Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Two Fer Tuesday

Okay, I planned on posting about how on Tuesday, I drank a couple of beers and hit The Ho.

How I met Larry and Marilyn (other bartenders) and "high-fived" some guy named Tim about 333 times in two hours. Listened to country music and watched Tim and Marilyn dance (actually twirl around and sway) while Marilyn spent most of the time pulling Tim's hands off her ass. How talk turned to Behind The Green Door, Linda Lovelace, and Deep Throat. Marilyn likes porn. They used to play porn on the TVs at The Ho during the day.

How I then sauntered up to The Lamp Post Tavern and Jim (the bartender served me a Jameson on the Rocks with a Water back without me ordering it. How I stared longingly at a pixie of a cutie girl for a while. Frank told me she was engaged (of course, am I ever attracted to a single woman?). Smoked a lot of cigarettes and listened to some fat blonde complain to Jim and Frank about how some Dennis dude was "creepy" and "played his shitty music about how he hated his dad over and over."

But I am dead tired. And the heat is off in my apartment for the fifth time in 9 days.

So, I am going to chug a couple of beers, watch Dave Letterman and Conen O'Brien, and huddle under a blanket with Lilly.

Tomorrow I work 9-five, thus completing my roughly 49 hour week.

Then hit a couple of parties, drinking myself into (temporary) Oblivion with friends.

Happy New Year!
Drinks at the Bar!
2006: May you get what you want; not what you deserve. Arrrgh. ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

December 26th, Santa's had enough!

Ha ha ha.
I am linking here for the picture!!!

And Strange Reaction is a great site for you kids (like me) into the punk music.

Hope you all recovered from The Hellidays, and are gearing up for the New Year (I have two party invites! Unheard of! Unimaginable! Unbelievable! Brilliant!).

Good-night, ya Yobs!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sorry Virginia, Santa's Dead.

The Holidays.
The Hellidays.
Somewhere along the way, I've totally lost the Christmas Spirit.
What does this whole event, spectacle, shopping-spree weirdness mean?
People buying things (and seriously stressing-out about it) for people they don't know or even like. Or buy things just to buy something for people they love, without any thought behind it ("hey, stranger/sales associate, what's a good gift for my mom?") Obligatory gifts because it's the Holidays and they have to give something! Obligatory Gifts piss me off-- wedding gifts for a bride and groom you don't know, teachers' gifts, business gifts, holiday gifts. It rubs me wrong that people feel compelled to buy a gift; I'd hate for someone to give me something under that pretense. I prefer no gifts on Birthdays (just a well-wish does me fine) that had been bought under the Obligatory feel. Buy me something only if you like me and an item completely stuck you between the eyes: "Mac would loooove this!"

Obligated to buy. This doesn't feel right to me; and it hasn't for many years.

I am sure a part of this steady decline Santa's health is in part due to my steady increase in depression over the past 30 years or so. Or maybe it's just a factor of growing older that no one warned me about in my youth. Or the fact the anxiety-depression ridden side of my family has more of an influence on me than I ever realized (we don't exchange gifts anymore on one side of the family). Or maybe it is being witness to the aforementioned way a great majority of people shop through many years of Retail working.

Do people even remember December 25 is Jesus' Birthday?

And I'm not going to go all crack-pot religious freak-out on you. It's just that something seems missing behind all the lights, wrapping paper, and rising credit card bills. Is this time of year really the time of year to get stressed out and rude to other people at a mall (or anywhere for that matter)? Fucking Moronic Mall Zombies: buy, buy, buy!

I'm losing my train of thought here.

Maybe I just think people buy too much shit thoughtlessly, for the wrong reasons. Do you really need different colored rugs, placemats, and entire wardrobe merely because the season's changed? Does Little Skippy really need a $200 coffee maker for his Freshman Year dormroom? Do you really need to throw out a set of perfectly good glasses and buy all new ones because the old ones held five ounces instead of four? You really need to return all those items because "really, who has time to hand-wash? Who doesn't own a dishwasher?!"

I'm shocked America is the leader in waste and pollution.

There's something missing; and, I don't think I'm going to find it this year either.

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivous, etc.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Hellidays

Happy Birthday, Jesus, but Fuck the Holidays.
The meaning of Christmas is lost in the retail world. At least to me. Somewhere along the line, I have lost the Christmas Spirit.

And now I am freaking out as to what to buy momma and poppa for Christmas.
(They are in the process of leaving to Florida for the winter months, so that bought me time for shipping, YAY!)

But, what? Dear God, WHAT?!?!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

An imagined Future viewed in the Present among photos taken in the Past

On Friday, he clocked out and tucked in his shirt, yelling fast "good-byes" to various coworkers as he scurried out the store, heading for the car. He needed to be somewhere in a half an hour, and the drive would be at least that long. And, in addition, parking would be a huge obstacle to overcome once he got there, especially with the slush and snow and all.

In the parking lot, he lit a cigarette while the car warmed up and hoped for the best: light traffic and all green lights. Though not perfect, the drive went fast and smooth, having zig-zagged around Chicago's streets to avoid known clogged areas (Lincoln and the river bridge, for example). He even scored parking right next to the Dunkin Donuts by The Alley. And then his Doc Martens plunged into the snow up to his calf as he fed the meter. Wet!

That morning before work, he had pocketed an unsplit pill of Clonzapem without knowing why at the time, he hadn't needed it for some time now; but, now he knew why. Nervousness and the Blue-haired Demons had started to creep creep creep around the base of his stomach.

He inhaled deeply his last hit of his cigarette, quelling the Screaming Hordes, and exhaled loudly into the Clark Street traffic blowing the Blue-haired Demons into the steamy cold night. He entered The John Galt Gallery.

Bright lights! Warmth! People talking a murmermurmermurmer that hummed in his ears. He walked on shaking legs to the next room, scanning the crowd for people he knew and alighted on Justin and Complex Carrie. He in dark clothes with his cool necklace, and she in a black antique dress like a wide-eyed Flapper. He walked up to them and said hello, and they went through the typical "what time you get here?," "how'd you get here?," and "who else is here/coming?" small talk everyone goes through at first meeting as the snow melting off his shoes made a small muddy puddle on the light wood floor.

"Did you dye the ends of your hair red?" he asked Carrie.
"No, why?"
And when she turned to face him, the color red disappeared from the ends of her black hair. He realized it was an illusion caused by the red and yellow bulb shining in a little black-metal framed lantern held by a skeleton statue in a bride's dress standing behind her/next to him.
They laughed and looked around. His eyes landed on a petite blonde in black slacks and blouse, looking professional and vigilant. She must work here. He followed her around the room with his eyes for a while: very cute. The type of woman that made him very aware of the scuff-marks on his boots, of all the wrinkles in his dark green button-down, and of the frays beginning at the hem of his brown pants.

He had been expecting/hoping tonight would be a scene out of this book/movie, but, alas, it was Chicago and twenty years too late. Instead of Bow Wow Wow or Tones on Tail grinding bumping pulsing through the speakers, he didn't recall hearing anything at all, but the background voice-noise. Though no Annabella Lwins were running around, there were indeed about four Sweet Betties walking around. Strangely, the two artsy Bucktown-types looked very similar to each other: medium length dirty blond hair, thin Euro-All-American-girl faces, big brown eyes, long tan-colored overcoats, and off-centered make-him-melt smiles tinged with an all-knowing smirk. One had a boyfriend, the other a small green Israeli Army purse.

Looking around reminded him of teenage dreams, of the Path he had envisioned himself walking forward on. He had wanted to drink and twirl with girls at The End of The World for four or five years; move into a crude walk-up on the L.E.S.; write for a living at music magazines; gallery and club hop throughout the week; and rub shoulders with artists, rockers, and models slumming it on Wednesdays at dive bars in the rain. But, through a series of choices, mistakes, fate, and fear, he ended up in Chicago. In Retail. And, he supposed, it wasn't all bad.

Ahead of him hung three sci-fi, D&D wet dreams. In another room, he saw a painting he really liked and would have bought, if not for the $875 price tag. On the other wall (also similarly priced) hung a few paintings of cityscapes, or rather, buildings viewed from an alley only in teals and hott pinks named (something like) "This Year's Blight." Even with the warm or flashy colors, the pictures held a mysterious element of danger or sadness or hidden evil. A tiny Asian hipster with a goatee, looking at a painting of a woman's face next to the hospital painting, kept telling his girlfriend, "this one's not bad, not bad..."

He returned to his friends who had been joined by Lauren.

"Where's Scott?" he asked her, mainly to remind himself she was married, to push aside all the naughty thoughts running through his head when she looked at him over her dark-rimmed glasses, or when she put a hand on her hip that jutted out just-so when she took a sip of her wine.

"He works late tonight." She said," Their reisling-styled one is very good, you should try some."

He finished the sweet red wine he had and took her advice and went to the bar for the reisling one. The August Hill Winery had donated bottles to the event and were holding a Wine Tasting this evening.

Conversation among the group swerved and flowed: Rehab, cars, how it's hard to talk about your own paintings, the wine, jobs, condos, and more: "...and then H. left a voicemail to call her back, so I did. She was on mushrooms, and she denied ever calling me. I'm worried about her, she's acting weird: You don't eat mushrooms at midnight when you're looking for a job!"

He briefly thought to ask her if H. could get him four grams of mushrooms, but thought this may not be the best time.

Ron, in Armani (that he pointedly and loudly pointed out), was saying "...I love her photo that has Bjork in the background." Which turned out to be a picture of Bjork in the background, not actually Bjork standing in the background. He told Ron he felt lied to.

And, suddenly, he was meeting a photographer named Candice. The three of them grouped in front of Candice's photo sets. She had long red hair, a black vest over some sort of concert t-shirt, and multiple piercings. She seemed seemed a lot younger than him.

"Which one's your favorite and why?' she asked. He pointed to Innocence and Seduction, but he wanted to switch the titles. All the photos held warm color (yellows, oranges and reds), but they turned out to be black and whites that had been developed with a filter. A woman posed in front of a yellowish garage door in Innocence. She had her hands up in her black hair and stood askew in a tight white Michael Jackson "Beat It" t-shirt, her eyes looking directly into the viewer's with a come hither look. In the darker photo, Seduction, the same model had been shot, a nude, with breasts and face only showing, shadowed. A line ran across her neck.

"Has she been strangled? Is that a rope burn?" He asked, pointing to the line.
"No, it's a collar."
"I want to switch the titles."
The look on her face in this one has more of a seductive woman, one that knows what she wants and gets it, whereas the side view of her look in this one, and maybe her nudity, brings to my mind a sense of purity or newness, more of an innocent quality. Her stance in the first one just screams 'let's get it on.'"

And that led to a brief conversation among him, Candice, Ron and John (Candice's boyfriend) about using or not using titles in art. Should a piece have a title displayed for the viewer? Does the addition of a title help or hinder the viewer's interpretation of the piece?

"I hate it when they use 'Untitled' as a title." Candice said. "That's just lazy." Then Ron started saying something about how in New York the wine is better at these gallery events.

Time to go.

Lauren was going out to a bar with Perry. No invitations, so he offered Justin and Complex Carrie a ride home.

He'd had a peek into a world he'd envisioned as a teen. He poured a double-finger of Rare Breed on the Rocks, sat on the too small couch, and dreamed of where he wanted to go in life.

And pretended he knew how to get there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Post Postponed Post

I'd planned to finish a post about my night out at The John Galt Gallery, but I've just come off a 13 hour shift.

I am beat to all get out.

Tonight is devoted to Jameson and The Reality Radio Show on WLUW (the best Chicago station!). That is what I need now: whiskey and hard-core, pub-rock, classic punk, and trashy rock'n'roll.

And sleep.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Memory attached to a song

This song always reminds me of my First Big College Crush.

Fenzel House, Freshman year, and she lived on my floor. Of course she had a BF. Of course I was too shy to let her know how I felt. Of course she thought I was a funny friend.

Where are you now, M. Amiet?

I remember drinking in my room with A.D. (my roommate), and she burst into the room, screaming, "Mac, it's on, it's on, come quick!" We rushed into the Girl's Mod, cupped beers in hand, breathlessly awaiting the MTV's World Premier Video of Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U." The lounge remained silent (amazingly) for the whole video, and I sat on the floor next to M.A. and watched a tear roll down her cheek at the video's end, desperately wanting to hug and kiss her.

It never happened, but the song lives on and remains one of my favorites of all time.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Get me some Culture and Wine

If the weather permits, and the Moronic Mall Zombies don't beat me down, I am planning on attending this Silent (ssshhh!) Art Auction/Wine Tasting (!) Event at the John Galt Gallery on Friday.

3222 N. Clark, Chicago IL 60657
6-9 p.m.

10% of the sales will help The Lakeview Pantry feed the hungry.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Monday, Mac was Ho-ungover

Yes, readers. Most of this past Monday passed me by while curled either in bed or on the too small couch, clutching head in hands and/or groaning for Lilly to "hush now, baby, hush."

Food intake for the day consisted only of Honey Lemon Green Tea, Paxil, Aspirins, water, Vitamins, Aspirin, and eventually a Po' Boy Ghetto Casserole I concocted with random staple items from the far-flung depths of my nearly empty kitchen cupboards (baked beans, shredded cheese, hot sauce, various spices and seasonings, baked in a glass dish at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes; shut up. It wasn't that bad).

What put me in this dire, yet all to familiar state of disrepair? Why did I feel like I sucked on ash and sand and cat hair? Where did Sunday night's booze-up occur?

The Ho.

Yes, friends, after a Vodka and 7-Up (with lemon), I made another trek to The (neighborhood) Ho. Again bored, buzzed, and restless, I succumbed to her cheap siren call.

It's freezing outside, and my Doc Martens slip on patches of ice as I make my way down the street, nodding once to two Mexicans working on a truck engine. I sit down at the bar, am greeted warmly by Linda, and served a $1 (yes, that's one dollar) draft beer. There is only one other guy in the bar (I later learn this is Larry, the other night bartender) sipping a draft and working on paperwork. Looking up at the TV, I see I'm just in-time to witness the beating of my second favorite team 10-34 on ESPN (last week granted me a grimacing trouncing of my first favorite team).

The Ho is where you go to watch dreams die, if you even have any dreams still alive.

Bad luck in a bad luck bar.

Linda's on her cell phone, so I sip my beer and look around the place. Old T-shirts hang above the door, the place used to be called "J.J. Hoburn's" or something. Exposed vent shaft along the ceiling on the outside wall pumps in heat, an American flag waving in the wind. Christmas stockings with names of The Regulars (Sal, Carlos, Terry, Gibble etc.) and Linda's daughters hang along the back of the bar and behind me. The polished wood bar is smooth under my hands, it's grain grinning up at me: "just refinished last month." Sports posters (Cubs and Bears) everywhere. Dark brown metal-tiled ceiling reminds me of Tony's, in a sad way. And a Christmas Tree, brightly lit up, on the table by the ladies' room door.

Linda gets off the phone with Blair, her boyfriend (that cracks me up), and gets me another beer. A younger thin Hispanic guy shows up and walks to the far end of the bar to play some video bar game with Linda, the warped floor raises and lowers my barstool as he passes. After a time and a beer, he and Larry talk about the latest in the bar's Football Pool "never bet against The Bears, I told him again and again, man, never bet against The Bears. He lost a bundle." He leaves.

Linda and I talk, mainly about her kids. They either graduated from or are still at ETHS. She says it ain't the same as when she went. "My baby girl got jumped by some fuckin' gang-bangers last week. Shit, I knew who they were, and I called their momma right up."

I know practically nothing about ETHS, except this guy went there, and that he hated it. Called it a prison. She didn't know him. He's probably much younger than her. "It ain't like when we went there. They got detectives and cops roaming the halls and metal detectors and shit."

She gets me another beer, then Blair calls her again. She stares out the front window past the neon sign at the street, "I love you too, baby."

Larry tells me The Ho's been around since Prohibition, but he's only worked here about three years (ha ha). He used to be in advertising, but now he bartends here. He's got a daughter who's seriously into her studies at Indiana University and a son ("considering criminal law or something") at University of Michigan. He's proud of them, they're good kids. He heads for home.

A couple of beers have past, and I hear Linda tell Blair it's a slow night, and she thinks she may close up at one tonight. I order shot of Jameson and a (final) draft, thinking the night is coming to a close; and, besides, things are starting to swim a little, speed up.

Bits of Ho Knowledge:
The other bartenders steal tips from Linda.
There is a wicked-looking baseball bat behind the bar, and Linda has come close to using it.
No one has been murdered in the bar.
If you are a minority, Linda will give you change (quarters changed into dollars) (like the two black guys that came in at one point), but Larry and the Owner won't.
The Owner and the other bartenders "switch off" the pay phone if minorities try to use it without ordering.
Larry will jack up the prices on newbies and pocket the overage, so check out the price listing behind the bar on yellowed paper to the left of the whiskey shelf.
The jukebox is mainly country music, except for this this Fuck-Yeah! albumI so love.
You can run a monthly tab.

* * *

Then Linda tells me a sad story.
One night this chick comes in alone, sits at the bar, and buys a beer. Soon, Larry is buying her drinks. A Mexican guy comes in and sits with her, buying her drinks. A little bit later, an Indian guy comes in, also starts buying her drinks. As the night progresses, this chick is wasted, making out with the Mexican for a bit, then hits the bathroom, comes back and makes out with the Indian guy. Linda pulls the bat out when the Mexican starts finger-banging her at the bar. "You don't pull that shit in here, get out, get a room." The Mexican guy leaves. The Indian dude and chick make out for a bit, pay the tab and take off. Sometime later (that night, next day, next week?). The Indian dude shows up, "Linda, if anyone asks, I was never here."

The guy lives around the corner. He had "found" the woman in his stairwell at four in the morning naked and bleeding. She "might" have been raped, but he didn't do anything.

"I don't lie for no one like that, mutha fucker." The bat comes out, "If the cops come here, I'm tricking on you fast! Found her? Shit. How'd she get in your building in the first place? Fuck you, get out!"

* * *

The door opens, and a tall, bearded white guy walks in (Steve). He starts talking to Linda immediately about how he messed up the Football Pool. He'd picked 15 for 15, but never had a chance to place his bet. "15 for 15! Oh, man, I messed up this week missing that bet." And his voice is like a balloon. He fills the room with his booming voice, not un-friendly, just loud and constant. Soon, I'm clawing against the edges of the balloon, stuck in my seat.

"I'm working on this statue, this sculpture for this guy, about 19 inches tall, got the shape worked out, but having trouble finishing off the hands, he wants a gun in one hand and the other hand is flipping the bird, gun in this hand, middle finger up in the other, about this tall, it's the main character in that horror movie, gruesome thing, haven't watched it yet, gotta borrow a DVD player to see the thing, really get a better idea about the character, supposed to be a blood-bath...."

Steve makes 12" to 20" sculptures of various things, and he owns 3 of his own electric kilns. Sells at art shows and such.

Somewhere in the night, Steve leaves for a what feels like a nano-second and returns with his brother Terry. I get a free beer and a free shot of Jameson on Linda. I insist she drink one with me, so she cracks a Corona with Lime and salt: Cheers! Steve drops 3 thin photo albums in front of me. They're his portfolios of his work. They were pretty good. I looked at one and exclaimed, "this one is perfect for S.R.!" It was a little Mr. Burns twiddling his fingers, the word "Excellent" carved into the base. S.R. loves The Simpsons. I asked how much for this one, but Steve said it'd already been sold, and seemed to brush off my inquiries as to pricing.

"You smoke, Mac?" Linda asks.
"You a narc, Mac?" she asks, laughing.
"Yeah, right."

Her and Steve "go for a quick walk" while I attempt small talk with Terry who is very quiet. He stutters, and I am sad to admit I remember nothing of our attempted conversation. I think he's an accountant? Something like that. I look at the photos again.

Linda and Steve return, a blast of cold smell with a trace of weed. She turns on the ceiling fan, and starts to restock the coolers. I ask if she needs help, but no, "it's been a slow night."

Terry orders a beer, and Linda pulls the wrong one, so suddenly I'm drinking a bottled Miller High Life. Linda turns on a small radio mounted behind the bar. Willie Nelson's "You Were Always On My Mind" comes on, and Terry starts singing along; his stutter is gone, and there's a sad, faraway look in his eyes. I sit quietly, affected by this moment. The song ends.

"That was pretty nice, Terry."
"Thank you."

Halfway through the bottle, and we're all saying good-byes and heading out into the night; the bottle in my pocket. The cold slaps us in the faces, so good-byes are brief and exchanged as we walk different directions: Steve and Terry to the south, Linda to the west and me to the east.

I imagine the beer freezing into a yellowish popsicle in my pocket.

It's freezing outside, and my Doc Martens slip on patches of ice as I head down the street, nodding to no one.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

If The Ho won't come to Mac, then Mac goes to The Ho

I had a whole post written in my head about this "adventure," but I allowed a hangover and too much time to pass and lost the momentuem.

Therefore, in a nutshell (with apologies to the ex-pat who wanted to go with me), here it is:

This past Sunday night, after work and a couple of Dirty Martini's with Lilly, I called Complex Carrie to see if they felt like going out for a drink. Due to financial lacking and an acute sense of the "sleepies," they rejected my proposal for intoxicating liquids and Mac-babble.

I and Lilly finished our drinks. I looked at her and she looked at me. And then she walked away to lick herself or something. She also rejected my proposal for heading out into the night. I smoked a cigarette, leaning against the kitchen sink, suffering from a trifecta of Boredom, Restlessness, and Vodka.

The Beast of the City hummed outside my window. I needed to stroke her moonlit black fur.

"Fuck it."

I went to The Ho, that seedy looking bar I've past on the way to The Lamp Post.

Tucked in the middle of no where in north Rogers Park, it sits with a single neon beer sign and a white sign above the door simply stating "The Ho" with a picture of a dog or something. I did a last hit off my Camel Light, flicked it into the alley, took a deeeeep breath and enter the bar.

Dark. Divey. And not bad.

Like I said, too much time has passed to full and properly finish this post. I'll try to post more about the next time (next time?) I hit The Ho.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Do you ever really "give up the ghost"

(Originally written 11/25/05)

I just watched Sex and the City.
The theme centered around giving up "the ghost" of relationships past. Do you ever really let go? When is it time?

I'm thinking of M.R. tonight (12? years). And drinking Jameson (fuck the rocks). And, oddly, feel guilty about not thinking more about C.K. (but, I am... a little). Maybe more so about the feeling one has while in a relationship. You can't describe it, but there is a feeling that takes over you when you're in it. A strangely warm cloud envelopes you and everything around you; even during the rough patches.

Fucking Holidays and surprise visits at work. Sparks emotions you knew were always there, but had hidden deep down below. You can hide the shit, but it is there; always able to surface at a moments notice. Sparks and flames of nostalgia that cannont be quenched/squelched no matter how much amber liquid you douse upon the fire.

Mental napalm that burns everything it touches.

I'm listening to the only mix-tape a lover ever made for me. Someone thought of me enough to sit down and take the time to compile a grouping of music that said something to her to express to me what she felt about me:

  • "I Go Crazy"-- Flesh For Lulu
  • "Foolish Heart"--The Grateful Dead
  • "Is This Love"--
  • "Lovesong"--The Cure
  • "Melt With You"-- Modern English
  • "Now"-- Eddie Brickell and New Bohemians
  • "In Your Eyes"-- Peter Gabriel
  • "Can't Help Falling In Love With You"-- Lick The Tins (God, this version kills me. Every Time.
  • "Say Hello 2 Heaven"-- Temple of the Dog
  • "I Do"-- Eddie Brickell and New Bohemians.

Side two= Peter Gabriel's "Security"

I've decided: you never give up the ghost until you're dead. Sometimes I so wish I could go back in time and mend the wounds, do the right thing. But you can't; the stupid youthful mistake is done.

You can't take the bullet back; once it enters, the damage is forever done and it bleeds forever.

"Et tu Brute?" she said.

The deepest cut.

Friday, December 02, 2005

'Beer goggles' effect explained

Ah-ha, that clears it all up then.
And all these years I just thought I was drunk and horny.

(Found via TMFTML)