far enough up the street to the gas station.

The wait at the Taylor and Coleman light was the single longest wait for a light to change I've ever experienced, or so it seemed. The no-gas light was back on and seemed to glow even brighter. Unwelcome questions came to mind as my eyes darted back and forth, pacing the cars going by in the intersection and tracking the cycles of the stoplights: Did I really just sit through an entire playing of Redneck? If my truck died, could I push it the rest of the way? Did I even have a spare tank to put gas in?

Traffic stopped flowing left-right and right-left in front of me and I took my foot off the brake in anticipation....

....then slammed my foot back down again so I wouldn't hit the unmoving vehicle in front of me. People waiting for the fucking left turn arrow get to go first, after all.

After that traffic cycled through, the light turned green and I gingerly pressed down on the gas pedal (my truck is a Toyota, but I'm not part of the gas pedal recall, thank God). A few short moments later and I was at the gas station, woohoo!

My rejoicing was short lived, though. I was forced to sit half in and half out of the street, waiting for a completely full gas station to sort itself out while I blocked an ever-growing line of traffic behind me.

Fuck! My! Life! Running out of gas this close to my goal would suck beyond all comprehension, but would also be kind of funny.

Thankfully the person in front of me finished executing her sixteen point turn (it seemed like sixteen turns, but might have only been four) and got the hell out of the way. I pulled into her spot, turned my truck off and went to go pay the cashier.

[fast forward...]

Two blocks from Jack's on Taylor, I saw Mr. McBride walking up the street. I wondered if he would be going to Jack's, but he ducked into one of the corner liquor stores.

The cones in front of Happi House had rearranged themselves again, this time forming a tight path barely wide enough to fit my truck through. I parked at Happi House, gave The Rock a withering, it's-your-fault-I-almost-ran-out-of-gas look, then walked across the street to the bar under a flat sheet of iron-grey clouds.

I stepped inside to the sound of Tanisha working through a fit of coughing; the kind that sounds like someone's sick with a cold. I sat down amongst the seven men and two women at the bar, never making eye contact with her, yet she insta-served me a beer. Fucking awesome.

I told her I hope she got to feeling better. As time went by in the bar I noticed she never coughed again so it was probably something she drank as opposed to a cold. Oh well, my sentiments were sincere.

There was only one person sitting at the back-wall tables, a man whom I didn't get a good look at save to learn his attention seemed to be on the flat screen TV closest to the front entrance of the bar. I followed his line of sight and found myself observing the results of the USA vs. Norway hockey game at the Olympics (have fun, Jordan). We slaughtered Norway, 6 - 1.

Beneath the flat screen sat a couple I recognized, but whose names I forgot. I tend to see them only when Tanisha is working and they're always very nice and friendly. I've spoken to the man before about Hockey, but didn't do much more than say hello to him from across the bar tonight.

Of the four remaining TVs, three had college hoops on and one had Super Bowl replays. My attention was drawn to the later because the replay showed a balloon crash at the start of Super Bowl IV between the Chiefs and the Vikings. Some dude in a viking helmet chased his errant balloon across the field, then jumped into it just before it ran into one corner of the stadium.

I'd written, "lolz no nipples were exposed in the crashing of his balloon" into my phone at some point during the replay, but I can't remember why.

The Olympics coverage switched over to curling (I know too much about curling now) and I saw that the scowling bottle of Patron Orange that sat on the center shelf overlooking the bar had been turned around. It seemed far less fierce now that the logo was showing.

A plastic bottle of Organic Original Green Leaf Sweat Tea sat on one of the rubber serving mats directly in front of me at the bar. Must be Tanisha's, I thought.

The bar-goers sampled pink tequila and bought rounds of Gentlemen Jack's and Woodford Reserve. Outside the clouds had darkened and stubbornly refused to let any sunset light get past them. It simply got dark outside, without any real transition from day to night.

The air smelled good as it flowed into the bar. Not long after Jason arrived and ordered not a Red Stripe (his usual) but a Jack and coke.

This prompted a friendly "WTF?" from Tanisha, which caused the female half of the couple on the short side of the bar to ask, "What does WTF mean?"

Adults live such sheltered lives.

Jason shrugged and went back outside. My beer done, I grabbed my coat and put it on as I walked outside, chuckling inwardly and not waiting to hear Tanisha's explanation. Jason was already on his phone so I sort of half-waved/said hello to him as I walked under very dark clouds to my truck, then drove home.

See you on Friday for a much less stressful trip to Jack's!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 48 - Beer Cures Ocular Migraines....

...but only if you buy the beer from Jack's Bar & Lounge.

That's what I did, at any rate. Throw some fish crackers and trail mix in a bowl to go along with it and a trip to Jack's is a lot like a trip to see the doctor (paging doctor BuPane!) except the medecine doesn't taste bad.

PG&E had all of the south side of Taylor blocked off so there was no parking in the sweet spot for me at the end of my drive to Jack's from the train station after work.

I had to drive down to 5th and loop around the back side of Happi House to park in their lot, then walk back up 5th to the intersection at Taylor and cross the street to the Cielito Lindo Restaurant & Bar before turning west and walking back down the block to Jack's.

The sound of dump truck engines and backhoes could be heard the whole way.

I saw a man in a white shirt on the phone outside. His dog(?) was leashed to the pole next to the Jack's sign outside and he said, "What's up?" as I walked by. I said hello back and went inside.

Aimee was tending bar and I didn't see anyone sitting at the tables as I grabbed the last spot along the bar near the door and took a seat.

The couple to my left asked how I was doing (can't remember their names atm, though I've met 'em before and they're pretty cool) and I told them I was suffering from an ocular migraine, but other than that I was fine. That sort of killed conversation and I felt bad for that. I wanted to chat.

I ordered up a PBR from Aimee and asked for some goldfish, at which point she offered up some of her trail mix. I said yes to it all and busied myself with salty food consumption while I drank my beer.

The sounds of construction worked being wrapped up for the day flowed into the bar and kind of drowned out the sound of the radio and I can't even remember what was on any of the flat screen TVs.

One customer left and soon after Wes strolled in. Aimee pointed him to the end of the bar where the newly vacant seat was at, just the other side of Dean.

About that time my beer and bar snack was done and let me tell you I felt a whole lot better. There were no more flashy, half-moon shaped slivers of light blocking out my vision and my head hardly hurt.

Fremont Matt walked in for a beer and I gave up my seat to him. We chatted for a bit and I hope his Saturday all-day BBQ goes well. Ribs always sound good.

Too bad the cheese steaks aren't being cooked over the weekends at Jack's. I'd buy one up then.

See you Thursday!

PS: It's the one year Anniversary for Hip-hop nights on Wednesday with DJ Benofficial. Jack's is doing $5 Long Islands and AMF's (not sure what those are, lolz). Gratz to DJ Benofficial, thanks for making Wednesdays awesome and for being so friendly. I heard his name on the radio the other day too. Things are looking up!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47 - $3 and Out

Fastest visit to Jack's Bar & Lounge ever today. I must have been in there no more than ten or fifteen minutes total.

Just enough time for Tanisha to serve me up without my having to order (thank you!), me to pay $3 ($2 for the beer and $1 for a tip) and whatever time it took to drink it up and get back outside.

Had a quick conversation with Jason and Lisa outside -- Jason teased me for leaving so soon by asking me if I'm writing haiku now (lolz don't tempt me) and Lisa looked good as ever with Mardi Gras beads on. I told her the reason for my rush (needed to deal with a housemate issue, but more importantly needed to get home and look for a second job online) and she asked about the blog address, which Jason offered to give her.

Lisa and Jason are like rocks and I really got what I needed in those last few moments outside before I left Jack's for home.

Thanks guys.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 46 - Cheese Steaks and Bloody Beers

Today is noteworthy because it's Presidents Day. However today is also noteworthy because it marks a change in the hours of Jack's Bar & Lounge, which is to say Jack's is now open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Friday

There wasn't any talk about presidents in the bar when I was there. In fact I didn't think about presidents at all during my whole trip to and from the greatest bar ever to exist in all of space time.

Anyway, it was such a beautiful day outside and my truck was almost out of gas, so fate was practically telling me to take a walk in lieu of driving.

On my walk I noticed that many of the trees and bushes that bloomed with flowers in the first part of February were just starting to shed their petals. I could see little puddles made of flowery lavender and purple colored rain all up and down the streets that I walked past on my way to the bar.

I arrived around 3:45 pm-ish to find the bar smelling good. Aimee and Travis (kiss or otherwise fondle the cook, btw) were behind the bar and Aimee served me up a PBR. There were laptops sitting on the bar and I thought to myself this looks like an internet cafe.

I sat down at the bar next to Wes and could see a wide, flat metal grill sitting above the beer cabinet behind the bar, just opposite of where I was sitting. This, then, was the source of that awesome smell and the device that would be used to make Cheese Steaks behind the bar for the foreseeable future.

Wes ordered up a Cheese Steak and Aimee went about making Wes a bloody beer. I watched as she squeezed several lemons, pored in some spices and tabasco and mixed it with beer.

As Aimee worked I couldn't quite tell if she'd colored her hair or done something different....maybe it was how the pattern of her clothes matched her hair and mixed with the sun shining into the bar from outside such that it all combined to make her seem positively radiant (or perhaps sunny or just yellow in a good way). Her bright red lipstick somehow kept everything in focus.

Wes is a far braver man than I. They said bloody beer is good for hangovers, but I don't think I've got the fortitude to take on that kind of drink in the midst of a hangover.

Travis dropped some meat on the grill and my gut growled as the smell of cooked meat, onions and peppers drifted to my nostrils (my gut's growling again as I type). As he worked he talked with Aimee about doing summertime barbecue out on the back patio of the bar. Damn good idea if you as me.

Travis served Wes his food on a square yellow sheet of paper/plastic/something and Jason stopped by the bar not long after.

Aimee got zapped by Patrick Dempsey Cologne and soon after the innaugural Let's Smoke A Cigarette Summit was held out front of the bar. This meeting produced the historic Dempsey Truce peace agreement, binding all participating bartenders and freeing them from smelling like "an old man's balls" in the words of one bartender.

As I understand it, customers are excluded from this truce. Beware, unless old man's balls smell is your thing. ;)

My beer disappeared real fast so I said goodbye, waived to Jason as I walked past and headed for the door and a nice walk home in the sunshine.

Back to Jack's tomorrow after work!

Day 45 - Harlequin Valentine

Sometimes I have such great/interesting/bizarre experiences at Jack's Bar & Lounge that it's hard to distill it all and find the right words.

Today was just such a day.
  • I confused Mr. T with Mark Twain and sat with Grant while we searched our brains for Twain's real name (it's not Sherwin Williams [my first boneheaded offering] but Samuel Clements).
  • I talked about the true meaning of a loving, balanced relationship with Lisa.
  • I sat with Tall Nicole (not to be confused with she-calls-me-"old soul"-Nicole) and talked about what it's like to work in a coroner's office for two years and what you'd do if you found out the world was coming to an end. I was also amazed that I was sitting with this incredible woman who I'd only just seen for the first time ever the night before when she worked behind the bar at the F*ck V-Day party.
  • I learned the history of Aimee's pieces on the wall at Jack's. Amongst other things, I learned that Tall Nicole is featured in three of them. I also know which of the pieces features Booty Vicious from the Silicon Valley Roller Girls, who's also a cousin of one of the Nicoles.
  • I watched Aimee swim on a bar stool.
  • I watched Gigantor with a wary eye.
  • I talked about home remodeling with Shannon.
  • And so much more....
You may, dear reader, wonder at the significance of this post's title since I usually link the title to something that happened at the bar.

In this case, something did happen at the bar, but I'll not tell that story here because it's unique to me and a little strange to boot.

If you should care to know then come see me at Jack's and perhaps if I trust you well enough you might pry the story from me for a beer. ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 44 - F*ck V-Day Party - Now With Pictures!

The ache in my left buttock this morning was the first reminder of last night's activities at Jack's Bar & Lounge.

I like how Jess grabbed my belt loop with authority and positioned me just where she wanted me before taking a swing.

There's no need to be spanked multiple times when your paddler can hit a home run in one shot.

Back later to do a lot of writing.


Lolz, lack of writing fail.

Thankfully Kara aka Scottsdale came through with pictures from the F*ck V-Day party, which I will happily share with you below. All pix are credited to her (I don't know how to do the C-in-a-circle yet).

The author: double-fisted sexiness.

Ras Dank: Teh Awesome


Beer Koozie in action

Sadly, there were no pictures of the Silicon Valley Roller Girls. But fear not! You to can see them up close and personal on March 6th, 2010 when you attend Malice In Wonderland.

What's this, you ask? Well, it's an action packed double header with serious women's flat track roller derby featuring the Dot Kamikazez vs. the Dockyard Derby Dames in round 1, and the Killabytes vs. the San Diego Hard Corps in round 2.

Doors open at 5:30 pm (San Jose Skate: 397 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose) and tickets are only $10 bucks ($5 for kiddies) and the proceeds for this bout of action go to the Sacred Heart Community Service. A worthy cause!

You can even purchase tickets in advance at Jack's.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 43 - Sun Up to Sun Down with Starbuck and the Black Pope

I fell over out on the back patio. Missed my landing, as it were.

I remember that much.


A few days later and I remember more.
  • Sitting with Doug and talking about the influence of the Jesuit order in America in terms of setting up universities. From Doug I learned that the head of the Jesuits is sometimes called the Black Pope. That's so fucking cool!
  • Linsaylee aka Starbuck asking for a fall-down reenactment so she could take my picture with her phone. I'd like to get a copy of that one for the blog.
  • Being at work earlier in the day and imagining Jack's as a Cuddle Party location (see this week's Metro or follow the link).
  • Thinking that we save our lives in such unlikely ways as Shahrazad's daily inventiveness saved hers. Perhaps buying oil and sesame really did lead to "open sesame!" later that night.
  • Meeting Henry, Tim and Stacy.
  • A massive wall of clouds that loomed over the western hills that was the color of night-black and gripped the tops of the hills with cloud-fingers while the light from the sunset tried and mostly failed to reach over the cloud wall to bring some sunset color to the transition between night and day. I mean that wall was dark.
  • All the cones across the street were standing together in a caution tape powwow and they invited some barricade friends over for the party.
  • Talking with Doug about Phil Harris' alcohol quote (something to the effect of I feel sorry for people who don't drink when they wake up in the morning, because that's as good as they're ever going to feel all day); staying up late on a humdrum night and discovering Bette Midler for the first time ever on the Johnny Carson show and how Carson took the unusual step of doing an unscheduled long interview with her after her performance; the Crosby Clam Bake (it wasn't always called Pebble Beach Pro-Am you know) and how Harris was a contemporary of Bing's.
  • My second break for air outside watching the neighbor's dog Missy motor back and forth from their house to Der Wienerschnitzel while a lowrider went glub-glub-glub as it idled at the Taylor and 4th Street light with a white guy inside.
  • Finishing off Jason's three shots. You can't diss a guy who calls you in to cover for him. Anytime dude, anytime.
  • Charlie put a straw in my pitcher. Good man!
  • More to come....

Day 42 - Shark's Win!

Quote of the day:
Every fight is a good fight when you are a cannibal.
-barfly TV

The sweet spot was open again so I grabbed it real quick. I stepped out of my truck and inhaled Thursday's sunset air, then I walked out of the parking lot shared by El Tarasco and Foster's Freeze and on up the sidewalk to the light at 4th and Taylor.

On the other side Der Wienerschnitzel was packed. A little girl, no more than a toddler, had lips stained the color of blue Kool-Aid and was busy rooting around in the planters on the corner border of DW while her brothers and sisters (?) played on the tables and ate their food.

I walked past a white Honda Civic with handicap plates parked in front of Amy's Beauty Salon and made my way inside Jack's Bar & Lounge. There were about nine people inside, three women and six men.

I'd been listening to the Shark's game on the drive to Jack's and the score was tied 1-1 with the first period coming to a close. By the time I sat down at the bar I saw the Shark's had scored with just seconds left in the period to go up 2-1 on the most hated Detroit Red Wings.

Tanisha insta-served me a beer (you rock, dude!) and I felt like a dork for thanking her like three times really fast because I didn't want to forget to say thanks like I did the other day.

Feeling a little self-conscious, I decided it was probably better not to speak for a few minutes so I spent some time looking at the back wall of the bar to see if I could find anything different about it during the first period intermission.

Very first thing I noticed was the metal pail to the left of the tikki man in a barrel (ask a bartender to put the tikki man on the bar and remove the barrel....reminds me sometimes of what it was like to be thirteen lolz). This pail is used by Jack's bartenders to hold miscellaneous odds and ends such as a long Bic lighter, a pack of Camels and a pair of scissors.

What I'd never noticed before was the Bad Apfel logo printed on the pail, with the words "How about a tip you bastard?" printed on it in apple green.

I got this feeling like someone was seriously scowling at me and I looked up at the glass shelves and saw a pair of orange colored eyes looking out from under green eyebrows and a mass of white lip pulled back to expose a set of long, stiletto-thin black teeth.

Then I realized it was just the orange liqueur bottle with two oranges high up on the label and a rather large upc barcode at the bottom.

I took another sip of beer and decided that was enough looking around for one day.

I stepped outside and saw that Amy and her helper dude were busy inside the Salon. I must have been so focused on the car parked in front that I didn't even see them inside when I walked into the bar earlier.

The smell of Der Wienerschnitzel carried over to my nose and I decided to splurge on a couple hot dogs (lolz that sounds wrong, doesn't it?). The sun had fallen behind Chris' Service Center and I walked back to Jack's just as the tall DW lights came on overhead.

A Honda Accord materialized in front of the bar while I was gone and I tried to pick out the vehicle's owner as I dropped my food off at my spot at the bar and walked to the restrooms in back. I saw a Miller keg on my right, just beyond the hallway entrance where Beer Pong is played (the official WSOBP rules are posted just above where that Miller keg was at too).

After washing my hands I noticed there were no hand towels (haha isn't that how it always works?) but it's no problem 'cause I've got pants. I told T about the towels on my way back out then took a seat and started eating.

The game still hadn't started back up so I contented myself with watching Barfly TV.

The game finally started and I noticed that my moustache is long enough to catch beer foam. That was enough to keep me occupied through the whole second period of scoreless hockey.

As second intermission got underway two men came in smelling like bathroom soap and kitchen herbs. Then another guy came in, stood near the center table and took in all of Aimee's pieces, then he turned around and looked at the TVs, then he looked around the bar, then he walked out of the bar without buying anything (you can see a lot in the mirrored glass behind the bar--try not to focus on any one thing and then it's cool because you actually see everything).

I wonder if the glowering orange eyes scared him off?

I went outside and the guy walked back and forth in front of the bar a few times like he was trying to make a decision and I realized the Honda wasn't there anymore, then he stopped at the entrance to look inside, then he walked around me to the back patio/parking lot. What the hell is he looking for, anyway?

As I was writing notes into my phone, he rode out on a squeaky motorcycle and gunned it up Taylor.

If you've ever seen the movie Collateral then you know how awesome nighttime can be in a city. After indecisive-motorcycle-guy took off I felt a subtle warmth in the air and looked up from writing my notes to see dog walkers everywhere, the sky a deep blue-black to the east and glowy blue-green to the west and the 61 Piedmont bus stopped at Foster's then headed east up Taylor leaving it's thick exhaust smell on the air as the breeze blew my way.

I like this time of night just after the sun has set and all the lights come on because it's electric and loaded with energy and it feels like anything is possible. I hoped that feeling would translate to a rare win for the Shark's at Detroit as I walked back inside.

The game started up and a tall, white haired Blue Moon sat down to my left. Thick, not quite horn rimmed glasses made of black plastic were perched on his nose and he wore a dark suit jacket that was the same color as the eastern sky outside over a white long sleeve shirt lined in pairs of thin, faded blue stripes. He did not watch hockey but instead watched basketball and I wasn't pleased with him for doing that lolz.

Behind us the bar tables were filling up and god damn if Detroit doesn't score a goal in the third period to tie it up 2-2. I felt a chill behind me as a tall woman in a long black coat walked in and I realized things must have cooled down outside because she carried the air in with her like it was an extra coat.

I think it's neat when that happens because you don't even have to see or hear someone to sense they are there.

Amy from next door walked in to the bar for a sec and I went outside to check the weather. The wind was blowing faster and I felt discouraged by the tie score. The 61 bus drove past but thankfully didn't stop and as I looked to my right I noticed the airplanes were taking off into the wind. Normally aircraft land in that direction but not tonight.

The owner of the Honda walked very carefully out of Amy's on crutches made to support crippled legs. Her hair looked smooth and textured and was beautiful in the way a woman's hair looks when she's just come from a salon. The glint of the yellow street lights played all along her hair as the woman moved methodically around the front of her car to the driver side door, unlocked it and slowly lowered herself into the seat. Her hair reminded me of my mom's hair.

I wondered for a moment how she could drive, but then remembered seeing a film (yes, film) in elementary school of a woman with no arms who drove using her feet. I was sure the woman in the Civic could manage OK.

Old Blue Moon was one and out. He left the bar and walked west up Taylor to some unknown destination.

Back in the bar the game was back on and the third period was going strong. Just past where Old Blue Moon sat was another guy working on his third Sierra Nevada of the night. From the sound of it I think he wanted Detriot to win so Three Sierras is Enemey #1 in my book.

A pair of guys walked in and one asked T to put the fee to get his buddy's card back (which he'd left at the bar some other night) on the new tab he opened up.

Just then (Ryan) Clowe and some useless Red Wing named Ericsson got into a brawl on the ice. Ericsson fought like a wimpy European and in my not so humble opinion Clowe kicked his ass. I cheered for Clowe and dropped my phone at the same time, but kept it from falling through my five hole onto the floor.

Not long after that the period ended with the score tied and a five minute overtime got under way. I agreed with the man to my right that Olympic hockey is going to be the shit this year. Since there are so many Shark's playing in the Olympics us Shark's fans are gauranteed to have someone to root for on just about every game that's televised.

The five minute overtime ended fast with the score still tied. Then the Sharks won it in the shootout woohoo fuck yeah! Nabby gets the record for the most consecutive road wins by an NHL goalie (11 wins) and I remember thinking to myself it was fucking sweet he got the record in Detriot.

The crew of people at the end of the bar suggested they ought to have a footrail build party at Jack's (for those of you who've not been to Jack's, you should know the bar has no rail or foot rest). I think there's was a great idea.

Outside for the last time that night, I met a man from Ohio. He told me about how Ohio is not Kansas-east as I thought of it with fields and pastures and farmland, but is instead quite heavily forrested. He grew up in a town nestled into a valley where three rivers converge. They know something about flooding where he comes from.

He told me stories about the Burning Man festival. One was about friends having a tea party in the back of a jeep. Basically they cranked the steering wheel and tied it in place, but a brick on the gas pedal and rode around in back getting drunk and stoned as the jeep made endless wide right turns in the desert sun.

He noticed I was smelling the air and we talked about crazy Ohio and Colorado weather. Confident in our skillz, we decided it would not rain tonight.

I left Jack's Bar & Lounge not soon after. There were no longer any cars parked in front of the bar that could interrupt my path to my truck.

The next day I got to thinking about how how paying attention to the different conversations at the bar is like focusing on a particular section of an orchestra.

Tonight the talk of birthday planning would have been the brass; the talk of construction work, winning bids, contracts and TI's (tenant improvement) was the woodwinds; the sound of the Shark's game was the percussion, with The Voice Of The San Jose Sharks --Dan Rusanowsky-- as the principal violinist.

I suppose that would also make Tanisha the conductor.

See you tomorrow for the Friday symphony at Jack's!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 41 - Things Made Out Of Bone - 2.10.2010

The sidewalk all up and down Taylor from 4th Street to 5th Street is tore up and filled in with temporary asphault (looks like giant troughs of caviar in the sunset light) and there are large, square shaped iron slabs covering up holes underneath. Orange cones are stacked neatly by telephone poles, waiting to be used again tomorrow when construction starts back up.

Fortunately Jack's Bar & Lounge is on the other side of the street.  ;)

After parking at Foster's Freeze again I took the time to look over this old Chevy truck that was painted a very bright shade of pink. I don't know how the hell that truck managed to pull off a masculine look, but it did.

I puzzled over this as I crossed the street to Jack's from the roughed up side of the block. I walked by Der Wienerschnitzel and saw this guy again who's there at least once a week, dressed in full on winter coat, hood and gloves. Every time I've seen him he's sitting at one of the side tables facing Taylor and reads a book with its pages held in place by two sturdy metal clamps, and always has a coffee (tea?) on his right hand side. I never see any DW food at his table.

A PG&E dump truck and trailer combo with a backhoe chained down on it rumbled by as I looked at the wall that is the west side of the building that houses Jack's and Amy's Beauty Salon, which is painted over in patches to cover up gang graffiti. I wondered if Amy would consent to having her wall done up like the Jack's (east-facing) wall is and if that might do something to mitigate the problem as I walked in the front door of the bar (see this link for photo on Yelp!).

Inside Aimee was tending. Must have been elven people there besides me.  I said hello to Wes, Stephanie and the always energetic Holly, then took a seat at the bar and ordered up a PBR.

Wes, Holly and Stephanie left before all that long and I noticed Aimee was wearing a striped pink sweater whose colors perfectly matched those of the Victoria's Secret bag on the counter behind the bar, save that Aimee's stripes were horizontal and the bag's were vertical.

I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but all of a sudden Aimee and I were talking about friends of hers who'd spent New Years in Czechoslovakia (thank you, spell check). Over there you could buy alcohol from street vendors like you'd buy a hot dog in New York.

The kicker was her friends went to a castle where way back in the day the crypts below ran out of room faster than the dead could be intered, so the locals opted to make candelabras and chairs and whatnot out of the bones from the excess corpses. The way she told it, Aimee's friends said to her the place smelled just like you'd expect death to smell.

This guy came in later on and I got him up to speed on the creepy castle conversation. He responded by mentioning how Hitler had used human hair for lamp shades and as stuffing in the very first Volkswagens. I'm totally not googling that because it's too awesome a story to fact check.

Even crazier: I was on the phone later that night and told a friend the castle story, then she responded with the whole Hitler-Volkswagen thing....dude, twice in one night! Crazy, creepy and awesome.

All this time the Black Crows and Johnny Cash were playing and now that I think about it, it's funny how that music totally fit the conversations going on in the bar. Go figure.

I went outside for some fresh air and noticed the traffic was still real heavy on Taylor after sunset. Another dude came out with his cell phone glued to his ear and was halfway through a food order as he stopped to light a cigarette. Cigarette smoke was already thick in the air but I couldn't place the source and the wind/pressure/whatever must have shifted because all of a sudden it was like Jack's bar exhaled and I could totally smell the bar interior as I stood outside.

Anyway food-ordering-guy didn't stay at the bar all that long after he finished his call.

Back inside I sat down at my spot at the bar and noticed that from where I was at I could see all eleven of Aimee's pieces on the wall behind me in the mirrored glass. Was kinda cool to take it all in at once like that.

Keith -whom I'd met the last Sunday night after the Super Bowl ended- came over to say hello. He was hanging out at the bar with a buddy of his. I should have gone over to introduce myself but I didn't for some reason.

Keith told me about his idea for a kickball team he wants to put together. It'd be called "Just For Kicks" and have uniforms with "JFK High" on the front and everyone's player name on the back would be "Kennedy", which reminded me of how all the bank robbers in the movie Inside Man called each other by variations of the name Steve.  Dude, where do I sign up?

After talking with Aimee about it, I'm writing all the Jack's links on future posts from this one forward so they point to Jack's Facebook page instead of their MySpace page. The Facebook page for Jack's has a schedule of all their upcoming events and better fits the type of good people that come to the bar.

You'll need a Facebook account to view their page, but signing up for Facebook is easy peasy.

Thanks Aimee as always for the excellent service and for the practical advice. Have a fun trip, too!

See you tomorrow at Jack's!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 40 - Woohoo! I Like Jack's Visit Numbers That Are Divisible By 10

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who's helped to keep me on my feet this year (especially you, Mom!) and I'd also like to thank my good friend Sugi for pushing me to get out of the house a year and a half ago and find my way to Jack's Bar & Lounge.

Which is to say a man who doesn't count the women in his life as treasures is a fool. Wish I'd have learned that lesson sooner, but there's no way I'm forgetting it now.

The sun was still up when I made my way to Jack's today.

I parked in the Foster's Freeze lot this time since it's easier to get to when you're headed east on Taylor like I was. I like finding my way to Jack's after work. Bit of a different crowd....more of a work-a-day feel to the people and I like that.

I stepped out of my truck and noticed the orange tint to the clouds as the sun began to set (orange clouds are good indication of why God loves the Denver Broncos, by the way). The sound of construction work winding down carried to my ears from somewhere up 6th Street. Two little old ladies, looking very colorful by way of their red lipstick, blue and red pants and white polka dot shirts under rain coats were sitting on my side of the Foster's lot, sharing one of the little tables while they had a bite to eat.

Since there was so much traffic (and because I didn't want to risk getting run over by someone busy texting in lieu of driving) I chose to cross the street at the light on Taylor and 4th. While I waited for the light to change, I saw a woman in dark gray sweat pants walking a small dog (about as big as a house cat). The dog balked when the woman tried to cross the street, so she picked her dog up and carried it across instead.

I thought to myself: Who's in charge here, exactly?

Not having anyone to pick me up and carry me, I was forced to walk myself across the street and make my own way into the bar.

I saw a nice looking Ford Mustang parked in front of Jack's. I like that car a whooooole bunch.

The owner of said vehicle and several other people were inside. I walked up to the bar and said hello to Jason on my left.

Tanisha served me up a beer real quick and damnit if I didn't forget to say thank you. So: Thank You Tanisha. I'm sorry I let myself get distracted.

My distractor (just made a word up there, call Merriam-Webster for the 2011 Edition) -the aforementioned Jason- gave me some good advice right off the bat. Something to the effect of, "Dude, get rid of the codenames.”

I thought about it and agreed with him. So, no more codenames for peole from Jack's, save for those that want them, for people I don't quite know yet and whenever I feel it's best to use them.

Thank you also Jason for reading each day and for mentioning that the blog helps you to keep up with things going on at the bar when you're not there.

Jason said a bunch of other stuff but truth be told it was kind of fast and I missed it. His offering for a quote of the day, for example.

What I do remember talking with him about was:
  • My beard and when I decided to grow it out (it's a Shark's playoff beard, grown in anticipation/expectation of many playoff wins and a Stanly Cup appearance, started November-ish of last year).
  • Beard genetics. Lolz I may have gotten the better beard genes, but something tells me Jason got the bigger penis. ;)
  • Jimi Hendrix. Jason told me how Jimi Hendrix was very sensitive of his voice, so in the song Crosstown Traffic he used a kazoo of all things to help cover his voice up. I totally had no idea.
  • The power of learning Hendrix tunes. Now I want to hear Jason play sometime.
  • Whether the dude to Jason's right really made his first ever visit to Der Wienerschnitzel today or not.
On the flat screens and starting on my right was Barfly TV on screen 1, a replay of the Super Bowl on screen 2, Men's Basketball - Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt on #3 and #4, and lastly CSN Bay Area sports on the TV closest to the door.

Just Breathe by Pearl Jam was playing about then.

Not much else I remember about today save for talking with Grant outside (he likes to push me around, that Grant) and the man hug we gave each other that Tanisha teased us about. Oh, Ed aka God was there and reminded me his birthday is coming up this Saturday and the party should run parallel with the F*U VD party for the Silicon Valley Roller Girls at Jack's.

Talk about a true test of one's bar skills!

I left Jack's thinking it felt good to have my happy hour confidence back, and to be at Jack's then and not later at night.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 39 - Wes Cuts In On Doug (In A Good Way)

I pulled in to the Happi House parking lot on Monday night and noticed my mortal enemy (The Rock; who incidentally happens to be of the opinion that it had the claim on that name way before Alcatraz stole it) was blocked out by a white car in the adjacent parking space near the Taylor street entrance to the restaurant.

I backed into a space way over on the other side of the lot just as the 68 bus stopped to disgorge some of its occupants.

I saw a man in a very nice leather coat, smart looking hat, glasses and matching shoes walk through the parking lot with a plastic grocery bag in one hand and a black acoustic guitar in the other while a slow drizzle of rain fell from the sky.

I've ridden on a lot of busses in my time, but I've never seen a well dressed man with a guitar and no case on a bus before. It sorta hurt to see that guitar get wet.

I watched him make his way around the back of the restaurant, then disappear somewhere down 5th Street.

As I stepped out of my truck, I saw not one but two big trucks parked at and near Jack's. I like it when I recognize people's vehicles: major foreshadowing for who's inside the bar.

The rain picked up a bit as I j-walked accross the street. I though this guy in a(nother) big truck was slowing down to let me cross, but as it turns out he was ignoring the road so he could text while driving.

Lolz you know they're close when you can see phone glow on their downturned face as they pass by.

Inside Jack's Bar & Lounge, the bar was not all that packed. Aimee was tending and I think there were like eight people (three women, five men) in attendance.

I noticed there were small business card, cards underneath each of Aimee's art pieces with her name in large print and the name of each piece underneath. Serendipity is the name for my favorite of the bunch and I think it fits just right. I still can't remember if that's the name Grant picked out for it or not (see, ACME? I don't remember everything that happens at the bar).

I said hello to Wes and Doug and sat down at the corner of the bar. Wes came over and took a seat next to me. We chatted for a bit about what it's like to have a house-full of rock band dudes for roommates. Then talk shifted to Texas and where we were all from.

The man to my right had a voice that to my admitedly less than perfect ears sounded a whole bunch like Captain Robau of the USS Kelvin (see the first part of the latest Star Trek movie). We're not talking accent so much as the robust, deep sort of pitch (tone?) of his voice.

Anyway, this man's name was Anurag and he's from India. I told him about my blog and my mission to hit Jack's every day this year. He gave me the OK to mention him.

It's worth noting that I almost didn't get to meet Anurag, which is to say I count him lucky to be alive since his first ever mosh pit experience was at a Metallica concert some four years ago. According to Anurag he was more or less forced into joining the crowd without being warned that a mosh pit was going to form around him.

Anurag and I talked about learning new languages. I'm learning bits of Nepali from my coworker, Anurag knows some German (Ramstein rules!) and is learning Spanish.

He made a good point about how English has many words so you sort of have to describe everything, whereas with Spanish you can say a lot with fewer words. I also liked his point about how learning a language is kind of pointless without also learning something of the culture that language inhabits.

After catching some fresh air outside, I went back in to find Doug at the jukebox. Doug already had a good set going and returned to the jukebox to load up some more songs when Wes jumped in to add Corpus Cristi Bay by Robert Earl King to a mix that already included music by Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Now see here's why I like Jack's, because I learn stuff. I did not know, for example, that Joe Cocker was an Englishman, which totally surprised me. Were it not for Doug, I'd have lived a life bereft of this fact.

I liked how Doug related that the first time he ever heard Cocker (some 40 years ago) he thought he was listening to a black man from the south.

About the time Shannon and Lisa showed up I was ready to depart Jack's.

I did notice signage up on the walls for the F*ck V-Day Party at Jack's on February 13th at 8 pm, hosted by none other than the Silicon Valley Roller Girls (a veritable legion of Goddesses, if you ask me).

Should be fun!