Monday, May 31, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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

Monday - May 24 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you Tuesday at Jack's!

Day 143 - Lost Season Finale

Sunday - May 23 - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 142 - PARTY BUS!

Saturday - May 22 - 2010

Pictures are easier then words sometimes. Thus:

The bus has arrived.

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

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

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

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

Their food makes you this happy.

Anna, our driver. Thank you Anna!

Chips, Salsa and Joaquin.

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

After the game: thanks, man.

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

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

Home sweet home.

Thunder and Crystal, at the bar before the game.

 Thunder and Crystal, after the game. ;)

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

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

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

Travis says "Hi!"


Bryce and Nick: post-game grub.

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

See you Sunday at Jack's!

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

Friday - May 21 - 2010

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

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

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

Shut methods don't come without consequences, though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 140 - The Flugtag Conundrum

Thursday - May 20th - 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Day 139 - Body High

Wednesday - May 19th - 2010

I haven't been stoned in about eighteen years. And even then we were smoking absolute trash as far as weed is concerned—so you could probably say I've never been truly stoned before.

That eighteen year streak is still alive. However today I did experience my first body high. Thanks to Marilyn for getting me started.

The effect started at the base of my skull, at the back where the skull stops and the neck begins. About the same time my neck list up I felt a compress or weight over my solar plexus, at the base of my breast bone. The sensation radiated out through my chest, parallel to the ground.

It was as though my diaphragm and neck were surrounded by two invisible globes of hypersensitivity. As those globes of sensation drifted around my body, my nervous system went into overdrive in those areas, making each affected area tingle and come alive.

At one point I felt as though I could feel every blood vessel in my thighs as blood flowed in and out of them, as if brand new nerve endings had grown along the paths of my circulatory system, with the sensitive ends protruding from the interior walls of my veins and arteries, each nerve sending back touch signals as the blood flowed past ...not unlike the tingling sensation you get when you run your hand over the head of a brush or a comb.

I don't know if or how my six hour experience would have been any different if I hadn't consumed a glass of beer and four tall boys during the course of the high like I did tonight. Joaquin bought me those tall cans and he was a reliably solid presence one seat over on my left while I was in happy land. Thanks for the beers man.

Thanks also to Bang-Bang! for only slightly teasing me all night long. Could have done without the warp speed head rub midway through the 3rd round of drinks. That was a little freaky because I was still a lot high and after you took your hand off my head it was like my whole scalp was on fire.

So I think that was the beginning and end of my getting high through edibles experience. Once was enough for me, thanks.

Finally, thanks to Wendee for picking me up from the bar after you got off work. Apologies for the snoring.

See you Thursday at Jack's!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 138 - Sharks Are Losing 2-0 At The Time Of This Writing...

...and I'm damn pissed about it. So I'll think I'll write some blog. Yay.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Went to Jack's right after work. Ran out of money this week so I couldn't do much more than have a round and head home. When I got home my genius housemate suggested I ought to have stuck around anyway, but the whole fucking idea is to drink while watching the game and this salient point was lost on Brainiac and his unasked for suggestions.

To his credit he did point out that I would have been welcome to stay (and he's right, I would have..and I fucking hate it when he's right, even if it's just a minor fact) but beyond not being able to drink—I've something more of a taste for alcohol now—I just wouldn't feel right sitting in someone's establishment and basically taking up a seat at what would be a very crowded-for-the-Sharks-game bar without paying for it, i.e. be a not-paying customer.

Jack's is there to make some goddamn money; neither it nor the bartenders derive their collective existence from the pleasure of my company.

A very informal survey was of favorite hangover cures was conducted by me. But now I can't remember anything of what was said, except for something like Gatorade and Mexican food (tamales?).

Bang-Bang! Kla-Klow! mentioned to me that he's not a fan of the UFC. He suggested that they ought  to just have the fighers oil themselves up and fuck each other on the mat. They could call it "GayFC" according to him.

I explained that they already do something like that in San Francisco inside the old armory building (now owned by Naked Kombat, if I'm not mistaken.

I probably wouldn't have known about at all were it not for the fact that one of the female performers at Kink used to play the oboe at San Jose State back when I was dating Sugi (and Sugi was still in the SJSU music program).

That performer took on the name Bobbi Starr and word spread soon after. Interesting how people's lives change with time.

Met a man at the bar today named Eric. I asked if his name was spelled "Erik" and he said no (you just can't assume you know how people's names are spelled these days). My first impression of Eric was that he was an undercover police officer.

Eric asked me where I work. Then he told me he's an educator of some kind, though I didn't ask what grade he taught or if perhaps he's not in fact an administrator and not a teacher. I have two cousins who were teachers and are now principals, and I'm wondering if "educator" isn't a nice transition word that encompasses both career paths.  You never know.

Eric had bushy eyebrows and looked like he had Middle Easter blood of some kind. I could be wrong about that, but guesstimating people's ethnicities is part of the fun.

What I liked about Eric was that 1) he introduced himself to me and recognized me by following the link from Jack's on Facebook to my blog, and 2) he's a friendly guy.

I admit I was a little put out by the pats on the shoulder and his foot on my barstool. That's the kind of close contact that I reserve for people I know well at the bar; people I've drank heavily with, talked with at the bar several times or otherwise said hello to so many times that I feel comfortable around them even if I don't know them very well.

Plus (and this is something Eric couldn't possibly know) that sort buddy buddy/not-necessarily-welcome-from-someone-I-don't-know behavior was common in the regional managers I worked under in retail, as well as in several of the outside sales reps I worked with in a prior job.

I am not a fan of these kinds of people.

But hey, I just met the dude, so why let it get to me, right? Better to hope to see Eric (and his seemingly mute friend, see below) again and get to know him better.

Congratulations Eric on the opportunity to live with your significant other. Sounds to me like you made the right move given her surprise situation and if you'll permit me to say: she's every bit as pretty as you said she was.

I could tell by the smile on Eric's face that he was proud she was with him. Sure it's tough to truly measure a smile on someone you hardly know, but the feelings expressed by Eric seemed genuine enough to me.

Thanks Eric for introducing me to your soon-to-be-graduating friend. Not much of a talker, that guy. He looked kind of nervous to me.
For the record: Tanisha was behind the bar today. She seemed tired to me. Several of the bartenders of late have looked a bit tired or otherwise under the weather.
Lastly, it should be noted that the streak is still alive and well. I have not kept up the blog, but my daily visits to Jack's Bar & Lounge are and will continue to be uninterrupted.
Before I let you go Dear Reader I want to let you know I will be having my Green Belt Test* for drinking this coming Saturday. The criteria for passing are rather simple: all I have to do is survive a trip on the (sold out) Jack's party bus.
Until next time, Dear Reader, take care. I may not write to you every day, but I think about you always.

*The colors of the belts progress as follows: White, Yellow, Green, Purple, Brown and Black. Everyone starts with White of course (you get it when you turn 21 and show up at your first bar). The criteria for earning each subsequent belt varies.

Only Drunken Masters can award a Black Belt in the art of drinking. There are a handful of such Masters at Jack's from whom I've been stealing techniques left and right. Some have even graced me with a lesson now and then.

If you have any ideas for what criteria should be required to earn a Purple or Brown belt in the seven months left on my journey, leave a comment below (you can do so anonymously).

Thanks for reading! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 128 - Your Beard Is A Waterfall and All My Drinks Were Bought For Me

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Quote of the day:
Your beard is a waterfall.
-Shanea (like "Shane"+"ah" ...and you'd put that "ah" at the end of any sentence you were speaking the moment you saw her too)

I rushed to Jack's tonight. Made it in with five minutes to spare. Had another down day and slept the depression away all evening long. Missed the Sharks game (which was a pretty good one, from what I heard at the bar later in the evening).

Coach Johnny bought me a beer as soon as I walked into the bar tonight. Thanks for that, Coach. I can't begin to describe what it's like to be so well treated by very good people. Thanks again, man.

It should be said that Coach Johnny looked very handsome this evening. He was very well put together, clean shaven, hair cut neatly. He had a ready smile, his sense of humor ready to go and he seemed to make everyone around him comfortable.

Out back of the bar I chatted with Chris aka Menace out back of the bar. Menace is the best (after me, of course) and a good fellow. Like Coach Johnny, Chris was well put together and seemed to be in a good mood. He's a sensitive fellow, that Menace.

Travis had just come off his shift and was free to drink, so he did. While we were out back with Menace, Travis told me that the number 81 corresponds to "HA" which is short for Hells Angels. Red and White are Hells Angels colors too. (I totally had an apostrophe like this:"Hell's" but the internetz say that's not right.)

All this chat stemmed from Menace asking Travis if he had a bike. Travis said yes, said where he'd take it for repair work and why, thus the above.

It should be noted that Rina and Matt were working tonight, with Ras Dank on the door. DJ B Rich and DJ Vagabond were on tonight, as Traps was away for a DJ battle. Kind of a slow night too; one that would turn into a sausage fest later. Seemed like the more dudes showed up, the more the ladies left. It was a skirts and heels night at the bar too. The majority of the ladies were wearing just what I described. Legs everywhere. It was nice. ;)

According to Sierra Nevada, it was all lines at every drinking establishment downtown. Lots of people left over after the Sharks defeated the most hated Red Wings and eliminated them from the playoffs. Bwahahahaha!


Sierra Nevada was at Jack's earlier for the game, then went downtown to drink some more and celebrate, but the press of people kept him out of the locations he wanted to visit, so back to Jack's with him!

I was still out back for this conversation. The sky was an unusual shade of reddish pink. I could smell winter in the air and someone was running a fireplace nearby, though in my opinion it wasn't that cold out, even with a stiff breeze blowing east to west.

Tempe visited the bar tonight and was ├╝ber-chipper about his basketball team (Phoenix Suns, if you hadn't guessed already). Guess there's some new kid on the team that totally had the game of his life tonight and sparked the Phoenix bench to new heights of skill when the starters for the Suns–particularly Steve Nash— sat down for breaks during the game.

Menace bought me my second beer tonight. Menace: thank you. It's much appreciated man. Did I mention Menace went out of his way to be very polite tonight and (in his words) well behaved? He did a good job from what I could see.

Out front for a moment and I see the clouds are totally gray/blue. WTF? Are the clouds really so low that the halogen(?) lights on the back patio of Jack's illuminate everything in one color, yet the clouds remain a different color out front? Seriously, I went back and forth twice between the back patio and the front entrance of the bar, yet the colors of the clouds were totally different depending on which side of the bar you were on.

Swear to God I'd had only 1.5 beers by then.

So anyway on my second cloud fact check trip to the front of the bar I ran into the dude who works only weekends at Der Wienerschnitzel. They'd just closed shop and he came over to check things out at the bar (though he never went in, and has actually never walked in to the bar when I've been there, come to think of it). He speaks good English and of course Spanish so he totally let me talk in broken Spanish and English as we chatted about work, jobs, schedules and women. Nice and friendly guy, but I'll be damned if I can remember his name.

While Der Guy and I were talking, DJ Traps showed up. Turns out he got eliminated from the DJ battle on the first round. DJ Vagabond came outside about then and told Traps that all of his 45s needed a thorough going through. He'd brought only 45's tonight and found several of them were warped and scratched. Traps nodded, then told me and Vagabond about his 1st round elimination experience, what it's like to bring a gal on a first date to a DJ battle and how there were other contests besides DJ battles (ex., rapping contests where you totally rip into the other dude).

Jim Marshall Fan showed up late in the evening and we went out back to chat. He's a visualist by his reckoning and advised me that I ought to try and add a sense of mood and atmosphere to my writing. I remarked this would be a lot easier if I could just take pictures, then pointed to the single glass on the bar, itself devoid of alcohol, instead containing a spent lemon wedge and half-melted ice cubes.

To me it symbolized the relative emptiness of the bar (the bar was full, but certainly not packed and with not much traffic out on the back patio).

Jim Marshall Fan pointed to the prism-like facets of color and light generated by the bright light above our heads (the same one I suspect is illuminating the clouds) as it shines through the glass and onto the hard white plastic surface of the table as something he'd pay attention too.

Then I remarked that he'd make a good picture for the night, his face handsome and prominent in the imaginary frame of my lense cigarette in one hand, drink in the other, with only his chest visible like the bust of a statue, with Tempe standing in the background on the right as he spoke to someone out of the frame--in this case Heather F. and her friend with the close cropped (at her neck) 80s style hair and long, multi-part earrings that for some reason so captured my attention for the next few minutes.

Jim Marshall Fan told me he admired what I was doing at the bar, specifically the discipline and focus to come to the bar every single day. That sure felt good coming from him.

His main words of advice to me was "If it stays in the box, it's as if it does not exist."

By this he meant my blog. He feels I ought to advertise it and buy cards with the web address to hand out.

About then Ras Dank arrived to inform us that the back patio needed to be closed up. So Jim Marshall Fan and I went inside, where he bought me my third and final round of the evening. Thank you.

It was here that I saw a man who looked like either a young version of Jonathan Rhys (the actor, most recently in The Tudors on Showtime) or perhaps his brother. Remarkable though the resemblance was, it was the woman in his company who caught and owned my attention from that point forward.

She had red hair in short curls, wore a creamy white top that was like a wife beater only in the vaguest of ways, which is to say it left her shoulders bare and complimented the tone of her soft white skin. Under the dim lights of the bar a hint of freckles could be glimpsed, sprinkled about her shoulders and arms.

Her name Shanea and her friend's name was Bryon (like "Brian") B. I can't remember if Jim Marshall Fan or I spoke to her first; needless to say the conversation was under way and what the two of them had to tell us was interesting.

But I'll save that, Dear Reader, for myself and JMF. Not everything that happens in the bar should be written about, should it? ;)

It was a pleasure to meet you, Shaina. You to, Bryon. If things work out that we don't meet again before you have to depart, take care. Our encounter was brief, but I already know I'll never forget you.

Last call was announced, beers were finished and numbers exchanged. I said my thanks to the bartenders (though I only remember Matt at that point) and went outside. Before going home myself, I gave JMF a ride home and thanked him for his company and his good advice.

See you Sunday at Jack's!

Day 127 - A Surprise Visit From Sugi and The Music Was Way Too Fucking Loud

Friday, May 7th 2010

Vital stats for the night:
Bartenders: Charlie and Matt
Door Persons: Ras Dank and Travis
DJs: Vagabond and ?? (no B Rich tonight: both he and Vagabond will cover for DJ Traps tomorrow since Traps is attending a scratch contest Saturday)

I realized tonight that I'm always going to love Sugi. I'm not in love with her, no, but I'll always love her. A decade spent together can do that.

Earlier today I'd texted her to see if she was free and she begged off, suggesting some other night. So when I got word from her that she was on her way, I felt excited. It's been several weeks since I've seen her and all the old "she's coming, bet busy and get things ready" feelings kicked in.

I stopped talking with people outside and made my way into the very crowded bar to get her usual drink ordered up. I knew it would take time and I didn't want her to have to wait.

Sugi was in scrubs when she arrived just as Charlie served up my drink order. Sugi looked different; not as tired as in the past and certainly more healthy. Her job is not easy but it's doing just what I'd hoped it would do: give her some balance in her life (and some hefty cash in her pocket).

We went outside and I think the only time I've ever been mad at Joaquin happened. I re-introduced Sugi to James and Eric (aka Bang-Bang! Kla-Klow! and ACME, for you newer readers), then introduced her to Joaquin, who said "Where?" as he looked over her in his own goofy way.

I know he was only playing on the idea that he's really tall (like 6' 4" or 6' 6") and Sugi's short (not even five feet tall), but he doesn't know that Sugi has always been sensitive about her height and doesn't appreciate jokes about it.

Thankfully Sugi took it in good humor and this calmed me down. I only wanted to kill Joaquin for a second.

Today was Mercede's birthday and she was here with Martha and Maria. Martha looked absolutely beautiful tonight. Her beauty is something I'm discovering a little more of each time I see her at the bar. I'm learning to enjoy Maria's company more too, but like Mercedes she was somewhat far along when I got to the bar so we didn't get to talk all that much.

I would like to thank Mercedes for introducing me to some of her extended family at the bar tonight (they'd accompanied her to the bar and were her ride around town all day for her birthday) and for saying such nice things about me to them. Mercedes has always been an exotic beauty to me; her makeup and straight black hair convey a dark allure; dangerous but also tempting.

The night wore on and Sugi and I found we couldn't really go back into the bar because the music was so fucking loud it hurt. She was cold outside and refused my offer of my jacket (next time I'll just throw it on her, I think) but still toughed it out. We enjoyed talking with Fremont Matt, his wife and friends. We watched a guy standing over the fence between Jack's and Der Wienerschnitzel—he asked the crowd out back if they could help him find his sister in the bar (he couldn't go in since he had no I.D. on him). The consensus was he should wait it out since it was close to closing anyway.

The truth of this was born out by Travis telling us all the back patio had to be closed up. I wasn't sure what Sugi would do, but she said she was hungry. I suggested iHop and she readily agreed.

Closing out took much longer than I'd hoped (ok, truth: if it were just me I wouldn't have cared to wait that long to close my tab, but I knew Sugi was out front of the bar leaning against the bike rack, shivering, goose bumps practically visible on her arms from in the bar where I stood) so I felt the urge to get the fuck out and get her to iHop.

Thankfully Charlie very kindly slotted me in as he and Matt took care of the last-call surge of drink orders. Charlie has such awesome energy. It's a blast when he's working at the bar.

Free and clear, I quickly left Jack's with Sugi. I didn't even say goodnight to anyone. I realized later that nobody would be offended by my doing this. Please don't take this as me saying I'm all important or something (far from it!), rather that it's something of a tradition for people say goodnight to each other at the bar, especially after a fun night spent together.

This is the kind of thing I would worry about in the past, but now I know "it's cool" as Travis would say.

See you Saturday at Jack's!

Earlier tonight Travis told me a bar secret that I'll not divulge. I am thankful to know it, though. Should help me when I'm in new places far from home.

Day 126 - Skipped the Shark's Game and Stood Up Joaquin

Thursday May 6th 2010

Apparently I told Joaquin I'd hang with him on Thursday at Jack's for the Sharks game. I don't remember that. I missed DeVito's call asking me to come over and play foosball at his place. Foosball is like chicken soup for the soul after a Sharks playoff loss (and this one was particularly severe—score was 7-1. Ouch!) and DeVito was no doubt in need of soothing. Even if I'd gotten the message I would not have gone though.

You see Dear Reader I've been very much down and out the later half of this week; I've been skipping to-do items, leaving my laundry unfolded, spending money frivolously and not eating terribly well. I know from long experience that these things happen in cycles. The last one happened in mid-April and lasted for two weeks. I hope this one doesn’t last as long.

When I arrived at Jack's very late this evening some good news came from Travis: apparently Gabby asked for my number (again). I like the idea of a woman asking someone I know for my number. Lolz I wonder how many times Gabby has programmed my number into her phone now? It's probably just one of those things you think of when you're buzzed that you feel would be good to do and that you mean to follow up on, but when you're sober the idea hides itself away in your mind, waiting to be unlocked by another round of drinks.

I enjoyed Joaquin's company tonight (he'd come back to Jack's after leaving earlier). His birthday is coming up next Tuesday. He made me promise to be at Jack's at midnight on Monday so we could start celebrating early.

I hope I can keep that promise.

I also enjoyed drinking with ACME. We shared a Mind Eraser and a Red Headed slut for old time's sake. He and I drink well together.

Mercedes, Maria and Martha (though Martha was not at Jack's tonight) are three women I like to see at the bar. I didn't know Mercede's birthday was coming up, but I sure as hell got up to speed when she told me, fingers in her mouth to fire off a shrill whistle, hollering and more or less enjoying herself to the max.

I didn't intend to stay late tonight, but figured if Mercedes was going to start celebrating at midnight then I could stick around.

I don't remember leaving Jack's, but I do know I slept in my truck in the driveway of my house. Were the world to end, I think I could tough it out for a few days in my truck. One thing I've learned to do well over the years is sleep as comfortably as I can in it.

See you Friday at Jack's!

Day 125 - A Pair of Pilots and Hot Sacked by Travis

Wednesday May 5th 2010

Tonight I met a pair of pilots. They are Ken aka Han and Patrick aka Chewie.

Like the famous Star Wars characters, Ken and Patrick are equal in authority in their aircraft. One is always technically the pilot, the other a co-pilot, but both are equally rated and capable of flying their aircraft.

At first I couldn't remember what was and was not OK to say about them (my notes are incomplete) but the night is coming back to me so we're good.

I do have one of their business cards and could call one of them up to ask, I suppose. But I don't think I'll do that. After all, they fly at 51,000 feet in the fastest non-military jet in the world. Wouldn't want to distract them with a ringing cell phone when they're checking out the curve of the Earth itself from that high up.

I do recall them saying that they sometimes don't fly with masks on that high up because although regs call for it, there's just not all that much you can do if something goes wrong and cabin pressure is lost. In the event of an emergency the aircraft would automatically drop down to 15,000 feet (to where it's possible to breathe again) but they might just all be dead by then anyway.

One of the pilots (Chewie) said that to get this job he had to basically win the lottery for pilots. That's not to say they drew his name out of a hat, rather that he was the in the top percentile as a pilot and as a result he landed himself the mother of all pilot dream jobs.

Both of those guys were pretty cool. They sat at the corner of the bar near the entrance, one flirting a bit with Rina as she worked behind the bar, while the other told stories of getting escorted out of a town with his family by the sheriff after a small run in with the locals.

Han even bought me a beer. Thanks man.

I envy those two their camaraderie, the way they constantly looked out for each other at the bar (seriously: if either one of them was out of sight of the other for too long, they'd ask if anyone saw their partner and if not they'd go looking for each other) and ability to sample cities all over the country during their shared downtime between flights.

Carting important people around sure has come a long ways from the time when you basically put them in a box with two long polls and carried them everywhere, eh?

After I told them about my bar blog they joked about writing a blog together of places visited on their travels. I think they ought to do it.

Tonight's around the world at Jack's drink was Chivas Regal Premium Scotch Whisky. Very smooth stuff. The one think I've learned about Scotch after sampling several varieties these last two weeks is that it straight up sneaks up on your ass.

You're good, then you're exhibiting all the signs of drunkenness even though you don't feel drunk. This whole business of different varieties of inebriation depending on what you drank to get to that point is interesting to me. I wonder what will be different when I get to the Vodka? Or Rum?

OK so this might seem a good post, right? Interesting people were met and written about.

But no, we're not done yet.

I have to tell the story of being hot sacked by Travis.

It's not a very intricate story. DJ Benofficial and one of his buddies were trading off at the turntables (that buddy being DJ Vex) as Wendee showed up. She looked really nice tonight (hair, makeup, lipstick) and I remember Ken saying he liked better what DJ Vex was doing (right around when he started playing Set Adrift On Memory Bliss by P.M. Dawn). I don’t remember when Travis showed up with Caitlin, I just know Travis and I both gave up our seats to the ladies and proceeded to enjoy the music, the drinks and the night.

I think Travis and Caitlin have developed a sort of telepathy. They were laughing and joking, never really pausing to communicate devious plans or instructions. Yet somehow Caitlin jumped up, told me she was leaving and offered me her seat. So I took it. Travis said something like "Hey we're going to perform an experiment, you should turn around," and at that point I should have realized something was up, but no. So I turned around and Wendee did the same.

At that point Travis sort hop-landed his crotch on my left thigh, just above my knee. As you can imagine, I could feel the weight of his balls and cock on my leg, all warm and toasty like a hot pocket just out of the microwave after it's had a chance to cool.

Caitlin busted up laughing, I was sort of shocked and Wendee thoughtfully suggested that I should go take a Crying Game shower.


Later when we were outside Travis told me that he used to "hot sack" the door guys at the Flying Pig. They had to wear shorts and it got pretty hot and he never wore any boxers so you can only imagine what that was like. Lolz by that measure I got off pretty easy tonight.

I think I left with Wendee around 11:30 p.m. that night. I don't know if I said goodbye to Ras Dank (he was on door duty tonight) but I do recall it got so crowded for a Wednesday that ACME had to jump in to help Rina out behind the bar. Good looking out.

See you Thursday at Jack's!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 124 - Relentlessly Confident and Sharks Win Again!

Tuesday May 4th, 2010

It's so awesome that the Sharks one again. Going up 3 games to nil on Detroit is just long, long overdue if you ask me. Detriot's been our foil for so long now that it feels good to be one game away from eliminating them once and for all.

My hat goes off to Awesome Ed (not to be confused with Ed aka GOD—whom I've not seen in awhile at Jack's, come to think of it) who predicted midway through the second period of the game when the Sharks were down 3 - 1 that the Sharks would come back and win it, by scoring two goals in regulation time and one goal in overtime.

As it turns out, Awesome Ed was exactly right in his prediction. What's even more cool is that he never waivered. His confidence was not boisterous or loud (like a certain Devito, who could out shout a jet engine), rather it was spoken plainly and factually, as though things could not be any other way than what Awesome Ed said they'd be.

Awesome Ed, myself and Devito plan to dye our beards teal for the Stanly Cup Finals for any game where the Sharks could win it all (theoretically from game 4 of the finals onward, if the Sharks were to win the first three games).

The crowd as Jacks was mixed, consisting of 60% regulars and 40% new new faces. I liked the pretty blond and Indian new faces, myself. ;)  Tanisha was working solo today but as usual had things under control. The bar itself was full from one end to the other, and the first three tables along the back wall were full as well (so much so that chairs were borrowed from tables 4 and 5 to seat everyone at 1 through 3).

It was nice to see Shannon and Lisa returned safe and sound from their vacation. Lisa had her hair cut and looked beautiful as ever, but in a way that communicated she was well rested. I am certain that if I had a picture of Lisa on my wall at home, it would be something I could look at and admire pretty much forever.

I sat at the corner of the bar near the front where it turns the corner. Shannon, Lisa, Old School Slappy and Old School Lady L were to my right, with Awesome Ed, Juanita and their two friends on my left.

Along with the usual PBR, today's Around The World At Jacks drink was Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey, which had a taste a lot like Black Label, but the taste smoothed out a whole lot faster. It didn't chase as well with PBR as the Black Label from yesterday did, but a moderate sip of Bulleit Bourbon sure as hell does interesting things in your mouth and to your tongue if you finish off an El Tarrasco Carnitas Burrito with Mild Green Sauce first. Damn!

I enjoyed talking with Scuba Steve and his friend about his time working at San Jose Live back in the day. He runs the door at the Loft now, if memory serves.

Time to pause now so a friend can use the computer. Thanks to everyone who made today such a fun time.

See you Wednesday at Jack's!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 123 - Why Ever Hit On A Bartender? And Johnnie Walker's Color Chart

Monday May 3rd, 2010

Before I started showing up at Jack's regularly, I wasn't all that experienced when it came to bars and other supposedly "low" places that Garth Brooks might have sung about in the 90s. However even I, layperson and noob that I am (well, was) knew back then as well as now that if you're a dude you just don't hit on the female bartenders.

Of course that doesn't keep other guys from trying, particularly if they've grown an insta-spine thanks to one of several alcoholic Miracle Grow equivalents that can be found at any bar in the U S of A.

Today was no different. Emboldened by several drinks, a fellow stepped away from the bar (and his far more sober friend, aka the DD) and saddled, nay: wobbled, on up to the other end of the bar. After steadying himself on the bar with elbow and hips like a mechanic about to dip under the hood of a car, the dude expressed his sincere affection for today's bartender (Aimee B.) and asked if he couldn't call her sometime so they could hang out.

For her part Aimee B. smiled graciously, said no and informed the intrepid man that she already had a boyfriend. Then she went right back to her business as though the fellow had done nothing more than asked for a drink they don't serve at Jack's.

The fellow made his way back down the bar and took a seat next to his DD friend. From what I could tell while trying to look past the man to my left (who had the "Rock Hard" hat on --it's a Chevy Truck thing) at the wobbly guy, his face didn't betray any disappointment. Rather it had more of a "I just forgot the last 30 seconds of my life" goldfish look to it, which is probably for the best. After all, men don't take rejection all that well.

Today I learned that when a customer orders Silver Patron, the bartender asks if the customer wants chilled or regular. After poring, the bartender asks if the customer wants salt too. It's up to the customer to ask for "a little bit of salad on one of them", i.e. a lemon wedge.

If Starbucks-speak (Short, Tall, Grande, Venti) is the modern version of the drinking language, then all the phrases with alternate meanings and the various other bits of bar lingo that have been used and passed down over the ages (like "a little bit of salad on one of them" or "on the rocks") comprise the drinking language equivalent of Latin. 

(Let's pause for a moment so I can laugh at my housemate, who's playing World of Warcraft and cussing like a pirate with his Donald Duck voice.)

I wasn't looking to see some serious male ass crack exposure at the bar today, but I did. And now the thought of it is like a visual equivalent of an earworm; it just won't go away. That dude's Zelda ringtone was cool, but the ass? Not so much. In fact, not even a little.

Oh, before I forget: today's Around The World At Jack's drink was Johnnie Walker Black Label. A shot of that and a PBR will put you right at $10, which by the way is exactly the minimum at Jack's for using a credit card. Now something tells me their was a bottle of Jamison up on the shelf that was supposed to be next, but between last Thursday and today it disappeared.

I imagine its replacement will be back up on the shelf before long, at which point I'll happily do some back tracking.

The Black Label had a deep, smooth flavor to it. It was really hard to drink with no ice at first, but it didn't really burn on my lips or in my throat when I swallowed it. One thing it did do was it warmed me up very fast, then it went down a lot smoother as time went by. I was chasing it with beer after awhile -a no no in scotch drinking circles, I'm sure- but it all seemed to work for me.

Today I learned that Johnnie walker scotch is actually comprised of a hierarchy of labels, which denote the quality and age of the scotch. The colors are Red (label), Black, Green, Gold and Blue.

Red would be a relatively cheap $21 bottle, whereas Blue would run you $160 easy. I heard at the bar from a source who wishes to remain unnamed that it's only possible to pick up the higher end labels at duty free shops. Have you ever run across such on your travels, Dear Reader?

About that time and I got a booty call...well, a booty text technically. I performed a self-high five inside my head and found myself remarking out loud that I like getting booty calls.

I went on to say that it's especially nice when they come from women and not guys. In the later case all you get is a "Ha ha, you thought I was a hot chick didn'd you dude?" Whereas in the former, well it's bowchickawowow and all that. 

Too bad I had to defer. I've got flowers and plants to water at home and still more plants that need to be put in the dirt. And I've got to dress down my housemate for not cleaning up after himself. And I've got to make a Jeremy sandwhich (you haven't lived, Dear Reader, until you've let me make on of those for you). And I've got to write this here blog.

Busy, busy, busy!  ;)

On another note: I'd like to be able to explain why C3PO's voice kept repeating "Let The Wookie Win" over and over in my head when I was at the bar today, but I'd have to break a promise to do it.

As I made to leave for the day, I overheard the DD say to his friend, "Hey, we need to take you home buddy."

So, not very spectacular, but it's a blog post, hey?

Take good care Dear Reader. See you as soon as possible after work on Tuesday at Jack's, as Game 3 of the Sharks - Detroit series starts promptly at 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 122 - It's Easier To Write With No Pants On

Sunday April 22nd, 2010

As to the post title: just sayin. Frees up the circulation (and the junk, tbh).

Today's visit to Jack's came after a quick trip to OSH for more garden plants. The trip to the bar was itself brief but fortuitous.

Brieef because I still had planting to do in the yard (the tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, potatoes, garlic and onions won't just plant themselves—though the local raccoon population will eat all of these vegetables anytime, planted or not) and not much time after that to shower up and receive Wendee at my abode for food and Sharks playoff hockey.

Fortuitous because Tall Nicole was present in a halter top that exposed the full majesty of the winged tattoo on her back. You might have seen her tattoo on the artwork in the bar, but to see it in color is a whole other experience entirely.

I imagine if Tanisha and Tall Nicole worked in tandem with back tattoos exposed, it'd be a lot like walking into a gas station and winning $500 bucks on a scratcher, which is to say one's timing would have been just right.

Old School Doug was in attendance, though not in his usual spot under Flat Screen #1 because a couple were on the short side of the bar, drinking and enjoying themselves (I've noticed that spot seems to attract couples on the weekend and during happy hour).

Doug took up the first seat where the bar turns the corner and makes its way up the length of the place. He had a bright shirt on—it wasn't exactly pink, nor was it orange. More of an indeterminate 7-Eleven slurpy color, like when you mix flavors and end up with a hue that violates the laws of physics with regard to the color spectrum (like they do at Adobe all day long).

To Doug's right sat a man in biker-ish leathers, his long straight beard a shade of dirty gray. To Gray Beard's right sat a woman in a purple/blue top and short denim skirt. To her right sat yours truly in a less than memorable outfit consisting of old blue jeans, dirty sneakers, gray S&S Drywall t-shirt, with my hands still dirty brown from digging in the earth earlier today (planting flowers is fun) and sporting a cowboy hat. That hat sure looked good on Tall Nicole too.

About three seats over to my right a short man stood at the bar, one hand on his bear and his head tipped up to watch Spanish national soccer (Valencia and ???).

The sun shined bright through the entrance to the bar and Nicole greeted me with that fantastic smile of hers. I said hello to Doug and shook his hand while trying to figure out just what goddamned color name I should assign to his shirt.

As I sat down at the bar with a bag full of Der Wienerschnitzel chili cheese dogs, I caught sight of Tall Nicole's eye shadow. It was a dual shade of what looked like lavender and orange, one shade on the eyes and the other filling in the space beneath her eyebrows.

Earlier when I was picking my food up at DW, I saw book clamp dude again and actually stood in line with him this time. I stood behind him and that's where I noticed he had a black cap on with the word "native" stitched into the back of it in white. Though the sun was bright in the sky and it was a little warm out despite the breeze blowing in, he wore his usual blue winter jacket and a few layers of black shirt and sweater underneath. He had a book in hand with that pair of orange clips attached to it to keep the pages in place. In his other hand he carried his just-bought from DW coffee. I watched as he sat down at one of the concrete-like tables and began to read while I waited for my order.

The topics of conversation, like the number of people at the bar, were not that many. What was heard and who was met that were of interest to me follows:
  • Tall Nicole spent four years working at Straights in Santana Row. For about two years she was the only female bartender there. After that (or during?) she worked at the Cardiff in Campbell. I'd sort of assumed she had less experience then that, which only goes to show I need to assume less and instead listen and ask questions a whole lot more.
  • I overheard talk from some industry people* about customers for whom the gratuity was automatically added to their checks the other night, but also left cash tips on top of the auto-gratuity because they were all of them in a rush to exit and make their way to the Shark Tank to see the Eagles concert.
  • If you date a man from Pennsylvania, be prepared for your guy to say things out of the blue in a monotone way such that you can't exactly tell if he's asking you a question or if he's saying he's about to go do something. For example: "going to the bathroom" or "going outside" ...absent the necessary tone of voice (like the verbal equivalent of punctuation) you can't tell if that was a question or a statement of intent. 
  • Denim Skirt Woman is a traveling nurse. If you know anything about me, Dear Reader, then you know I lived with two women who attended San Jose State's nursing program. These woman often talked about being a traveling nurse and seeing the country. Denim Skirt Woman is living that dream, and let me tell you sometimes it's a nightmare. It should be noted DSW is already well traveled, having grown up in Florida and moved to Pennsylvania after graduation. She spoke of the dichotomy traveling nurses like her experience: DSW has worked the trenches and paid her dues on long night shifts spent in Med Surge and Peds, and by her account she knows her stuff, yet she won't receive prime assignments commensurate with her skill level because the nursing supervisors and doctors at her new assignment location don't know her well enough to trust her. She fears her skills will atrophy as a result.
DSW and I talked about what it takes to become a Nurse Practitioner, and how NPs are pushing to have the same ability to prescribe medication and receive equivalent pay as doctors.

(In case you didn't know: Nurse Practitioners are filling the void left by the shortage of doctors and in many cases are perceived as the Doctor when seen by patients.)

DSW told me that this change will come to pass, but the prerequisites to become a NP will change from Master's Degree to Doctorate.

Shoot, if you have a Doctorate then I suppose you ought to be called "Doctor", right?

Tall Nicole joined in on the conversation after that and we spoke about how getting hired in exclusive jobs that are low head count (that is, not many people do the job, but the job itself is a necessary/in demand field of work) is often a matter of one part knowing the right people and one part just being plain lucky.

I resemble that remark, inasmuch as the opportunity to work as a contract employee for Google at Stanford is concerned. And I wonder, Dear Reader, how you landed your last job? Was it all personal effort? Or was some amount of luck and networking involved?

Two beers and two chili cheese dogs finished off, so it was time for me to go home. I thanked DSW for the pleasure of meeting her, said goodbye to Old School Doug (and explained to him where I got my S&S t-shirt; we chatted a bit about Portuguese drywallers in the Bay Area as a result) and thanked Tall Nicole for her excellent service.

As I left I hoped DSW would choose to dump her boyfriend and move on to greener pastures. It also occurred to me that Tall Nicole's selection of music played at the bar is always awesome.

Lastly, I thought to myself for not the first time this weekend that the men of the world (or at least the greater San Jose area) are failing. Every day this weekend at least one woman made mention to me of the men in their lives and how these guys behave in a consistently lame manner (and that's putting it nicely) towards them.

These guys will say things like, "Oh, sorry, I go for women who work out more". They will encourage their girlfriends to meet them somewhere (at the movies or at Jack's) then stand them up and only bother to text (and not even call!) with some lame, last-minute excuse like "Oh, I think I need my space" (read: "I'm drinking with guy friends and want to watch the Shark's game with them and not you"). Sometimes they don't even bother to make contact until well after the time they were supposed to meet up.**

Extremely Fucking Lame!

Relationships aren't easy, obviously, and women can be just as difficult as guys sometimes. But come the fuck on. Really, men have it too easy and get away with too much.

I've visited Jack's bar enough times to say with confidence that the woman who frequent the bar are all of them superior in every way. They're intelligent, educated, strong, sassy, thoughtful, warm hearted and strikingly beautiful women (and for the most part out of my league).

But that doesn't mean other guys don't have a chance. These awesome women deserve better, fellas. Much, much better. So get to it, or I'll have Thunder aka Thunder fuck you in the ass.

See you Monday at Jack's, Dear Reader. Guard your backside until then. ;)

*You've probably noticed, Dear Reader, that I use the term "Industry People". This term, when used in the blog (or overheard at the bar), refers to people who are bartenders, barbacks, servers, waitresses, bus people, cooks and owners. If you ever hear a place has an Industry Night, that means drinks are discounted (say half-off) for people who work in the industry. Good bet you'll meet some interesting people at such a places on such nights too. I sure have at Jack's.

** Full disclosure: I too have pulled this shit in the past. Doesn't make me a hypocrite for pointing out this failing in others.

Day 121 - My First Roller Derby and Two Men From Afghanistan

Saturday, April 21st

Quick post:

The roller derby was kick ass! And the Silicon Valley Roller Girls kicked ass in both matches. Thanks for hanging with me, Lindsay!

The after party at Jack's Bar was super-packed (like the most packed I've seen it in months) and DJ Traps and DJ Quantum were in full effect. The only other pair of people who could equal the DJ's intensity and skill were to be found behind the bar: Matt and Rina, FTW.

Ras Dank was on the back patio and Travis was at the front. They did one hell of a job keeping things calm and otherwise diffusing situations before they could get out of hand.

I should mention that Thunder was thoroughly fucked up. I cock blocked him once and I'm still alive. Proof positive that miracles do happen.

Out on the back patio (where I basically spent the whole night), the first man I met who'd come back from Afghanistan had just shaved off six months of beard growth. A beard's a necessary thing out there, apparently. His girlfriend was extremely pretty and was the first person in a long time who didn't take up time by talking to me about themselves. Instead she proactively questioned me about my passions and interests.

God damn that was a refreshing change too! (Note: I'm not complaining, nor am I indirectly criticizing various of the patrons at Jack's. I'm just saying it's really cool to meet someone who wasn't afraid to hit me with multiple open-ended questions).

Thanks to Wes for introducing me to these fine friends of yours.

The second man I met who'd come back from Afghanistan was sporting a new scar in his back from a knife would he suffered at an undisclosed (to you, Dear Reader, not me) location. The wound was received when his group was hit with a surprise attack and the security detail hired on to protect him and his group refused to do their job.

It was real nice to see Gary and Patti, Jessica, Leonardo da Vinci, Martha and Mercedes at the bar. Thanks to all the other regulars who said hello to me. I had a lot of fun meeting (and in some cases re-meeting) new people tonight.

Thanks to Feisty Irish for the bit of love at the Derby Bout and for talking with me at Jack's. Also the other Derby ladies and one of the bout's referees for answering questions about rules and the upcoming match in July(??).

I'd also like to thank the soon-to-be-married woman in the orange halter top and nipple rings for the impromptu lap dance and for biting Thunder's nipples and not mine.

Take care, Dear Reader. Sunday at Jack's awaits!

Day 120 -

Friday, April 30th