Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Lush Puppy

The night was dark with a light fog that masked the streets in a horror movie haze. With no sign of the moon and the streets lights covered by the fog, these streets usually packed with pedestrians are empty except for the cool crisp night air.

Inside the Lush Puppy, it was a different story. The bar was loud and full of energy. Unlike the outside, the Lush Puppy was warm and inviting to share a good time with some good company.

The Lush Puppy is the local bar around the corner. There’s nothing fancy at the Lush Puppy, just plenty of booze, a couple of dart boards, pool tables, and a well stocked jukebox. This is the kind of place friends get together to celebrate, to drown their sorrows, or just as part of the routine. Basically, a pub in every sense of the word.

“Oh, so SORRY bitches…” said loudly in Sarah’s face as Sam took another sip of his beer and did the drunk man booty shake. “I’m the best SORRY player EVER”. Sam took another piece of Sarah’s piece back to the starting circle.

“First of all, no one needs to see that. And. Don’t make me beat your ass! Take one of Pete’s pieces or Brandon’s! Hell, Brandon’s winning!” Sarah said jokingly as she pushes Pete.

“I’m just sitting here amazed at your lack of coordination even with a celebration dance. Truly amazing really. Here, have another one. Maybe this will be the magic shot that will give you rhythm” Dan says in a witty monotone voice.

Tonight was board game night for the group. The Lush Puppy was the group’s regular hangout. Every other week, the group convenes for a night of board games. Being regulars at the LP, the group had stakes in the big wooden table towards the back of the room by the fireplace. Even though the table could seat 8, the bar didn’t mind the 6 person group being there as they generally would drink like 8 people.

This very close knit group consisted of Sam, Sarah, Seth, Brandon, Pete and Anna who all had been friends for years now.

“3…4…5…SUCK IT!!” Brandon yelled as his last piece cross the finish line. “Good move on choosing Sarah to move the pieces back Sam” Brandon gloated. “Time to pay up!”

As required by the rules, everyone took a shot as penalty for losing.

“Just like I remembered it when I played this as a kid” Sam said softly as the whiskey burns slowly down his throat. “Your parents made you do shots when you lost at board games? That explains things.” Dan snickered as he downed his shot.

“Anyone heard from Pete and Anna? It’s not like them to miss board game night” said Sarah. As she finished the 2nd gulp of her shot, she grimaces “What the hell are we drinking?” Waving the empty shot glass at the bartender, Sarah yells across the room “Hey Stonie, what the hell are you pouring us over here?”

Stonie just smiled “I just made it up. I’m thinking of calling it the Dizzy Puppy. First it’ll make you a little dizzy, then it’ll make you nice and warm like a puppy”.

“Excellent” cheered the group. As the aftertaste kicked in, there was indeed a warmth flowing through the group and general cheeriness. Even though Brandon won, he still took his shot to celebrate his win.

The group laughed and talked the night away. Everything from what’s on their guilty pleasure list to politics and reminiscing about good times in the past.

Sarah started getting up to go to the rest room. “While you’re up ms. no bladder, another pitcher?” said Brandon. “Oh, can you get more nuts and get some napkins too?” added Pete.

“Anything else?” Sarah said sarcastically.

“Yea, if you could get me the phone number of that girl by the bar, that would be great. Thanks!” Sam said excitedly. “Dude, that’s a guy!” laughed Sarah.

“Wha? Seriously?” Sam said nervously as he thought he might have been checking out a guy for the last 30 minutes.

The group just laughed as Sarah walked away.

When Sarah came back, she walked towards the bar to order another pitcher from Stonie. As Sarah waited for the pitcher, she noticed she was standing by the girl Sam had pointed out. Giving her a quick look, she didn’t seem all too bad. Just a bit odd that she was there by herself though.

Having had quite a few drinks, Sarah is quite the social butterfly. She quickly strikes up a conversation with the girl. Her name was Kim and the two seem to hit it off quite well. Sarah quickly looked back at the table to see that the guys were all watching them. She gave them a quick wink and returned to the conversation.

“Don’t look, but I’m with that group of guys over there. One of them has a thing for you.” Sarah whispered to Kim. Kim smiled and before she could answer, the music started pumping through the speakers.

Once upon a time.... Not so long ago
Tommy used to work on the docks
Unions been on strike
Hes down on his luck...its tough,
so toughGina works the diner all day
Working for her man, she brings home her pay
For love - for love

A big smile went across the face of both girls. The energy was felt by the entire bar as everyone started to sing along.

Sarah grabbed the pitcher and Kim and hurried back to the table. The guys were already up and singing loudly to the song. The girls got back just in time for the chorus.

Whooah, were half way there
Livin on a prayer
Take my hand and well make it - I swear
Livin on a prayer

The group cheered as the song came to an end. Sounds of glass clinging and toasts were everywhere.

The outside world was cold and dark, but here at the Lush Puppy, all was merry for now.

To be Continued…

Monday, December 25, 2006

Rest In Peace
You were the first to bring the sexy before it ever had to be brought back

You are and forever will be the pioneer and Godfather of Soul.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

That’s So Punk Rock

I was visiting Orange County this past weekend. I was there for work, then stayed for a couple of extra days. I can’t get over the great feeling of being back there every time I go. It maybe the beach that my hotel overlooks that makes me fond of the place, or the childhood memories. For the longest time, that was where I strived to move back to. I still consider the few years I lived there the happiest time of my life.

I’ve been away from there for over 20 years now. The last time I was there I had a rental car and was driving aimlessly (i.e. lost). Eventually, I realized I was driving to our old home. It was uncanny that I remember exactly how to get there. The roads, stores, and places have changed, but I still remembered it like yesterday. As many of you can testify, I can't find my way through a box, but I knew exactly where to go some 20 years later.

I went by our old house, then went by the elementary school I went to. I was sad that they tore down the slide that I spent so much time in. It was a giant robot with 2 slides for arms. Granted, the thing was a death trap with its rusty metal construction and several screws loose or exposed.

That’s just how we roll back then. Kids today are just too soft. A little tetanus never hurt anyone.

On Saturday night my brother and I decided to go out to Hollywood. We first went to a hole in the wall Taqueria where I made friends with the bartender. A specialty of the house was a drink called the Mexican painkiller. I don’t remember what exactly is in it, but it was something like a margarita with 4 types of tequila. Soon enough, I was indeed out of my pain/sobriety.

Thank you Mexican painkiller.

We decided to go somewhere else so we cruised down Sunset Blvd. We drove by the Viper room and I had to stop. The viper room is an establishment I’ve always wanted to visit. Viper room, along with places like whisky a go go and the Roxy are institutions of rock. And you know me. I’m so punk rock.

I didn’t know who was in there but there was a cover. Since I accidentally left my wallet in the car, my bro paid for the cover which made the visit doubly sweet. We made ourselves upstairs into a small dark room. There was a band on stage.

I was trying to figure out who they were but soon knew based on a song I’ve heard before. The band was LA Guns. I’m not sure why I knew them and their music, but I did. It was strange as I don’t remember ever listening to them. Hearing them rock out though, I felt I knew this music for some reason. Kinda surreal really.

The whole situation was a little cheesy, but pretty punk rock I thought. The band was rocking, the crowd was drunk and excited, and all the groupie chicks were around and adoring the band. That’s some old school rock. I think a nice pit would’ve made it perfect, but it didn’t seem like the right crowd and the place was pretty tiny.

We rocked the night/early morning away. I felt totally punk rock afterwards.

1 punk rock institution down. Next time, more punk rock action.

Who’s goth-ing it up with me for next time? :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Has Anyone Seen My Juice?

I was sitting around this evening procrastinating my eventual return to work. For a lack of something better to do, I looked through my files for old writings that I had done.

I came upon a screenplay that I had been working on for a while now. Every now and then when I get in the mood I would write out a scene. The screenplay always gives me chills when I read it. Not that it’s some literary or screenplay masterpiece or anything. I’m sure most of the things in there are derivatives of a lot of other movies I’ve seen before. But it was mine, I can almost remember every feeling of each of those scenes and where they came from.

A lot of the events are loosely based on my own experiences, or experiences that I had wished had gone a certain way. It’s nice to be able to do things over again. Even if it’s just on paper. I know we all have experiences where we’d love to be able to do another take, or do something different, say something different.

Another fun thing about writing the script is that you can put your friends in it. All of the characters, especially the comic relieves are just people I know. Those character are great cause they just write themselves.

After I reread the script tonight, I thought about writing another part. I sat here in front of the computer for about 30 min before I gave up. I used to have a million ideas. I used to be able to create so many scenes without thinking twice.

I can barely come up with a couple of lines that was neither funny nor helpful.

What’s happening to me? I blame it on the oldness, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. In the old days I would get a lot of ideas from my dreams. Most of my dreams are pretty horrific, and hence my nonsleeping, but they were still very imaginative. There were things in those dreams that were just wrong, but at least they were highly imaginative.

Not that I miss a lot of those dreams, but I haven’t had a dream (that I remember) in a really long time. And with it, I haven’t really felt that creative juice flowing. I don’t know if it’s the stress of work, being old, or everything else that’s on my mind. Whatever it is, I miss my dreams. I’m not sure what I need to do to get that back, but I would love to finish this script.

BTW, guess what kind of movie it is?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What’s the Price of No Jack?

Someone threw out a hypothetical situation last night during dinner. They asked if I would give up drinking if a girl I was dating or would possibly date asked me. Not entirely stop, but just major cutbacks on the drinking. Also, what if they asked me to stop drinking Jack (completely, or major cutback) because of some bad associations the girl has with guys that drank Jack?

Now many of you know I’m quite fond of Jack and drinking in general. Not to the degree that it’s a problem, but I do drink regularly enough.

So the question I pose is this. When is changing for someone acceptable and when is it problematic? Granted, in this situation, me drinking less is probably something I need to do anyway, but what if it was another behavior. Like something harmless that you like to do. Would you stop just because your mate asked you to? What if they had no reason other than they don’t like it?

When does it go from compromising to just the other person trying to mold you into someone else? Is that always a bad thing? Do you find that you do that in your relationships?

A lot of people say you should like the person for who they are, but we all know a little bit of tweeking maybe necessary. When does it go from Tweeking to reshaping. Are we to embrace our own individuality so much that we don't compromise?

Talk amongst yourselves..

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pup for Tots

I was on my way to volunteering at the Toys for Tots center on the other side of town.

I knew how it was going to be. Trying to be somewhere at 5pm and having to drive through the heart of the congestion in Atlanta during rush hour Traffic on a Friday. I got in the car and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.

I hate driving, especially in any type of traffic, but it’s for the kids. I guess I’ll tough it out. Yes, I know I say bad things about them, but they deserve toys during Christmas.

When we (a friend went with me) finally got to the center, we were greeted by a couple of marines hanging out by the door. We told them why we were there and they seemed pretty confused. I thought that was strange as people should be doing a lot of volunteering this season. They pointed me to the sergeant in charged and we went on inside.

We got inside the warehouse and something seemed different. I’ve done this several times before. The storeroom is generally a mess with toys everywhere. What I was seeing was only a couple of crates and all neatly packed.

The sergeant told us what was going on when we found him. Apparently, there haven’t been any toys coming in. No one has called for pick ups or anything. Even though it’s still a bit early, they usually have a good amount of toys by now. Now they’ve got bupkuss.

It seems that people are just not donating as much as usual this year. I noticed that all the food banks were all empty during Thanksgiving and they had to really struggle to get all the dinners out to the homeless. Now of course, they’re even emptier and are looking to have a hard time filling the pantry before Christmas.

So they had nothing for us to do. I thought about challenging one of the marines to a push-up contest, but I didn't think that'd be a good idea. My friend and I were now stuck in this town (traffic still bad). We did the sensible thing and found a bar and got drunk.

There really isn't much of a story here, but I would like to ask everyone a favor.

When you’re out shopping this holiday season, if you’re in a store with a toy section, pick up something. Tell your friends that instead of buying them a gift, you’re spending that money for this or other charities. They don’t really need that thing that you were going to get them. They probably secretly re-gift or return it anyway.

Perhaps if you’re a parent and you’ve bought your child a million toys, maybe you can spare one toy for a needy child. You child will have plenty and probably won’t even miss it. Having too many toys will spoil your kid anyway. I remember I got an empty can for Christmas once and had a grand old time just kicking it around with friends. Good times.

As a special offer, anyone who donates a toy will get a personalized Christmas card paw-signed by Pup himself! Act now!

Friday, December 01, 2006