Friday, December 21, 2007

Road Trip, Plus Dogs.

So we'll be bringing our boys home with us for the holidays. I'm a bit concerned, but mostly excited. They have only seen snow once in their little doggy lives, and since Wyatt's legs are only about six inches long, it ought to be a hoot. I just hope we don't lose him :)
The thing is, my folks aren't used to having dogs around, and since their only grandchild is rapidly approaching legal drinking age(holy crap I feel old), it has been years since their house was anything like child-proof. Our boys are sweet, but they are big and clumsy, so we're going to have to be careful.
Today the b.h. and I ventured out to get some supplies (new dog bed, car charger for the iPod, doggie treats with breath freshener, and other various trip-related needs). It took about three times as long as it should have, due to last-minute shoppers and a few "extras" that we stumbled across, like a new pair Clarke's shoes for the b.h.; One more reason I love the British), but we made it. Now I am finishing up the last of the laundry. I gave Kilgore a very thorough bath so he'll be extra grandparent friendly. The b.h. will have to wash Wyatt because my back has had it today.

Sigh. Just realized that I have to run back out. Gotta go.
In case I don't get back before then, Happy Holidays, y'all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Memories.

I just got off the phone with K. She seems to be enjoying New York (if not her job and the weather, then at least the adventure). She talked about getting a job on the subway. I first thought she was talking about getting a job at Subway, the mediocre-at-best sandwich shop chain. I of course assumed that she was saying it sarcastically, expressing frustration at the current restaurant job. Finally, I realized she meant The Subway, not A Subway, and I though that might actually be a kind of cool job.

I suddenly had a memory of a woman who used to drive the Blue Line train I rode when I lived with my sister and brother-in-law in Oak Park. She was young, I thought, for her job. She was exceptionally pretty- model-like, even. She always wore a collared shirt and always, no matter what the weather, wore gloves. I never spoke to her, but since I often rode home late at night I would sit in the front car (safer, as at least you know you won't be alone) and watch what she did, what her job entailed. If you ride in the front, you can see all the traffic signals and speed limit signs. I realized that it was quite similar to driving. I also realized that like most drivers, many of the conductors had their own interpretation of the speed limit.

Anyway, one night I was riding home, and there were no other people on the train aside from this unnaturally beautiful conductor and me. The train stopped and a few young guys got on. They were loud and cocky and I don't know if they knew her or not, but they were sure paying her a hell of a lot of attention. She just kept on doing her job. They stood in the aisle a few feet away from her. A few more people got on at the next couple stops, mostly working people who were either getting on or off a shift, based on the way they were dressed. After a while these guys started to get aggressive toward some of the other passengers. They were looking for a fight, trying to prove that that were men. (They weren't). Several of us were getting nervous, and eventually having a hard time avoiding eye contact. And this girl, this young, quiet, incredibly striking woman, stopped the train at the next stop and basically told them to shut the fuck up or get off the fucking train. She didn't raise her voice. She didn't lose her cool. And they didn't really respond. They just shook their heads and walked out, laughing and not looking back. When the doors closed everybody in the car relaxed. Nobody looked around. A few stops later, I was gathering up my stuff and heading for the door. I walked up to the booth where she stood and thanked her. She didn't turn around (the train was still moving), but she smiled and nodded in my direction. And when she turned her head just a little, I noticed, for the first time, the skin on her neck, just above her collarbone, that was peeking out of the very top of her shirt. It was covered with what could only be burn scars.
Not that this has anything to do with K or her potential new career. It was just something I thought of. I wish K would come back.

Ouch.

I just got back from the ER. A friend of ours had a wreck on his bicycle today, and wound up with both elbows broken and a very mashed up face. Before you get the wrong idea, he brought this on himself. D is one of those guys who rides a tiny bike and does tricks and videotapes himself doing the kind of hideously dangerous shit that makes people cringe (and moms freak out). He's going to be pretty fucked up for awhile, unable to use either arm for at least six weeks. Poor guy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Customer of the Night #412

This one is pretty common, actually, and would hardly land her in a blog post if I had had any trouble or anything interesting to say about work this week. But I didn't, so I'm using it. This may not make sense to non-bar types, but trust me when I tell you that it drives us all crazy, and it happens all the time.

My first customer of the night. Youngish woman, maybe twenty-five, walks up to the bar. She has obviously already been drinking, but is not wasted. She has a somewhat goofy grin on her face.
Me: Hi- what can I get for you?

Her: I want a Jag- I want a STRONG Jager bomb.

Me: Okay.

I pour the shot. And, because she made a point of telling me she wanted it strong, I actually measured exactly one shot of Jager into the glass. Usually I free pour, and there is a much better chance that you will get more liquor on a free pour, but since she was obviously expecting something "extra" for free, I was making absolutely sure that she was getting exactly one and a half ounces. This sounds passive-aggressive, I know, but this kind of request is totally stupid, and as I said, it happens all the time. (You want me to steal form my boss so you can get drunk on less money? And we've never met? Sure! I'll get right on that!)
So I bring her the drink, set it in front of her, and reach for the money she is handing me. As I grasp her money in my hand, she jerks it back and says

"Wait- is it strong?"

And rather than drinking it myself (eew) and telling her to go fuck herself (which any bartender will tell you that I would have been totally justified in doing), I smiled politely and said
"I guarantee you that there is a whole shot of Jager in there."

Idiot.

Heh.

http://www.avclub.com/content/feature/the_worst_band_names_of_07

Friday, December 14, 2007

The B.H. Puts His Foot In His... Something

So we were at work the other day, and a regular customer came in and handed out some stickers. They said I (Heart) Head.
The b.h. and our boss each had one on their shirts. One guy put his on his daughter. This was only funny because it was only us. Obviously we all knew it was in poor taste, but we were having a laugh. Then we got back to business.
There was a lot of work to be done. Our Christmas party is coming up, so I was cleaning shelves and mirrors and trying to gussy the place up a bit. We also got a lot of liquor in that day for a big party coming up. By the time we left, I was exhausted. Still, we needed to stop at the grocery store for a few things.
When we got in line, we were both talking animatedly about whatever was on our minds, so we didn't notice at first that the girl at the checkout counter seemed slightly weirded out. Finally, our total was totalled and I was counting out my money. The b.h. was bagging our stuff and the girl said
"I love head? Does that mean what I think it means?"

The b.h. turned several shades of red- purple, even. He immediately ripped the sticker off of his chest, crumpled it up, and said
"It means I'm a really classy guy."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My House Just Got Another Enema.

That's why I haven't been writing lately. I'm a pack rat at heart and I can't help it. I have been through boxes and boxes and closets and piles and files. It has taken a long time and a lot of effort.

Oh, and it has been almost eighty degrees for the last four days, so I have been making myself busy outside some of the time. I know that should be awesome- beats the hell outta snow, right?- but it's not. Eighty degrees in December scares the hell out of me. And the geese are confused. I think they've been back and forth a few times. They look tired and angry.

So there are a lot of CDs in a pile that are going away. Those of you who know me and have any requests, speak now or you will have to fight Ort for them at Potter's House. Oh yeah- I have some pretty cool vintage dishes, too. Anyone? Bueller?

I figured out that our lawn mower is broken. We haven't used it in months, because the lack of rain has meant that nothing is growing. But now I'm starting to lose sight of Wyatt when he goes out there so I thought I would cut the grass. No such luck. Anybody got a mower I can borrow? Or buy?

In other news, some of the jelly I made is actually jelly, as opposed to syrup. That makes me happy. I finally found unsweetened coconut in a store and now I can't remember what recipe I needed it for. Martha Stewart is still the devil. (How does she always have EXACTLY WHAT I NEED?) Dog biscuits are on the agenda for this evening. I'm baking those and some chocolate chip cookies. With the doors open. In December.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

You're Kidding, Right?

Note to a former Athens resident with an already questionable reputation who visited my bar last night:
When you open a tab with a useless credit card, get drunk, and make a run for the door when we ask you to pay up, coming in the next day with a resume' is probably pointless.


Nope, I'm not kidding.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Healing Power of Rock and Roll.

If there is a more energetic live band than J. Roddy Walston and the Business, then I'll eat my hat. Of course, I don't really wear a hat, but I do have a nice chocolate bar in the cabinet...
Anyway, J. Roddy and the Business played a show at Tasty World on Saturday night that was unfuckingbelievable. Seriously. I cannot recommend this band enough. I was extra happy because my friend J has never seen them before on account of his having two jobs and always being at work when they play. Saturday night the Rock Gods were smiling on J, and he finally got to see them. I had talked them up so much that he could only have assumed I was exaggerating, but midway through the second song, he came over to me with his arm held flat in front of my face and said
"I literally have chills."

They are just that kind of band.

I remarked to J that the thing I love about JRoddy is that they play like every song is their last. Not the last song of the set, mind you, but the last song they will ever play. Ever.

I am still basking in the afterglow.

Customer of the Night #193

This kid seemed a little dim from the word go. He was young, kind of beefy, and bearded. He had come to see one of the bands. He opened a tab and asked what my cheapest beer was. (This, for those of you who are not in the service industry, is almost always viewed as Not A Good Sign by those of us who are. Unless of course, you are in a place where tipping is not the cultural norm. I don't know what those folks think).
Anyway, COTN 193 proceeded to order six of my cheapest beer, one at a time, over the next two and a half hours. When his friends were almost through playing, he came up and closed his tab, leaving me no tip whatsoever. Whatever. I did not react, but merely continued closing down the bar. About five minutes later, a guy I know came up to the bar and told me that COTN 193 was smashing a beer bottle under the table where he was sitting. He hadn't just accidentally knocked it over (which would have been understandable after six beers), but was in fact smashing the broken pieces even smaller with his boot heel. His friend looked on in what appeared to be mild amusement. I thanked the guy who told me and went on closing the bar. When the band finished their last song, I went back to the supply closet, retrieved a broom and dustpan, and brought it out the COTN 193. Shoving it at him, I explained that he was now "Going to clean up that bottle you just smashed all over my floor."
He took the broom and dustpan without a word and went to clean it up. I followed him, shouting across the bar for D to turn on the lights so that COTN 193 could be sure to get it all. His friends looked puzzled, then embarrassed. They started loading out their gear.
After he finished, he handed the broom and dustpan back to me and said "I left you a good tip." As if this was somehow going to make up for his general stupidity and utter lack of manners.
"Actually, you didn't. But that's beside the point. You're acting like an asshole. Stop it."
I went back to cleaning the bar.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sometimes I'm Socially Awkward.

On Wednesday night I went to Farm 255 to see a show. It was a benefit for the Robert Osbourne Film Festival, which will be coming to our fair city early next year. The main reason I went was to see Dave Marr, but also featured on the bill were Patterson Hood, Don Chambers, Bo Bedingfield, Dave Barbe, Brad Morgan, John Neff, and, occasionally, Clay Leverett. It was fantastic. Dave sings like the smoothest shot of honey-flavored whiskey you've ever had. He played several of my favorites. Patterson pulled out some old tunes you never get to hear anymore (well, at least I don't), and Donnie did a cover of Gordon Lightfoot's Sundown that was so good it deserves to be in regular rotation at his shows. As for Bo, well, I think he is maybe the best songwriter you haven't heard of (yet) in Athens.
I came in just as they were about to start, and went up to the bar to grab a beer. "Grabbing" wasn't really possible, however. There was a sizable crowd and the bartenders both had their hands quite full. I ran into Dave at the bar and we were still waiting to order when the first couple notes were struck from the stage, so he asked me to order the beer he needed and went off to start the show.
I got my beer, got the beer he needed, and made my way past the stage area, dropping off his beer on my way as surreptitiously as possible, and scooted into a seat at a table nearby. The table was occupied, luckily, by a familiar band of Trucker wives and friends, all of whom I was happy to see. I noticed several songs into the set that He Who Must Not Be Named was at the other end (the head) of the (very long- there were several tables connected, actually) table. I remembered that I had joked years ago that I was going to title my Athens memoir "An Illinois Yankee in King Michael's Court." I smiled to myself a little, savoring that moment and the memory and thinking about how I was going to go home and blog about it- and then I realized that I probably looked like a stalker, gaping at the poor man from the other end of the table. A got up quickly and went to the bar for another beer. When I returned to the table, I made certain not to look like I might even be thinking about turning my head in his direction. I kept my eyes riveted on the stage. I'm sure it all looked very natural.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Progress (The Good Kind).

Lately we've been going through a really big purge. I have unloaded books, old magazines, clothes, CDs, dishes, and bags and bags of crap that I had been keeping for no good reason.
On Monday, our friend A came by and helped us haul away a couple pieces of furniture that we no longer needed. It feels good. I'm starting to get crafty again, and just in time for the holidays, which is a huge bonus.
Last night the b.h. made some gardiniera and a small (test) batch of cranberry pepper jelly, while I did a batch of tart cherry and a batch of pomegranate. His both turned out very well. Mine have successfully jelled, but I have yet to taste them.
I also bought myself a cutting mat large enough to handle a template for the t-shirts I have been socking away for my future t-shirt quilt (well, that's probably quilts now, because there are so damned many), so that will mean even more purging (and more crafting) in the near future. In short (too late!) I am being productive once again, and it is quite a relief.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

James Madison: Master Prognosticator?

Words of a Founding Father. (With thanks to Andrew Sullivan. Keeps me from having to form any thoughts of my own right now.)


“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

“It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.”

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

“The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”

“War should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits.”

“Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own wars, instead of carrying them on, at the expense of other generations.”


I was listening to a political podcast today and one of the hosts pointed out that with all the money we've spent basically ruining Iraq, we could have covered the entire cost of Universal Healthcare by now.
*sigh*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy I'm Not Eating Any Turkey Day, Everybody.

Every once in awhile, I like going out alone, sitting at a bar, and observing other people's bar lives. They are pretty much the same, but occasionally I am able to make an observation that I might have missed had I been otherwise occupied- you know, working.
So last night I stopped for a beer at a bar where one of my friends works. He had a small group of guys sitting at a table in the corner. They kept coming up, one at a time, every few minutes, and ordering rounds of shots. It was obviously a group of old friends who had come back into town for the holiday, and they were doing that thing that guys do where they buy round after round, proving how manly they are by showing how much they can drink. The trick is that none of them wants to be the guy who decides he's had enough, so they keep going long after a thinking person would. This was a particularly hilarious group because with each round, their requests became sillier and more girly (i.e.- they had more than four ingredients and a name that most men would be embarrassed to ask for). They did oatmeal cookies, fruity motherfuckers, and any number of shooters that can be described as "fruity but strong, and make it taste good."

My bartender buddy's wife was there, and after she had had a few she started making fun of them. Loudly. I remarked after listening to a laundry list of ingredients that they wanted in one round (there were like seven, and he only wanted four shots, which is just stupid):
"What do you call that, T - a Sandy Vagina?"

When she and I had gone to the restroom at the same time, one of the guys remarked to my bartender friend that "Those two lesbians are making fun of us for what we're drinking."

"Oh, you mean my wife and my friend's wife? Yeah, they're smart asses."

You could hear the other guy slap his forehead from across the room.

Half an hour later, when all the schnapps, flavored rum and pineapple juice started seeping into their collective bloodstream, I heard one of them outside getting loud and angry, and when I looked out he was on his feet, waving his finger in his friend's face.

"I WILL FUCK YOU IN THE ASS!!" he screamed.

It made me remember that old joke:

Why didn't Hitler drink tequila? Because it made him mean.

There's an updated version of that joke in here somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Extra Showers, Extra Hours, The End of our Nightmare, Latin Rythyms, Two More Dogs, Traffic, Produce, and How Not to Douche: A Very Long Weekend In GA

After that last post we went back to work. That night blew. I can't imagine why people still feel the need to emulate Dave Matthews and the like, but since dumb young kids keep eating it up I see no end in sight.
Thursday was pretty light, inventory wise. I spent a few hours trying to distract a very energetic toddler. It nearly killed me. Hat tip to parents everywhere. Much respect for your energy.
Thursday night I dropped the b.h. at work and came home. I dropped by L0we's on the way and picked up some more of that nifty plastic wrap that helps insulate windows for the winter (as opposed to the super secret plastic wrap which one might use with duct tape in case of a biological weapons attack by Islamist Extremists). It was unreasonably cold and unusually windy outside, so I covered the French doors in the bedroom and one of the windows in the office. Then I made a fabulous Waldorf salad (celery, Granny Smith apples, mayo, toasted walnuts, and Cr@isins) and a batch of cranberry relish (fresh cranberries, one whole orange -peel and all- and a cinnamon stick). Then I went back and picked up the b.h. from work. We made some food, watched some TV, and showered. When we were headed up to bed, we called the dogs in. Wyatt came running right away, but Kilgore was nowhere to be found. I called for him, I whistled, I walked out to the edge of the woods, and I tried bribing him with treats. No dice. The b.h. suggested we go to bed and set an alarm to try again in a half hour.
I did. He got up ( I had to do it last time, and the b.h. is a very fair-minded man)and went to the front door. I was rapidly losing consciousness when I heard the dog come in, then a lot of swearing followed by orders for the dog to get in the bathroom. I was twenty minutes before I saw them again.
"It looks like a crime scene in there" the b.h. reported.
I winced and braced myself for the follow-up.
"Not blood, just a LOT of muddy red clay, sprayed over everything. I don't know what the hell he got into, but getting him clean was not easy." The dog was grinning. He approached the foot of the bed.
"No! Fuck you, motherfucker. You are not sleeping in that bed tonight."
The dog hung his head and went to the corner to lay on his dog bed. I turned off the light. Two minutes later the b.h. got up and put a blanket on the dog. We slept.

On Friday the b.h. went to work early. He worked a private party at five, then started our regular shift at ten. Saturday was - wait for it- the LAST HOME FOOTBALL GAME OF THE SEASON. (That sound you hear is my soul returning from hiding). The b.h. again signed up for an extra shift, so we went downtown early, right in the middle of post-game traffic. It took twelve minutes to get from our house to the edge of downtown, and it took forty minutes for me to get out of downtown from there. We picked up our friend S and brought him back to work. We ate dinner at the new Italian restaurant on Broad and Jackson. La Dolce Vita. It was pretty damned good, if a bit pricey, and definitely the most authentic Italian I've had in the South.
Saturday night was easy as pie. Live Cuban music, complete with people who really knew how to dance. I always love a change of pace.
We had to stay and do inventory after close, since we're going to be out of town for the next couple days. I didn't remember that until after we had finished and I thought we were about to leave. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for a frozen pizza. By the time I got home, ate, and showered, it was almost six a.m. I told S I would pick him up at ten-thirty this morning.

I didn't fall asleep until almost eight, but I managed to drag myself out of bed on time and then I went and picked up S and The Girls. You may remember them from S's last trip to the pokey. I brought them back here, my friend J met us here, and we all headed North to bring S to jail in another county. He will serve seven and a half days (if all goes as planned) for a probation violation, and I will pick him up next Sunday night and bring him back home again. Did I mention that drinking and driving is a really bad idea? It is.
Anyway, the drive started out smoothly enough, but there was a bit of confusion due to a combination of vague directions, closed roads, and poorly marked detours. At one point I turned the car around four times in as many minutes. It was quite comical. It was also very early and I was very bleary, so I hate to think what the trip will be like next week when I make it in the dark.
After we dropped S off, J and I headed for Atlanta. The plan was a trip to C0stco and the awesome DeKalb Farmer's Market. Driving was ridiculous. I always forget how much I hate Atlanta drivers until I am surrounded by them. There is no regard for the speed limit or safety anywhere in the Greater Atlanta Area. Ugh.
Costco was really, really overwhelming and totally claustrophobic, but since J and I have the same sensibilities and tolerance we managed to navigate it without incident. I got a lot of great stuff, including but not limited to three varieties of Cabot cheese, a giant jar of pickled green beans, and some organic spinach and feta cheese frozen pizzas. The guy that checked our groceries was clearly on some kind of speed, and he was a little alarming.
The Farmer's Market was similarly crowded but as always totally worth the effort. I bought some huge fennel, a loaf of their pecan sandwich bread, a jar of very promising-looking mango chutney, tangerines, grapefruit, oranges, watercress, organic half and half, fresh flat-leaf parsley, two kinds of persimmons (I have never tried one and welcome any suggestions as to how to prepare them), fresh water chestnuts (also a new thing for me, but since I'm so fond of the canned ones I felt it was a safe bet), a pound of sun chokes (Jerusalem artichokes), a bar of Dagoba organic chocolate (flavored with lime), a couple varieties of local hot peppers, and several other items I can't remember right now. I only spent fifty dollars. Every time I go there I am shocked at how cheap it is, and what fantastic quality and variety they have.
I am struggling to remember the name of the fruit (J? A little help here?) that J mentioned wanting to try. She said that Anthony Bourdain described it as smelling like a corpse and tasting like tiramisu. We eyed said fruit for a moment, but they were huge and expensive and she decided to save it for another day. Less than five minutes later we were walking into the dairy section and, lo and behold, there were free samples of an ice cream-type product made with said Mystery Fruit. We eagerly dug our tiny sample spoons in and popped it into our mouths. I made the mistake of inhaling at the precise moment when I touched the spoon, but my brain did not register the degree of foulness emanating from it until it was too late. I found myself standing at the sample table, choking down the dessert equivalent of a days old cadaver. Tears welled up in my eyes. J proclaimed an immediate love for it. I grabbed for another sample spoon and attempted to cram enough Anything Else flavored ice cream in my mouth to drown out the awful taste. The woman at the sample table spooned me a sorbet sample, looking sympathetic as she handed it to me. I got the idea that I was probably not the only person who had had that reaction today. Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
On the way home we stopped for a sandwich. We got back to the house around seven thirty. I helped J unload, then she helped me unload, and she headed out. I showed off all of our purchases to the b.h. He went for the pickled green beans right away, but couldn't seem to get the jar open. I took it and ran it under hot water and tried it. Then he banged it on the counter and tried again. Finally, I sat down on the kitchen floor, braced the jar between my legs and, using a rubber jar opener, managed to pop the lid. Unfortunately, the jar was not entirely upright at that point, so I poured about half of the vinegar directly into my crotch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On Procrastination.

You may have noticed that I have been blogging more lately. Is it because I have found my muse ? Kind of, if you consider bitterness and a serious disdain for football and its fans a muse (I do). But what's really going on in that I told my friend A that I would do National Novel Writing Month (naowrimo.org) with her. I have never thought of myself as a novel writer, and that is more true today than ever. So I'm dragging my proverbial feet. (But boy is my house clean!!! And man is my laundry done!! And hell, I have even cleaned out the closets!! See how that works?)
Anyway, apologies to A for my being such a dick. But she sent me something hilarious today to help me along. And I'm posting it here for you, while I continue to avoid actual writing:

http://whedonesque.com/comments/14650

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Other Asshole; or Customer of the Night # 553

They say that a fool and his money are soon parted, but what they don't tell you is that an asshole and his money don't even get to say goodbye. This Guy (who was That Guy on this particular night) was dressed better than anybody else in the room, better than anybody at a football game ought to be, and every fifteen minutes or so I thought I had figured out who he was with. Except that he was apparently with everybody who would come within earshot, and he kept pulling out giant wads of cash and sidling up to especially young women at the bar and trying to buy them drinks. He wasn't that drunk at first, so I served him several rounds, but eventually I started motioning to whomever his latest victim was that he was cut off. This did not stop him from close talking every guy and inappropriately hitting on every girl (he was probably in his late thirties and was, frankly, in the wrong bar if he was looking for a date that night) in sight. Finally a group of girls got tired of him and, after he dropped fifty bucks on the bar to buy them a round of shots and turned his back, decided to spend it all. I didn't care, and obviously That Guy didn't either. They gave me a huge tip (from their own money) and ran away as soon as they could. This happened several times during the night: That Guy puts down money, latest victim gets drink, That Guy and victim do the shot, change gets left on the bar, and That Guy disappears to find another victim. It really did make up for the other folks that weren't tipping very well (see previous post).
I didn't want to kick That Guy out because he was mostly harmless but very drunk, and I thought it would be more of a hassle than necessary for our door staff, who had their hands full as it was. In the end, though, I had to. He came up at around one thirty and ordered a shot from the other bartender. I was busy at the other end of the bar and before I could get the other bartender's attention to tell him that I had cut That Guy off, he had already poured one. That Guy drank it, the other bartender walked away, and about ten or twenty seconds later, as I walked past That Guy, he spit his shot back out on the bar. I asked the door guys to remove him gently and they did. When I stepped outside at two to get a breath of fresh air before cleaning, I saw That Guy and the Blonde Douchebag. They were talking so close to each other's faces that I thought they were about to fight. No such luck. They were just so drunk they didn't realize how close they were to making out.

In other news, the b.h. found an excellent new blog. The link to Hot Knives (featuring two vegetarian line cooks from L.A.) is over there on your left. Check it out. The Grilled Cheese post from April 2006 was particularly amusing.

Customer of the Night: Blonde Douchebag.

Friday, guy with buzzed hair and a button-down shirt. He was already there when I came in, but he was sober and polite, and he knew what he wanted and had a tab (which is faster because I just make the drink and bring it to him and mark the tab, as opposed to taking his order, making the drink, bringing it over, taking money, making change, etc.) so on several occasions I skipped over other people to get him. After about two hours of this, while we were still totally slammed, he asked to close his tab. I brought it over and after giving him his credit card and his tab, I proceeded to take the order from the guy next to him. While I was making that drink, I overheard the Blonde Douchebag telling his friend that he wasn't going to tip. I thought that I must have misheard him, because up to this point we had had been getting along just fine.
After finishing up with the other customer, I went to retrieve Blonde Douchebag's credit card slip. Thirty-eight dollars, no tip.
Before I go any further I would like to explain that thirty eight dollars in the bar where I work represents a lot of drinks. This is a college town, beers are two bucks, and even if you tip twenty percent (which people often don't), you're talking about less than eight bucks on nineteen beers (or four beers and eight drinks, or whatever). Any way you cut it, it's not great, and not tipping at all is total bullshit, especially when i have busted my ass and provided you with excellent service.
"Are you fucking kidding me?!" I yelled at the back of Blonde Douchebag as he made his way to the front of the stage.
He didn't turn around. I went around the bar, walked up to him in front of all of his friends, tapped him on the shoulder, and said very loudly, but not angrily
"Did I do something to upset you?"
"What? No. Why? What-" replied Blonde Douchebag.
"Are you sure? I mean, you got everything you wanted, in a timely fashion, and everything?"
He nodded at me stupidly.
"Really? Because you left me no tip at all on a thirty-eight dollar tab, so I assumed you must be pissed about something."
"No. You're a great bartender. You were great. Really."
"Well, I'll be sure and tell my fucking landlord you said so."

As I walked away i heard his girlfriend bitching him out. A few minutes later a couple of his friends came up and apologized and threw a few dollars into the tip jar.
They all left.

An hour later, I look up and Blonde Douchebag is back. I am in the process of pouring three drinks, and he is standing three feet away from me yelling "Ma'am! Ma'am!" at the side of my head. I looked up and calmly said "You're going to have to wait."

I didn't wait on him. I didn't look at him again, until several minutes later when he put his hand out and told me he was sorry for not tipping me earlier. I didn't take his hand, but looked down at it and then back up at him with dead eyes.
"I'm glad that you're sorry."
He looked angry, like he was about to start a fight with me over it.
"I'm trying to tell you I'm sorry-"
"And I heard you. And I'm glad you apologized."
After we closed I saw him outside with the other biggest asshole in the room. More on that guy later.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Misuse of Tae Kwon Do?

Two women, early thirties, walking alone down a street at two in the morning. They're chatting, not really paying much attention to the man (I use that term loosely, as he was clearly a fucking frat boy) in the gray fleece and the white baseball hat on his cell phone walking toward them. As he passes them, he lunges toward the nearest woman, sticking out his tongue and screaming "Blahhhhh!" right in her face.
The woman turns toward him, takes a step, and then turns and skip side kicks him right in the chest. His whole body folds, momentarily, and his face contorts in confusion, which then turns to rage. The women laugh a little. They continue walking. Still talking on his phone, the man turns to follow the two women, shouting after them
"Now I'm going to follow you. Isn't that funny?"

"Yeah, in fact, it's fucking hilarious," retorts The Kicker.

There is a police car in the street adjacent to them, lights flashing, with a car pulled over. Two more cops approach on bikes.

"Officer!! This man is following me!! Help me please! This man is following me!!"
The cops pay no attention.

"What the fuck?!" the befleeced fellow continues. "You just hit me for no fucking reason!!"

"You just screamed in my fucking face! We're women, we're walking alone, and it's two in the fucking morning! What are you thinking?!"

"Blah blah blah," continues the drunk man, still following, still on his cell phone.

"Get in the car," says Woman Number Two, opening the passenger door.

"No, I don't want this asshole to get your plate number. What if he fucks with your car later?"

"It's fine. Just get in."

The Kicker gets in the car, and as she is pulling the door shut behind her the man turns and walks in another direction, still shouting obscenities at her (and into his cell phone). Just then a cop comes across the street, and The Kicker gets back out of the car to talk to him.

"Ma'am, did you know that guy?"

"No sir, I have never seen him before in my life. He just screamed in my face and scared me, so I- well, I kind of just hit him."

The cop went after the guy, who was still on his phone. The women got in their car and drove away.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Olives, Part Two.

We spent some time yesterday wiping the now cured olives down (they still had a bit of dirt on them) before putting them in their briny new homes. Today the b.h. chose several marinade recipes and made very small (half pint) batches of each so we can try them before making a big commitment.
This is what they look like after curing, but before brining:



They don't taste like much right now. But in a few short days...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Customer of the Night # 888: The Jackass

It's busy(ish). There is a band playing. Everyone is talking, there is a very loud ice machine just over my shoulder, and yet somehow I can still here this Jackass all the way at the other end of the bar. I thank the person I'm waiting on, shut the cash register, and go see what's going on. The other bartender has obviously had it with the guy. She turns as I'm approaching and asks if I know The Jackass. I do not. I have seen him before a lot, though, and he has never been a problem. What's the trouble? She rolls her eyes and before she can answer he yells something else that I can't hear. I turn to him.
"What's the problem?"
"You guys don't even have real Goldschl@ger in this fucking place."
"Yeah I know, we used to but..."
"Then it shouldn't be four bucks!!!!" he yelled.
"Yeah, I'm sorry, we used to have the real stuff, but this is pretty much the same thing."

Ah this point, The Jackass utters the fatal sentence:

"I'm a bartender"

followed by

"And I know what this shit fucking costs. If you're not going to have the real shit then it's three dollars."

I proceed to explain to him that the price in HIS bar might be three bucks, but in OUR bar it is four. We don't have any shots that are three bucks, just as we do not have two-for-ones, "Ladies' Night", or all you can drink specials. Politely, mind you. He continues to bitch. And I explain to him that no one can tell the difference except possibly for him (a connoiseur, obviously), and that no, we won't be ordering "the real stuff" because we simply don't sell much of it. During this discussion he got surlier and surlier, and when I reminded him that we sort of knew each other because I always wait on him when he comes to see this band (once every six weeks for the whole year), he didn't seem to care. He insisted that we needed to have "the real stuff" and that as a bartender he made sure his customers were happy. At which point, I told him (in what was probably not a very convincing tone) that I was sorry that he was not happy, and then I turned my back on him and walked away.
Less than thirty minutes later, I saw The Jackass out near what one might describe as a "pit" in front of the stage. A bunch of young guys were jumping up and down and pushing each other around, but not aggressively- they were just blowing off steam and enjoying the band. The Jackass was standing just close enough that he would get bumped into once in awhile, but he had plenty of room to back up and remain outside the fray if he so chose. Instead, he waited until the smallest, skinniest guy in the pit bumped into him, and then he threw the guy to the ground as hard as he could. The guy just looked at The Jackass, stood up, and moved on. The Jackass was even more angry now, as he was clearly hoping to have a good reason to beat up a guy half his size. Nothing doing.
Later The Jackass came to close his tab. I shoved it in front of him without a word, he signed it, left a decent tip, and went away. I thought he was leaving. No such luck.
At the very end of the night, I noticed that there was a credit card with the name of The Jackass on it back behind the bar.

"Ooh, did he drop this?" I asked the other bartender, a little gleefully, imagining his panic when he realized it was gone and the conversation I would get to have with him when he returned to pick it up, sober, the next day.

"No, he opened another tab."

Shit.

Next thing I know, I am re-stocking beer with my back to the bar and a very loud shouting match starts right behind me. I turn around and see The Jackass, with a door guy in front of him pushing him toward the door, screaming at one of the guys in the band (his "friend")

"Be a man!! Be a man!!"

The band guy, whom I have always gotten along with but whom I also have a healthy fear of, as there is a little bit of crazy just behind his eyes, is screaming

"You need to learn to keep your mouth shut! Shut your fucking mouth!"

The band member is being held back very gently by a sweet and very drunk co-worker of mine, who also happens to be the Biggest Guy In The Room. Co-worker was not working, and to this day has no recollection of the incident, but he was patting the band guy on the back and saying "Shhhhh..." very quietly while pushing him out the back door. It worked.

The door guy who was escorting The Jackass out the front door said very loudly
"Dude, I am not asking. It's time to go." After a couple minutes of this, the door guy finally shoved him as far as the door and The Jackass was gone.

I wished like hell that somebody would beat The Jackass up, but not in the bar. I found out the next day from one of the other band guys that The Jackass got into a fight at a gas station after they left, because the person behind the counter would not sell him a hot dog that wasn't cooked yet.
I suggested to the Band Guy that The Jackass may want to avoid coc@ine in the future. He was clearly not just drunk on that particular night. Oh, and did I mention he was in costume? Dressed up like a cop.
Yep, can't wait to see him again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Warning!

This is not a post you should view very closely if you have a weak stomach. I have been describing the bottom of my foot as having it's own Halloween costume this week, and a few people said they want to see it. In a way, you kind of have to see it to believe it, so if you scroll down you'll get both the front and side views. it looks like my foot grew an eyeball. For those of you who are not inclined to look at other people's revolting injuries, here's a picture of where I've been for the last few days:



The pillow in the middle there marks the spot. The dogs have been fiercely snuggly in their efforts to make me feel better.
It's working.

The morbidly curious can continue to page down.






Eyeball?





Or Breast?



Sunday, October 28, 2007

Funny Ha Ha.

I was just wandering about and I ran across a hilarious post over at Chunklet. It was sent to Henry via a friend of his and I just couldn't help reprinting it here. I don't think he'll mind.

"I started this game on a flight from Orlando to NYC a few years ago after seeing at the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando a menu item called Steven Tyler Quesadillas. I was afraid to tell Nick across from me on the flight what I was laughing so hard about cause it was so stupid but once I did it spread through the band and crew like wildfire and for days i was taking notes from everyone and even getting middle of the night texts... a new one comes in now and again still.

(Editor's Note: I've only included the first 20 or so he typed for sanity's sake)
Crooked Chicken Fingers
Frank Blackened Catfish
Sole Asylum (alternate: Sole Coughing)
Husker Stew
Kyle Mignon
Gang of Four Cheese Pizza
I Love You But I've Chosen Prawns
Nine inch Snails
Catherine Cheesewheel
Cornish Game Hendrix
Death Crab for Cutie
Superchunk Chocolate Cake
Teenage Fanclub Sandwich
Hot Not Meat (veggie menu)
Soundgarden Burger
Fleetwood Mac and Cheese
Shrimpbizkit
Stew Order
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Breadsticks
The Afghan Wings
Rites of Spring Rolls
Archers of Meatloaf
Pjork with the Gravery"

Okay.....Go forth and make me a menu, dammit!


This is the music lover's version of the game we played awhile back where you replace one word of a movie title with the word vagina (hat tip to Chris for bringing that to our workplace). The winner of that was Sean, for Arsenic and Old Vagina. I can't decide which of these menu items is my favorite, but I suspect the b.h. and I will be playing this game quite a bit.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm a Little Grumpy.

Next time a doctor says "This might sting a little", I'm busting out a belt of whiskey and a wooden spoon. This shit seriously sucks.
I wound up getting ready for house guests last night after all. They didn't make it, but the bed will now be made up when T gets here on Sunday or Monday, so that's okay. Sleeping was ridiculous and uncomfortable. I feel like an idiot because I can't do very much for myself, and the b.h. has been waiting on me all day. The only thing I've been taking is ibuprofen, and I think it might be time to switch to beer. I had to go to work for a couple hours today, and I left the house wearing one shoe and one slipper. By the time I got down there my foot was so swollen that I had to take the slipper off. I wound up sticking duct tape to the heel of my sock so I could walk on it and not destroy my sock.
Fuck.

Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.

The Hold Steady was fantastic. The b.h. and I both got to go, all of the kids are out of town for that stupid football game, and parking was a snap. Several of our friends were there, as well as a couple hundred other people with excellent taste. Art Brut opened, and they were also quite fun. After the show we went to an after party. We stayed out until almost 5am- highly unusual for us. So I went to bed around five thirty, and had to get up at 8:15 to go to the doctor. No big deal really- or so I thought. It was just a plantar's wart, and I thought he'd give me a topical something-or-other and send me on my way. No such luck. Instead I wound up getting it frozen with liquid nitrogen. It felt like somebody set me on fire. I managed to pay (very little, bless the man, despite not having insurance) and get out to the car before I started to cry. I never, ever cry from physical pain, but this was unusually bad. When I got back to the house I took three ibuprofen and crawled back into bed and couldn't sleep. I came down to the couch to watch TV. The dogs followed me down to try and comfort me. It worked, for a little while. The rest of the day has been pretty uncomfortable, but there have been no more tears.
We went to see some friends play at the Caledonia early tonight. Low Red Land is from San Francisco and they tour a lot and we see them a few times a year. They sounded great tonight. They may be coming here to stay tonight, so when they finished playing I came home to straighten up. Now I'm on the couch watching bad TV (DVD, actually- Desperate Housewives Season Two) and waiting for the b.h. to call and tell me whether or not we're having guests. If we are, I'll get the dogs in and make up the guest bed. If not I'm cracking a beer and getting in the shower.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This is what Eleven Pounds of Olives Looks Like.



The box is about the size of two shoe boxes- or one box with a really big guy's boots. The first step is washing and cracking them:




The one in this photo got more cracked than necessary, as I was not very practiced just yet. The idea is to break them open very slightly, after which they are soaked in water, which gets changed twice a day for five days. This apparently leeches out the bitterness. We now have a two and a half gallon bucket that is full to the brim. We are choosing the water method of curing, rather than using lye. It just sounds less scary- you know, first time out and all. There's something about mixing drain cleaner and food that I have a hard time with. Next step (and next photos) in a few days.

In the meantime, here are a couple long overdue shots of the Blue Mountain show at Tasty World two weeks ago:



Something about Frank's drum kit just says "Fellow Traveler" to me:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Saw Dave Marr and Holly Golightly at Tasty World last night. Dave sounded great. I wish he would play more. Holly was cool. I had no idea what to expect, but she was recommended to me by several friends, so we gave it a shot. We didn't stay late because we were both tired.
It has been raining for a day and a half, which is great. it is supposed to rain for the rest of the week. Of course, that didn't stop the idiots at the office complex in our neighborhood from running their sprinkler system. I called the water department and they said that the complex in question is on a well, and they are allowed to do whatever they want. Hmmm. I guess I know where I'm going to steal my water from when ours dries up.
In other news, Kilgore just got back from the vet. He is happy and healthy, if a bit wider than necessary. Now that the temperature has fallen below a hundred degrees I guess we can start walking again.

Two days until The Hold Steady. Yay.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I was called in to work on Friday afternoon because the bartender was having some technical difficulties. It took just a couple of minutes to diagnose the problem, but I was glad that she had called me because as it turned out several friends were there that I hadn't seen in quite some time. G and F are regular customers. They used to be my regular customers for awhile, back when I did Friday happy hour. Now we see each other very seldom, since like most of my friends they have day jobs and therefore schedules that do not coincide with mine.

While I was speaking to them, my friend R came in. She has just gotten married the week prior, so I got to hear about her wedding, warts and all. I had an excellent time at my wedding, and overall I am happy that the b.h. and I chose to be somewhat traditional and include our families and whatnot, but next time (when we spontaneously renew our vows silly, not next husband) we're totally going to elope. That's what my other friends did, and by all accounts it was a great decision and an excellent time. Anyway, it was great to see R. She and I met when she was a regular customer of mine, and she also has a schedule that prohibits late night, weeknight socializing. We caught up and I had a nice chat with her husband and met some of their friends.

Also during this time, three guys wandered in that were on a day off from touring with a band from Columbus, Ohio. I spent a lot of time in Columbus several years back with an old boyfriend, and we spent some time talking about bands and clubs and friends that we have in common. I recommended a restaurant for them and put them on the guest list for Friday night's show.

My cell phone went off. It was my friend K calling from New York. She is up there apartment hunting. She'll be moving in less than two weeks, and she called to tell me that things are going very well and she found a place and there were exciting developments with her new job. I am so thrilled for her. Words truly cannot express. I chatted with her for a few minutes, said congratulations, wished her a safe trip home, and then turned to say goodbye to everyone at the bar. I had just enough time to get home and walk the dogs and feed them and feed myself before turning around and coming back to work. It was only when I got in my car that I realized how much K's move is going to affect me. I don't have a lot of female friends anyway, and I know that women always say that, and that they act like it doesn't matter, but it does. K is the only woman (hell she's almost the only person) I know and enjoy being around for long periods of time that is even remotely on my schedule. I'm afraid I may have to start trolling local bars for women.
Fuck.

Olives.

Last weekend the b.h. and I took a rare Saturday night off and went out to dinner- you know, like grownups. We ate at The N@tional, a new local restaurant, for the first time. When we walked in,we immediately saw He Who Must Not Be Named (and no, I don't mean Dan Horowitz)

with a table full of friends having dinner. Wilco was drifting over the stereo system. The bartender greeted us with "Hey, I finally get to wait on you guys for a change." Ah, Athens.
I love the way the restaurant is decorated- very simple, classy but not over-done. They had small potted thyme plants on the tables, which i think is brilliant. The lighting is low and the seats comfortable, and I was more relaxed than I had been in a long time. The wine was exceptional, the food was fantastic, and after the manchego cheese and celery stuffed dates with smoked paprika (but before the roasted red pepper and tomato soup), as we dug into a small bowl of olives marinated in garlic and citrus, we remembered that Alt0n Brown had a link to a website where you can order fresh olives.
We came home and ordered some. And all eleven pounds arrived in the mail a couple days ago. So today, we begin the curing process. In ten days we will begin the actual flavoring process, so if anybody has suggestions, feel free to bring them on. I know that garlic and citrus is first on the list. We're hoping they work well so we can give them as Christmas gifts. (On the other hand, if they're half as good as the ones we had at the restaurant, we may decide to keep them for ourselves. No more fresh green olives until next September, after all.)
I also made a pie this week. Graham cracker crust with sour cream filling, topped with raspberries. This weather just puts me in a cooking mood.
Hoping to get back to Ellijay in the next couple of weeks for the annual J & J apple and pumpkin purchase. Man I love the fall.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Skirts Alert

Last night I caught Modern Skirts at The Georgia Theater. They sounded fantastic. They have come such a long way since their first shows years ago, and I really think they are headed for Big Things. As it turns out, they are also headed for the U.K. Like, today. They are playing more than a show a day for the entire trip, in hopes that somebody at a record label over there might have more brains than the guys on this side of the proverbial pond. I would think they'd have to. Anyway, if you happen to be in the area, here is their schedule:

Oct 20, 2007
Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom
@ Catch In The City Festival 2007 @ THE DRY BAR
28 Oldham Street [MAP]
Vmanevents, Designer Magazine & Speechless With Sound presents....Modern Skirts at 6:45pm sharp (NEW TIME) at the downstairs stage at THE DRY BAR

Oct 21, 2007
Manchester, United Kingdom
@ TRIANGLE SHOPPING CENTER in EXCHANGE SQUARE
Triangle Shopping Centre is conveniently situated by the Millennium gardens in between Victoria train station, the Arndale centre and Exchange Square [MAP]
All ages free show!
Modern Skirts to perform at 2pm sharp

Oct 22, 2007
Manchester, United Kingdom
@ IN THE CITY showcase @ THE MUSIC BOX
65 Oxford Street [MAP]
Modern Skirts official International showcase at IN THE CITY music conference at 10:45pm sharp
For more info on the show or directions visit the venue website at www.themusicbox.info or www.inthecity.co.uk

Oct 23, 2007
Bacup, United Kingdom
@ Bacup Borough Football Club
Cowtoot Lane, Lancashire [MAP]
£3.00 at the door
Doors at 8pm
Visit www.myspace.com/hairydogpromotions for more info on this show

Oct 24, 2007
Stockport, United Kingdom
@ Blue Cat Cafe
17 Shaw Road [MAP]
All ages free show in Stockport, UK!
Modern Skirts to perform at 9:30pm sharp
For more info visit the venue website at myspace.com/bluecatmusic

Oct 25, 2007
Coventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom
@ City College Coventry Synergy FM show
Swanswell Centre, 50 Swanswell Street [MAP]
Free to students and public!
Taping a live performance and interview from 1-2pm for the City College’s college station SYNERGY FM 102.6
Visit www.synergyfm.com for station info

Oct 25, 2007
Coventry, United Kingdom
@ The Albany
24 Albany Road, Earlsdon [MAP]
Performing with the Sequins
For more info call the venue at 024 7667 3032

Oct 26, 2007
w/ R.E.M. Stipe
Ilminster, United Kingdom
@ Square & Compass Pub
Windmill Hill, Ashill [MAP]
£10 at the door or in advance from the venue
18 & up show
Performing with the R.E.M. tribute band STIPE

Oct 27, 2007
Kent, United Kingdom
@ The Lower Bell
201 Chatham Road, Blue Bell Hill, Aylesford [MAP]
JUST ADDED!!
Performing from 9-11pm

Oct 28, 2007
w/ Gamages Model Train Club, Gold Heart Assembly, The Cedars
London, United Kingdom
@ Jealous of the Daylight presents...at Covent Rock Garden on The Piazza
6/7 The Piazza, Covent Garden [MAP]
£7 at the door OR £5 with this flyer
Music from 2:30pm-7pm
Modern Skirts on at 5pm sharp

I heard that Mike Mills referred to them as his favorite new band in an interview over there, so I hope some people show up.

Thanks, Asshole.

Dear Neighbor:
I just wanted to tell how happy I am that your yard looks absolutely lovely. It seems that all of the sacrifices everyone else is making have really paid off.I'm glad that I have been turning off the shower while I soap up and watering my plants with used dishwater for three months so that you could run your fucking sprinkler in the middle of the night, soaking your whole front yard and half of the street, without guilt. Never mind that river running down the curb. Never mind that we're struggling to have enough water to keep everyone's toilets flushing. Sacrifice is for poor people, right? I mean, what the fuck? Anyway, thanks. I think my faith in fellow humans was just starting to return. That's not really convenient in the middle of football season. And hey- nice magnolias.
I hope your house burns down,
HB

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Still Here.

I have been away far too long. I can't help it. I just haven't felt much like writing.
We got our friend out of jail a week ago. He's doing fine. The dogs are quite happy to see him, despite having been spoiled nearly rotten by the b.h. and myself for the past two months. They missed their dad.
My parents sent us pizza from home for our anniversary. Unless you are from a place where there is excellent pizza (like Chicago or New York) and you live in a place where D0min0s* is considered pizza, you probably don't understand how very exciting that is. It's amazing. I had the oven preheating before the UPS man even left the driveway.
My friend K and I went to see the adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark last week at Cine'. It was hilarious. It took the guys who made it something like five years to make, and since they were young teenagers when they started, they change a lot in the course of the filming. But they really did a great job. Shot by shot, line by line, using what I can only assume was somebody's parents' home video camera. It was inspiring. I recommend it. Work has been okay. There have been several good shows already this month, with more on the horizon.
Wow this is a boring post. Sorry.




*I don't even know how to spell it because that "pizza" was a sacrilege in my family.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dire.

That's the only word to describe our water situation. According to local officials, we have around five weeks' worth of water left in our reservoir. I can't remember it ever being this bad before. There is an outright ban on watering outdoors. I gave up on my flower garden months ago when i realized that it just wasn't practical to waste water on it. Kept watering the tomatoes and peppers as long as I was allowed, though. And they seem to be hanging on despite not having been watered recently. It keeps looking like it might want to rain and not quite getting there. Very discouraging. It makes me wonder how much water we would save by canceling the rest of the home football games. I assume that not having an extra 100 thousand people in town for three more weekends might help our situation. It certainly couldn't hurt. But don't let my boss hear me say that.
Last night, we came home from the utterly fabulous Okkervil River show at the 40 Watt to find that the sprinklers were on in the office complex behind us. It had been cloudy all day, and there was rain predicted for today, and we've been on a watering ban for quite some time now. But there they were, at least two sprinklers, spraying with all their might. Made me wonder how often this happens. We're usually not home yet at 2am, and I would think that most of the folks in this neighborhood are long since sleeping by then. I called and reported them, but what I really want to do is find the people responsible and beat them. Seriously. Our local government is trying to figure out how to keep the waste water treatment plants working with such low water levels and some asshole is fucking watering the GRASS. Ugh. Stupid.

In other news, Okkervil River still kicks ass. I heard a guy remark last night that he had been made gayer by watching their set- I can only assume he meant that he was in love with the band, but I'm not sure. All I know is that a night off and an excellent rock show were exactly what I needed. Now I want to move to Austin so I can see them more often. I actually recorded a song on my camera, but since the quality sucks I will refrain from posting it here.
Instead, here's a photo:



This was taken during a break in the set where somebody had to change Will's string. I guess he can't change his own string on account of being blind as a bat and without glasses on stage. So he played a song on the keyboard instead. It was great. They played almost everything I wanted to hear. A.J. was in town for the show. It was great to see him and we actually got to talk for a bit- not over the bar, but actual face-to-face adult conversation. Amazing. I will have to try to do that more often.

My friend T is rapidly approaching total insanity due to his job, and may move down here soon. That would be great. K is leaving for New York in just a couple weeks, and I haven't quite figured out how I am going to manage without her.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Customers O' the Night(s).

There have been so many recently that I couldn't possibly keep up. Here are a few examples:

#123: The Fat Mouth Breather is becoming a bit of a regular. I would normally ignore a person's weight and possibly even the fact that they were constantly walking around with their mouth hanging open if they were not the sort of person who insisted on Talking To My Tits whenever they were at the bar. Honestly, this guy has never once made eye contact with me while I was close enough to take his order. He also likes to hold on to his money for longer than is necessary, presumably to extend the amount of contact that his hand has with mine. He is vile and creepy and I do my best to avoid waiting on him whenever possible.

#486: A few weeks ago, we were closing up and a drunk chick wandered in alone at around two-thirty (We close at two, but are not required to empty the building until quarter to three) to use the bathroom. I normally try to stop people from doing this if they were not actually customers at our bar, but I was particularly tired that night so I let her go. I continued to re-stock beer and clean up. At around three, I was summoned by the door guys to the bathroom. The girl was passed out, panties around her knees and skirt around her waist, bent over completely so that her hands and her hair were on the floor in front of her. She was fast asleep. And snoring.
I started talking to her, tapping her on the shoulder and eventually shaking her to try and wake her up.
Eventually I raided her purse, found her cell phone, and dialed the last number that had called in (which was twenty minutes before). The girl who picked up the phone was confused at first, but I managed to convey to her that I was in the bathroom with her passed out friend and i needed help getting her out ASAP.
"I can't come and get her because I am at a party right now and I have been drinking and I am under age and the cops are outside. I can't leave." Great.
I found out her name (appropriately stripper-like, it was), hung up the phone, and pulled her to a sitting position, slapping both sides of her face gently while repeating her name.
"Pull your panties up sweetie, it's time to go." She didn't want to go. She didn't want to wake up, but she did have the good sense to cover herself when I sat her up, so I knew she was at least that aware of her situation.
Luckily there was another female bartender on staff that night, because this girl was BIG- Not fat, mind you, but a head taller than me and a good bit meatier. Once we got her to cover herself, it took both of us to hoist her off the toilet and onto her feet. From there she seemed to take control for the most part, and we just steered her (on her high heeles, of course) out of the loo and up to the front door, where she turned and hugged me and kissed me on the cheek and told me that i rocked and that she loved me and that I was her hero.
It was bizarre. She seemed perfectly coherent, as if she had just woken up from a nap (which I guess she had) and was a bit groggy but in total control. We watched as she crossed the street and tried to hail a cab. Two bike cops were standing on the corner and ignored her completely. Eventually I flagged down a cab and sent it over to her.

#222: Game Day is my least favorite day. Worse than New Year's Eve, Fat Tuesday, or even St. Patrick's day, Game day is Amateur Night with 85,000 performers, most of whom have been drinking for at least eight hours by the time I encounter them. Last night I got to deal with my first amateur foursome as soon as I got in the door. They were loud, they thought they were cool and funny, and they were demanding. The Jackass Group Leader kept ordering drinks and shots for himself and his three friends even though they obviously didn't want to drink more. What happened is what often happens in these situations: his friends don't have enough balls to tell the guy that they are done. Nobody wants to be the "pussy" that gives in first, so they all keep buying rounds. Jackass Group Leader decides to chat me up, since the girl who has been serving them all day has already given up on getting them to close their tabs and has moved on to the "ignore them and hope they'll go away" stage of customer service. So the guy remarks on my shirt- which, like most of my shirts, is a band t-shirt.
"Are they any good?"
"No. They suck. I try to make a habit of advertising for bands that I hate." I was smiling when I said this. The smile was an indication that I was joking, but that he knew the answer to the question before he asked me and that I was "on" to his game- trying to engage me in conversation that wasn't going to go anywhere. I am not flattering myself. I had already seen him chatting up two other chicks who had the ability to walk away from him and did.

"Ah HA!" he replied, a bit more angrily than was necessary under the circumstances. "Smart ass bartenders don't make good tips."

Okay, so what I should have said here was something like "On the contrary, sir, I make a lot of money from people who are smart enough to understand when a person is playfully kidding and confident enough not to take themselves too seriously. In fact, most people like it when you are a bit of a smartass, since they are so used to being Bullshat in their everyday exchanges with service industry people who are required to exchange specific pleasantries and pretend that they give a shit about customers."
That is not what I said. I believe I said something about having already written the day off due to the number of drunk idiots I encounter on game day. He insisted that he was a good tipper. I didn't believe him and I didn't care.
He went on to "compliment" a door guy about his hair and fashion sense (which he described as "totally rock and roll, dude"), and then try to engage said door guy in a conversation about music. "I'm a drummer, dude, so I know." What he knew I didn't quite understand. What he obviously didn't know was when to shut the fuck up and go home. I switched into uber-polite mode, encouraging them to try out the strip club or perhaps get something to eat. It worked and they left. His friends tipped me well.


#357: Dirty Diana is a regular. Until recently, her identity has not been known to us, but her prolific use of a sharpie marker in our ladies' room has made her a subject of regular discussion. "Dirty Diana Loves Teabags!" has adorned the wall of the first stall for so long that I can't remember when it got there. And of late one of my co-workers has made it her mission to remove D.D.'s scrawlings from said wall on a regular basis, since we often have an older more mature crowd during football season- including the owner's parents.
I do not, as a rule, consider graffiti "art" or even "free expression." (I make an exception here for Banksy and others who paint murals and interesting stuff to look at- they've helped me pass the time on public transportation many a time). It is, in most cases, pure and simple vandalism, and it is a big pain in the ass to remove from the walls. When the walls are clean, they usually stay that way for quite some time. Once somebody writes anything up there, though, it's game on, and within a week or two he whole thing is a mess again.
Occasionally, somebody writes something that I find particularly clever or funny ("Sodomatic for the People" and "Lester is Coming- Look Busy!") spring to mind), but for the most part people are generally ignorant and crass. In any case, The D.D situation was reaching a boiling point for my diligent co-worker, and when I finally identified D.D. my boss approached her and politely asked that she stop writing on the walls. She seemed embarrassed, but by her reaction I could tell that it was never a malicious thing- she was making a joke with her friends who are also regulars, and (I suspect she thought), with us as well.
This was about a week ago. Last night after close, one of the door guys came to get me and asked me to come with him to the ladies' room.
"Fuck! Is somebody passed out in there again?"
"No. I need you to see this."
I was expecting to find something broken, or a leaky toilet, or a pint glass in the bottom of a bowl. What I found instead was about twenty post-it notes, scattered in the first stall, each one adorned with the same message in hot pink sharpie: "Dirty Diana Loves Teabags!" Now that, my friends, is art. Or at least it is a very funny practical joke. I think I like this Diana.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oh yeah...

I finally loaded up the dog pictures. Here they are.


This is Hope (Hamhock). She's the fat one.She snores like a drunken sailor.



And this is Ella. She has an uncanny ability to locate your most delicate parts with her pointy little paws.

Business.

As in J. Roddy Walston and the. They fucking rocked again. I only wish they had more CDs for us to buy. Everything was running late that night, so they didn't play as long as we would have liked, but they tore through most of the songs I know and were completely pro and cool about the scheduling fuckups. They also crashed with the b.h. and me that night. It was great to be able to talk a little in a non-show setting. All of the guys are funny and smart and generally seem like folks we would hang out with if we lived in the same place.

The beagles have escaped several times. The first time I hadn't shut the door all the way when I came back in from walking them, and Wyatt charged through it while I was in another room, so by the time I even realized the door was open the girls were long gone. Hope (who we have re-named Hamhock, because it amuses us) was only several yards from the door, snuffling through the tall grass next to the house. Ella (Sniglet) on the other hand, was already too far into the thicket on the other side of the driveway for us to even see her. I might add that it was the middle of the night and both the b.h. and I had already showered and were ready for bed. We wound up spending about fifteen minutes locating her and trying to coax her out, and eventually I tackled her when she got out into the parking lot in the office complex out back.
The next time they escaped was the night the band was here. This time I was actually in the shower. I stepped out and heard a loud baying coming from out in the yard. The next thing I heard was the b.h.'s voice through the bathroom window- "Honey, I need your help. The beagles got out." His voice was nearly drowned out by the sound of the dogs in the distance. It was about four a.m., and one of the band guys had gone out for a cigarette, and the girls slipped through the door and took off. I immediately threw on a t-shirt, jeans, and shoes, and ran out into the dark yard, figuring that the b.h. would have the flashlight on him. I was blindly making my way back toward the woods, and I could hear the b.h. cursing loudly above the sound of the dogs and a lot of crunching. It seems that the woods are now overgrown with briars - big, nasty, sharp ones - and although this posed no problem for the dogs the b.h. was getting torn to bits. He also didn't have the flashlight, but was using our cell phone to light his way. I was plodding along behind him, simulating a blind and drunk game of Marco, Polo. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't funny at the time, either, though now I'm cracking up at the thought.
Hamhock got out again the day before yesterday. I was out running errands and the b.h. had the girls ties up outside. He was in the kitchen with the door open so he could keep an eye on them. We still don't know how she did it, because when he found her wading in the shallow end of the pond, her collar was completely intact, as was the leash she had magically left tied to the garden post. It was a panicky half hour, but everybody came out okay.
Our friend has been moved to a jail downstate, so we haven't been able to see him. Our local county jail has become over crowded after three consecutive home football games, so they had to move some people off, and since he isn't getting out for another couple of weeks, they chose him. This is all very inconvenient, because we have no way of contacting him, and he can't call us collect unless we start ANOTHER account with this other jail. We already have money in an account with the local jail, and it doesn't transfer, so we have to go through the process again, and we have no idea when they will send him back, so it may be completely pointless. They won't tell him when he's moving, and they didn't give him any warning before he left, so he couldn't call and let us know. I do hope he's doing okay. The worst part of this is imagining what it must be like for people who don't have any money or any transportation. What does a poor mother do when they transfer her son to another county three hundred miles away? This is a big enough obstacle for people like us, and we can afford it. I realize that most people are in jail because they have done something wrong, but I don't see why inmates' families and friends get treated like criminals themselves (guilt by association anyone?) and inconvenienced to this degree. Ah well, I guess I'll just try to stay out of jail so I don't have to worry about it.
The iPod is a Godsend. We have almost five thousand songs loaded up already. So many things I haven't heard in ages, now brought back to life in a convenient new package. This will also help us get rid of about ten boxes of CDs that we no longer have any use for. Yay! One step closer to organization.
I discovered a podcast called Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips. I adore it, though it regularly reminds me that I know almost nothing about the rules of grammar. (Not really, but it does make me feel a bit ignorant).
This week was musically fabulous. Got to see The Dumps and Baroness upstairs at Tasty World on Thursday, as well as Peelander Z and two other Japanese bands on Friday night. What fun. Still can't wait for Okkervil River at the 40 Watt on October 3rd, and The Hold Steady on the 25th. Yes, Rocktober is going to live up to its name this year, I believe. It's a beautiful thing.
On the reading front, I finished the J.D. Salinger biography, which made me go back and re-visit Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. He really is a weird guy. But I dig his stories. I have just started The Idiot's Guide to the Middle East conflict. I bought it a couple years ago and haven't gotten around to it. It was written before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but what I really want to understand is the history of why everything is so screwed up over there, so I don't mind. I have also torn through about fifteen back issues of The New Yorker that my boss passed on to me, as well as a few copies of The Believer, Esquire, and Vanity Fair. Not a whole lot of book reading, though. Too busy. I did see a new Terry Pratchett on my way through the book store the other day. Guess I'd better go put that on my wish list before I forget.
Man, this is a long post. I'm going to read somebody else's blog and quit blathering now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh Yeah...

I forgot to mention that the reason why I titled that last post the way I did is because despite having some silly shit happen, I ham not in jail, I didn't have to call an ambulance on Saturday the way that K did, after somebody overdosed and nearly died where she works, and unlike my boss, I do not own the place where everything is coming apart at the seams. He also had an incident with his toddler and the Emergency Room in the middle of our plumbing crisis, which really puts my whole "Wah- we don't have internet service at home!" to shame.
In general, things are pretty bloody good. And now that we have an Ipod (that's right- his gift is OUR gift), we are unearthing a whole slew of CDs I haven't heard in ages, and cleaning out a couple hundred that we no longer need. Yay! Organization is good!
Our friend A came over today and helped me take the old air conditioning unit (among a lot of other junk) to the dump. We also rented a steam cleaner for the carpet, and I finally got around to dusting our many (many, many- way too many) knick knacks. I have even gone as far as donating some to Goodwill. We brought a whole trunk load there today, and we have another load to bring tomorrow. I don't know where I got my pack rat tendencies, but I am slowly taming them.
Also, please note: Four dogs shed more than twice as much as two dogs. I don't care what anybody says. I know I'm not good at math, and the girls are half as big (if that) as our boys, but they are little fur factories. It's crazy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Perspective.

Greetings from SEC Conference Hell. We have now survived two home games and I would really like it to be over. Here is a short list of things that have happened since I was last here:

1. Our phone line got cut again.
2. They fixed the phone line and then the internet went out.
3. They told us the internet connection would be fixed in two days.
4. The b.h. had a birthday, and I gave him a super-fly new Ipod. 80 gigs of lusciousness.
5. Three days went by and no internet. They told us that our modem was broken and we would have to order a new one. If we signed a contract with them, they would replace t for free. We signed. They put it in the mail.
6. Went back to see our friend again at the jail. Found out that his car is still in impound, and it costs per day for storage.
7. Went to Guy at Counter Number One (remember him? We like him.) at the jail and found out how to get information on the car.
8. Called the tow guy. Got Friend to sign paper giving me rights to car. Went (with K, thank god) to get car.
9. Paid friend's rent, went to his apartment, got fleas on us.
10. UPS can't find our house. We have to go pick modem up. We do. It doesn't work.
11. First game day. Girl who looks like (very attractive) stripper grinds against guy at the bar around midnight. He looks a little embarrassed, but doesn't complain. I advise him to get home while the getting is good. He laughs and tips me well.
12. We have yet another moth infestation. I still don't want to fog the house, because we have four dogs to think of.
13. Our air conditioner breaks. Daytime temperatures are still averaging in the mid-to-upper nineties.
14. Game day, part two. Mostly uneventful, but for the raw sewage that was coming up through the floor behind the bar. Luckily, I wasn't at work yet.
15. The b.h. spends another two hours on the phone with a computer tech in India, and finally our internet is working.
16. Somebody knocked our mailbox off. I don't know if it was on purpose or not, but it was rather a bummer. I had to go to fucking W@l-Mart tonight, because it was the only place open after it happened. Booooo.

Also of note, we have started watching the Showtime show called Dexter. A serial killer who stalks serial killers. Interesting and well executed (no pun intended). Starring the guy who played the gay brother on Six F33t Under. Love him.
Got to see A.J. for a minute. He was in town for a few days. It was nice to see him, but as always, I didn't really have much time to hang out. Saw the Dictatortots on Thursday night. That was pretty cool. J. Roddy Walston & the Business are playing this Friday night. Really looking forward to that. ANyway, i have lots of other people's blogs to catch up on now. Hopefully I will have the energy and inspiration to write about some of this stuff more in depth.
Oh yes- Happy belated Birthday, Z! Your CD is on the way this week. Promise.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Peaceful.

The girls have settled in nicely. They are very well-mannered and quite the little snugglers. The boys are still not exactly happy, but they seem to be getting used to having guests.
Last night we saw Southern Bitch and Centro-Matic at the bowling alley. It was a fabulous show. It is always difficult for me to go out on a Sunday, but I'm glad I did. Watching them play always makes me want to write.
We went over to A's house beforehand for dinner. He made Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches (mine was cheese fake- made with portabella mushrooms instead)and homemade banana pudding ice cream. It was unbelievable.
Today I slept for most of the day, or dozed on the couch under the dogs watching TV. Dexter just came out on DVD. It's about a serial killer that hunts serial killers. So far I love it.
I guess this is going to be a short and rather boring post. Sorry for that. I just haven't done much today.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

P.S.

I also posted a link today to a blog called The Panopticon. Read that after the Army of Dude. You'll need it.

Doing What We Can.

Yesterday the b.h. and I went to pay rent for our friend who is still in jail. We also picked up his two dogs, who have been cared for by a guy who was nice enough to give a shit despite not being a dog person. They are both small, female beagles. When we got them here I immediately bathed them both. We moved the bed out of the guest bedroom, rolled out a big plastic tarp on the floor, and covered it with an oriental rug that I am not terribly attached to. We got them a new dog bed and a couple of rawhides. We all spent the evening watching TV, and then when we left we put the girls in the guest bedroom by themselves while we went to work. Our boys are not thrilled. It hasn't been easy so far, but we're working on it. The girls are house trained, but they are very small and so have very small bladders, and we often have to leave for six or eight hours at a stretch. So it isn't perfect, but we're trying.

I came across a blog today that I had never seen before. It's called Army of Dude, and I have linked to it over there on your left. You should read it. It is incredibly well written, especially considering the fact that the author is only twenty two. It is a heavy dose of unpleasant reality, but I am reading it because I feel like I owe him and the rest of the people in his position at least that much.

Centro-matic is playing a show at the local bowling alley tonight. We wanted to go see them last night in Macon, but it didn't work out. So we're taking the girls on a field trip to our friend A's house for dinner and a fenced yard, then we're gonna go rock out for awhile. I'm really looking forward to it.

In other news, I am reading a biography of J.D. Salinger. So far I love it. I still haven't gotten the b.h. a birthday present. I have another week or so. Hmm.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back to Jail.

This time I took the b.h. We brought our friend some books. As he is only allowed religious and/or educational material, I took a bag of whatever I thought would pass and let the guy behind the desk decide. It turns out that The D'Oh! of the Simpsons does in fact count as religious. Fabulous. I also brought him Eats, Shoots, & Leaves and a couple books on writing. Turns out he's going to be there another month and a half, so he will have plenty of time to read. He will alsp apparently have quite a bit of company. Twenty five UGA freshmen were arrested for underage drinking between Monday and Wednesday last week, and nine more this Monday. I guess the cops are really trying to show that they're serious this year.
I personally think the whole drinking age thing is ridiculous. When you think about the fact that these kids are old enough, at eighteen, to go to fucking war and we don't trust them with beer? It just seems silly. Not to mention the fact that they are going to drink anyway, and that drinking in a bar downtown is much safer than say, at a frat party, or in some random apartment. I'm not saying this because I want more eighteen-year-old customers, mind you. I actually hate those. They don't know what they want or how to tip and they make a mess and start fights. But at least at a bar there is somebody monitoring their level of intoxication. When i think somebody has had too much, I put a full pint of water in front of them and tell them when they finish it they can have another drink. They never do. I am polite but firm, and manage to disarm even the most ornery frat boys- or at least their friends. That's the other thing. When I can see that somebody is headed for trouble, I locate their friends and tell them to keep an eye on the situation. This can happen on their first round of drinks. Sometimes there are just people (guys, mostly) who I can tell are going to be a problem. They're looking for a fight, or too wound up for one reason or another, and I will bring them down a notch. And I consider it part of my job. It's the same with girls who are obviously drunk and suddenly find an overly friendly guy on them. I ask them if they're okay, if they need a cab, etc. I ask their friends if they know the guy and if he is okay. I don't want somebody leaving my bar and getting date-raped. I'm not saying it never happens. I'm saying that responsible bartenders (there are a lot of us, believe it or not) try to look out for people. This isn't going to happen at somebody's house.
While we're on the subject, I am also pretty frustrated at the current proposed legislation here in town regarding bars. They want door guys to get licensed. They want to fingerprint the guys who get five bucks an hour to check IDs and clean up puke. Why? Because according to our police commissioner, national statistics show that a high percentage of guys who work security in clubs are sex offenders. Well that's very interesting sir, but in this town (and every college town, for that matter) the problem seems a lot worse in the fraternity houses, and I don't see anybody proposing we fingerprint those assholes during Rush Week. I guess that's because those kids' daddies can afford legal counsel? There is no proposed license for waiters or people who work in liquor or convenience stores, by the way, even though those places get busted for serving underage kids about ten times as often.
Anyway, enough of that.
The b.h. made awesome salsa today, using up about half of the cherry tomatoes we've picked in the last two days. It has poured rain - I mean biblical, scary, buckets of rain - for about an hour both yesterday and today. I am of course thrilled, as it is good news for the garden and the drought situation. Some of our neighbors are obviously less thrilled, though. I was driving to the store today and passed a house down the road that had a very large tree lying against it. It didn't look like it had been struck by lightning, either. I think the wind just snapped it like a twig. Yikes. I eyed our two trees a bit fearfully during today's storm after seeing that.
In other news, the Condos From Hell seem to be nearing completion. They now have windows, and obviously air-conditioning, because those windows have been closed every day all day despite the temperature, and there are a lot of people working over there. No landscape or anything yet, but I will be surprised if we don't have new neighbors by October. I'll try to post some pictures soon. They're really just stupid looking. I mean, there's nothing wrong with them structurally, but they are selling for half a million dollars, and that is just ridiculous. At that price, in this area, they are basically the equivalent of a big nut house. Can't wait to see who moves in.
Okay, Ian McShane awaits. I'm off.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fat and Sassy.

I just finished eating a broiled peach with goat cheese, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Man I'm glad the b.h. likes to cook. We also made a fruit salad with mint leaves and vanilla. For dinner we had home fries and some kind of egg and broccoli and other stuff mix. It was great, but honestly the peach just blew me away. I may be ruined for regular food forever.
Today I finally caught up on the laundry- all of it, which is no small feat. I also vacuumed (that never looks like a real word to me, I do not know why) upstairs, and put together three bags of stuff for a goodwill dropoff. Waited until after the sun went down to go out and water the veggies. Picked a whole bunch, too. We're going to have to make some salsa or something this week, because we can't possibly eat all of our tomatoes. Unfortunately something wormy is getting to the cucumbers before I can, so we haven't had any of those this week. I'm working on that, though.
Slept for more than eight hours two days in a row. I feel much better. The weekend took a lot out of me. Tomorrow it's back to the grind. Tonight though, it's Twin Peaks (we're re-watching season one) and Boston Legal.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gardening At Night.

Or at least at dusk. It's the best I have been able to do. Every week I check the weather forecast - usually the ten-day - and every week it says that it will rain in the coming week. I can't remember the last time it actually did, though I think it's been more than two months. Today it is 91 degrees outside. That's ten degrees better than it has been for a week. My tomatoes don't seem enthused. The peppers are doing pretty well, though.Here's a photo of the biggest pepper I have ever grown:



You'd be surprised how difficult it is to photograph a vegetable close up. Or maybe you wouldn't. I certainly was. Anyway, you can at least get an idea of the size and color of this lovely. The b.h. is having it stuffed- er, stuffing it, that tis. With rice and cheese and such. I can't wait.

Here are a couple more veg photos:



The small yellow pear-shaped tomatoes are fantastic. I forgot what they are called, because of the labeling debacle during my seed starting phase, but I'm sure i still have some seeds, so I will continue to grow them next season. The small purple peppers in the bottom left corner are actually purple cayennes, and they are quite tasty and hot. The moles nedd roasting before they have much flavor.



I should have taken one of the Armenian cucumber that was literally as long as my leg. I failed to capture it on film, but use your imagination. I am about five and a half feet tall. It was ridiculous. And now it is pickled, and very tasty.

Here are a couple shots of this year's mantis model:



He sprang out of nowhere to get a drink just as soon as I watered the other evening. He seemed a bit annoyed but undeterred by my presence.



If only I could keep a hundred of these guys around. We start with a bunch every year, but we only seem to keep one. And about a thousand grasshoppers per square yard. They suck. I am really happy that I decided to put in a real garden (as opposed to a container garden) this year because the weather has been hell and the container plants are not well. Turns out it was worth all the work after all. This week I will be visiting Jamie and going over seed catalogs for next year. I can't wait.