Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to the Grind.

So I hope everyone had a good holiday. I worked something like seventy-five hours in the nine days between Savannah and our annual trek to Chicago for Christmas, so I didn't really have time to blog much.
The week at home was relaxing, mostly, full of food and naps and reading and crosswords. There was a lot of driving, and visits with relatives that I only see once a year, and too little time with the people I really wanted to see. I learned a new term for people like the b.h. and me. DINKWAD: Dual Income No Kids With A Dog. I love it. And come to think of it, many of my best friends are DINKWADs. I will wear it like a badge of honor.
I spent a lot of time picking out beer to bring back for my boss and co-workers, which was fun because I got the satisfaction of shopping with abandon and I didn't have to pay for it. I introduced my dad to the joy of high-gravity beer, which was cool. It's nice to have somebody to split them with because you get to try more varieties.
I am happy to be back, though. And right away I had a blog-worthy customer experience. I wasn't even supposed to work on Monday, but when I stopped by to drop off the beer they were kind of in the weeds so I decided to stay. Just after the wine buyer left, and older woman came in.
"Where's my little girl with the black shoes?" was her response when I asked her if I could help her find anything.
"She's just left for the day, but I'm her assistant. What can I help you with?"
"I want some chardonnay. I usually drink the yellow kind, but I want a better one."
"The yellow kind?"
"Yes. I can't remember what it's called. The big one."

I walked her down the grocery wine aisle and she pointed to the Alic3 Wh1te Chardonnay.

"I usually drink this, but I want something better."
"Okay. Are you interested in a smaller bottle? Something more dry? More oaky? Less oaky? Do you want to try something from a different region?"
"I don't know. I just want it to be better."
"Okay. How much do you want to spend?"
Silence. Confusion.
"Can you give me a rough estimate of your price range? It doesn't matter what it is, I just need a ballpark figure."
More silence.
"Okay- how about this?" I finally venture, heading toward a bottle of La V1elle F3rme, a French Table wine. "It costs a couple dollars more than the Alice, but it's drier. More of a European style."
"Well I don't know."

I can't remember the rest of the mind-numbing exchange. I'm fairly certain that my brain has shoved it in a box in a corner with my various car accidents and other traumatic experiences, but suffice to say that she left with the big bottle of french stuff.
Half an hour later, I was heading to the loo when I saw the woman in the parking lot. She had gotten out of her car, with the bottle in one hand and a corkscrew in the other, and she was talking to another customer who had just left. I heard her mutter something along the lines of "For Pete's sake," or something to that effect. I noticed, after she turned away from the other woman and toward me, that there were several holes in the metal screw top on the bottle.
"You didn't tell me it was a screw top," she blurted accusingly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Savannah, Part Three.

On Monday we ate breakfast at Clary's. I had The Elvis (French toast with peanut butter and bananas) and a fried egg. I barely ate half of the French toast, but the others were more than happy to help out. After we ate we went out to Tybee Island to see Fort Pulaski, still mostly intact despite the Civil War (or the "War of Northern Aggression", depending on where you stand). We stayed for the Musket firing demonstration, in which a young lady in a Union uniform showed off her skills. I asked her afterward if she had pissed somebody off, gesturing to her blue uniform, and was told that they only wear Confederate gray on Sundays. Ah. Anyway, the fort was neat, the weather was nice but windy, and a good time was had by all. Net we dropped my bro-in-law back at the hotel to do more work and went to the Telfair Museum, where I was able to snap just one photo (sans flash, of course) before being politely asked not to continue by the security guard. I apologized profusely and put my camera away. Until he left, and I saw an enormous painting that was just so indescribable in it's scale that I walked all the way across the room and took a picture of the b.h. standing near it so you can see just how fucking huge it is. I did not get caught, and I have no regrets. I am such a rebel.
That night we had dinner at the Moon River Brewery. The beer was fantastic. I tried the Sweet Potato Ale, which was just too sweet for me, so I gave it to my b.i.l. He enjoyed it immensely and ordered another. In the over twenty years that I have known him, this is the most I have ever seen him drink.
I ordered myself a porter, which I ate with some glorious onion rings and goat cheese and leek cakes, which also came with a side of lentils. Yum. I had no room for dessert, but since we went back to Clary's again for breakfast on our way out of town it was no biggie. I had yet another order of French toast, this one with cream cheese and cherries. We drove my sister and b.i.l to the airport, returned to the hotel and went back to bed. The bed was giant and loaded with pillows and covered in 600 thread-count sheets, so we had a difficult time leaving.
On the way out of town, we went back to the Sentient Bean for coffee and swung by a market we had ventured into on the first day for a large bag of pink lady apples. I have no idea where these little jewels have been all my life, but dear god I am glad I found them. They are so brightly colored as to appear almost fake, and impossibly crunchy and sweet/tart, which is exactly what I want in an apple. They were seriously a highlight of the trip.
We took the long cut home and arrived just after the sun went down. As we were pulling into town, the big story on NPR news was the arrest of the Illinois Governor on corruption charges. A perfect end to a perfect trip. I can't wait to go back.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Savannah, Part Two.

We woke up earlyish on Saturday (we do that now) and went to brunch at a place I can't remember the name of. The building was beautiful, and the inside was all bare brick walls and exposed ductwork. Each table was set with a white cloth and a bottle of Beaujolais Nuevo, which I thought was a really nice touch, but which I didn't feel compelled to drink at ten in the morning. We had a warm brie and blueberry sauce appetizer with fresh baked bread. It was amazing. The waitress dumped a small pitcher (very small, like a shot glass) of cream on my brother-in-law, who barely blinked and brushed it off with his napkin. She was mortified, and scrambled to clean it up while apologizing profusely and muttering about how we were only her second table, but eventually realized that we were not the sort of people who really give a crap about that sort of thing.
When we left the restaurant, we stepped out into the city market, a sort of plaza with shops and whatnot. There was an art gallery across the way with a very large modern painting of The Dude from The Big Lebowski hanging out front. It was awesome and were I a wealthy woman it would be hanging over my mantle right now. Alas, I had to leave it behind.
The whole town was decorated for Christmas, and in the center of this plaza was a small Christmas tree. There was a little girl of about three or four, with long blonde hair in pigtails and very thick glasses, setting her doll at the foot of the tree. She then backed up a few feet to where her mother was crouched, camera in hand, and proceeded to take a picture of the doll. It was so bloody cute. My sister took a picture, but I had left my camera back at the hotel.
We dropped my brother-in-law J back at the hotel to do some work ("vacation" is a relative term in his business) and drove out to Boneventure Cemetery.
I have to admit that cemetery as tourist destination is a bit weird to me, but at the same time I think that if I were to be buried at all I might like to be in a place that people actually come for enjoyment, rather than grieving. The weather was perfect and we spent probably an hour or so walking around and taking pictures.
After that we stopped for coffee at The Sentient Bean, my new favorite progressive lesbian organic vegan coffee shop. They had a blueberry lemon poppyseed bread that would make you slap your mother. Also, the coffee was great. You might think that a given in a coffee shop, but if you've spent any time in Knoxville, Tennessee, you might have discovered otherwise.
We went back to the hotel and had a beer and then found a cool looking Moroccan restaurant for dinner. It was close enough to walk to (as was almost everything in Savannah), so we did. Our waitress was an art student from Wisconsin. She was very helpful in explaining all of the Moroccan customs to us, not that it would have mattered if we looked stupid, because we were the only patrons in the whole place. Anyway, she came around with a pot of warm water with orange and lemon squeezed in it to wash our hands before we ate. Moroccan tradition is to eat with your right hand rather than utensils. We loved it. At some point during the meal, the not terribly agreeable music was turned up a little louder and a belly dancer appeared. She danced a couple of songs, and just when she tried to get my sister and me up to dance with her, our food magically arrived. I had a vegetable tagine and a glass of wine. The food was terrific and the wine was so bad I didn't even finish the glass. We all shared a coconut pastry thing for dessert. It was almost too much. Almost.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ahhhh...

Just got back from a short vacation to Savannah with the b.h. We met my sister and her husband down there on Saturday. It was lovely. I am relaxed and stuffed, and very nearly fully restored, though I don't expect any of those feelings will last. I took a ton of pictures, which I hope to get around to posting soon. For now I am on the couch with a beer and the laptop and I've no intention of getting up except to go to bed. Tomorrow I will work a double, then Thursday night I work at the Local Liquor Store, Then another double on Friday, then the LLS again on Saturday night. But I don't mind. It was well worth it to get out of town for a minute.
Our room was on the third floor of the Hyatt, overlooking the river on one side and River Street on another. I took a million pictures of the giant cargo ships passing by. I hope some of them turn out.
The b.h. and I both tried to get Saturday off so we could get and early start, but he couldn't, and since he had to go to work I decided I would too. That was perhaps not my best decision. I did get a lot of work done, though, and still had time to get some laundry done and straighten up for J, who was once again dog/house sitting.
So we got a late start, but we made good time, and we got to the hotel around nine pm. I always have a hard time valet parking our car, because it is twelve (almost thirteen now) years old and dented and full of dog hair and has a cracked windshield and it just feels ridiculous, but it is obligatory at the Hy@tt in Savannah, so we sucked it up. We had quite a bit of junk even though we were only staying a couple of days, and the b.h. and I were struggling to carry it all when we got to the revolving door at the front entrance to the hotel. There was a very drunk woman already in the revolving door, going round and round quickly and merrily, oblivious to our struggles. When her husband finally jerked her out of it, the b.h. and I both balked and then both ducked in at the same time. Into the same section. Loaded down with bags. It took a moment, but we somehow managed to get the thing 'round to the lobby side, and we spilled out and stumbled to the front desk to get our room keys.
Once upstairs, we dumped our bags on the various flat surfaces in our room, and I knocked on my sister's door (their room was next to ours). They stepped through the middle door into our room and I poured a Stone Russian Imperial Stout for her and I to share (neither of our men drink). After we finished that and remarked about how cool the view was, we set out to find food. Unfortunately we went straight down River Street, which was full of crappy bars and crappy bar food, but settled on a decent gyro (and free baklava!) before returning to the hotel. We had another beer and went to bed early.
More later. The b.h. just turned on our new copy of Batman (The Dark Knight), which J left for us as a gift for - for letting us watch our dogs(?) Best. Dog-sitter. Ever.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The End?

"We got him," announced the b.h., right after I got out of bed. There was another - possibly the last - rat in the trap. He disposed of the corpse and we went on about our day. It was very quiet, not only all day, but all evening. No dishes banging in the middle of the night, no scurrying sounds coming from the walls or ceiling. Cross your fingers, kids. It may be over (for now).
It's been raining for a couple days now, which is fine with me, because we need it badly. Plus, rain is a good excuse not to mow the lawn, or gather firewood, or do much of anything, really. I will try to squeeze in a walk for the boys at some point, but other than that I plan to loaf and read and drink tea to my heart's content. Still reading Midnight..., plus I have an unopened Vanity Fair and TWO copies of The Believer. Also, the b.h.'s mom loaned me a copy of a book called Julie and Julia that I can't wait to tear into. So it might b e a few days before you hear from me again.

Also, I added some photos to the Nashville post, for anyone who might be interested.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Beat Goes On.

Sunday we slept in. We did a bit of housework when we got up, but mostly we relaxed and spoiled the dogs. On Monday we both worked, then the b.h. had band practice that evening, after which we went to see the new James Bond movie, which we both enjoyed thoroughly. A Bond girl that can actually act (as well as kick some ass), character development, and many, many action sequences. Everything I want in a Bond movie. Can't wait for the DVD so I can watch the fight scenes in slo-mo.
Tuesday I worked in the afternoon, then swung by the house, then raced downtown for the R.E.M. tribute show. It was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Murmur. 25 years. Wow. Makes me feel a little old, honestly. Anyway, I missed Jackpot City (or whatever they were called that night) and Liz Durett, but I got to see Iron Hero and Don Chambers + Goat, so I was happy. Also, we got home earlyish, which is unfortunately a big deal to me now. (Again with the old).
Wednesday I took the b.h. to work in the morning and came home to nap. Then I got up and got dressed for work, and as I was on my way out the door, I noticed a furry lump on top of my English cabinet in the kitchen. I guess he though he was hiding, but it wasn't working. I got a box and put it next to the cabinet on the floor, with the intention of knocking him into it. Next I got a very log roll of aluminum foil in a box, and climbed onto a step to prod him off the top of the cabinet from the other side. I pushed him as hard as I thout I needed to, but he didn't budge. I wondered if he was stuck. I didn't want to rip his legs off, so I donned the rubber gloves again and reached up to grab him. He ran to the other side, out of my reach. By this time, the dogs were both very interested in what was going on, and I was nearly late for work. I went back to the aluminum foil box, and this time when I pushed him he ran down the back of the cabinet, out of my reach, and scurried under it. I pulled the cabinet out, closing off one side with the box and posting Kilgore on guard on the other. He wouldn't come out. Even after I had the whole cabinet perpendicular to the wall and was on my knees trying to pry him out with a broom, he wouldn't budge. After about five minutes of this, he bolted out between the box and the cabinet and scurried under the fridge. Bastard. I got up, brushed off my pants, and went to work, promising a steak to whichever dog managed to kill that rat before I got home.
I worked eleven hours at the Local Liquor Store. It was ridiculous. We sold ten thousand dollars worth of wine. Ten. Thousand. Dollars. That's a lot of wine. R and I were running around helping customers and just trying to keep product on the shelves. It was hectic, but it felt good to be busy.
Thursday was Turkey day with the b.h.'s folks, low key and delicious. Friday I worked in the morning, then Friday night we sat on the couch and watched movies and read. That new Narnia movie is beautiful to look at but inexplicably boring. It has been years since I read the books, but I swear they were about something. I know there were plots in them, so i can only assume that whoever adapted the screenplay just made it up themselves. I don't know.
Now I'm re-reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in preparation for our trip to Savannah next weekend. I know we sound very jet-setty these days, but it isn't quite as it sounds. We're still wage slaves, but my sister and brother-in-law are generously putting us up in a lovely hotel where they will also be staying for a few days. I haven't been to Savannah in ages and I can't wait.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rock, A Road Trip, and The (Rat) War Continues.






So after that last incident, the b.h. and I hatted up, kissed the dogs good-bye, and headed north to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We had had the pleasure of seeing both Centro-matic and South San Gabriel on Friday night at The 40 Watt, and were eager to repeat the experience. Even though South San wouldn't be playing, Glossary was, and we were happy to make the drive. J was watching the boys, the rats had been wrangled, we had an Ipod full of fresh podcasts, a half a cup of coffee, it was dark out, and we were wearing sunglasses. (Not really, but I noticed that I was halfway to a Blues Brothers quote and I couldn't stop myself. If you don't get the reference, I recommend watching that movie ASAP).
Anyway, I was exhausted, having worked late and then early and then late and then early and then wrestling a candied rat and jumping behind the wheel, but I was eager for adventure. We found our way to the club without incident, despite neither of us having ever set foot in Murfreesboro before. It was on the square, which we both immediately thought bore an uncanny resemblance to Denton, Texas (the home base of Centro-matic).
The club was full of scary frat-boy types and loud drunk women with too much makeup. The upstairs room, where the rock would happen, was mostly empty but for a few bearded hipsters. The guys were nowhere to be found. We decided to go in search of food. The only restaurants open were chains and fast food joints, so we decided to wait until after the show. In the meantime, we went in search of a liquor store.
Whenever we leave the state, it is a requirement that my fellow beer geeks and I return with hoppy spoils that can't be found in the great State of Georgia. Reasons for this lack of availability vary, but in a way I enjoy the idea that there is still a market for regional products. When I was a kid I remember going into gas stations in other states and seeing unfamiliar sodas and potato chip bags. What seemed at the time so exotic to me is now just a reminder of what we have lost. I hope that local beers continue to stay local in some places, because there is a special feeling when I can call my friend S on the phone and say, "They have Dogfish Head 120 minute IPAs. How many do you want?", and get an excited reply like I got Saturday night.
"Holy shit dude. Those are oak aged. That's the best beer in America right now. Buy it all. As much of it as they have. I'll pay you back and give you some."
They had nineteen bottles, which was good, because at $8.99 for twelve ounces, I couldn't have afforded much more. We also picked up some Double Chocolate Stout from the Fort Collins Brewery in Colorado, and a Unibrou 16th Anniversary ale, but everything else that they had is available in our store.
S gave me a double chocolate stout(22oz. of unbelievable deliciousness) and two Dogfishheads for my trouble. Bless that man.
We got back to the bar and killed some time chatting with the guys, and then watched a really great rock show. Chris from the Baptist Generals opened. I like the way he sings. His songs are weird and depressing in a good way. After that Cento-matic rocked a near Greatest Hits set. I decided that "Love You Just the Same" is my current theme song about America.
Hey, you should see us now
Things have really changed.
Reinvent ourselves
Love you just the same.

Will actually mentioned the election and ensuing sense of relief at the Athens show, but wisely kept mum on the subject in Tennessee (they don't know the crowd very well there). Anyway, the show was fabulous, and Glossary was also fabulous, and we had an excellent time. Afterward the b.h. and I stopped to eat at a Waffle House. It was better than our Waffle House at the end of the Universe experience in Asheville. We passed out promptly, and did not awaken until the knocking of the maid at ten after eleven in the am. We got coffee and a snack for breakfast and headed north to Nashville.
Little did we know that there was a professional football game happening right in the middle of downtown, or that the Titans are 10 and 0. Living in a college town has caused me to forget completely about Sunday football. We had a bit of trouble parking, but once we did we walked around and had a relatively pleasant time.

I found this statue in front of the Symphony Hall particularly captivating:



The b.h. had never been, so I wanted to hit some of the tourist spots, but neither of us was really up for the crowds and Hatch Show Print was closed, so we headed back to the car after a bit and drove toward Vanderbilt to find food.

We were tempted to take a carriage ride with this guy, but decided to spend our money on food instead.






These pis were taken out the car window while we were driving down Broadway. Sometimes i like extremely candid shots best.






This building was so stunning that I actually had to pull over and get a better look. It being the Customs House and all, I am surprised I wasn't questioned over my enthusiastic photography.







I had never thought of Nashville in terms of architecture before, but I am very impressed. Now I feel like I might be taking extra time there whenever we pass through.
We wound up at a fantastic Indian restaurant, where we stuffed ourselves crippled at the buffet, and then headed home.
When we got back I called J to thank him and he informed me that we were not, in fact, through with the rat problem. Crap.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, Rats.

Many, many rats. Not mice. So we have, as readers of this blog may remember, had some rodent problems in the past. Recently (like a couple months ago) we started having them again, and then we plugged some holes in the house and set a few traps and we thought we were done. Then the scurrying in the walls started back up, then we started setting a trap again nightly, and in the past couple of weeks we have bagged about five or so. The b.h. has been good enough to dispose of the bodies, citing my vegetarianism as a reason why I should be exempt from the task. I chose not to argue.
Then, on Saturday, we both came home from work and were running around trying to get packed for a road trip to Murfreesboro. Our friend J was going to be coming over to dog and house sit, and we wanted to straighten up. The b.h. had forgotten to put up the trap, which was fine because it went off before we left, and he (rather than J) was able to deal with the corpse. As he was doing this, he heard a sound in the kitchen.
"There's a rat in the white thing," he said, referring to an English cabinet that we keep various food items and plastic wrap in.
"Okay, I'll deal with it."
"What are you going to do?"
I don't know. I guess I'll just try to trap him in a box or something and take him outside."
I peered into the cabinet. The section that the rat was in was the top portion, one that has two sliding panes of glass with two shelves inside. The rat appeared to be hiding behind a box of tea. He was very small, but I could see him clearly, and i wondered why he wasn't already gone since he could obviously see me. He was sitting in what appeared to be a pool of his own urine. It looked gross- really, really gross. And then I realized that it also looked voluminous. He couldn't have been there that long, I reasoned. We had been at work all day, but it's not like he would just stay in one place, right?
Then I noticed the honey bear. Perched on the second shelf, his right foot had been chewed through. There was only just a bit of honey left in the bottom, the rest having run out all down the top shelf and onto the bottom one. The bottom one where the rat was sitting, stuck in a quarter inch of honey.
Poor thing. I can imagine his thoughts as he broke through the plastic foot of the honey bear.
"Man, this is great! This is my best score yet! This shit is- oh motherfuck."
So I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and a grocery bag and went to work. It was difficult to tell when I had my hands on him, since the gloves are for yard work and are quite thick. I had to be careful not to squish him but also not to free him to run back into the walls. Once I managed to get him (plus about a tablespoon or two of honey) into the grocery bag, I walked him out to the yard. I went around the pond and to the other side of the driveway before squatting down and peeling him out of the plastic bag. It took me several minutes. He was not happy. In addition to having to peel the bag off of him, I had to free his little arms, which were stuck to his body at an awkward angle. Once I managed that, I help my (gloved) hand open for about ten seconds before he dropped into the brush at my feet and ran off. He went about fifteen or twenty feet before disappearing completely from my view, in which time he was sufficiently camouflaged by bits of leaves and twigs, not unlike a soldier with jungle growth strapped to his helmet in a war movie. Somehow I don't think it will be enough to protect him (the b.h. pointed out that he was now simply candy-coated for the nearest stray cat), but at least his blood won't be on my hands.
Today we came home from work to find another one, roughly the same size, dead in the middle of the rug in the living room. The dogs had obviously caught it and played with it until it died and then got bored and left it there. After he cleaned it up, the b.h. went to shower before band practice. A moment later he came flying out of the bathroom in his boxer shorts.
"That was definitely not the last rat. There's one sitting on top of the toilet tank in there."
Since it was alive it was my job. I went in and trapped it in a cardboard box and walked it out ti the yard, freeing it where I had left its brother on Saturday. Was that the last one? Alas, I see Kilgore running back and forth to either end of the bookcase, so I guess not.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Food, Fire, and Beer.

A perfect recipe for Sunday. The b.h. is in the kitchen making Welsh rarebit, and I have built the fire and cued up a DVD. I will be enjoying a Victory Storm King Stout with my meal, courtesy of my co-worker M, who bought me the sixpack to thank me for giving him a pair of jeans and an old Carhart jacket just in time for our weather to dip into the thirties.
I slept in yesterday after a very long week. It felt great. Woke up around ten-thirty and had coffee and read while the b.h. made some breakfast. We walked the dogs before I had to go to work and he to Birmingham to play a show.
Work was busy but mostly uneventful, and though I was working with my least favorite co-worker, she is just back from a three week holiday so was much less moody and more pleasant to be around than usual.
Afterward we sat around and had a beer and then I came home and finished up a giant piece of veggie lasagna that I had leftover (Depalmas - Lauren is really the shit), drank another beer and answered an e-mail from my sister.
Today I slept in again, this time even longer (I know, but I worked eight shifts this week so I feel entitled to some serious loafing), put some cardamom in my coffee, and took the dogs to Ben Burt0n Park. Kilgore spent the bulk of his time in the river, despite the presence of five or six other dogs that would have been happy to play with him. He loves to swim, and will chase sticks for hours if I let him, but he never actually brings them back to me so the game usually ends when the stick supply runs out. Wyatt spent his time sniffing around the other dogs and waiting by the water's edge for his brother to emerge so he could attack him.
We spent some time hiking in the woods, then I packed them back in the car and took them to the pet store to bathe them.
I usually bathe them at home, but we don't have a bathtub, only a shower stall, and with Wyatt being as low as he is the the ground, it is difficult to get him fully clean. My crazy co-worker from the ISA told me that a pet store in town has an actual dog washing station, so I decided to give it a try.
Since they were both wet and filthy, I went in without the boys first, to see what the deal was.
The deal was that it would cost me thirteen bucks for both of them, but they were closing the dogwash in half an hour.
"Is that going to be enough time?" the cashier asked me.
"God I hope so. If it takes me longer than that, then I'm obviously doing something wrong."

I paid up and went back to fetch the boys from the car. The room with the dogwashing station has two large sinks, each of which has a ramp you put in front of them so your dog can walk up. Then, in theory, they walk through a sort of chute and into the sink, you close the chute behind them, and commence to bathing. The sink, however, has a grate on the bottom, which some dogs don't particularly like the feel of. Even Kilgore, who is normally quite well behaved and doesn't mind a bath at all, gave me a hard time. I had to leave his collar on and hold him in the sink while I turned on the faucets and adjusted the water temperature. Even when I got the water warm and started to hose him down, he wiggled and squirmed and tried to jump over the side, so I had to wash him with one hand while I held his collar with the other. I also had to body block him the whole time, so water was running all over me and the floor. In the meantime, Wyatt was still on the floor, alternately sniffing around the dirty towel bin and scratching at the door to get out.
I finished up with KG and let hime down, and he ran circles around the tiny room on the wet floor, whining loudly while I hoisted Wyatt's wide ass up into the sink. (I had tried to get him to go up the ramp on his own, but after witnessing what his brother went through he was having none of it. Funny thing is, the whole point in taking them to the pet store to bathe them was that bathing them at home hurts my back.)
Since he is much shorter, I had less trouble keeping Wyatt in the sink, but because the grate scared him and he was shaking the whole time, I got even wetter from his bath while trying in vain to comfort him. When he was done I put him back on the floor and proceeded to chase both of them around the room with a shop vac on reverse that served as a blow dryer. They were having none of it. Kilgore likes to be towelled off, so I was able to get him at least partly dry, but Wyatt was by this time freaking out and clawing at the door.
Did I mention that this room, which is probably about ten by ten feet, also has a large window that opens out into the store? Yep, that's right. So my sweating, cursing, and sliding all over the floor chasing the boys with towels and a dryer was witnessed by all of the other shoppers. It was fantastic. When I was finally able to leash them both again, they pranced happily through the store, clean and fluffy and happy to be done, while I followed, bedraggled and freezing, out into the fifty degree afternoon. Fortunately, I was wearing a black shirt. I seriously doubt that I will be repeating that adventure.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Last Night We Partied Like It Was 1992.

A newly elected Democratic President and Matthew Sweet. What more could a girl ask for? Well okay then, how about two consecutive days off?
It was frustrating that every person that came up to me at the show started off with a remark about how fat Matthew Sweet has gotten. Masters of the obvious, they were. I mean, yeah, he's chunked out a bit, but so what? He sounds great, and all of us old folks (the b.h. and I both remarked that this was the first show this year where we remember feeling young in comparison to the rest of the crowd) finally had an excuse to get out, so everybody wins, right? The band that opened was called The Bridges. I had seen them before at Tasty World. Young and beautiful and very talented. We didn't see them play this time, but I remember their music being accessible enough and thinking that they were probably going to be huge. They have done several shows on this tour with Matthew Sweet, and he produced their record, so he called them up on stage to join him for a couple songs. Four young ladies (and one guy, but he was mostly in the background), all beautiful, as I said, and all wearing tight clothes and bouncing around happily. I have never seen a drummer so happy in my life. (The drummer, incidentally, resembled Floyd from The Muppets.)
We went out late and came home as soon as the show was over, and lit the fire and started to watch Kung Fu Panda. We both fell asleep before it was over, not because the movie wasn't great (it was hilarious- I can't recommend it enough), but because we are considerably older than we were in 1992, and because our couch seems to have some sort of sleep-inducing drug leaking from the cushions (further evidence of this phenomenon is the fact that I am currently flanked by two snoozing dogs).
Tonight the b.h. is going over to a friends house to participate in a manly night of playing poker and eating lots of meat. I am going to Earthf@re to buy some toothpaste and conditioner, and then to watch Matt's band play at Kingpins.
Tomorrow it's back to the grind, but for now I will get another cup of coffee and dig into my next book. Just finished Elmore Leonard's Killshot, which was okay, but not anything near Get Shorty. Still plowing through David Foster Wallace's Oblivion, but I can only handle that in small bites due to it's linguistic depth and generally bleak feel (at least so far). It's another book that makes me feel, at times, like I am reading the inside of my own head spilled on the page. So yeah- baby steps. Now I've just picked up Dishwasher, a book by a guy named Pete Jordan, purchased for the b.h. by a friend (and fellow former dishwasher). He rarely reads fiction, so I feel okay jumping ahead of him in line.
The best thing about choosing laundry as a chore is that there's all kinds of down time, but you still wind up with a sense of accomplishment (and a pile of clean clothes) at the end of the day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Stuff.

Okay, it is after one in the morning and I have worked a fifteen plus hour day, and this is frustrating. I am, of course, thrilled by the outcome of the election, drunk on the idea that we will once again have a leader who can not only pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly, but give an entire speech without sounding like a total doofus. I feel great, I feel inspired, and unfortunately, I feel pretty damned tired. I have been burning the proverbial candle at both ends for a few months now, and both my writing and my general sense of well being are suffering immensely(Oh yeah- reading, too). I have had some funny things to say, some weird and annoying and bizarre experiences with co-workers and friends and customers that I simply do not have the time and ebergy to share. I am really trying to fix that. Hopefully in a couple weeks I will be back on top of my game. For now, I will just try to pass on a few nuggets.

1) My co-worker at the Local Liquor Store, whom I will refer to as Stan, is slowly driving me insane. He is one of those people who argues for the sake of arguing. He is a nice enough person, mind you, but he always, ALWAYS talks with his mouth full (and he eats all the time, so it goes on all night), he is forever responding first with "WHAT?!" whenever I need something from him, no matter how close I am standing to him, but somehow manages to insert himself in every conversation I have with anyone else from across the whole store. He is, to put it mildly, a person who might could use a bit of -er, counseling. My friend Matt might say he belongs in a "nervous hospital." And tonight I discovered that he actually carries not one, but two- TWO, dos, deaux, a duece- guns while at work. When I knew he had one, I was comforted. After all, we are a liquor store, we are open late, and we do have cash in there. It seems reasonable. But TWO?! Really?

Also, there is a woman at the Importer of Smoking Accoutrements who I am likely to flip out on if I don't reduce my hours soon. At least one of you knows her. She, like Stan, is a nice enough person, but seriously. She talks to her dog, repeating the same phrases over and over and then answering for the dog in a baby voice, for the first two hours of my day, every day. I'm starting to think about borrowing one of Stan's guns.

Additionally, not that I am scarred for life from my Big Box Corporate Job experience or anything, but I went in to buy some rat traps at the Big Stupid Box Store last week, and I came around a corner and saw my old buddy Grandma, and I literally jumped. And then I ducked behind a row of power tools. And then I laughed out loud at myself at a volume that made other employees and customers alike stare at me. But I didn't come out until I was sure she was gone.

How's everybody else doing? I am keeping up with reading your blogs, even if I haven't been commenting much. It's really the only thing keeping me sane, so thanks for that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Athens does that "Small World" thing to me Again.

So I'm at the Local Liquor Store, and I am assisting a customer with beer choices. He is a regular customer who comes in once a month or so and stocks up on different beers, tasting and taking notes as he goes. He looks to employees for recommendations, and since W, the beer guru, was not working, I was lucky enough to be able to help him choose. We strolled the beer cooler, I gave him some Arrogant Bastard and a Young's Double Chocolate Stout and a few random singles, and we got to talking about our respective cases of Anglophilia. He asked if I had ever been, and as we walked up to the front counter with his four six packs, I replied that I hadn't, and that I was afraid if I ever went I might never want to return.
"I do have a blogger friend there, though we have yet to meet in person," I explained, wondering if that sounded weird.
"Where?" he asked, not missing a beat(I guess it didn't).
"She lives in Bungay"
"Where is that?"
"Not entirely sure, but I get the idea that it's about a hundred miles North of London," I answered, suddenly wondering why in hell I had never looked on a map.

A woman who looked to be about sixty, standing in line in a Georgia Bulldog Cheerleader outfit (not that weird on game day, I'm afraid) suddenly piped up:
"Bungay England?"
"Yes."
"I thought that's what you must be talking about. We have friends that live in Bungay England. It's about a hundred miles Northeast of London."

Of course she does. Because that's how it is here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mmmm... Beer.

A buddy of mine brought back some beer from Asheville last weekend. Due to weird distribution laws and simple low production, there are a lot of craft brews we can't get here in Georgia. But for all you hop heads in the rest of the country, here are some suggestions:

This one is from Founder's Brewery. The label is creepy and reminds me, for some reason. of Jonathan Srange & Mr. Norell. I got it on a recommendation from one of my bosses at the Local Liquor Store. It is hoppy and delicious.




This one is from the Green Flash Brewing Company. I can't quite remember the name of the other beer I tried from them and unfortunately it went out with the recycling bin before I remembered to take a photo. Something red. Again, though, this is hoppy and lovely. I'm fairly certain that they use cascade hops, which are by far my favorite. Get some if you can.

Halloween Torture.
















Friday, October 31, 2008

Customer of the NIght #889: Fiesty Old Broad.

She was wearing a black velvet top hat (the kind that's scrunched down a little), with a cool coat and wire-rim glasses. She looked like she probably had at least a couple of cats. She was smiling and waiting patiently in line, and when she finally got to the counter, she set down a bottle of pre-mixed Bellinis, a bottle of bubbly, and some kind of fruity something.
"This looks like a fun night waiting to happen," I say, grinning encouragingly.
"These ladies I'm drinking with, they're such pussies," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "This is for them. I'll be drinking my single malt. They've just never acquired a taste."
"Well, good for you. I guess they're a cheap date, huh? And no wasting the good stuff."

She laughed and I laughed and she waved on her way out the door. I suddenly wanted desperately to go with her.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Customer of the Night # 651: The Shrieking Bitch.

This one's from a couple weeks back, actually, but I just found a note in some pants while I was doing laundry and I thought I'd go ahead and blog it.

I was working with W. It was a slow, slow Wednesday night, the kind that calls to mind the movie Clerks, and I start looking up random shit on the internet only after I have already cleaned every possible thing behind the counter.

So this girl comes in, obviously drunk, looking like a low-rent Par1s H1lton in a pink sweatsuit jacket and too much eye makeup. She is over-friendly and chatty and obviously stupid in addition to being half in the bag, and when she comes up she hands me a credit card with a guy's name on it.
I check her ID and tell her that I can't take the credit card.
"Why not?" she asked, still maintaining a sweet and innocent vibe. "It's my fiance's."
"Well, I have no way of knowing that, now do I?"
""So what do you need? A marriage license?"
"No, I need him. With an ID."
"He's out in the car, but he doesn't have an ID. He only has a military ID because he got a DUI."
"A military ID is fine."
"But we're MARRIED." Now she starts to whine. "I'm just having such a bad day." Faking breaking down in tears, she drops her head and goes outside. She returns moments later, after a loud and obviously heated exchange in the parking lot. Now she's pissed. A minute later a guy walks in. He is obviously drunk and likely underage. He mumbles something about not having his military ID, and she flips out.
"Where did you put it?!" Then, looking back at me, "This is bullshit anyway. I'm taking my business somewhere else." She slams her bottle of vodka on the counter in front of me and stalks to the door. "Fuck this place!!"
Smiling at a customer who is approaching the counter, I turn and wave.
"Have a nice fucking night!"
We watch as they weave drunkenly down the road away from the store. Since we didn't get a license plate number, we couldn't really call the police. Instead, W called the next liquor store down the road.
"Yeah, white car,m pink sweatsuit. Drunk and very dumb. Probably a stolen card."
I can't imagine how far she had to drive to get a drink.

Field Trip.

Yesterday the b.h. and I both had the day off and we took the boys and went up to the mountains. Stopped off and bought a couple of pumpkins at Burt's, went hiking at Amicola Falls, and got some apples and fried pies at Mack Aaron's Apple House.
I thought Wyatt was going to pass out on our way back up the falls, but he made it through. Slept all the way home in the car, though. We had a camera malfunction so I didn't get any pictures, but you can look over at Jamie's Blog if you wanna see what it looks like up there.
Anyway, it was a much needed rest, and now we've got plenty of apples to make pie with. I'm excited.

Oxford, Part Two.

We were ambling along through Alabama when my phone rang. The b.h. was wondering how far we had gotten. Then he told me what time the show was starting, and I realized that I had to step on it.
We got turned around in Tupelo, but after stopping for directions three times we got back on track and got to Oxford in plenty of time. We checked into our hotel first, got changed and headed over to the club. J had, in his fuzzy-headedness that morning, forgotten his shoes, and so wound up wearing flip-flops to the show. The club was lovely and the staff was very nice. I drank some kind of pecan beer on draft and took lots of pictures. We bought The Truckers album with Betty Lavette and a new copy of the Southern Rock Opera- both on vinyl. The show was great. I love seeing people see Goat for the first time, and watching the Truckers without having to stand in a room full of frat boys is a lot more fun. Hung out with Craig at the merch booth for a bit, then went outside while he smoked. I found him talking to two sorority girls, both in little black dresses and heels (at a Truckers show). There was some mention of the Vice Presidential debate that was going to happen the following night, and I was shocked and pleased to hear them both refer to it as "a fucking joke."
"Now I just have to convince my mom," one of them remarked.
In Mississippi.

Next morning we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed early. We headed back down to the square for breakfast, which came from a fabulous bakery. I got an apple and cheese brioche and a big cup of coffee. After that we met the band over at Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's house. It was neat. I apologize for not having a better word than that, but that's how it is. His office has the outline of one of his books written out on the walls.




The grounds are beautiful, too. I took a bunch of pictures, which I will post when I am feeling less lazy.

After we spent an hour or so there, J and I said goodbye to the boys and hit the road back to Athens. We got lost in Tupelo again for a minute, but we got home in plenty of time for me to see Okkervil River. They were fantastic. They did several songs off of the new record, but didn't skip some of my old favorites. I got a copy of the new record on vinyl and went home happy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Road Trip To Oxford.

I worked at the Importer of Smoking Accoutrements on Monday all day, then on Tuesday for half a day, then went into the Local Liquor Store on Tuesday night. I got a co-worker's girlfriend to dog sit for me on Wednesday so I could catch up with the b.h. and company in Oxford, Mississippi. I closed the store and was home by midnight on Tuesday night. Then I packed and cleaned and hit the sack for a few hours. I told my traveling companion J that I wanted to be on the road by ten in the morning. He said he'd be waiting. I stopped to get gas the night before, and it was $4.19 a gallon. I was not certain where we would be able to find gas again, so I filled up anyway.
When I got to J's house a little after ten. I banged on the door for ten minutes before he finally answered, obviously having just rolled out of bed and in a bit of a panic. No sweat, I promised him, just get on with it. So he showered and packed, and we were on our way within half an hour. We stopped at a gas station in Monroe (or somewhere between here and Monroe) that always seems to be packed at breakfast and lunchtime. It's one of those with a counter where you can get meat and three for like five bucks, and the parking lot is always loaded with pickup trucks, so you know it's bound to be good. We got the last two biscuits they had (it was lunchtime for most working men), mine with egg and cheese and J's with that plus sausage, plus a slice of pecan pie. I checked the oil and put in a quart, and he picked us out some pre-mixed St@rbucks sugar and caffeine in a bottle! coffee flavored beverages.

Getting through Atlanta was remarkably easy. We stopped a little ways into Alabama to use the restroom. Getting into the gas station at that exit was a bit tricky, and when I walked inside the woman behind the counter was on the phone saying
"Yeah, we have some, but not much."
I used the facilities and came out and asked a guy sitting at a table smoking how long it would be until we saw a gas station with gas again.
"You know where ----- is?"
I can't remember the name of the town, but I definitely didn't know where it was. "Well, you gotta go almost to Birmingham 'fore your shore to get some."
I thanked him and got on my way. I could get well past Birmingham in my little car with what we had in the tank.

We decided to sidetrack in Birmingham to get some BBQ at Dreamland. Birmingham is a cool little town, in my limited experience, but one of the best things about it is definitely this place. I thought it would be nice to surprise the b.h. with his favorite food, since I hadn't seen him in a few days and all. J and I got food, extra sauce, t-shirts and bumper stickers, to the tune of probably seventy-five bucks by the time we got out of there. I was happy to note that somebody had changed a "GO BAMA" (that rhymes with "slam" or "ham", for those of you not from the South)license plate hanging on the wall in there to read "GO OBAMA". We got to the car and J realized that they had forgotten his mac and cheese. He set his bag on the roof of the car and headed back in. I was struggling out of my stinky t-shirt (forgot my deodorant in the rush that morning) and into a fresh one, hunkered down behind the wheel, when I heard a gurgled half scream from across the street. I popped my head through my new clean shirt and saw J rushing toward me screaming
"NODON'TFALLOHGODNO!!!" and then there was a crack as his bag hit the pavement. If you've never seen a wookie cry, then by all means continue to try and avoid it. If there were a bigger, longer, louder and more pathetic way of saying crestfallen that I could think of right now I would, but since I can't think of one I'll just stick with that. He looked like Charlie Brown. The good news is that when he actually opened the bag, his sandwich was intact, the extra sauce remained unopened, and his banana pudding, though it had burst the seam of its styrofoam bowl, was completely edible. He cheered up considerably, but still went back in to get another bowl. They gave him a free pudding. He cheered up immensely.
We scarfed our food and drove over to what I call the town square, though it isn't much of a square but more like a 5 point intersection that seems to be right in the heart of downtown Birmingham, so I could get a cup of coffee at the local outlet of a Giant Coffee Chain and so I could show J the Pagan Fountain, which he had never seen. This is a fountain, displayed in and presumably paid for by the city of Birmingham, in the American South, the Bible Belt, which features a goat wearing pants and reading a book to various assembled animals. I find it absolutely weird and totally awesome. It is my favorite thing in Birmingham. J was duly impressed. I rescued a grasshopper that had somehow landed upside down in there, and we each made a wish and threw a penny into the fountain before crossing the street to go to a record store. I stopped in the middle of the intersection, spraying coffee everywhere and lamenting loudly that I should have wished that I wouldn't burn off all of my tastebuds with my coffee.
I bought a copy of The Cars album Candy-O on vinyl, and grabbed a flyer for the Okkervil River show that was happening that night in town, and we got back on the road.

Asheville, Part Deux.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was alone in a different bed than I had crashed in. I vaguely remembered the b.h. snorting and wheezing and sweating like a whore in church and me waking up and peeling myself away from him around four in the morning and slipping into the other bed (luckily we had our own room). Now I had woken up because there was a knock at our door. It was D, telling us it was time to head out if we were going to the rally. I briefly thought about skipping it.
"What do you think?" I asked the b.h. "I don't care either way. You're the one who's sick."
"Yeah, I do feel like shit, but if we don't even try and everybody gets in and they wind up shooting hoops with Obama, we're gonna be really upset."

I agreed. We separated from the band, got lost for a minute, got back on track, found parking fairly quickly, walked a few blocks in one direction, and then got turned around to walk much further in the other direction in order to get in line. Asheville is very, very hilly. We hadn't eaten anything. Nor had I had anything to drink. Nothing. We walked for what seemed like days, not seeing a drug store or a restaurant or a gas station anywhere. When we finally got to the high school, the line was already really long.
We spotted the band easily (they were the ones dressed in long sleeves and black pants, of course) and slipped into line with them. It was hot. HOT. The sun was brutal, and the line snaked back and forth across a nearly treeless parking lot. The line snaked back and forth and each time we passed a tiny spot of shade we all huddled, basking in it's glory for as long as we could. Also, the whole of this particular campus was non smoking. Not a problem for myself or the b.h., but there were definitely band members that considered abandoning ship. Overall people were very polite and everybody was in a pretty good mood, despite the obvious lack of planning (there were a thousand t-shirts and buttons for sale out there, and no beverages anywhere, and when we finally got into the actual stadium three hours later, there were seven - SEVEN - portable bathrooms once you got past security. No kidding. And you couldn't leave once you went through security, either. Luckily there was a concession stand. I got a water and a g@torade and a snick3rs bar. I have never eaten a more satisfying candy bar in my entire life. Oh, the ladies restroom at the concession stand was also out of order. We got through security and stopped briefly on the plastic grass of the football field. It was hot and sticky and gross, so we made out way across the field to a grassy knoll in the shade of some trees and sat down to wait.
The speech itself was, to the surprise of no one, fantastic. I didn't know what to expect as far as how I might respond emotionally, but I did not lose my shit Beatlemania style at any point, nor did anyone else that I saw. I didn't see signs of any obvious Stepford voters, but rather a whole lot of thoughtful, hopeful people who were just happy to be there, watching history in the making and looking forward to having President who we can all respect.
After the rally the b.h. and I ate in a restaurant in downtown Asheville and hit the road. We got home just around dark and watched a couple of episodes of my new (old)favorite show Slings and Arrows before getting to bed quite early.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rock and Roll, Fever Dreams, and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Yesterday I worked at the Local Liquor Store at eight am. Since it was a game day, there were customers there before I was. I have been sick for the last couple of days, so I downed some cough medicine in the bathroom when I got there. It worked great, but I ended up blowing my nose all day, which was a pain and somewhat gross. So when I left to go to work at the Rock Club last night, I decided I had best take something that would combat both my lung funk and my sinus issues. I decided on Dayqui1. Wow was that a mistake. It only took me a minute to get my bar set up, and then I went to have a beer with the b.h. before the club opened. It didn't taste good at all, which was not a good sign. I was feeling very antsy and headed back to the club, finishing up a few details and greeting my fellow bartender, who it turns out was also ill. I can't really describe what happened for the next couple of hours, except to say that I have never done acid but I now feel like I have a good idea what it's like. The club proceeded to get packed, and I was on auto pilot, sweating and swilling bottled water and trying hard not to fall down. Everything was just- swirling. I felt all floaty and weird, but not in a fun way at all. I was, for the first time in a long time, thankful for the smoking ban, and I was also relieved that I didn't have a headache, since the lineup included comedy and heavy metal. Whew! Weird. I started coming down around midnight, and after that I just felt like shit until I got home and went to bed.
I am not good at being sick. I don't get sick very often, fortunately, but when I am I tend to be kind of pathetic. Today I stayed in bed until after one, at which point I came down to the couch, where I have been for the past nine hours.

So anyway, I'm going to try to backtrack over some of the past week and a half. I am currently hopped up on said cold medicine again, so forgive me if this is convoluted.

That trip to Asheville last Saturday was super cool. The b.h. was playing at the Rocket Club. I was assigned by my beer geek co-workers to go to Bruisin' Ales, a specialty beer shop, and pick up some stuff that we can't get here in Georgia. There was some question as to whether or not we could get there before they closed(9pm), but I was bound and determined, because we had also found out that Bar@ck Obam@ was speaking at a rally on Sunday, and if we intended to get to that, there was no way to get to the beer store as well. I ducked out of work at five (I should mention that I had to be at work at nine in the morning, after having worked at the Rock Club the previous night, and after having had virtually no sleep for the prior two nights, reasons for which I will explain later) and raced home to pick up the b.h.. We hit the road around five thirty, and sped toward Asheville. The b.h. had gotten directions online, and everything went very smoothly up until the last turn we had to make to get to the Beer Store. If you haven't been to Asheville (I hadn't up until then) then you can't possibly conceive of how totally and completely fucked up it is. Streets start and stop and pick up again in other places. They turn without warning, become one way, curve unnecessarily - oh, and they're also packed with people and cars on a beautiful Saturday night, and many of those folks were from out of town also because of the whole Obam@ thing, and the town isn't that big, but the Beer Store is really small, and let's face it, how may people are really that into beer? - so we had trouble finding anybody who knew where it was. I tried repeatedly to call W, my co-worker, because I very stupidly did not write down the phone number for the Beer Store, but W had just gotten a new cell phone two days before and failed to give me the number. Fuuuuuck. So we drove and drove and circled and cussed and swerved, and I was just about to give up (it was five minutes to nine) and try to find the club instead when lo and behold, we found it. I jerked the car into a parking lot and practically ran inside.
I greeted the owner, who knew I was coming, and he offered us a beer. Apparently, you can actually drink on premise in a beer store in Asheville. Nice. I cracked open a Bell's IPA, which was hoppy and lovely and exactly what the doctor ordered, and got to work filling orders for W and S, while Jason, the proprietor, waited on some other people.
It took about forty-five minutes, but when I left I had everything W had asked for, half of what S wanted, and sixty dollars worth of stuff for me. I was thrilled. We got back in the car and went looking for the club.
The only reason we found the club was because there was a guy outside smoking and I knew we were kind of close.
"That has to be it," was pretty much what I said, and then pulled a U-turn and got back to it. There was no sign, no address, and there were no other people outside at all. But there was Arrogant Bastard Ale on tap, so all was well. Turns out the guy who owns the place is from Chicago. He used to work at the Empty Bottle, which I frequented when I lived up there. He was really nice, and he introduced me to a couple friends of his that had just moved down from Chicago a couple weeks ago. I wound up talking to them for much of the evening.It was fun and it made me a little homesick. The show was very good but sparsely attended.
At the end of the night we went to the hotel and checked in and were both starving so we headed back out in search of food. The b.h. was really sick with a cold, so we stopped at a gas station and got him some drugs. The only food option was Waff1e House, which is never really good but can usually work for me in a pinch. When we got in there, there were only two tables and one guy eating at the counter. There were four people working. The b.h. ordered a pork chop dinner, and I got two waffles with pecans. What followed was surreal, like a scene out of a movie. I was so tired I thought I was going to puke, but I knew I needed to eat, and the b.h. was fevered and wheezing and wiping his nose. The guy next to us was slurping and smacking his food very noisily, adding to my nausea. He was clearly a regular. A pair of hippie kids came in and sat at the booth next to our seats. They were so high they could barely see out of their eyes. The two cooks both had dyed black hair and acted like they had either just broken up or were trying hard not to act like they liked each other. The girl knew what she was doing. She was fast and on top of it at the grill, and it seemed like the guy was probably being trained. He had a couple of facial piercings and a black leather Social Distortion belt. He might have been wearing eyeliner. The b.h.'s food was ready in short order. We watched them box it up and set it aside, and then drop the waffles. The waffles browned up in about five minutes, and the girl cook took them off and plated them and sent them away with the waitress to a table far away. I watched them go with longing. Five minutes after that, she put a couple more waffles on.
It took us at least half an hour to get our food. We stumbled into the hotel, I ate around the edges of my mostly uncooked waffle, picked the pecans out and ate those, showered, and fell into bed.

More later. I gotta get some hot tea.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Quickie.

Quote For The Day

"I think McCain is down to seeds and stems," - Rick Hertzberg.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for that. I really do have some stories to tell, folks, but I can't seem to find the time. I did get to see the next POTUS on Sunday in Asheville after a great rock show and blowing three hundred bucks (mostly other people's) at a really great beer store. I'm at work right now, so I gotta run, but I will be back. Promise.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Read A Book.

Preferably a banned book. I guess it's time for me to revisit The Catcher in the Rye again. It's the only one I know I can tear through in the time that I have left this week.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Perspective.

There's a reason why T and I have been friends since we were fifteen. I was talking to him on the phone earlier, and I was complaining that the b.h. was gone out of town for the week on tour.
"I hate it," I said, bluntly. "It totally sucks."
"Yeah, but it's good to hate somebody being gone."


I've just discovered, thanks to Vision Video, a show called Slings and Arrows. I've been watching it for hours at a time. Love it.

Got out on Saturday night to see Mikey Dwyer and the Starter Kits. The show was great. It's been quite some time since I've seen them.Hung out with Shayne and Todd and Dave and my boss from the ISA. I hadn't spoken to any of them ahead of time about the show, but there we were. One of the things I will miss about this town.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Work Blog.

I just waited on a fifty-year-old guy in a Tommy H1lfiger shirt and HELLO K1TTY JEANS.
No shit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1979.

As in - there is no fucking gasoline to be had - anywhere.
Which is all well and good for me, because I happened to fill up my extremely efficient car a couple days ago, and I shouldn't need gas again for at least a week.
But people are seriously freaking out. And I am prolly not gonna get to go to Atlanta to see the b.h. play on Saturday. And even less likely to get to go to Oxford to see him play with the Truckers on Wednesday. Which is a bummer. But hey, they may not even get to go play, if there's no gas between here and there.
Who knows. More on this later. Speaking of moron, did anybody see Sarah Palin interviewed by Katie Couric earlier tonight? Go find it on YouTube. I swear The Office was less cringe-inducing.
Sheesh.
Hell? Hand-basket? Anyone?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's In A Name?

The best part of my job at the Importer of Smoking Accoutrements, thus far, has been filing. No, I do not have a special love for alphabetization, nor am I particularly inclined toward organization (see my house for proof). It's just that the names people choose for their head shops are so fucking ridiculous. I will post a list later, but I just ran across one that made me stop what I was doing and come straight to the computer: Blaze N Jays. Seriously.
I can't wait til I make my way far enough up the ladder here that I actually get to speak to the geniuses that run these places.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Copout, Courtesy of Sullivan...

And to him courtesy of somebody else. Oh well. It's too good to pass up.

"A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here's one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it's so socially repulsive, but it's pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real -- you get the idea. But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called "virtues." This is not a matter of virtue -- it's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.

People who can adjust their natural default-setting this way are often described as being "well adjusted," which I suggest to you is not an accidental term," - David Foster Wallace

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Funny in a Depressingly True Way.

Just finished mowing the lawn (no, not a euphemism). Straightening up the house and running some errands next. Then I get to pick up the b.h., fresh from his week long road trip. So I'm prolly not gonna be back here for a minute. In the meantime, enjoy this little nugget, courtesy of my good friend MT and my growing fears about the political environment in this country.
Terrorist Fist Jab, Y'all.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Great Idea.

Look over on the right there at my new link- The Newspaper Bag Project is a website that Z's son started. I took a quick look at it a minute ago (I'm at work) and I'm going to try to make my own bags when I get some free time. Which should be in about a month. Well, probably Sunday, but that will feel like a month from now.
Anyway, it looks like fun.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ready, Set, D'oh!

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was knock a glass off of my nightstand when reaching to turn off my alarm. It broke, of course.

The rest of my morning has been going better, thanks.

Ahhhh.

Finally somebody makes me laugh.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No. No. No no no no

Noooooooooooo.

This one says it better.

Best.

Fuuuck.

Another Lame Weekly Recap.

So Monday I got to go to my first Wine Show as a member of the Local Liquor Store staff. I found out about it kind of last minute, so I had some juggling to do, but I worked it out.
Drove to Atlanta with the Boss's Wife and two other employees. I didn't really know the girl who was driving, but we had met before. On the way, we stopped for fast food (which I rarely eat due to my vegetarianism and my natural fear of fast food in general). I got ice cream and french fries, because I knew I was going to have a lot of alcohol to soak up. Our driver, Hannah, was playing today's hot country hits, eating a burger, and texting somebody on her cell phone, all the while tailgating the car in front of us and complaining about her hangover. We had yet to breach the loop.

We had to stop at a department store in downtown Atlanta on our way, because Hannah had seen a pair of shoes in the new issue of Vogue that she simply had to have. We entered through the perfume department, which is never a good idea. The store did not have Hannah's shoes, but the Boss's Wife found a pair, so all was not lost. Hannah seemed near to tears, and as soon as we got to the hotel, she started calling around to find the nearest store where she could buy her shoes. I cannot stress enough how distraught she was. It was embarrassing. So we met up with the other carload of employees, and after wandering around lost for a few minutes, made our way into the trade show.

I don't want to bore you with the details, but suffice to say that spitting in public was a new and terrifying experience, and at one point I spit just a little too hard into a bucket that was a little too full, and I got the backsplash of a hundred other spitters' wine on my face. It was mortifying. I tried a lot of wine, stayed sober, learned a lot, and am eager to do it again. I did have a scorching hangover at around midnight, which was confusing because I hadn't been drunk at any point. Ah, but the tannins. Lesson learned for next time: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Tuesday I worked at the Importer of Smoking Accoutrements. It was a long and mostly uneventful day. Tuesday night the b.h. had band practice, so I went in to the Local Liquor Store to put in a couple hours doing computer work.

Wednesday I worked a full day the the ISA, came home for a couple hours, and went to my gig as a fill-in bartender at a Local Rock Club. The idea was that I would work and make extra money, miss J. Roddy but also help out my friend who manages the Rock Club, then go see J. Roddy in Atlanta on Thursday night. Well, it didn't work out that way. The bartending gig was fine, but my night kind of went really South afterward, resulting in little sleep and a very painful full day of work at the Local Liquor Store, which began at 9am. With my boss.

Thursday night I was asleep by eleven.

Friday I worked half a day at the ISA, then went the the LLS until midnight. After that I raced downtown to see the b.h. play a show at The Georgia Theater. It was great. I got there just in time. Got to see my friend MT for a minute, as well as a few other folks. Feel like I haven't seen him or anybody else for awhile, but I guess it hasn't been that long. Just that time passes weirdly when you're always at work. The good news is the bills are paid and I get to buy myself some new gym shoes tomorrow. Yay! New shoes!

So now I'm watching Square Pegs on a DVD from Netfl1x, waiting for the b.h. to get back from Augusta, where he played tonight. Also cleaned the bathroom and I'm catching up on some laundry. And drinking a Weyerbacher pumpkin ale, which I like okay but am not completely sold on. I think I'll stick to pie for my pumpkin intake. (Mmmmmm.... pie. Note to self: fried pie season is almost here. Must get back to Ellijay in early October).

So that's why i haven't been writing much. I still feel like a douche, though. Anyway, i hope you are all well. Will catch up on my blog reading tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tonight.

J. Roddy Walston & the Business. Tasty World. Be there.
Oh, and The Dictatortots, too.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Uncle! Uncle Already!!

Mice(again).
Moths(again).
Car Trouble.
Computer trouble.
Oh, now the other computer is fucked up. Sweet.
Plumbing Issues.
And now... ants. Lots of them. In the kitchen.

I'm eager for this week to be over.

*Update The plumbing is fixed, that car is fixed. Still don't have the car back yet, but that's okay. Off to work at the Local Liquor Store now. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ah, Hypocrisy.

This is why I love John Stewart. And also why F0x N3ws needs to go away, or at least stop calling itself a news channel.

Incidentally, I called several people to complain about the garage. I hope nobody burns my house down.

Some Good Ole' Boys Try To Fuck Me.

Tuesday I dropped the b.h at work, and made my way over to the ISA. I was having a fine day at work, and the b.h. got done early but had found a ride home, so I was planning on spending some extra hours in order to get out earlier later in the week.
I realized, at around four, that we hadn't yet heard from the mechanic about our car. I called the b.h. and asked him to call them.
The b.h. called back a minute later, saying that they hadn't found a fuel leak, but they had fixed the exhaust leak. Without calling me. I was puzzled and pissed. He said that the guys had told him to call back in twenty minutes to get the total for the work they had done. I waited an angry, slow twenty minutes, and called them.
"Wilson's Auto Shop."
"This is hey bartender. You have my Corolla. So where are we right now?"
"Oh, we put it back up and looked under it and we found the fuel leak. You've got a hole in your gas tank. We can order the part, but it won't be here before Thursday."
"And what else have you done?"
"We fixed the exhaust leak."
"And why did you do any work without calling me first?"
"Uh, well, I didn't think it was a big thing. It's just a little gasket. You don't have to pay for it-"
"And how much is the new gas tank going to cost?"
There is a pause, and some muffled talking.
"Four hundred and thirty-three dollars."
"Really. And how much do I owe you right now?"
"About a hundred dollars."
"How much of that was for the repair that I didn't ask you to make?"
"About fitty dollars."
"Really? For that "little part? That "no big deal"? Fifty dollars?"
"Well, for puttin' it on, yeah. We can take it off. You don't hafta-"
"Oh I'm not going to pay for it. Don't touch that fucking car. I'll be out there in a few minutes to pay you for the tow."

I called the b.h., and left the ISA immediately, trailing smoke from my ears. I also called my mechanic, the ever fabulous Gary over at Master's Garage on 441 North. We talked and he agreed that it didn't sound right. I told him I was having it towed over to his place.
I wondered to myself how it was possible that a mechanic could jack a car up to fix the exhaust and not see gas leaking from a hole in the gas tank. I also wondered how a car with a hole in the gas tank still had gas in it at all after sitting for two days at the garage. Funny...

When we got there, none of the mechanics would look at me. The guy I was paying for the tow had to, but he made as little eye contact as possible. The boss never turned around to look at me. I told the b.h. to go over and peek in the car and tell me how much gas was in it. It was full. I continued to play along for a minute.
"So assuming that I eventually have the money to fix the hole in my gas tank, how much is it going to cost?"
Silence. The fat guy who is writing up my receipt looks over at his boss, who will not acknowledge my presence and has not turned around the whole time, even though he is only two feet away from me.
"What'd he tell you?"
"Well he said four hundred thirty-three dollars, but that was just for the part. How much to actually put it in?"

Silence.

That's what I thought. I paid the asshole fifty dollars in cash and we left. We drove down the road and parked in a parking lot to wait for the tow truck driver from Triple A. Since the gas only leaks while it's running, we decided that we couldn't drive it but it would be safe for them to tow. The driver came out in less than an hour. He knew exactly where Masters Garage is, and grinned when I mentioned it. "I used to date Gary's daughter. One time he got in my car and had the whole steerin' wheel apart in like three minutes. He's the best."
Yes he is. And if only I had known that the car would stop leaking, I would have taken it to him in the first place. But I didn't want him to show up at work on Tuesday with twelve gallons of gas all over his lot because of me. And I figured since I dragged the towing guy out on a Sunday, the least I could do was give them some business at their garage. I was wrong. I will not make that mistake again.

So now Gary has it, and it should be ready in a few hours. But note to selves: Wilson's Auto Service is bullshit. DO NOT take your car there. And if you happen to get in an accident in Oconee County, do not let them tow it, or else tow it away from them as soon as possible. What a bunch of assholes.

A Recap of Last Week.

Wednesday- worked at my new job, an Importer of Smoking Accoutrements, and then at the Local Liquor Store on Wednesday night. Ditto for Thursday, and for friday. Saturday I was back at the LLS at nine in the morning, and then on to the bar at ten in the pm. On sunday, the b.h. and I went out running errands. We filled the gas tank, went to his folks' house to look in on their pets, and finally got to the grocery store after almost two weeks. When we came out of the grocery store, we noticed a very strong gasoline odor coming from our car. Then we noticed a stream of gasoline coming out from underneath it. So we crossed our fingers and drove a couple miles back to the house.
When I called triple a about towing, the woman on the phone said that they would not tow a car that was leaking fuel. "It's a fire hazard. You have to call the fire department and have them come and drain it."

There was no answer on the non-emergency fire department number, so i called the sherrif's department. They called the fire department, and the fire department sent out two guys (that were young enough to be my children) in a pickup truck. The guys said that there was nothing they could do, but that the idea that we couldn't get it towed in that condition was silly. "We use Wilson's," he said. "They tow all the time from accident sites and stuff. There's no reason they can't do it."
So we called Wilson's, even though it was Sunday and a holiday weekend, because I did not want our full tank of gas leaking into the ground water. When the guy came out, he was really nice and I told him what the problem was and he pulled the car right up onto the tow truck and hauled it away. "They won't get to it until Tuesday," he said.

"I know. You should siphon out that gas if you can. I hate for it to go to waste. Just tell them to give me a call when they get a look at it. And will you please have them look at x as well?"

"No problem."

He left, and I felt better. Next I spent an hour and a half with my good buddy MT, running around town picking up and switching out cars. The b.h.'s folks are out of town, so we were able to use their car for a few days.
Next we went (two and a half hours late) to Jenn's for a BBQ. I ate a ton (I dubbed her homemade mac and cheese "crack and chee"), drank a couple beers, and basically relaxed and had a good time. We came home pretty early and passed out.
Since Monday was a holiday, I had the day off. The b.h. worked despite the fact that it was his birthday, because service industry slaves don't have holidays. I did some running around and he got out early and we came home with the first disc of the second season of Dexter. All in all, it was pretty busy. So you can see why I haven't been here in awhile.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Customer of the Night #291

There is a wall of people at the bar. Girls are waving their money in our faces ("That only works for strippers," I explain gently. I'll get to you when I can."). Guys are standing on the foot rail and leaning all the way over to our side. People keep coming in. When I ask the girl what she wants, she rattles off three drinks, and then tells me the name on the tab.
"Just gimme a minute," I say as politely as I can. "I'll get the tab name after I get the drinks. There's only so much I can remember."

Only so much because I have not worked like this for months. Also because I have already put in eight hours at my other job today, and after walking the dogs and scarfing a sandwich, ran down here as fast as I could. That was three hours ago.

"Okay!" she says, in a way that suggests that she understands. And then she proceeds to repeat her order, while I'm already halfway through making it, and then she adds on another drink. I stop and look at her.
"Just wait a minute, okay? I can only remember so much. Now- that was a gin and tonic-"
"I know, I know baby girl. You guys are working so hard back there. Listen, I need a job."
"A gin and tonic, a vodka water with lime, and a Bud Li-"
"-A vodka water, a gin and tonic, and a Bud L1ght, and a bourbon and coke. With well. Who do I talk to about a job? I really want to work here. This place looks awesome. My name is K-"
At this point she reaches out her hand to shake mine. Mine is full of glasses filled with ice, waiting for drinks that I can't remember because she is exhausting and she is only one in a couple hundred and I am tired and I just. Can't Think.
"Listen. You are not helping. You are not helping me get your drinks, or their drinks - I gesture, with hands full of glasses full of ice, at the other people who are also waiting for this girl to just shut the fuck up and get on with it - and I am not going to remember your name, or your face, but I will remember how much you obviously don't get it. Call the owner on Monday about the job. And please stop talking until I make eye contact with you again. That's when I'm ready for you to tell me the name on your tab, okay?"
I say all of this with complete calm, a sense of humor, even. I am making a smile with my mouth. I am not angry, and I am not yelling. I do not feel a sense of anything but total and complete over-it-ness.

The girl is completely unfazed. I hand her the drinks, get the name on the tab, and I can still hear her talking to me as I take the next person's order.

The sad thing is she will probably get hired.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Holy Shit.

This is brilliant. I think I might have to get a fucking job at Showbiz, just so I can get that bear to sing "GOAT".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wired.

I'd love to tell you more about our trip, but we just got the first two discs of the final season of The Wire from Netflix, so i may not be back for awhile.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reunited And It Feels So Good (by which I mean "A Lot Like Indigestion").

The b.h. and I spent a few days last week at his bi-annual B.H. Family Reunion. Every other year, the b.h.'s dad and dad's brothers (he has three) get the whole family together for a week. They take turns choosing a location, and then the group pays for lodging and we all pay for our own transportation, food, etc. Since the b.h. and I have been together, trips have included Branson, M1ssour1 (the "Redneck Riviera", a trip which the b.h. and I were regrettably unable to attend), St. Sim0n's Island, GA, (we were there for thirty six hours and drove five and a half each way), and The Adirondacks, in upstate New York (we missed that one due to financial distress brought on by a car trouble/emergency vet visit double-whammy). This year, the B.H. Clan converged on the mountains outside B00ne, North Car0lina, at a "Wilderness Cabin." You may have noticed that I used that phrase in quotes. I did that on purpose. If I had any idea how to find the key which would insert a trademark symbol into the sentence, I would have. But my technological prowess is simply lacking, so you will all be forced to use your imaginations (as I was when I was confronted with the "Wilderness Lodge" itself).
We were intending to leave on Sunday, but our dog-sitter was in Charlest0n at the Hold Steady show, so we waited to go on Monday. On Monday, I woke up and went to the hair salon. I had done much of the packing the night before and the b.h. would finish up while I was chatting with Shayne and trying to get the rest of the blasted red undertones out of my hair. The hair salon was fun and relaxed, and when I got back to the house I felt ready to face both the long drive and the twenty some people that would be waiting at the end of it.
When I returned home, I found that although everything was essentially ready, we had been asked to go to the b.h.'s parents' house before leaving town to check on the resident felines. "Didn't they just leave?" Yes, but the b.h.'s mom wasn't sure if she had left enough food out for them, and they had planned on somebody checking in on Wednesday, but now they weren't sure if the person could make it, etc. "Can't we just go over there when we get back on Wednesday?" No. The b.h. had got the feeling that his mom may have "forgotten something, but didn't want to admit it." Well, so be it then. We would simply be adding an extra forty minutes on to our five hour drive.
It turned out that the cats were fine- plenty of food, water, etc. When I talked to the b.h.'s mom later, she said that she just "had a bad feeling" that something had gotten skipped - an iron left on, a door left unlocked, or some such. A brilliant woman, she is, but like many of us, her brain is often full and she therefore has tendencies toward a certain kind of flightiness (one that Hey Bartender can *assure* you that she is *never* guilty of. Cough. Cough.).

Holy shit I just referred to myself in the third person. Oh well. I guess it was only a matter of time.

Anyway, the drive was pleasant enough. The b.h. and I were both tired, so we had to stop more often than we would have liked in order to obtain more caffeine and get our blood moving. One of the reasons why I prefer driving at night is that I get very sleepy when I'm in the sun. In the car, with the air-conditioning blowing, one half of my body was freezing, while the half in the sun felt like it was on fire. I wanted to curl up in the window and take a cat nap. Inadvisable, I have been told, while driving.
We had printed out directions using g00gle maps (M@pquest has done us wrong too many times), and all was well. The gas got cheaper the farther we went, which was a pleasant surprise. The b.h.'s mom called us when we were just outside Charlotte. We told her where we were and assured her that we had directions. When we pulled up the The Wilderness Lodge, the b.h.'s mom was waiting on the front porch for us. I got the feeling that she might have been there since we had hung up with her an hour and a half before. Once inside, I realized why. The main room of The Wilderness Lodge was one third kitchen, one third dining room, and one third living room. The living room had one couch and two chairs and a plasma screen TV on the wall that was bigger than any of them. Very rustic, it was. And there were twenty or so people, five under the age of ten, sharing that space.

Interesting.

So I was at the bar on Thursday, and Ken, the guy who maintains the sodas, came in. He told me that the new mixes of both tonic and ginger ale would likely be in next week, and that they were now being made with cane syrup rather than corn syrup. Sweet(pun intended)! I have long been afraid of corn syrup (send your tinfoil hat designs to: Paranoid Bartender, P.O. Box 666, Crazyville USA), and lately I have been hoping that the rapidly increasing cost of corn might cause us to change back to good ole' sugar. I don't know how many of you actually read the ingredients on your food packaging, but corn syrup is in virtually everything, including some products that are labeled "natural" in the grocery store. There are a lot of differing opinions on whether or not corn syrup is any worse for you than sugar, but I am of the opinion that if we try not to process the ever-living shit out of everything and just eat, we'll all be better off. I may be wrong, but it just makes more sense to me. In any case, the news from Soda Guy Ken was a small yet meaningful bright spot on an otherwise kind of stressful week. Thanks, Ken!