Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Drink Your Beer.

Less than two weeks until one of the highlights of the year: The East Atlanta Beer Festival! Got your tickets? If not, get them here.

Check out my video. See you on the 31st.

I Am a Beer Man
If you have a beer, and I have a beer, and I have a straw. There it is, that's a straw, you see? You watching?. And my straw reaches acroooooooss the room, and starts to drink your beer... I... drink... your... beer! I drink it up!

Yes, I know it's a margarita and not a beer.
I'm trying to make a point here, Eli.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I was hopeful for a great weekend with J3K and Sandy in Providence. After a long week of work, I'd surely need some time to blow off steam. I arrived on Friday; Kim joined us on Saturday. Good times were had by all.

Wings of the Dragon
Friday night's hijinks could be summed up by two television show references: The Sopranos and Jackass.

First, we decided to head over to Captain Seaweed's for a few drinks and to see the sights. We were all hopeful that we'd come away with a good story. (Refresher on Seaweed's is here.) Well, my friends, the Captain didn't disappoint. Here's how it went down...

We arrived in the early evening with the anticipation of having a few beers and heading elsewhere. On entering the bar, we were amazed that we saw three other women. Prior to ordering our first beers, we learned that Seaweed's no longer runs tabs or takes credit cards of any kind. Yep, it's now a cash only establishment. Classy! So, we got a pitcher of Harpoon IPA and settled in for conversation and some good old catching up with one another. Some time later, I went to get another pitcher of beer. I placed my order with the bartender and waited as she pulled the beer. With no obvious prompting (or previous conversation), the older mustachioed gentleman at the bar begins talking to me. Here's what he said:
"You better take care of that f*ing girl. You know what I'm saying? You better f*ing respect her or I'll kick your f*ing ass," he said.

"Well, no need to worry because I was going to leave her a nice tip," I said.

"That's good, you're a good kid. You better respect her," he muttered.

"Respect is good," I said and tried to get a look at the guy and size him up.

While I waited for the beer, he continued to drunkenly mumble about respect and treating her right. After an eternity, the bartender gave me the beer.
"Thank you," I said to the bartender and conspicuously pushed her tip across the bar. Then, I turned to the guy and said, "Have a good night, sir."

"You're a good f*ing kid. You know why? 'Cause you got respect," he said.
I politely smiled and got the hell away from him. (A scant ten feet away to the safety of our table.) About three minutes passed before he comes over and joins us at our table. Evidently, he was a homebuilder of Portugese descent who was generally friendly if a little overbearing. Well, for some reason, the guy sort of turns into an older, heavier Fredo: he kept telling us how smart he was, how he was the smartest kid in his class, and so on. I bet he thought that we were students at Brown University or something. Anywho, this went on forever. Every five or so minutes, a large man with a grey goatee came over to try to get him to leave us alone.

"I ain't f*ing bothering nobody," he yelled at his buddy. "Am I bothering you guys?," he asked us. We thought he was pretty benign so we let him stay at our table. During the conversation that ensued, we were instructed to call him "Uncle Walter," invited to his son's bachelor party (we politely declined), informed that he'd be voting for Hillary because Obama sounds too much like Osama), and reminded that he was a smart guy. Things were pretty entertaining until some guy shooting pools yells out, "Don't trust that guy! He did some work for me and he still owes me ten thousand dollars!"

When Uncle Walter heard this, he was apoplectic. Seriously, we thought he was going to kill the guy. Instantly, he's up in the guy's face yelling a string of obscenities at the top of his lungs. We were all shocked and looking for the exits. Almost as quickly as Uncle Walter lost his shit, he was surrounded by beefy guys from the bar. They managed to "break up" the ruckus and proceeded to tell Walter to leave.

"Walter, get the f*k outta here," yelled the beefy bartender.

"What? I ain't hurtin' nobody," he protested.

"It's time for you to go. Get the f*k outta here, Walter! You're scaring people."

It took all of the beefy guys in the bar to throw him out. We sat there stunned at what had just happened. In the aftermath, we notice a gent that we nicknamed "The Captain" is sitting on the floor behind the pool table, crying like a baby. Seriously, he was openly weeping.

The Captain after regaining his composure.

"Holy shit, I bet they're going to whack Uncle Walter. That's why he's crying," I said.

"We need to roll," J3K offered.

Before we could leave, beefy bartender gave us a pitcher of beer on the house for our troubles. I'm pretty sure we drank it in about a minute just so we could get the hell out of there.

Grocery Cart Grand Prix
On the walk home, we stumbled across a grocery cart that was just begging to be taken. Naturally, we jumped into it and proceeded to make our way back the J3K and Sandy's place. At first, J3K got in the cart while I pushed. Then, perhaps he thought better of it or, most likely, he was just terrified, we switched places.

J3K opts to drive.

In any case, pushing a fully grown adult down a sidewalk in a grocery cart is challenging. A few times, I fell out. The first spill I took jettisoned my phone from my pocket. Later that night, some woman found it, sent some text messages to people in my phone book, and returned it to me the next morning.

Anybody seen my phone?

After a few blocks, I decided that
facing the other way was a safer option.

J3K go the hang of driving. At one point, he ran about as fast as he could with the cart. It was awesome until he hit a patch of grass and launched me onto the sidewalk. Luckily, I only cut my palm, bruised my shin, and smashed my elbow. Oddly, he came away with similar injuries.

Launch #2 - Moments after impact.

Seriously, this one hurt.

My boo boo.

Undeterred, I climbed back into the cart, instructed him to go faster and, for safety, advised him to push the cart down the middle of the street until we were safe at his place. Ahh, the joys of youth.

The long ride home.

Saturday and Sunday - Wings of the Dragon Were Not Ridden
Although it's probably hard to fathom, the rest of the weekend was pretty laid back. On Saturday, we gathered Kim from the airport and went for a walk on the beach. We were hoping to see some seals but didn't. Sunday, we went back to Newport and toured some of the "summer cottages" that have, no kidding, almost 100 times the square footage of my house. Good stuff.

Photos of the weekend are here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

(New) Heaven

I've finally recovered from a week on the road. I must say that traveling for business from Monday through Friday isn't something for which I have a ton of enthusiasm. Personally, I find it to be a lonely existence that uproots you from everything in your life.

I find that after a few days on the road, I'm thrown into an existential crisis. I have a ton of trouble reconciling the need for money and the need for fulfillment. These episodes always seem to end with me silently repeating a mantra that touches on my true aspirations, places the consulting work into a larger perspective, and somehow tells me to suck it up.

On these particular trips, I blame it on the building in which I do most of my work.

Let me see your Tootsie Roll(s).

From a distance, the building doesn't look that bad. Inside, however, it's a different story. I've yet to feel at ease when inside it. Maybe it's the fact that the only water in the building is run up one of the four "towers" on the corners. This translates into the bathrooms being placed in a semi-circle with the toilets on the narrowest part. Freaky.

One of the strangest things about the building has to be the elevators: Prior to entering the elevator, you punch in your desired floor number on a keypad. This keypad tells you which elevator to ride. The elevator comes, you get in it, and note the absence of any floor buttons. When I'm in the elevator, I fully expect to hear HAL telling me why he can't let me go to the lobby and leave the building. Anyway, it's very strange.

Punch in the floor number on the futuristic keypad.

Wait for the assigned elevator.

Panic because you're a prisoner inside a golden, metal box.

Anywho, my point is that although the people are generally friendly, the building creeps me out a little.

Ultimately, this ends with me alone in my hotel room after having dinner with strangers. If there is a particularly touching documentary on HBO*, for example, my final act before bedtime will be crying like a baby at the beauty of the human experience.

*I defy you not to weep openly while watching "Hear and Now."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I'm Still Here

Recently, I just haven't had the time to write as much. I've signed a contract with a company to do some software education and documentation consulting. As a result, I can no longer call myself "a man of leisure" as I am gainfully employed.

Between negotiating the terms of the contract and traveling to the client site in New Haven, I've been pretty busy with getting back up to speed as a part of corporate America. If anything, this gig has confirmed the fact that I've made the right decision in pursuing medical school. I'm not sure that I'm cut out for the corporate world.

Anywho, I'll be in New Haven this coming week and in Providence with Dr. J3K over the weekend. I'm taking my camera so I'll be sure to post some pics of the client's strange building and of the hijinks from Captain Seaweed's in Providence.

So, fear not: I am still alive and kicking, back among the world of the working.