Monday, May 30, 2005

he's related to you, he's related to you... he is dying to meet you

Portions of this blog post may contain content or language that is indecent, obscene, insensitive, or irrational. Reader Discretion is advised.

I went to a wedding with Karen yesterday. It was kind of unusual because it was in a theatre rather than a church or an outdoor setting. I actually thought for a second that I had misunderstood the invitation, and I was being taken to a play about a wedding. Or that it was an elaborate ruse on all of us, and it wasn't a wedding at all. The reception was in the same building, so we didn't even have to take ten steps to get to the beer. Dinner followed. It was pretty good. It didn't even occur to me until I ate all of it that all of it was vegetarian. Except for the grouper. I enjoyed it.
This was one of those situations where I didn't know anyone involved with the wedding, and I only knew a few of the guests. I had plenty of people I could talk to, so is wasn't overly uncomfortable or anything like that, but it's just strange to be there as someone outside that circle. I had a good time, though. Except for one thing. As many of you dear and loyal readers know, I don't do the "dancing" thing. I just don't. It isn't that I'm morally or ethically opposed to it, or anything like that. I just don't dance. Not at weddings, not at bat mitzvahs, not when I'm a contestant on Solid Gold, not in a box, not with a fox. I do not like dancing. Somehow, though, at functions like that, you may has well say that you like to strangle puppies and drown kitty cats as say that you don't like dancing. You get treated like a fucking apple pie, baseball and mom-hater. Added to that, everyone tries to force you to do something you've repeatedly said you don't like. Why is this? If you're a vegetarian, your meat-eating friends don't tie you down and force raw meat down your gullet. If you know that your friend doesn't do drugs, you don't force him to do blow with you. You just accept their "no" as an answer. Dancing, though, is different. I don't understand why. Help me understand this. People refuse to take "no I prefer not to" as an answer.
Anyway, I was tricked into slow dancing, which I still have a dislike for, but I did it anyway.
When I headed into this wedding, I opted not to tote my camera along. Frankly, I knew only a small handful of the people there, and I've only known them a few weeks. It sounds harsh, but the reality of it is that they're not my friends. I only bring this up because even when I go to weddings of people I've been friends with for 10 or more years, I take very few pictures. So I thought it would just be a bit of a burden, carrying it around all night and not using it at all. HOWEVER, I really wished that I had brought it for the sake of making this post funnier. There were four celebrity look-alikes at the wedding. One was Erik Cole of the Carolina Hurricanes. One was Chan "Cat Power" Marshall, and then there was this married couple. Both of them (yes, even the lady) looked like Russell Crowe. You don't need a photo to know who he is. Then, actually, the more I thought of it, the more I decided that the woman looked like a lovechild of Russell Crowe and Joan Cusack. And now that I think of it, Joan Cusack does look kinda like Russell Crowe with boobs. You be the judge.

Crowe ........ Cusack

Today as I was heading home, I nearly forgot that I told Amanda I would help her with some moving. So I went to help her shove some crud in the storage facility she's renting, then over to her boyfriend's apartment. Sorry..... THEIR apartment. I didn't stay long, though. Just long enough to catch up for a few minutes, then home.

It turned out to be a really good thing that I didn't stay at Karen's an extra night. When I got home, I couldn't find Marty. I looked high and I looked low. No sign of her. I knew she didn't get out, so she had to be somewhere. Then I heard some muffled crying. Turns out, she had gotten into one of my closets unbeknownst to me on Sunday morning. I guess when I was getting my suit and other stuff out. I just shut the closet door like always, but she was freakin' IN there. For almost two days. No food, no water, no litter box. I feel like a bad daddy. I don't know how it happened, but it did, and it's nobody's fault but mine. Scared the crap out of me, but she seems to be okay. And surprisingly, the closet doesn't reek of cat urine. I suppose since she didn't have anything to eat or drink, she didn't need to use the bathroom. Weird thing is, she doesn't even seem mad.

I'm sure there's more stuff that I wanted/meant to post about, but I'm kinda tired for now.

Now playing:
Sigur Ros -- ( )
Sigur Ros ( )

Thursday, May 26, 2005

look around, around...the second drummer drowned

The other day, I watched Moonlight Mile. That day that I was so freakin tired. After my little nap.
Anyway, I really liked this movie. I don't remember hearing a thing about it when it came out in 2002, but I kept threatening to rent it from the Netflix. I did, and it finally hit the top of my queue. Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon deliver fine performances, but I think the best comes from Ellen Pompeo, who is a relative newcomer.
Without giving away too much, I'll just say that it's really about dealing with loss, and finding one's self in the process. I know that sounds kinda cheesy, but it's a damn fine movie. If you haven't seen it, you should. One sort of strange thing is that although Gyllenhaal's character is the focal point of the story (it's loosely based on an event in the writer/director's life), he has very little dialog compared to the other characters.

Last night I went out to a neighborhood bar with Dr. Awesome. I haven't seen him in a couple of weeks, and he freakin' lives right across the street from me. That's kinda sad. I'm not seeing much of anyone these days. Not even Amanda. I think I've seen her maybe twice in the last three months. I did stop by her house the other day, but it was the day that I was all cranky and tired. She was in the midst of packing her crud so she can move again. I was Mr. Anti-social, so not a whole lot was said that day. But I did get some bread from her. When I went with her to Buffalo and Niagara, she took me to this bakery she loves, and she stocked up on loaves of bread. Now, y'all just don't understand. This isn't just bread. It's really really good. Apparently, the thing to do whenever she goes up there is to buy like forty million loaves and freeze them for later use. So she bought a ton when she just went back up there. I now have two one and a half loaves of Di Camillo bread. You don't even have to make a sandwich, or put anything on it. It's really tasty straight out of the sack. If you find yourself in the town of Niagara Falls NY, you should stop by there and get some tasty fresh baked bread.

I guess working nights sort of takes away from the ability to hang out with people. Not that I dislike my workplace. I'm just pointing out one of the downfalls. Eventually, I'll get myself in a different situation, but I'm gonna hang for a while.

I apologize for the scatterbrain-edness of this post.
Now playing:
The Shins -- Chutes Too Narrow
The Shins Chutes Too Narrow

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

another moment of silence

Thurl Ravenscroft, voice of Tony the Tiger has died at the age of 91.  Ravenscroft had prostate cancerIt is with deep sorrow that the staff of Red and black is the new black and red request a moment of silence for yet another fallen friend. Thurl Ravenscroft, the longtime voice of Tony the Tiger has died of prostate cancer at the age of 91. Ravenscroft was also the voice of many Disney characters and sung the famous "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" song.
Cereal bowls across America will never be the same without him.

if gwen stefani was a rich girl

That damned StatCounter is a strange and beautiful thing.
Somebody in Uruguay found this site by doing a Google search for "I hate Jeff Buckley". I know I used these exact words, but I was doing it to make a point.
We would like to reiterate the official Red and black is the new black and red stance. It is that Jeff Buckley is god.
More later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

just say if i'm way out of line. i don't need telling twice

The management of Red and black is the new black and red would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused its readers. Our staff has been especially lazy these days, and hasn't come up with any good material. Those responsible for the lack of material have been sacked. Again, we apologize for the lack of recent posts and the resultant inconvenience it has caused. We now return to our regularly scheduled post, which will be aired in its entirety.

Okay. I'm confused about a couple of things, and I need some help from you, dear loyal readers.

  1. One of the Spaniards at work does something really strange. At first I thought I was jumping to a wrong conclusion, but I made a conscious effort to observe him in the act of doing this thing. I asked him about it, but I think he was confused by my question. Anyway... He puts his Coca-Cola in a pint glass, and goes into the microwave with it. For about a minute. All the time. Every day, a couple of times a day. Some of you might be familiar with this practice and may be able to shed some light on it. Please help if you can.
  2. There's this commercial on the television. A Sony commercial. For some super high-tech digital video/still hybrid camera. In the commercial, there's a young couple who are showing off their new house to a woman who is presumably the mother of the girl. The place is a hell-hole. Apparently, there's a horrible stench coming from somewhere, and there's a big ass raccoon roaming around inside the house. They're all non-chalant about the whole thing, because the crème de la crème is a fantastically decorated nursery for the baby they evidently haven't told the mother about. The mother says "So, who's the father?". A little joke, yes. But what I don't get is .... What is Sony trying to tell us? I guess the point is that it's okay to have a fucking dive of a house with a giant rabid rodent and unbelievable stench, and a mother who more or less calls you a whore (even if it is a joke) as long as the baby's room is nice, and you have their new product to document the whole thing.

Today was a fun day. I was surprised by Karen, who drove from Durham to bring me lunch. It wasn't a complete surprise, like when she pleasantly surprised me by being at my house when I got off work last Tuesday, but I only knew about it a few minutes before she would get there. For those of you joining us late, or not scoring along at home, Karen lives a good 45 minutes away, so it takes a lot of effort to pull the surprise visit. We ate lunch and hung out for a couple of hours before I had to take off for work. Work was a damn joke. Really dead.
I felt kind of bad because I feel like I let Karen down the other day. I stayed with her on Sunday night, and although we didn't really talk about it, she figured I would stay Monday night as well, which is what I've done a couple of times. I didn't do it though, because I was really cranky and anti-social, so I decided to go home. I had slept really poorly the night before, and I was really really out of it. As soon as I got home, I sat down and actually fell asleep for a few hours. Early in the evening. I usually try to avoid naps because they make me feel horrible and throw off my sleeping, but I really needed it. Exactly what I needed. I felt better, and I was able to sleep normally at my normal sleep time.
Today, we were watching Sylvia, but we weren't able to watch the end of it. I know it got some unfavorable reviews, and it got an especially bad review from a friend of mine who is a big fan of Sylvia Plath. However, I was kind of liking it, so TiVo-ed the hell out of it for later viewing. I'm not even a Gwyneth Paltrow fan. Actually, I usually abhor her, but I thought she was doing a fine job. I'm anxious to see the remainder of the movie, but it'll have to wait.

Now playing:
Sonna --We Sing Loud Sing Soft Tonight
Sonna We Sing LoudSing Soft Tonight

Friday, May 20, 2005

so i got drunk and looked at the empire state building. it was no bigger than a nickel

I realize that what I'm about to say is tantamount to saying "I ♥ Adolf Hitler and Satan" or "I hate Jeff Buckley"¹, but I'll go ahead and say it anyway. I would suggest that you sit down first, and that you think of the things you like about me. Here goes...

I don't give a flying monkey's ass about Star Wars, and I'm happy with that.

Okay. The needle just scratched across the record, and the room has gone dead silent. Except for the crickets.
It's true, though. I really don't like Star Wars. When I was young, I liked them (Episodes 4-6), but when I watched "Star Wars" again before the release of Episode 1, I realized that I just didn't like it. I did, by the way, go see Episode 1, and I was not in heaven. I had no interest in seeing Episode 2, nor the highly anticipated Episode 3. I found myself in the Tajmah Teeter Wednesday night close to midnight. Adjacent to the Teeter is the freakin' multiplex where they were doing the midnight opening. When I saw the scores of people, the line wrapped around the building and meandering through the parking lot, I felt damn good about not being into that. Surprisingly, I didn't see a single person dressed in costume, but they were still out there jockeying for position. I was glad that I didn't have any interest in sitting in the crowded theater until 3 in the morning, breathing in the stench of nerd funk©. Aside from all that not wanting to be in discomfort, it still remains true that I just don't like Star Wars. So I won't just wait until later, as many of you will happily be doing.

Now playing:
henry's dress -- bust 'em green
henry's dress bust 'em green

¹ It should be made clear that the management of Red and Black is The New Black and Red generally does not give merit to the Hitler-Satan duo, but that it gives its unwavering support of the late Jeff Buckley.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

and yes, it does involve shaking your ass

Here's the thing about my new place of employment.
There's a whole slew of Mexicans (henceforth referred to as Spaniards in honor of Christian) who speak very little English. Actually, like many people I've worked with in the past who claim no hablo inglés or je ne parle pas l'anglais, they speak just fine. Not as well as you or I do, but they do fine.
Sometimes, I'm the only English speaker in the kitchen, and I speak only muy pequeño español, there's sometimes a bit of trouble communicating. It wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that I'm still learning how to get stuff done around there. But the wonderful thing is that compared to all of these guys, I'm super-gargantuan man. Those of you who know me know that I'm of very average build, but these guys are all about 5'4" on a good day, so I'm huge in contrast to them. Either way, on those days when I'm the only English-speaker, it's really refreshing when one of the servers or the manager or somebody else breezes through the kitchen and I get to have a thirty second conversation in English.
In his book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain implores the reader (who is presumably a chef, or someone who aspires to be) to LEARN SPANISH. It isn't just the dishwasher anymore, and it isn't just in cities where the Hispanic population is huge. The workforce in kitchens is becoming more and more Hispanic everywhere you go. My place of work is a prime example. Some of these guys are really good cooks, and I have very little way to communicate with them. It's kind of funny, because they speak more English than I speak Spanish, but none of us speaks the other's tongue well enough to have dialog. Instead, we just sound like cavemen. I really should heed Mr Bourdain's advice if I want to remain in this business for a while. Actually, that's sort of up in the air, but I'm in it for the time being.

Anyway, one of the Spaniards was playing a CD today. Some sort of Spanish mix. I don't know what it was, but some of it was really good. There was some decent electronic stuff, something that sounded really indie, and something that reminded me a lot of Heavenly. I was kind of enjoying the mix, but just as I was starting to get into it, it was over, and someone put the radio on.

The Bulls game the other day was a good time. Actually, it costs less to get a good seat there than it does to get a good seat here in Greensboro. Our team is just an A team, while the bulls are AAA. I was pretty stoked about being able to sit really close to the field for $6. The drawback was that it was a Monday afternoon game, and I guess they didn't order enough beer to stock up for the weekend plus the early Monday game. They ended up running out of a lot of stuff. Oh well.

Oh.... Turns out the new landlord here isn't going to jack up the rent. That's a good thing. He's already done some landscaping to improve the house (maybe it'll cut down on the bugs), and has promised to do more. So I'm happy about that.

Cable guy's coming tomorrow morning. Some of my channels come in really REALLY fuzzy, and I shouldn't have to live that way. I have the fanciest cable available, and it looks like crud. Only on some channels, though. Anyway, you all know how the cable company works. They have two different windows available. The only one that would work for me was the one where they might come at 7:00 am. Yikes.

If anybody knows any good jokes in Spanish, I'd like to hear them. I need to find a way to get in good with the Spaniards (other than being taller than they are).

Now playing:
Stereolab -- Dots and Loops
StereolabDots and Loops

Monday, May 16, 2005

cover me with spots, black and red dots until i'm crowding up your visual field

Last night, since I had shit else to do, I watched The Day After Tomorrow, which I have from Netflix. As far as popcorn movies go, it was pretty good. You know... lots of cool visual stuff, but not much to write home about from a story line or acting standpoint

Dear mom,
Today I watched "The Day After Tomorrow", and the acting was pretty lame, but it was visually pretty cool. Well, I had better go now.
Your son, David

See what I mean?

Seriously, I don't have much to post about today. I'm in a bit of a hurry. I'm finally going to get another chance to go to a Durham Bulls game. They have a one o'clock game today. Karen and I are both off on Mondays, so we're going. Woo-hoo.

Now playing:
Take Me Home -- A Tribute To John Denver
Take Me Home--A Tribute to John Denver

Friday, May 13, 2005

Red and Black FAQ

I took a page out of Bears Will Attack's book and I made a FAQ page that can be accessed here. Enjoy.

as they ricochet around the room, they remind me of your starry eyes


For the second time since I've lived in this apartment, the house has been sold. The first time, it was a really seamless transition. You don't even think about the stuff that has to go down in order for that transition to be so seamless. In this house, for example, the landlord pays for the water and the gas for the hot water. I haven't met the man who owns the house now, but he dropped the ball on getting the gas switched over to his name. I have water, but no hot water. That means that I obviously can't take a shower. At least not a hot one. Since I haven't met the man, it took some work to get a hold of him to raise hell about this. I had to call the previous owner, who gave me the number of the real estate agent, who contacted him for me, who had one of his lackeys call me back. I explained that there isn't hot water and that we need it on with a quickness. "Oh, yeah.... I guess that slipped our mind" he said. "Yeah, well that doesn't get me a hot shower when I need one. If you remedy the problem today, I won't be overly upset", I said. "Okay, well, uhhh... we'll give you a heads up phone call about this later". Knowing the way utilities people are, I'm fearful that the folks at Piedmont Natural Gas won't be able to get it done for a couple of days. Grrrrrrrr. This is hardly a way for this guy to start off as landlord. Now is really not a good time for me to have trouble with this. Or maybe it is. Maybe I should move somewhere. Somewhere out of this town, perhaps.

Had I remembered to wager $5000 on Giacomo for the Kentucky Derby, I'd be sitting on over a quarter of a million dollars, and this wouldn't be an issue at all. Oh, wait! I'm not the kind of person who has $5000 to waste. I forgot.

I'm really going to enjoy this cold shower before work today. I know you're all envious, but you're going to have to try to contain it.

Now playing:
Mountain Goats -- All Hail West Texas
The Mountain Goats All Hail West Texas

Friday the 13th

Class, the word for the day is triskaidekaphobia. It means "fear of the number 13", and is usually used in specific reference to a fear of Friday the 13th. Today is Friday the 13th. Good luck.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

home was anywhere with diesel fuel

Last night, I watched The Producers, which I have from Netflix. I thought it was pretty damned amazing. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeealllllly wish I would have been able to see Nathan Lane and Matt Broderick doing it on Broadway, but such is life.
If you haven't seen the movie, see it ASAFP. I highly recommend it.

Here's the thing. I have that damn theme song from "Springtime For Hitler" stuck in my head now.

I just thought I'd share that before I leave for my first day of re-employment.

Monday, May 09, 2005

no user-serviceable parts inside; refer servicing to qualified service personnel

Today was a freakin' beautiful day. As was yesterday.

Karen came into town last night, and we went to the ballgame with my friend Dr. Awesome. The thing about Dr. Awesome is that he isn't a doctor of medicine or a doctor of philosophy or a doctor of science, or any of these ¹. He's a doctor of awesomeness. I don't really know where that nickname came from, but it works. He's a guy I used to work with at the big new restaurant, and who now lives directly across the street from me.
Anyway, we went to the ballpark. The first time any of us had been inside the shiny new stadium. It's pretty impressive, but I do have one complaint. This is gonna sound dumb, but it really did bother me. There's this new fancy scoreboard with a video screen. During the game, you can watch the game on the big scoreboard screen. That's all good and well, but the thing is, they don't show replays. Just a live feed, that's all. Seems they would invest a few more dollars to give them a productions room where they can do replays and the like. Aside from that, I was really impressed. The Greasehoppers won, although we weren't really paying attention after the 6th inning.

Karen stuck around today and we sat on an upstairs patio drinking a couple of beers. She was off today, and this is my last day of freedom. Tomorrow, I'm starting a job. It's just another cooking job, and the pay is going to be pretty far below what I was making, but not bad for an hourly guy. I might like not having any responsibility for a while. You know, just go to work and go home at the end of the night. Nothing else. The discrepancy in pay should be enough to set a fire under my ass to find a different career or something like that. I'd hate to have to find a roommate or cut back on the few luxuries that I do have. I can only survive about a half a year under the status quo.
With respect to that, the schedule I'll be working is going to be a good one. I'll work nights mostly, which will give me time to look for other stuff during the day. And as fate has it, my days off will be the same as Karen's -- Sunday and Monday. At least for a little while. I should enjoy the good things this will provide me. In addition to those cool aspects, I already know most of the bartenders and servers, and I already like them. So there's that on top of that.

The key thing here is that when I'm talking to somebody I don't know or who I haven't talked to in a while, I no longer have to say "actually, I'm not working at all right now".

More news on all this as it develops.

Now playing:
Wilco -- Being There
Wilco Being There

1 Please note that this is the second time in less than a week that I have used my blog to make reference to She Don't Use Jelly by The Flaming Lips. I don't plan to make a habit of it. It just kinda happened.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

it wasn't fun this time, letting you go

Cinco de Mayo. Another faux-holiday that gives thousands of Americans an excuse to become belligerently drunk. Please refer to Reid's post for further details.

I'm always reminded of that fantastic weekend back in the year 2000, when Cinco de Mayo snuck up on me and my buddies Kevin and Neil. We were en route from Greensboro to Boston to see Throwing Muses play one of their special annual reunion shows, which they call Gut Pageant. This was actually the first year the event was held, and it was simply a Throwing Muses show with all the original members, which was preceded by a (morning-time) Kristin solo show and some Q&A sessions or something like that. It has since blossomed into a weekend long thing with other stuff, but that's not the point here.

The show was late Saturday afternoon (yes, afternoon!), and we left on Friday afternoon, thinking we'd take turns and drive through the night to get there with plenty of time to spare. We experimented with a game called "silent road trip" in which none of us were allowed to speak. We actually made it about two hours before we had to call it off. Here's the real point. We made it to Baltimore and decided it was time to take a little break. We were gonna grab some food, a couple of beers and get back on the road. We parked in a parking garage and wandered out to the streets of downtown Baltimore thinking we'd find a place for a quick bite. It didn't even occur to us what the date was. We exited the garage to an absolute sea of people in the streets. All those people who were just Irish on the 17th of March were suddenly Mexican. I suppose it is possible that there's a huge Irish/Mexican population in Baltimore. I just wonder whether they chase their Negro Modelo with whiskey or their Guinness with tequila.
To be honest, I don't know if we ever got around to eating anything. We had lots to drink, however. At some point, we decided to put on phony British accents to impress girls. The flaw in our plan was that Kevin has a wonderful phony accent, but doesn't really have the vocabulary down pat. I have the opposite problem. Actually, my phony accent is pretty wretched, but I make up for it with knowing some of the lingo. Neil has a better accent than I do, but he wasn't really into it. To make this horribly boring story short, I'll jus say that we managed to get some girls to hang out with us, and they were pretty convinced by our accents. At some point we told them in our phony British accents that we could put on phony Southern US accents, which allowed us to talk in our normal voices for a while. They said that they didn't believe our "phony" southern accents. Who knows if they were just taking the piss out of us or were being sincere.
We stayed in frighteningly expensive hotel rooms, and we left way later in the morning on Saturday than we had planned.

We got to Boston just in time to park the car and literally run to the Middle East club, barely making it in time. The show was great, and was well worth the time and money we put into it. Somehow, however, it's the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Baltimore that I remember more. I don't reckon I'll have another 5 May like that one.

Now playing:
matt pond PA - emblems
matt pond PA emblems

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

it's a miracle the district can sleep at all (alone or otherwise)

I spent Saturday and Sunday in our nation's capital with some of my greatest friends.
Saturday, Reid and I went out for some dinner and a couple of drinks. Not a whole lot. Just some good times and some good, earnest conversation. It's been probably a year or more since I've seen Reid, and probably three years since I've been up to DC. Lots of times I wanted to. Lots of times I planned to and had to back out. Lots of times I should have but didn't. This time was great, too because there wasn't an agenda. No show to go to, no game to go to. Just hanging out.

Sunday morning we got up, walked around the neighborhood a little, then met up with Susan and Tad. I haven't seen them since their wedding almost two years ago, and I had only met Tad that one time. I had a great time finally getting to know him. We had a good time at the brunch place, then we met x-box for some drinks. Poor dude was wiped out, but chose to hang out with us anyway. Just fresh off the plane from Europe, he drove through the night from NYC, and met us instead of getting some quality shut-eye. I also got to meet his new best girl, Nicole, who was another paragon. It's really cool that my friends are so awesome, and that their significant others are also cool is like getting two for the price of one. The six of us sat at a roof-top bar in Adam's Morgan, having probably a few drinks too many. It was, though, all in the name of good friends and good fun. Nobody did anything dumb or hurt anybody. We just laughed, reminisced, and I got to meet two wonderful new people.

To revisit a theme I've played before, we eventually got on the subject of the absurd number of Thai restaurants and their absurd names. Thai Tanic, for example. We always try to come up with the most absurd, and we came up with a couple of new ones this time.
Tad = "Thai Kingdom Come, Thai Will Be Done"
Reid = "Thai Priter"

I wasn't able to come up with one until I was driving home, but I have
"Thaiming is Everything" or "Perfect Thaiming"

We capped the day by eating at this ginormous Mexican place (the name of which I can't remember) that was pretty damn good. Even though it was Uno de Mayo, we were still able to get a table for six with virtually no wait. I had a total blast. Maybe it was the amount of alcohol, but I was practically in stitches for most of the night. I'd like to give my friends the credit for being hysterical, though.

Even though I'm sad about having lost my job, and my already tenuous financial situation has become more shaky, I am reminded that I have terrific friends, and that all-and-all, my life is actually pretty great.

I'm gettin' all misty-eyed as I type this.

For those of you who were there, thanks. I had a wonderful time.

Now.... Here's the thing. Reid had mentioned that his downstairs neighbor is impossibly loud, but I got off easy on Saturday night. Evidently, the guy wasn't there. I was also thinking that perhaps Reid made it sound worse than it really was. I didn't get off so easy on Sunday night. In actuality, it was pretty damn bad. But it's precisely like Reid said. It isn't the kind of noise you can feel justified for telling him to "knock it off". He isn't playing loud music really late. He isn't smashing shit, he isn't doing any of these. He's simply talking. Presumably on the telephone. It's just that it's kinda late, and he apparently doesn't have any rugs or furniture down there. So it sounds really loud, especially when one is (trying to) sleep on the floor. Can't rightly go down there and tell him not to talk. You just deal with it. Ear plugs did the trick, actually.

I hated to end the visit, but the weekend was over, and I had some fun to go partake of in North Carolina, so I got on the road early Monday.

The only unfortunate things about this weekend were that it had to end, and that it (and all the driving) made me tired. As a result, I was pooped at the Mountain Goats show. In fact, I'm still pooped, even though I've had lots of sleep since then.

Now playing:
Magnetic Fields -- 69 Love Songs, Volume 1
Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs, Volume 1

a pretty girl is like.... a pretty girl

Wow. I feel like I'm a damned rock star. I've been all over the damn place. Okay.... Not so much a "rock" "star", as say, the frontman of a marginally successful regional rock band.
I just mean that over the past six nights, I've been hopping from city to city. Charlotte, Durham, DC, Durham again and now home.
I sort of started the whirlwind tour by going to Winston-Salem last Tuesday to play Scrabble. It had been over a year since I actually went to a club meeting, and not a lot has changed in the interim. Same folks, same kind of turnout. It was nice to be back, and nice to be playing games over an actual table. Playing on ISC is good and well, but playing over a table is much much nicer. I only had time for three games, and I played well enough to win two of them, but I wasn't playing very well.
On Wednesday, I went down to Charlotte for a couple of days to stay with my parents. It was pretty nice. They didn't lecture me too much about getting on the ball and finding a job. Actually, they were really helpful. While I was there, I wrote up a resumé, with their help. I haven't really had one in the past. I've been doing the same thing since I got out of college, and this is the first time I've been in a situation to want or need one. They also provided me with a little bit of advice, guidance, whatever you want to call it about what my next steps should be.
Another thing I did while I was down there was to pay a visit to the Charlotte Scrabble Club. Their turnout was about that of the Winston-Salem club -- 8 to 10 folks. I had time for four games, and I played really well in all of them, winning three of the four. I felt really good because three of those games were against players who I know for a fact are more skilled than I am. Although I was having some good luck, I was really excited about some of the finds I made. "iNACTION" was one of my favorites. In one of my games, I wasn't able to remember that the only valid "ARISEN + O" is "ERASION". Instead, I played ARONIES, which didn't draw a challenge. In another game, I was also unable to remember that the only "EASTER + A" is "AERATES", but correctly recalled "AERIEST" as one of two acceptable "SATIRE + E" (and the only playable one) two plays later.

I spent another night (Friday)in Durham, then on to DC. Karen almost never has Friday nights off, and who knows when we'll both be free on the same Friday, so we took the opportunity to hang out together, laying low. We rented Finding Neverland, which I liked, but we agreed that the dialog was way too quiet. It seems to be that way with a lot of movies these days, and if there's English accents, it makes it a little more difficult. This is a point I could go on about, but I haven't the time or energy right now. I'll just say that although I like the movie, Gosford Park is damn near unwatchable for this very reason. Volume up to 11 is no use. I still have to use the subtitles despite the fact that they're speaking English, a language in which I am generally fluent.

I feel like I should write a separate post just for the DC leg of the trip, so I'll just skip that bit, and fast-forward to Durham again.

I got back to Durham on Monday afternoon. Karen had been busy all day planting a ton of flowers in the yard, and I got back just in time to watch her finish up. We laid around a little bit, then went out for dinner at Pepper's Pizza. "Party of two? Let's rock and roll!". Then to the Cradle to see The Mountain Goats. To be honest, I went into the show with very little familiarity with him, but what I had heard, I liked. Especially the new one. Karen also let me borrow one of the older ones for the drive, and I liked it. Anyway, I liked his show. There was some opening band that I didn't really care for that much. They had a lot of potential: a violin, an upright bass, a banjo, and drums. More than half of their set was terrible (to me) and, the rest of it was actually pretty decent, but I wouldn't pay to see them. To me, they sounded like what Dirty Three would sound like if Dirty Three sucked. Mountain Goats, however, was good. I was really happy with it. The only thing was that John "Mountain Goat" Darnielle is now living in Durham, and he was really playing that card a little aggressively. At first, it seemed like the earnest "boy, I'm glad to be home" kind of thing, but it really got to be more of the "hey, did I mention that I moved to Durham about a year ago, and I live there, and my house is there, and I live right down the street, and I'm local now", and we get the freakin' point. The highlight of the show had to be the song No Children, which I actually was familiar with. The crowd was really into it, and he was really into it. Also, there were several songs that he played with a full band, which was kind of neat. For my first "real" exposure to Mountain Goats, it was great. Despite the fact that I was totally worn out, I really enjoyed it.

Now playing:
Dirty Three -- Whatever You Love, You Are
Dirty Three Whatever You Love, You Are