Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Interesting Book

"I'd forgotten when I wrote this thing how many people work in the restaurant business-- and, as significantly, how many have at one time or another worked in the business. And whether they're now sitting behind a desk or piloting their own lear jet, many of them apparently miss it. It was the last time they could say what they wanted in the workplace. The last time they could behave like savages, go home feeling proud and tired at the same time. The last time they could fuck somebody in the linen closet and have it not mean anything to serious, or stay out all night and wake up on the floor. The last time they found themselves close to people from every corner of the world, or every race, proclivity, religion and background. The restaurant business is perhaps the last meritocracy*--where what we do is all that matters. I'm not even out of the life and I miss it already. " -Anthony Bourdain Kitchen Confidential.

I just bought Kitchen Confidential (Ok, so I'm a bit behind the curb) and I may have just found a new book to add to my favorites. I'm only 40 pages in, but it's obvious that Anthony Bourdain can write a mean book. The above quote is spot on also. Check it out if you work in a restaurant or like food or just like good, slightly filthy writing.

I'm going back to the couch at 3 PM on a Wednesday to continue reading and then I may meet a friend for a drink or go to a cafe and do some writing/people watching.

Life is Good ;)

*The word "meritocracy" is now also often used to describe a type of society where wealth, position, and social status are in part assigned through competition or demonstrated talent and competence, on the premise that positions of trust, responsibility and social prestige should be earned, not inherited or assigned on arbitrary quotas.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recent Writings

(EdNote: I liked this passage so I thought I'd post it on the blog. This is a serious passage but most of the writing so far tends to be more of the funny, sarcastic, weird variety.)

I shutter with orgasm and keep it in as deep as possible until I feel every last drop come out. I lay on her, unable to move for a minute and we keep deeply kissing, our mouths almost wide open on each others even though the sex is finished. I roll off and we're both panting and looking at the ceiling. Then almost simultaneously we begin to giggle and smile for no reason except that at this moment we are free of all the stresses and money problems and one year old baby problems and life decisions and health problems. This one moment we are not of this world. We smile, wide, crows feet-making, genuine smiles. She lays across my torso and we lay in our own sweat with nothing on our minds except each other. Although brief, this moment must be near the apex of human happiness. Possibly.

We make love again that night and again in the morning. In the morning our breaths and bodies reek of cigarettes and the night before, but we still lock into each other without insecurites and without concern. It's beautiful, violent and fast. The type of sex that it takes some couples months or even years to cultivate, if ever. The type of uninhibited sex where you know that you have morning breath and you know that your body smells but you still hold nothing back. Your breath mingles and sweat mingles with theirs and no one is saying, "oh let me go brush my teeth first."

I have to work a double at Drink Bar that day so I get up to shower and start the recovery process. We're ready to leave by 9:30 and I walk with her outside and the day is miserable and wet. My head is swimming and the rain only compounds the issue. Sara and I kiss and we promise to call each other tonight and tomorrow and hang out next weekend and do this and do that... The usual spiel that two people will give each other after a night of sex. I look in her eyes and can tell that she really means these comments, she really does have feelings for me.

She drives off and I get into my car. I put my head on the wheel for a second and start to mentally prepare myself for 14 hours of work.

I feel a bit melancholy, even a bit bored. I look back on the past 24 hours and the whole scenario seems very commonplace, although to anyone else I doubt it would. Sara doesn't realize it. She's to enraptured with it all, she's content in the idea of us being together and falling in love. She's used to the emotions that ordinary people are used to.

What I know though, is that this thing that we created the night before means nothing. In a few days this thing will cease to exist within me and not even by choice. It will just dissipate like every other good thing does. I will have another passionate night with another girl within a few weeks. Sara will call and text and finally, exasperated, she'll call and say,

"What happened Jack? I thought we had something real?"

I'll be flippant and dismiss her cries and eventually I'll forget about her altogether. This isn't what normal people do, but me? I'll go on my way, confident that I can create these feelings and emotions with another girl....and the truth is... I can. Anybody can.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Not a Rubber Duck

I recently reread one of my favorite blogger posts of all time, RubberDucks, by Roosh V.

The post is short and blissfully simple.

excerpt: I wonder what it feels like to be a rubber duck getting plucked off the track, away from the safe but predictable current. It seems like it’d be scary, flying in the air like that, away from what you know, with little hint of what’s going to happen next. But I don’t know of a better way for a duck to live.

This post reminds me of why I started blogging in the first place. It reminds me that I'm not ready to live an ordinary life or take the highway that so many others have taken.

The post makes me mad that I waste time writing crap and not thinking of stuff like this. It makes me mad that I'm not doing something great and huge and groundbreaking. It makes me feel like a rubber duck.

I'm not going to be a Rubber Duck, all bunched up, all exactly alike, all living the same life... I can't be. There's to much I have to do with this life to let that happen.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursdays I'm in Love...With Myself

I woke up today(Thurs) feeling invincible. I haven't drank for 5 days. I've caught up on sleep and even put a few positive hours of sleep into my system (as opposed to negative hours where you're catching up for lack of sleep). My body felt right from a few great days of gym work and good eating. I didn't have to work til 5 PM.

I was ready to write a book.

So I get to a coffee shop with free wi-fi on the west end of Richmond around noon and set up my labtop. I get some lunch and decide that a little online poker is in order before I get poppin. An hour passes (I ended up 50 bucks to the positive by the way) and I then decide to walk next door to the Sprint store and check out new phones (I didn't buy one, thank god) and then I end up reading some J.Joyce (Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man) for a bit. Next thing I know, two and half hours have passed and I haven't typed a single word.

But....... this would change.

I'm not sure if it was the caffeine or some devine force inside of me, but around 2:30 PM I started to have some ideas and I started banging away at the keyboard, without going back to correct grammatical errors (thanks commenters).

When I finally finished around 4 PM, I had put out 7 pages of material (12 point font, microsoft word) and quite honestly, it wasn't that bad. I actually had to re-read it a few times because it shocked me how it actually turned out. On my way to the bar I was considering revising the pages I typed today and sending them off to various editors and publishers. This was definately the caffeine thinking for me, but the caffeine may have stumbled upon a decent idea. It's kind of a "go big or go home" mentality, which I think is the only way to go about things.

I almost put a few paragraphs on the blog tonight but decided that these would be the first of many awesome paragraphs and that I would save that for a few weeks.

I can do this. I'm doing this. There's no turning back now.

I'm punching out another hour or two of writing tomorrow before my shift.

I'm also looking forward to Saturday for reasons that I won't divulge on the blog. Lets just say that I got someone to cover my shift at the bar, it's going to be sunny, there's a river with rocks to lounge on, a Richmond wine festival, and a girl involved.

Jack is a happy boy :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bar Vampire Girl

I'm bartending last night. I'm on the outdoor patio bar by myself and it's a beautiful night. The crowd is steady and I'm pouring drinks from the minute we open at 6 PM. The tip bucket begins to fill up and I start to flow into the steady rhythm that a good bartender will tend to get once they begin moving. My movements are precise, drinks and shots are made expertly and with a controlled and speedy tempo. I acknowledge people I recognize and make the usual charming small talk, all the while I keep the bar immaculate and keep the money changing hands. The night is young and I feel really good (not drug good, just a natural high).

Around 9 PM a waitress that I know from another restaurant walks in with her two friends. As the waitress and I exchange pleasantries I happen to lock eyes with one of her friends. Her friend has a beautiful face but what really catches my eye are her piercings and tattoos. Her lower lip, tongue and nostril are all pierced and her back and upper torso are competely covered with tattoos. Her skin isn't completely "blacked out" with tats, but there has obviously been A LOT of work done. Other patrons at the bar turn around and it seems like this girl is the center of attention. I failed to mention that she also had a smoking hot body. She got a great deal of attention throughout the night.

It's clear from the outset that this girl likes me. She locks eyes then looks away and she giggles with her two girlfriends about me. I bartend and I flirt me, it was on.

(A side dilemma that comes with flirting with girls while bartending is that they're drinking and you don't get out of the bar til 3:30 or 4:00 AM, making a same night hang out very difficult due to a girl's tolerance and patience. I liken meeting a girl while working to pitching in baseball. I meet her and give her my set-up man (Joba Chamberlain), then if I can procure a next day or same week hangout, I bring in the closer (Mariano Riviera). I tried to explain this to my boss last night... Okay I've gotten off track but you understand the juxtaposition here...right?)

So the night wore on and I steadily flirted with this tattoo'ed, slighty redneck (as I begin to see) beauty. I won't divulge all the details but I will skip forward to the end of the night.

As the bouncers begin herding everyone out the door I motion to him that the three girls (waitress, tatty'd redneck, other girl) are okay to stick around. So I walk around the bar and hang out with the tat for a few minutes, and again, I'm not divulging that much, except for this:

If you can imagine, this girl wasn't the most cultured girl and was basically a dirt nasty, don't tell mom the babysitters dead, doing blow off each other's inner-thigh, ho fo sho, skanky freak fest. She was a hot mess.

So as her friends start to walk out she comes back up and gives me a nice, slow peck on my neck. then... unannounced, she chomps and I mean CHOMPS into my neck, interview with a vampire style! I immediately give her a hard forearm shiver and send her back a good 10 feet.

"I swear to god if that left a mark I'll kill you woman!" I said, half joking and half serious.

It really fucking hurt, but it was in front of the other bartenders, bouncers, owner, hangers-ons, I manned up and laughed it off, but I was a little worked up.

I guess these are the types of girls I should expect when I work at the bar I do. I'm not complaining about it. Sometimes I just need to get the fuck out of my own head and enjoy certain times. It's just a tooth mark on my neck.

And no... I didn't call her after I got off and I didn't go back to whatever dilapidated outhouse she lives in, although the option was clearly there. I won't say the thought didn't cross my mind but I had my reasons not to make that trip (this time). Unfortunately I had to work at another bar at 10 am and it was 4:30 am when I got off so I needed my rest... This isn't always the case.

Writing Update

So I had a few hours before work yesterday and I decided to give this book idea a-go. I somehow managed to bang out 4700 words in a span of two hours, most of which completely sucked my ass. I went to work feeling a little dejected and thinking that I may have bitten off more than I could chew, and that I just don't have the ability to do this...

But then I worked and went to sleep and then I woke up.... and it's a new day and the motivation is right back up again and I want to keep going.

If I can put together more than one good paragraph every once and awhile then I'll post some snippets on the blog. Be forewarned...Its contents are starting to make the blog look quite tame...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Big Life Decision #1

*noooo, I'm not attempting to compare myself to F.Scott Fitzgerald...psh... well... maybe his drinking, but certainly not his writing.

I've been talking, thinking, posting, dreaming, wondering, hoping and planning in the past few weeks about some projects that I've wanted to undertake. Most of them are far-fetched and some might even call them foolish, but none are impossible.

I'm in a place right now where I have no responsibility, no concept of time, and only the wind and my crazy, moody emotions can lead me. I have some very steady, very consistant bartending gigs to provide a living. I have a lot of daylight time on my hands. Most importantly, I'm starting to become absolutely fearless with how I want to live my life.

I've been toying with the idea to write seriously for awhile, but honestly, I just didn't think I had the chops for it. I have brief moments of bulletproof confidence that makes me think I can undertake the arduous task of writing a novel, but for the most part I just don't think I have the follow-thru or the talent to make it happen. Even bulletproof confidence tends to wilt at the grand idea of writing a book.... Even writing this post I'm having crazy confidence swings about whether or not I should post this idea.

Well, maybe I can do this and maybe I won't be able to finish and maybe I'll end up looking like a bigger idiot than I already do.....But I'm going to write a book.

The only reason I post this is because I need and want some accountability for this decision. I'm going to see this shit thru come hell or highwater and the small amount of people who read this blog (about 150 peeps a day) will be there to either see me succeed and produce a mediocre book, or fail and be like every other major idea most people will have in their lives.

I have a broad outline for what I want to do, and I have A LOT of ideas that need to be put on paper. The only thing I can say with confidence is that there will be a good amount of self-autobiographical material involved and a small mix of fiction. (Think Augusten Burroughs or James Frey. Although I'll admit that some of my work is made up unlike these dudes.) I just think its a matter of pushing my ass and using the daylight and nighttime hours I have to bang out the words and once that's done.... well, then I'll let the chips fall where they may.

My life is in constant flux, constantly changing, and constantly shocking me... I've gotten calls regarding jobs in DC recently, I've gotten other bartending gigs offered, old jobs have contacted me, I get ideas to do this and that and everything in between...everything is flying at warp speed....I'm excited about life and about this decision, and it has to start now. Something big is going to happen...this I know for a fact, and I also know that this feeling (of grandeur?) won't go away.

I'm resigned to the fact that whatever the end product is or even the mid-product, may not be a masterpiece, but it will be something that you can hold and something I can be proud of. I have the time and the energy now, and now is the best time to do anything...

Blog will continue as always and updates will follow frequently. Wish me luck or wish me failure, but whatever you do, don't bet against me :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday Is The Day To Turn It All Around

*go out and find your Marla this week.

Since Strawberry Hill has come and gone and now the only thing most of us have to look forward to is the slow, inevitable decline of our bodies and the melting of our youthful, attractive faces as we march blindly towards our demise, I've decided to give you all some ideas and thoughts on how to reverse the aging process and at the same time maintain a solid level of awesomeness well into Tuesday and possibly longer. This plan, if done correctly should have you peaking right around 6 pm on Friday night, just in time for the weekend.

10:37 AM Monday: Read this post. After reading, stare wistfully out your window at the crummy view (parking lot, another cookie-cutter office building, brick wall) and decide that this is the week you start your transformation. As your energy level increases and your adrenaline starts to surge with the new life decision, wing a recently sharpened pencil at your bosses back. Then as he stomps around looking for the culprit, stop him and blame Sara from HR. That bitch has always had it out for you anyways...

10:39 AM Monday: Retire to the labratory and reward your new found awesomeness with a Monday morning masturbation session. Bonus points if you can convince a co-worker (preferably of the opposite sex) to join you and make it a mutual masterbation session.

11:00 AM- 12:00 PM Monday: Daydream about a life not filled with Friday nights spent watching movies on the couch and Excel spreadsheets that you spend an entire week on that will go unnoticed by your superiors. If you are a master at manipulating those bitch-ass little cells and doing an ultra creative, fully-functional spreadsheet, then congratulations on wasting hours upon hours of your life. At the next happy hour maybe you can bore some chicks with how to jigger the predictor variable in a field while still keeping the sum of each cycle balanced blah blah blah. They call that kind of conversation "panty-dropping, rain-makin, freak-nasty, gettin a handjob on the metro" kind of talk.

12:00 PM-1 PM: Scour for some of the indispensible, cornerstone, classic novels. Instead of buying the actual book, pick up a copy of the accompanying Sparknotes. You shouldn't be concerned with the intellectual benefits from reading (YET), instead you need to build a solid repertoire of classic novels to reference in an effort to be more interesting to new potential friends and suitors. If this seems to time-consuming, simply google some classic books and authors (you can't go wrong with James Joyce) , then remember one or two pertinent facts on each. If people want to get in a deeper discussion about a certain author, call them something derogatory such as "pansy-man" or "four-eyes" and then change the subject. There, thats a solid hour of being productive with your life and not spent discussing the merits of Helvetica typefont for the bi-monthly newsletter that you got buffaloed into co-editing.

1:00 PM Monday: Instead of making a quick jaunt to Taco Hell for your usual 1200 calorie Grilled Stuffed Double Mayo Bomb, opt for a healthier lunch. I'm thinking a large water and some grilled chicken. Hey, listen, I didn't say this plan would be all fun and games but it is a fact that eating healthy and feeling good can actually prolong your existence...I mean fuck....this is some ground-breaking shit here people.

2:00 PM Monday: Get up from your desk, go outside (its beautiful out) and start walking. Walk a mile or two and come back. While walking, try and remember a time when you were sublimely happy, a time when you couldn't repress a smile. Try and figure out how to get back to that place. If there wasn't ever a time like this (in the past month) then I recommend not going back to the office because you got some serious work to do.

Go back to the stress chamber(office). You just got some exercise and I guarantee no one will question where you went or what you were doing. It's when you start asking permission to do things is when you start getting negative responses. Today we start doing what we feel like people, today we take the last cookie in the break room without asking if anyone else wants it, today we ask out the barista at wait, we don't ask, we just say, "we're going out woman (or man)!" Asking permission was okay back in grade school and even back then the cool kids still just did whatever they felt like doing.

5:30 PM Monday: CONSIDER QUITTING YOUR JOB. Yeah you, just do it. Okay I know some of you are perfectly happy and theres nothing in the world that you would change, but I'd be willing to bet that for about 95% of you this isn't the case. Now I understand that in many cases, including my own, money is the main reason why you can't just up and quit. I understand and commisurate with your plight, but there IS NOT a better time than now to improve your work life. Begin looking, begin trying to find something new. The only thing you shouldn't do is be complacent and wait. No one else is out trying to make your life better (except for me) and only you can do that.

7:00 PM Monday: Take a good hard look at your spouse, girlfriend or self in the mirror. Are you staying with that person because you're scared of being single? Are you there because you've spent so much time together that you don't know of anything else? Are you there because you just don't think that they could handle it if you ended it? Are you in a comfort zone and just don't feel like breaking up the routine? Are you keeping a blind eye to his or her frequent emotional abuse or infedelaties? Have you stopped working out and eating healthy because you just don't see the need anymore? Are you unhappy???? (be honest)

Answer yes to any of these questions and it's time to hit the road Jack.

You're not ready to settle and it's time you grew a pair and re-entered society. You know who has missed you? Your me... You are not that same person we used to know and love. Don't be scared little one...There are many insecure, emotionally unstable people just like you that will make you sublimely happier for short bursts of time ( I know this as a stone cold fact). Comfort is boring. Comfort leads to overweight, boring, miserable, bang my head against a wall, bore strangers in bars with lame talk, listen to the same bands you liked in high school, sexless drudgery.

This is just the beginning. Luckily for me and you, it's never to late to turn it all around.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Free Form Tuesday

Constantly waking up at 9 AM no matter when I go to bed. Drinking til 5 AM? Oh well I'm fucked and screwed out of sleep. Get up and eat a small bowl of Special K and one hour later I crash again for one hour. Every day like clockwork. Wash, rinse, repeat. A nap before 10 AM??? Damn you body clock! No rest, have to get up and move, do something, drink coffee, blackout at the gym listening to Raekwon as loud as possible on my ipod, come to and realize I'm rapping out loud while on the pec deck machine. Not caring anymore about people looking at me, being skinny in a gym of meatheads, not intimidated anyone. Knowing every girl that works at the gym now...Do they smile and flirt because they have to or do they have an interest? I think both. Seeing the same people in bars, gas stations, cafes, parking lots... Richmond is a great place to be known by see them every damn day. Crushes are rendered moot because you find out if they like you within a week or two. I have to many fake crushes....Need a real crush. Unfortunately I'm to forward... No stares from afar...its ,"hey my name is Jack. Lets get drinks." Grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns... at everything, not just girls. What's rejection?

Why am I dressing for a 4:30 PM work shift at 11 Am??? Am I ever late for anything? Ever? Nope I have to be early....fuck. Constantly thinking about sex, the breeze blows or a I make a strange movement and all of a sudden I'm horny as a bull. Coffee shop girl--can't write, can't think, just staring and wondering what it would be like to be on top of you. Would my friends think you were cute enough to date? Does a girl have to overly cute for me to date her? Be seen out and about with her? hmmm....probably. Should I even attempt to make a move? I see you everyday and lets face it, we would work... but I come here to much. Don't need to ruin my atmosphere. Well....maybe....we'll see coffee shop girl. I can only fake the mean guy with a soft side for only so long though....its mostly soft side with a few violent rages thrown in for good measure... I think we might work.

Next up, my brain is flooded and free form writing is starting to take form, albeit a loose schedule of my Tuesday, but form nevertheless. At lunch I see an old friend, at a cafe I see an old friend. Its all, "What happened to DC? Whats the deal? Oh you're working at that bar now? Whaa?" Then its all me, " Figuring out the basics of life, etc, etc, still the same old Jack...just better and prettier." Both: "Lets kick it soon, same phone numbers, same everything... Anything new to bring to the plate? probably not...

Now can only think about what the plan is for tomorrow night. Nights out have taken a whole new meaning, adventure, strange women are a must, strange places are a must, want to live it all up. Should I take a date out? Should I get drunk as a clam? Should I make it a solo adventure into the night? How about all three? I need to have sex soon, and now, and with someone beautiful. No more wasting sex on the unbeautiful...looks are a must but don't be a bore, don't bore me with stupid conversation, be mean, be sarcastic, be a complete bitch just don't be stupid. I need a girl to take to the river with me...certain times demand a female's presence and or wit....god just don't be witless. I won't fake being nice anymore to dates

Richmond gets a little better everyday and I get a little better too...

Ednote: this post was banged out in 8 minutes, 2 minutes longer than most of my intercourse sessions last, although I saw on the CNN news ticker the other day that quickies are good for umm, take that.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Month In the "New" Life

Tomorrow marks my one month anniversary of working full-time as a bartender. In 30 days I've somehow managed to work 26 shifts at my three bars. The money has been consistant and even comparable to what I made with my corporate gig in DC. The really crazy thing about the past thirty days is that I haven't dreaded work or not wanted to work a shift even one time. I actually like working.... This is something that may shock some who know me.

The Pros:

--I've never been in better shape than right now at this moment, due to constant, punishing morning routines at Gold's Gym, hours upon hours spent standing and working in a fast-paced enviorment, and less Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays spent drinking. I've heard so many former bartenders complain about how they couldn't handle the "lifestyle" or that they always fell back into bad habits. Well with me, bartending is actually cleaning up my lifestyle, although for those that know me, I'm not a saint by any means of the imagination.

--My sex life has not gotten better or worse because quite simply, I don't have a great amount of time to spend in the sack. I have met an incredible amount of (beautiful and/or smart) women in the past month though, which begs the question... When the hell will I actually be able to date some of these women? I'm starting to see why service industry people tend to date other service industry people. Still this goes in the book as a pro because I meet more women on the average Thursday than most guys do in an entire month. The sex still happens.... You just have to get a little creative sometimes. :) Parking decks?!?

--New friends, new acquaintences, and new people to turn to for help or advice.... Bartending is a social business and I've been taking full advantage of that fact.

--My creativity and intellect is growing by leaps and bounds. Ideas, words, books, energy, ideologies, plans, schemes and everything else you can think of is what my brain is made of right now. I feel like I'm on a constant caffeine high for 20 hours a day and I can't stop moving and doing and seeing. Having the daylight to live my life may have been the answer all along.


--The sleep has suffered. My old favorite pasttime of sleeping A LOT is no more. You may think that this is a good thing, but I need my sleep and even when I have the time to sleep, my body clock is all over the map so the sleep is a bit fitful. In 30 days I may have had 3-4 refreshing 8-9 hour deep sleeps. The darkness under my eyes is becoming more and more permenant and unfortunately I think my body has adjusted and is just refusing to let me sleep.

--Less time with my old friends. Quite honestly I just don't have the time to hang out. As life goes on and you start to see people less and less, you begin to wonder why you hung out with them in the first place. If theres one thing I'm learning, it is to surround yourself with people who make you happy and lift you up. There are enough stressors in the world and having to hang out with people who bring you down is an unneccessary expenditure. Some readers may think that these past few sentences refer to them.... If you're not sure, then they just might.

--Having to explain myself on what the hell I'm doing with my life. People always have to know why I'm bartending full-time and they simply can't fathom why this is??? Unfortunately I can't tell paying customers how I really feel and I tend to fluff my answer to this question, although I'm always honest. I would hate to blast a tipping patron's narrow world view and grim, ho-hum life with my real thoughts on the subject.

--Having a fat wad of cash on my kitchen counter. Sure I deposit it every few days, but sometimes I may need a 20 or a 50 or a 100 to go out or buy some worthless crap. I've been pretty militant about spending for the past month, but I have to be even more so. Cutting my debt and a lot of other crap out my life is the vision. Living simple and minimal is the key.

Honestly, it was a stretch to think of any cons, meanwhile I could've bored you to sleep with even more pros. The bottom line is that life has flipped the switch and put a smile back on my face. The key for me is to enjoy it while it's sunny though, because the rainy days will always return... Luckily the more rainy days you see, the less uncomfortable they seem until eventually you need a little precipitation every now and again to keep you on even keel.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Not A Tough Guy

(Ed.Note: This is one of those posts where I wake up the next morning and think, "good god I'm a complete woman", and then I consider removing the post, but since I value my readership (as minute as it may be) I'll keep the good posts with the bad... Just keep in mind... Drinking all day on one hours sleep, then blogging, does not make for a "tough" and/or "cool" Jack.)


Strawberry Hill was all that and a bag of Funyuns all over my backseat, and luckily(or unluckily) I didn't get completely smashfaced. On a good note I got three calls in 15 minutes wanting me to work doubles for the next two days. I was a bit out of mind and took the shifts without really thinking about how its gonna suck to work 15 hours straight hungover.... But I need the money, and I need something to quell the boredom.... 9 days of work starting Sunday. There's rarely any rest for the weary.

A randon concert after Strawberry Hill for free with the Miller Lite People (CitizenCope) at Richmond's new concert hall, The National and some random conversations and what not, have this blogger feeling a bit blue, a bit confused, a bit everything...

Booze, emotions, people: Not a good mix.

It makes me wonder how I developed and maintain such a tough shell when it's easily cracked at certain moments

*On a more awesome note, on Friday afternoon I was doing my hobo thing at Cafe Gutenberg with a friend, and we happened to meet Ben Folds there, an ultra emo, piano-playing genius. I was and still am syced about the chance encounter. I really think he appreciated when I gave him the fist in the air and a whooping, "yoooooooo, it's BEN FOLDS!!!!!!!" as he walked by.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How To Dominate the Strawberry Hill Races

I felt that with a big weekend approaching and with the biggest (Richmond) tailgate of the entire year on Saturday, I would give you some tips and advice on how to completely dominate and out-awesomemify your friends, strangers, women, parents, little kids, strippers and whoever else you may encounter. Follow my advice and you will maintain a level of bad ass throughout the Strawberry Hill Races that few, if any, can match.

--Take your tailgating seriously. Don't pull a hipster stance and be all non-chalant about Strawberry Hill (the aforementioned biggest Richmond party of the year). Buy your beer (good beer...meaning Miller Lite is as cheap as you can go), spirits (over 20 dollars a bottle, at least) and food (no fucking Mickey D's, grow up and cook something) by the Friday before the event. This Saturday is all about drinking, acting cool and tough in front of your friends, and hitting on women in LARGE numbers. You don't want to wake up on Saturday and have to make eight stops for booze and food and suntan lotion and other worthless BS. Real men prepare for a day of partying, little whiny sissy men buy a six pack of Newcastle the morning of....

-- Don't, and I can't stress this enough, do not bring a girlfriend (or boyfriend) to the event!!!! You can bring unattached girls with your group, but bringing a girlfriend pretty much defeats the whole purpose of Strawberry Hill. What is the purpose of Strawberry Hill then? I'm glad you asked. Drinking, acting lewd, and hooking up with new girls or girls from your past in strange and uncompromising places. Porta potties, flatbed of a truck, in front of your friends while wrapped in a large American flag.... you get the idea.

--Pace yourself....TO AN EXTENT! No one likes the guy who monitors his drinking to the point where he only allows himself one beer an hour. He is a prick and shouldn't be allowed within 25 feet of the awesomeness you're making rain down upon the tailgate. Now its also advised that you don't drink to blackout before the 11 AM hour, but if you happen to find yourself in this position, don't sweat it. Most people won't notice or will forget about it by 12:30 PM. I suggest the following drinking regimen:

Wake up, shower, dress, begin packing car, begin 30 minute drive to Colonial Downs, crack a beer on the way, get to track, set up tailgate, crack another beer, take celebratory shot of Tuaca for setting up the tailgate and for being such a cool and tough guy, crack another beer, etc. The main piece of advise I can give you is to watch your shot intake in the morning (unless its cold and raining like last year, in that case, spike your starbucks with four shots of Irish Whiskey and don't look back.... don't ever look back).

-- Heres some track specific advice. I know some people who like to walk the entire track to see people, and then some people chill at their tailgate and wait for people to come to them. As a five year veteran of the races and someone who has done both, heres my two cents. Stay within 50 yards of your tailgate!!! You're not going to the race to get a workout, you're going to party. You will see plenty of old faces and new friends by staying put. If you don't have a car lot and you have a car pass instead, I would suggest finding some bad ass party monsters like myself and hooking your wagon to their star. You won't regret it. Personally the walk always ends in me being half way around the huge track, drunk from taking random shots with strangers, and wishing I was back at my lot. Knowing you're two miles from home base sucks.

--Heres a good one and practical also. Don't or at least try not to hook up with your Ex on Saturday. You will see her walk by, possibly with a new lover...In this instance my advice would be to immediately whisper to your friends what a loser the guy shes with is, take a shot, then do some sort of old school dance (Possibly the Ed Lover dance, or even the Humpty Dance works) in an effort to show her how awesome you are and how you could care less who shes with. Making out with a random hussy is also pretty effective in this situation.

Theres plenty of women or men there... Theres no need to rehash old feelings, especially when you're piss drunk and you're with all your cool and tough friends. I've done it, and lets just say it can throw a big ass monkey wrench into your party schedule.

--Don't get in fights. You will see about 20 fights throughout the course of the day...Don't be the asshole in the middle of it. You're more than welcome to lob full, unopened beers into the melees from the tailgate of your truck though. This is an accepted practice at Strawberry Hill as of 2004.

--Have a DD...its a long drive back to Richmond, especially after 15 beers. Find your most loserly of friends and hand him the keys. Tell him, "Strawberry Hill is for MEN and you don't fit the bill...." Then proceed to pour a half-drank beer on his head in an effort to show your dominance. This usually works...

--The last thing...Have fun. Don't let people like me build up the event for you, only for it to suck. You make your own good times so don't let people around you bring you down. Inevitably you will have Debbie Downers at your tailgate....Be honest and tell them to sack up and stop pissing on your parade of Strawberry Hill Domination. Then proceed with the half beer pour on their heads... I find the half beer pour is effective in almost any situation...try it and find out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

They Always Pull Me Back In....

Its Wednesday night. I decide to hop over to the neighborhood bar for a Guinness or two, nothing crazy. I meet some friends, drink my beer and take my exit. I get home at 9:30 Pm and change into shorts and a t-shirt. I make a PB and J then settle in behind the computer in order to drop a grandiose blog post about something facinating and rib-crackingly funny. Then the call comes.....

"Jack, whats up? You coming out? C'mon man you said you would hit the town on Wednesday. We got some girls to meet at (bar name redacted), then we'll hit up (bar name redacted). Its gonna be legen....wait for it....dary!!!"

I hesitate. I don't have to work til tomorrow night so a hangover isn't a major concern, but do I really have the drive and the energy to head out tonight??? to bring my "A" game????

I have trouble saying no sometimes....

Fuck it.... You're only young once

I'm heading over to the fan.... I can only assume that something blogerific will happen and I plan on entertaining you with that tale of adventure or woe or sex or beastiality come tomorrow afternoon or at 3:30 AM Thursday morning.

Heres to avoiding (a lot of) shots and packing a condom.... cheers!

*posted at 10:17 PM Wednesday night.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hard Work Pays Off???

It's last Friday and I enter the bar where I work around 3:45 PM. I generally don't have to be there until 4:30 but I've decided to make the extra effort and get there early to get things set up, liquor bottles out, glassware in place and all of the little things that go into setting up a bar. I've been early to every bar shift I've had for 1 month straight now for a reason. There will be four other bartenders with me tonight (Its a huge bar) and by the time one of them rolls through the door most of the "side-work", though not all of it, will be done by yours truly.

Incredibly I'm the oldest bartender on this Friday although usually theres 2-3 others who have me by a few years. In the past 3 1/2 weeks I've proven myself through my work, skills and commitment, so I've been privy to a lot of insider info like who got fired and why, or why this bartender sucks, or who is going to get fired....etc. I just keep my mouth shut and nod for the most part. I've learned the hard way, to many times, that talking about other people will generally never end well.

So its nearing the start of business (6 PM) and the manager for the night has designated me to "run the point" tonight. "The Point" refers to the bar area and POS computer nearest the bar entrance and the area that will always be the most crowded. I feel honored to be put in the most difficult spot, but I also feel like I'm about to work a lot harder than any of the other bartenders. I like staying busy and having a lot of work though, as this always ensures that the night will move quickly. I start making the first few drinks and working the computer around happy hour a little tentatively, but by 9 PM I'm a machine. Mulitple orders are taken, shots are shaken and drinks are poured simultaneously. My tip bucket gets so full by midnight that I have to put another bucket on top of it to push down all of the excess 1's and 5's.

There are multiple times that I notice other bartenders casually leaning against the bar while I see at least 4 customers near them, staring intently at me waiting for their turn. On these occasions I simply tell the other bartender to get off their ass and do some work, but never in a menacing way.

One bartender, a very cute, very young girl who I had never worked with, constantly walks to our other bars (theres three bars in the building) and speaks with other bartenders. She's clearly drinking (a big no-no) but it doesn't really faze me because when she does attempt to do stuff she usually just fucks it up anyways. For example I keep all of my open credit cards and ID's in an ordered stack next to my computer. At one point she is trying to close out someones tab and comes over to rifle through my pile. She ends up dropping all the cards (about 20 at this point) and then instead of re-ordering them or wiping the disgusting grime from them, she puts them back in my holder, out of order and sticky from being on our vile bar mats. I was not pleased, although I still had visions of her naked dancing in my head through out the night... :) She was a cutie.

Also near my side is another cute bartender, who is working her very first bar any bar. I try my best to train her on the computer and help her with drinks before we get slammed. I also sidle up every few minutes when I get a second and ask if she needs anything. She works slowly and asks a lot of questions, but for a first-timer I'm impressed that she doesn't get rattled that much. In fact by the end of the shift she has improved considerably. Now if me and other male bartenders can just get her to dump her overbearing boyfriend then we're set... The bar has been on the look out for cute female bartenders lately so its great that we may have found one who is competent.

The night moves briskly and before I know it the lights are on and the bouncers are clearing people out. The manager comes up to me and tells me to gather the bartenders before we count drawers or begin clean up for an impromptu meeting. I grab everyone and we meet up in the back room. Its clear that he is not happy with us although the night ran relatively smoothly for a Friday.

Cutting to the chase, he is unhappy that some bartenders have been drinking on the job, which in VA is very illegal. In the backroom where we meet there is a machine that will give breathalizer read-outs. He basically says if anyone blows anything over 0, then they're done. I hop up first, take my straw, insert it into the machine and blow. 0.0.... I smugly say, "thats right bitches" and walk back to the bar to begin counting my drawer. Others....ahem...weren't so lucky. Bye bye hot female bartender.

After this overly dramatic scene we begin counting the drawers and the manager looks at the numbers for the night. I count my drawer and my tips then I go meet with the manager to see if my numbers match up. They do and my tips come to well over 300$...unfortunately we tip share here so everyone gets the same portion. It should also be mentioned that on "point" I outrang every other bartender by a huge chunk. This can be expected because I was getting the highest volume of customers, but I outrang everyone by an abnormally large chunk. Oh well...

Clean up is done and tips are counted (its 4 am by this point). I end up walking out with tips that aren't even remotely comparable to what I rang or the amount of work I did, but I don't complain because I know how the system works. It just angers me when you see people getting the same amount of money when you know that they don't deserve it. It makes me wonder why I bust my ass all day and night.

Then I remember why.

Don't get me wrong, I bartend for the cold, hard cash. But I also work because I like what I find out about myself through the actual work. Walking out of the bar at 4:30 AM after a long shift I feel cleansed. I feel like I pushed a rock up a hill for 12 hours and my body feels incredibly taut and strong. My head is clear and I don't have any real worries at that moment. If I don't push myself, then at the end of the shift the only person who I disappoint is me. I have enough people who disappoint me as it is...

Following my recent theme, I'm not sure where I'm heading, but being an awesome, hard-working bartender is somehow part of the equation.
Oh and meeting 3-4 new girls a night doesn't hurt either. You know its bad when you have to start asking every Nicole or Erica you meet for her last initial before entering her number into your phone... You know its really bad when you have to ask for her last initial and the following letter. My phone is starting to look like the fiction section at the local library.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wanderlust Pt.II

As I continue to read travel blogs and books, the burning desire I have to travel only continues to grow and although I'm starting to cut down on my debts and earn a (decent) living, I'm still no closer to making these dreams a reality.

The closest I'm getting to Europe or South America is a quiet morning spent in Cafe Gutenberg daydreaming about these places. I'll sometimes be reading the paper while at the same time pretending I'm Henry Miller in some cheap, tiny cafe along the Champs-Elysees in Paris (although generally I'll be shocked out of this daydream when some hobo will walk by, yelling nonsense to the passing cars.)

So I wonder how will these dreams ever become reality? I can keep bartending and trying to save some dimes here and there, but in the long run that will only buy me a brief two week sojourn and this wanderlust will not actually be satisfied.

Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly pleased with my lot right now, and it's only in passing that I think about getting away (again). I think, "Jack, you've found a perfect lifestyle for you at this moment and in this place and time... Why wonder what else is out there? Just BE dammit!" I guess I'm just a restless 24 year old. This is the reason I can't just stick with one girl and this is the reason that I'm always looking for the next big thing to come along.

As I write this post though, and even for the past month or so, I'm starting to see a path (albeit its not clearly defined and I'll probably need a machete to go at it). I'm happy right now and I like where I'm going, but I need something else to fill my time. Lets face it, as great as bartending is, theres only so many drinks and techniques that one can learn. I'm making it a mission to become a great bartender, but this definately doesn't take much effort other than nose-to-the-grindstone, hardass work. No, the path I see is a bit different....While it will involve tending bar, it will also involve the idea that I've harped on lately... The idea of Projects.

What projects will take me to that next level? The more I think about what I like and what I think I'm good at, the more ideas I tend to get. I know I want to keep writing, but what forms(other than blogging) can I really get into? How do I get started?

I've been thinking about possibly starting a young man/bartender memoir and seeing what flowed out of my head...sort of a semi- non fiction/semi- fiction work of the extreme honesty variety (a la Henry Miller). I also plan on contacting some of the free papers around town about possibly contributing articles for free and for the experience I could gain. I think some freelance copywriting would be something that I could be great at too. Where the hell do I begin on that though? Going around to small businesses and offering my services? Possibly...
Another avenue is learning as much as I can about bars/restaurants, and asking questions and seeing how things are run. This knowledge would probably be used much later down the road, but I have to start somewhere. I'm also learning and experiencing that the bartender who really focuses and makes the effort to benefit the bar, in addition to his tip jar, will get the extra perks and will get noticed.
...anyone starting to notice how jumbled my brain is with ideas right now...I become breathless as I try to spit this all out...

Now where do these actions actually constitute a path??? The specific actions themselves don't make a path, it's the fact that I'm going to start moving on these actions and making things happen (other than just paying down my debts) that will eventually take me places. I'm not sure where I'm headed yet, but I'm ready to start swinging the shit out of that machete.

(PS: I'll keep my readers updated on my course of action. I intend on making a firm commitment to a big "project" within the next month as I continue to build my laundry list of ideas. Number one will still be me gaining my financial freedom back and hopefully some of my new endeavors will help with this goal.)

-Every man has his own destiny; the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it, no matter where it leads him. -Henry Miller

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Quote

“To be young is all there is in the world. They talk so beautifully about work and having a family and a home (and I do, too, sometimes) --but it's all worry and head-aches and respectable poverty and forced gushing. Telling people how nice it is, when, in reality, you would give all of your last thirty years for one of your first thirty. Old people are tremendous frauds.”- Wallace Stevens

I'm not bashing old people by posting this quote....

god knows I'll be there one day too... Its just a good quote.

For those that care, Wallace Stevens was a modernist post who found success in his late thirties, although he did hold down a real job throughout his illustrious writing career.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What Are You Accumulating????

My future commanding officer....

I just wrapped up Terminator 2 and that in combination with a recent post critiquing me and my lifestyle choices seen here: (blog name/post removed. I don't feel like sending anyone else to this guy's lame blog. If you really want to read the post just shoot me an email) got me thinking.

One, I'm fairly sure that the "machines" will not be sending the more advanced T-1000 back in time to kill me. I will never be that important. I'm starting to accept I will probably not be a famous actor or basketball player. While I will probably be a decent soldier in the fight against the machines and one of few remaining humans, I will not be John Conner.

Two, the above post I linked spoke about how I'm wasting my life/time/whatever... Basically its the polar opposite of the shit I talk about. One thing this guy said was that with the lifestyle I'm leading I will have nothing to show for my life at the age of 35.

Hes right and wrong.

He's right, in that I won't have a McMansion and some middle management job at IBM. I most likely won't have a kid either, unless some broad tricks me and lets a couple of my guys slip past the goalie. On this path I will have some money, but not really the amount that other people would consider to be a substantial amount.

He's wrong, in that I will have a great deal to show for my youth. Theres the obvious stuff like great experiences, college degree, a lot of women, great friends, relationships, etc.... But then we come to the other side of the spectrum. What will I physically have to show for my years? Do I really need anything to show??? I say no but lets keep going....

This is where the idea of "projects" come to mind. Its an idea I lifted from Roosh V as he always seems to have something other than his blog to occupy his time, although I do consider this blog to be a very serious project for me right now.

What can I do with my spare time and lack of responsibility? Write a book? Maybe. Try some freelance journalism around Richmond? More likely. Become a certified personal trainer and spend some of my time on that? Something I'm interested in. Read more books??? Already working on it.

I'm finding out everyday that I have a very creative mind... Now I just need to harness it and put it to use. Theres no better time than now to get started (and that goes for everyone and everything, not just me.)

Oh and the answer to the question, What are you accumulating???? THIS: More real, enjoyable, honest to blog, beautiful, scary, dangerous, completely idiotic, embarassing, confidence-building, life experience than almost anyone I know....

The NEW Richmond Shot

As a young Richmonder with a solid amount of nightlife experience here in the city (liquor rep-2 years, currently a bartender) I feel that its my duty to share a new drink that was stumbled upon by myself and the proprieter of Element Lounge on 18th St in Shockoe Bottom (although it was mostly his doing).

Before I share this fantastic new drink lets take a look at some other Richmond staples when it comes to drinking:

Bushmills: A long time Fan/industry favorite for taking shots. Some people prefer to quaff Jamesons instead and some people also prefer to shit in the woods... to each his own.

Tuaca: As a long time Tuaca drinker and someone who actually worked for Jack Daniels (the owner of the Tuaca brand here in America) I can say with valid facts that Richmond is one of the biggest Tuaca markets in the country. Its a grassroots brand and Richmond is a grassroots kind of place. Other cities where Tuaca is big include San Fran and most of the Northwest. Tuaca is also a huge service industry shot of choice here in Richmond as evidenced by the multiple number of Tuaca Chiller Machines in bars around town (some of which were my doing :)

Jager: Barf. Still popular and still a vile and disgusting liqueur.

Soco: Triple- vomit. I shake up and pour about 25 soco-lime shots a night. Its nothing but sugar and a good marketing campaign.

Then theres the flash in the pans...The ones that get hot for a few months or a year then cool off. These include Van Gogh Double Espresso (Very hot right now), Three Olives Grape Vodka, Cherry Vodka, El Corazon Tequila, and Pama. (I'm sure I'm missing more than a few...)

Anyways back to the new hotness. As we were talking about drinks to mix up using Van Gogh's Double Espresso we decided to mix it with Tuaca and see what came up. After multiple attempts we found a money recipe which I will now share. Just please remember that it is the brain child of Element Lounge. (according to google this drink has not been invented yet.)

The Tuaca Express: 2 parts Tuaca, 1 1/4 parts Double Espresso Vodka. Shaken violently with ice until its nice and foamy. Enjoy now, feel like death in the morning.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Flipping The Switch...For The Better

One of Richmond's greatest joys. The James River. You can bet that once the weather is warm I'll be out on the rocks and rapids everyday before work.

Lets compare a normal Tuesday for Jack Goes Forth now (April 1st) and four months ago (December 1st). You tell me which is better....

December 1st: Lived in Arlington VA. I woke up every day at 6:30 AM and dragged myself to the bathroom mirror. As I looked at my reflection the gradual fear of another stressful workday begin to sink in. It was all I could do to not smash my head into the mirror as I would rather spend the rest of the week in a hospital than in my cramped, little office in downtown DC. I somehow collected myself and made it to the metro around 8 AM. The entire metro process really did not help my day get any better. Cramming into the orange line like a sardine is an awful experience and seeing the pitiful looks on 95 % of the people's faces only reinforced this fact. Occasionally it would be extremely packed and I would have to use my size and scowl to force my way on the train...this always sucked.

Work was a never-ending cold call in which I repeatedly got told NO and was repeatedly disappointed. This was broken up by the daily call from my superior in NYC who liked to tell me how I was the worst of her new hires and that I wasn't reaching my potential.

The only solice I had was the fact that I could get up and walk out for coffee and food anytime I wanted...which I did about 10 times a day. The breaks always sucked because I knew what I had to come back to.

The only thing that kept me going were Thursdays when I would go out with co-workers and burn the roof off and then every other Friday when I would get a massive check deposited into my account.

I constantly lived in fear of getting fired and I constantly dreaded going to the office. Even when some real success seemed immenent I was still in a state of despression from my daily routine and I'm fairly sure that no amount of money or commissions would have changed this.

Weekends consisted of binge-drinking my face off and trying to forget how much I hated my new life and the awful decision I had made in taking this corporate gig.

I felt lethargic and tired a good amount of the time.

April 1st: I'm living in Richmond VA (my hometown). I wake up anywhere from 9 AM to 1 PM depending on if I worked or went out the night before. I usually meet one of my close buddies or a fellow bartender for lunch or breakfast. We lounge about, laugh, hit on waitresses and talk about the things in life that interest us. This is either preceded or followed with coffee and then an intense trip to the gym. I've fallen in love once again with the gym and music and there are times when the music is so good that I simply can't leave the gym. When I do leave I feel like 10 million dollars.

I then hit Barnes and Noble or Cafe Gutenberg where I read some magazines and books while slowly idling away the time until work, unless I'm working a lunch shift and in that case this whole process just happens at night instead of during the day.

I get to work at 4 PM and begin setting up. I finish up this and usually grab a bite to eat before we get slammed with customers. Once business starts booming I'm so busy taking orders, mixing drinks, closing checks, flirting with girls, joking with the other bartenders... that I'll look up and all of a sudden the lights are on and the bouncers are clearing people out. Then we count our registers and begin clean up. Of course we also make our own drinks and relax a bit. Depending on which bar I'm at I either get out at 1 AM or 4-5 AM. Then I go home with my money, my health and a smile on my face. Work is over for the day... There will no bosses to report to the next morning, no reports due, no client meetings. There will only be life as it was meant to be lived.... With friends and family and with the things that make you happy...which I should note, are things that money will never be able to buy you.

I'm in a good place right now