Monday, August 30, 2010

Still Thinking About Up in the Air...part 7

It has been a while since I talked about the various jobs that I have held throughout my life, so I thought that it was about time that I wrapped the story up with the last job that I held which imploded about three years ago.  Just to clarify, I will not discuss the job that I currently have, until such time that they no longer retain my services; at that point the floodgates will open.

About five years ago, the shady computer tech reseller company was preparing to complete its move down to Orange County and I had LONG been over their scary business practices, their horrendous treatment of their employees and their annoyance over the fact that I was unwilling to move to the O.C.  I was destined to lose my job at the place within a few months anyways, so I took the initiative and began looking around.  I ended up submitting applications to UCSB and to the...surprise, surprise, apparel company that dicked me around for months years prior.  I interviewed at UCSB, but did not get the job, and I also interviewed at the apparel company, which ended up hiring me.

The first person to interview me at the shoe place ended up being my manager, and to say that the interview went well is an incredible understatement.  We talked for about forty minutes and we just clicked.  Usually, in interviews I am sweating bullets, my fingers turn into icy talons and my voice kicks up a register, which was the case to start, but the interviewer made me feel so comfortable, almost as if we were just hanging out and having a chat; I forgot that I was being interviewed.  Now, I know that anyone reading this will be waiting for the moment that I go, "and guess what? she was a serial killer!" but that is wholeheartedly not the case.  To this day, I am still very good friends with my old boss and I am saddened that I only see her every other month or so.  In fact, there are a bunch of folks from that job who I still see when I can, and I simply adore them all.  Looking back, it is a shame what happened to all of us over the course of the next two and a half years, but I am getting ahead of myself.

After my manager-to-be left, I was told that the department manager was out of the country and would not be available to interview me, but the guy who was director of who-whats-its would be interviewing me next, and that interview fine and I was sent on my way.  Two days later, I was given a call for a follow up interview with the owner of the company and I came in.  But, like many years prior, I sat and waited for about thirty minutes in a room by myself.  He eventually showed up and asked me a handful of questions, but then basically admitted that he did not know why it was necessary for him to talk to me, but asked if I had any questions.  I of course did and asked him if he foresaw any chance of the company moving out of Santa Barbara, to which he replied in his trademark incredibly loud voice, "No.  We are a Santa Barbara company and if I ever said I was going to take the company out of Santa Barbara, my wife would divorce my ass, take everything in the divorce and she would keep the company here anyways."  I laughed, and he laughed and he went on his way.  The interview had lasted about five minutes.  I sat there waiting for the HR woman to come in to wrap things up, and I heard the owner in the hallway laughing at me to the HR woman, "I asked him if he had any questions, and his biggest concern is if the company will be here for a while.  Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha."  I, of course, felt a bit foolish, but  my concerns turned out to be very much warranted beginning within about six months time.

Later that day, I received a call that I had the job and that an offer would be coming over shortly.  I was received a small raise in addition to working for the company I had wished to be working at years prior.  I accepted the offer and submitted my official two week resignation to the CEO of the tech reseller.  Part of me felt bad about this, because he happened to be getting married that weekend and was expecting me to be around for another month or two until such time that he could can me on his own terms.  Oh well.

The next day, I received a call from the apparel company saying that they bumped my start date to three weeks as a result of the phone call the owner had received from the tech reseller's CEO pleading with them to give him three weeks before they stole me away.  The HR woman on the phone was laughing and said that the apparel owner was so pleased to be stealing someone from another company that he actually agreed to let me start a week later.  Wow.  Here I thought I was just a little peon employe--which why shouldn't I, that was how the tech reseller CEO had made me feel for the past few prior months--and here I was a vital cog in the machine?  Awww Shucks.  I was a little pissed about this, but at the same time I have to admit that it felt kind of good.

To be continued....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods 08/27/2010

Let's get to it, as there is a Cajun Kitchen Bacon Breakfast Burrito calling my name.  "Dooooonnnnnissstt.  Donnniiissssttt.  Hey a_hole!  I'm talking to you!  Get your ass to the Cajun Kitchen."

Slice of Heaven

We3 written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quietly, published by Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC Comics.  This title reminds me slightly of the punch in the stomach that was Plague Dogs (on Netflix streaming and not for the feint of heart) crossed with Robocop.  Incredibly harsh, yet touching at times, it is the tale of three escaped weaponized animals: Bandit, Tinker and Pirate (a dog, cat and rabbit respectively).    When the three are decommissioned and sentenced to death, their handler sets them free, cybernetic armor and all.  As an animal lover, this book is oftentimes challenging to read, but the journey is wholeheartedly worth the trip.  Very, very good.  *The film rights were optioned years ago with Morrison as the screenwriter, but nothing has happened as of yet.

Chew #13 written by John Layman with art by Rob Gillory, published by Image Comics.  I have written about this series before, and if you are interested in the craziness that is Chew, then buy the Chew Omnivore Edition Volume 1 HC which collects the first two story arcs.  This particular issue introduces Agent Tony Chu's old partner's partner Agent Caesar Valenzano who has been deep undercover for the FDA and only the only other person to know this is on-the-run Mason Savoy.  If you are confused by the FDA part, then you have not been reading Chew.  The FDA is one of the more powerful branches of the US Government after the bird flu killed far too many people and poultry was outlawed, resulting in a very lucrative, albeit highly illegal, chicken trade.  Agent Tony Chu, comes in to bring illegal chicken traders and egg hawkers to justice, but Tony has a special ability; he is a cibopath.  What the hell is a cibopath?  Well, Tony is someone who gets a psychic impression from everything that he eats--except for beets--and he uses this ability to solve FDA crimes.  Now, if a dangerous person has died before Tony is able to get much needed info from him, then one little nibble of...  An incredibly fun and addictive book.

Chew #13

Jonah Hex written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Luke Ross, published by DC Comics.  Okay, I have to admit that I have not seen the Jonah Hex Movie, which I have heard is one of the worst comic adaptations ever made, up there with Cat Woman, Daredevil and Elektra.  I am only talking about the first TPB Jonah Hex Vol. 1: Face Full of Violence.  This excellent series brings the Old Western disfigured character, Jonah Hex, back into the spotlight.  Hex is a bounty hunter with a self defined vision of right and wrong and a disposition that makes Clint Eastwood look like a schoolyard bully.  Each issue in this collection is a stand alone tale, which I assume is the case for the entire series, which means that you can jump into the story at any given point.  I vacillate between cheering the character's actions and covering my eyes in fright.  Very well written and highly addictive.  *I will admit that I do not own the tpb for this, I instead bought the first 18 issues from Comixology for the iPhone/iPad for $.99 each and will be buying all of the issues for $1.99 as they release.

Jonah Hex Vol. 1: Face Full of Violence
Jonah Hex Vol. 1: Face Full of Violence

Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels written by Peter David.  I am halfway through this book and it offers great insight from one of the busiest writers in any medium.  Conflict, theme, hero creation, villain creation, this book thus far has it all.  Also, this book does not necessarily have to be for comics alone, as David's advice can apply to screenwriting, short stories and novels as well.  I will probably finish this book next week and will be all the better for it.

Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David (Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels)
Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David

Introduction to Comic Book Writing with Andy Schmidt.  This week I worked on a panel by panel description for my 5 page story with no captions, dialog or sound effects.  This version was created to be the template for an artist to understand the story and create the art from the description, which need to be informative yet allow the artist room to breath as they tell the story.  An incredibly fun, difficult-yet-rewarding process.  This week in class, we met Mike Costa, writer for G.I. Joe: Cobra, an excellent spy thriller graphic novel that will surprise anyone who turns their nose up at the mention of G.I. Joe.  This class continues to be a highly enjoyable and positive experience.

"Deano's" Pizza Lives again from the Creekside.
Oh the joy.  My dearly departed pizza joint, Deano's Pizzarama, which sadly closed its doors earlier this year with the aid of a heartless property management company seeking to maximize square-foot dollars by attracting "bigger" chain restaurants/stores.  Not only was Deano's the best pizza in town, it was also one of the oldest pizza joints in Santa Barbara, serving pizza to my parents when they were teens and hosting many of my birthday parties as a kid.  Happiness hit when I learned that many of the folks who worked at Deano's are now at the Creekside and are serving pizza which tastes exactly the same as the one that I love.  The only downside is that there is only one size of pizza, toppings are limited, and calling an order in will freak Creakside out, but then again, why not stroll in, order a pizza, relax and not only have the option to order a beer while you wait, but also bourbon and seltzer, or a martini.  Hell yes.

Chuck Season 1  -  I have listened to various podcast and television show review sites and the show Chuck comes up all the time as a much loved show.  We gave it a whirl and I am glad we did.  A nerdy guy adrift in life after being kicked out of  Stanford because of his old best friend and roommate, Bryce Larkin, who also stole Chuck's girlfriend to add insult to injury.  A few years later, unknown to Chuck, Bryce is a spy who sends an email containing a program consisting of terabytes of information pertaining to all sorts of matters of national security, lodging the info firmly in his brain.  Chuck meets the lovely Sarah Walker, a CIA agent, and John Casey, an NSA, agent, both of whom are desperate to lay claim to the information in Chucks head.  Well written, well acted, great action, great comedy--especially from Chuck's hanger-on buddy, Morgan--and an all around great show.  This show is supposedly on the chopping block every season, but fan support manages to keep it around.  Three seasons are out, and to quote my wife, "Zachary Levi is ssssssssooooooooo cute."  Well worth watching.

Chuck: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]
Chuck Season 1 on Blu-Ray

Madmen Season Four "The Chrysantemum and the Sword" - Not much else to say other than this episode managed to surpass the other excellent episodes.  This will probably be on here every week, so I will keep this short.  Just watch it, then buy all of the blu-rays and watch it again.

Slice in the Woods

Crazy Weather - What the hell?  I am not one for overly hot weather--usually when that happens, Santa Barbara practically burns to the ground--but what happened to our summer?  Some heat would be nice.  My parents came out to visit in July and we were wearing sweaters in the morning and part of the afternoon.  Now that school has started, we receive our first mini heatwave.  Very bizarre and overall annoying.

The Koch Brothers Continuing to Funnel Millions Into the Tea Party - Nothing angers me more than Big Business spreading fear, and working their agendas while hiding their actions.  Here is good article on this
Americans for Prosperity???  Please...don't they mean American's Funding Kochs Prosperity?  Oil, formaldehyde in our products, destruction of the environment, just to name a few of the evils continuing to be commited by these idiots.  Guess who's funding your little Tea Parties, America, part of what is damaging our country.

Glenn Beck and His Moronic "Restoring Honor" Rally on Martin Luther King Day - Besides being a drug and alcohol addict, he is an all around douchebag.  No more to say, just wondering why people listen to this fool.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs For a New Product Line

Dear Mr. Steve Jobs,

Hello, my name is Donist and I am writing to inform you about my wonderful idea for a new product and app line that has the potential to make all parties involved some sweet cabbage!  Before I get to the nitty gritty of my soon-to-be cash-bonanza idea, I need to inform you of something quite disturbing: the conduct of your product development team.

Through a little obsessive searching and fact finding--a critical component in the creation of a new product--I discovered the names of some of your key product development people and I have begun a regimen of scheduled brainstorming sessions with them.  Now, keep in mind that I am very sympathetic to the Apple way of doing things and I know that guys like Sven, Fredric, Benjamin and not-a-guy-Mamta need to work on Apple related projects while they are at work.  I know, I get it.  That is why I have been pitching them outside of regular working hours.  Whether I was showing product designs that my support group allowed me to remove from the facility to Sven, while he gardened on a Sunday afternoon, or coming out of Mamta's second story closet at 11:00 PM on Wednesday evening with a mock-up that I glued together with packing peanuts and recycled boxes that I found behind Borders, I had to show them that I meant business.  Now that all four restraining orders have just kicked in, I am left to worry that one of them might steal my guaranteed to explode into the market money making idea.

As you are well aware, as supposed leaders of the industry, I expected more from Fredric and Benjamin.  Freddy had no right to accost me after I showed his wife pictures of him and Benji at the special gentleman's club.  I expected her to be proud to have a picture of Freddy, Benji, my mock-up strategically placed on the table in front of them, and the pretty dancer lady on the stage having the wardrobe malfunction...okay, I will admit that I blew it on that one.  I will also say that my timing was also probably not the best when I showed a picture of Benji (alone this time), my mock-up, and the dancing gentleman from "Banana Slingers" to various members of his church congregation.  You know, the church with all of the "Uphold Prop 8" signs everywhere.  Apparently they did not approve of Benji putting dollar bills in Slinger Stu's thong with his teeth.  Who could have known?  I also found out that the gentlemen do not like to be called Benji and Freddy.  Again, who knew?

Regardless, maybe some time with Apple HR and PR can help your product development team with a PARADIGM SHIFT in dealing with the public and on their collaborative efforts or for being better all around TEAM PLAYERS.  I hope to SYNERGIZE our efforts GOING FORWARD so we can LEVERAGE the CREATIVE JUICES at play and make a FULL-COURT PRESS on the market.  THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX is the only way that Apple is going to continue to grow and improve their LONG GAME.  My product and app idea is a real GAME-CHANGER and will lead Apple to gathering all of the LOW-HANGING FRUIT just waiting to be picked.  This will be a SLAM DUNK!!!

Okay.  Do you see what I just did there?  I have been studying up on my business speak and I know that it means something to all you business decision making types out there, even though I am not completely sure of what the hell I just said.  That said, I am fairly certain it means something good.

Anyhow, on to the product that will revolutionize the industry.  Here we go.  Are you ready for me to RUN THIS UP THE FLAGPOLE?  (see, did it again!)

iSlap!!!  iSlap is the latest accessory for the iMac and Mac Pro lines of home computing!!!  Just affix the mechanized arm to your monitor, plug it into an open USB port, attach the rubber gloved hand, and pull up your iChat!!!  Then, each time that the person with whom you are chatting--whether by text, audio, or preferably video--says something asinine or insulting, just press the little red button in the iChat window and the person on the other side will receive a slap!!!  WOW!!!  Imagine the increase in productivity and the ability to get out of awkward conversations!  

Did you brother just admit to knocking up another neighbor?  Press the little red button.  

Did mom just guilt you about never coming to visit or hint that you will never amount to a hill of beans? Press the little red button.

Girlfriend upset about not moving in together and asking when you will ever grow up?  Press the little red button.

Boyfriend actually used the term "bros before hoes" in your pressence?  Press the little red button.

Not only is there iSlap, but I know how much you love the relatively small form factor accessories with very little production cost, yet high price tags, so I also suggest the iSlap Hand Powder dispenser that will spray baby powder onto the glove at the touch of a baby-blue iChat button.  Nothing says class more than a baby powdered slap across the face...the recipient will thank you for it.

Finally, there will be the iSlap Mini that will affix to the MacBook line of computers and to the iPad for the on the on-the-go user.

Please get back to me at your earliest convience, so that we can MOVE FORWARD on what will be the next hot item!!!



Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods

As my one faithful reader, Obie the dog, knows, Friday is Cajun Kitchen day and I have a shorter amount of time to write stuff down, but for a $6.00 breakfast burrito consisting of eggs, homefried potatoes, cheese and bacon with a small side salad, it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.  So, this morning lying in bed at 4:45 AM, I decided to do Friday Slice of Heaven, Slice Into the Woods, for which I will briefly talk about things in the past week that annoyed the hell out of me.

Slice of Heaven

Morning Glories #1 written by Nick Spencer with art by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics.  A great and intriguing start to a series that has been hyped to be a cross between Lost (the TV show) and The Runaways (Marvel Comics series).  This issue introduces a group of students who are accepted at the Morning Glory Academy school, where nothing is as it seems and terror and mystery lurks behind every classroom door.  Buy it if you can actually find it.  Already set for a reprint.

Daytripper #9 created by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Published by Vertigo Comics.  The penultimate issue in an at times uplifting and others heartbreaking tale centering on Bras de Olivias Dominguez and focusing on the moments in life that changes occur.  Reminds me of the beauty in life and the moments that we take for granted.  I eagerly anticipate and dread the final issue next month.  A TPB will be released in 2/2011.

The Thanos Imperative #3 written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Miguel Angel Sepulveda, published by Marvel Comics.  Obie knows that I have a soft spot for the Marvel cosmic characters and Thanos is the "bad" guy that holds my heart right up there with Adam Magus.  Thanos has been brought back to life and the Guardians of the Galaxy intend to use him as a living weapon against the horrors of the Cancerverse.  Yeah, it makes more sense if you start with issue# 1. Damn cool.

Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels written by Peter David.  I am only about ten pages into this book thus far and already it is giving me ideas and help on the proper mindset to not only write comics, but write in towards endeavor.   I'm sure this book will make the list next week as well.
Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels with Peter David (Writing for Comics & Graphic Novels)

Introduction to Comic Book Writing with Andy Schmidt.   I am currently halfway through the class and have been enjoying it immensely.  An online course comprised of about fourteen students for six, two hour sessions.  By the end of the class, I will have a completed a 5-page comic script (not as easy as it me) and have knowledge of script formatting and ideas on breaking into comics.  Terrifying when first posting a story idea, yet enlightening and uplifting with the feedback provided by my fellow students--all of whom are exceptionally talented.  Worth every penny.  Next class starts 11/04/2010-12/16/2010 and it will sell out.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles written by Steven Pressfield.  A book concerning the creation of art and battling the worst enemy that you will ever encounter in your lifetime...resistence, or in other words, your own self.  Inspiring and uplifting after the terrible realization that the only one preventing me from achieving my goals has always been myself.  There is a Kindle (iphone and iPad compatible with the app) version of the book for $3.99.  You will breeze through it in no time.  F_you resistence!  F_you.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - It took me a little bit to get into the movie, but in the end I really liked it.  Actually...the more I think about it, the more I love it.  Loads of fun, loads of 8-bit video game madness, and worth seeing.  It felt a bit long, but they fit all six graphic novels in just fine.  I will buy the blu-ray for sure.  
Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World the Game on the Playstation Network.  This is a fairly difficult, yet infinitely cool game that can be downloaded from the PSN to your PS3.  SPvW is a homage to the old 8-bit glory of River City Ransom with a dash of Super Mario Brothers thrown in for good measure.  Cute, goofy and brutal at times when you smack people with a boulder, this game is pretty damn tough and requires a bit of leveling up if you are playing alone; up to four players can play at once.  Some might call it repetitive, but I love it. 

Madmen Season 4 - "The Rejected".  After three incredible seasons this show remains brilliant and engaging.  With season 3's finale--one of the best season finales of all time, second to Six Feet Under--I thought the show would begin to slump.  Sometimes it is good to be wrong.  Jane is also heavenly in and of her own right.

Holdren's in Goleta - They have a great deal going everyday for a dinner for two and either an appetizer or desert for $39.99.  The choices are limited, with one option being the Jalepeno and cheese crusted pork chop with twice baked potato and an appetizer of onion rings or calamari.  Dang...just...dang.  Throw in another appetizer (not included in the special) of bacon wrapped spicy prawns and I never want to leave the restaurant...I wish I was there now. Oh lovely martini, please wait for me.

Slice Into the Woods

Sports metaphors.  Hate em / love em when used in business speak.  "We need to go the whole nine yards on this project."  Or, "With a full court press we could overtake our competition."  Mix in some synergy and all is beautiful.  Maybe I should move this into slice of heaven.  Hmmmm....

Insurance providers and the healthcare system as a whole - I should blog about this later and piss off some "America's Interest at heart" insurance lobbyist a_holes.  The short version is that Amy's health insurance went from a premium deducted from her paycheck of $0.00 twelve years ago, to $356.00 out of each monthly paycheck starting next month.  A further the slap in the face, she--and all teachers in Santa Barbara--pay for a family of four, regardless of whether said teacher needs the extra coverage.  I have my own insurance through my work and I am thus double insured.  She is also paying for the two children that we don't have.  Her deductible is around $40 as well.  I could also go into the details of the lost test results on her side and the $100 I have spent over the past month for my own illness, but I am starting to really get pissed off.  At least a Insurance provider's CEO will finally be able to afford that third home they always wanted; you know, the one with the lovely swimming pool and the beautiful view of the islands.

Douchebag City Officials in Bell and Vernon - A_holes.  You idiots don't deserve $800,000, $500,000, or $300,000 salaries plus extra cushy retirement programs while working part-time.  You deserve a pair of bracelets and roommate for 10 to 30 years.  Wake up citizens and vote next time there is a hush-hush special election including something detailing the removal of salary caps.  That said, if either city is willing to pay me $80,000 (1/10th the price of the top salary in Bell) for part-time and a kickass retirement plan, then you have my resume...please call me immediately. 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Dreaming...of a White....Don Draperrrrrr

Anyone currently watching Madmen--one of the best shows on television, with season three's finale being one of the greatest episodes of television ever--knows that Don Draper has been on a bit of a downturn lately, which I suppose is part of the reason for my having a fairly odd dream that contradicts his character's already colorful origin.  Thus it begins...

Amy and I were driving along the rolling hills of a backcountry that I can only assume was Montectio.  Don Draper was sitting in the backseat, staring with vacant recognition ahead at the road, dreading the upcoming visit to see his father.  Since the death of his mother, Draper had always questioned whether the man who had raised him was actually his father, and he had somehow gained knowledge that he was not, but he needed to hear the truth straight from the man himself.

Amy and I were good friends of Drapers and agreed to drive him to the remote ranch that rested at the top of the hill.  We had been there many times before, absentmindedly passing McMansion after McMansion to finally come to the nondescript wooded driveway, which signaled we had arrived at our destination.  Don took in a long breath of air, releasing it in a sigh, steeling himself for the confrontation to come.  We drove along the semi-paved road past trees and bushes, until the main house became visible just off to the left side and Amy confirmed with Don that he actually did wish to go through with this.  After a long silence, he replied, "Yes.  It's now or never...I need to know for certain."

The road eventually opened up to a large area that allowed us to veer towards the left to get to the house, park where we were to head into the walnut groves, or continue one hundred yards to the immense barn, where Draper's father enjoyed tinkering about with old machinery.  We opted for the barn, which was much larger than the house itself and we instantly saw Mr. Draper on the oak tree shaded front wooden deck, where the older man was draped over some tools that he was cleaning atop an old door that rested atop two empty wine barrels.  He recognized Amy and my car and waved us over to park and to come up, which we did.  We had visited plenty of times in the past with Don and Betty--at least we used to visit when things were right between the two.

Hands are shaken and hugs are given and Mr. Draper asks if any of us are hungry or would like a cold one, but he does not wait for a reply, announcing, "I sure could go for one," and he throws a wadded up sheet overtop of the tools and gears that he was tinkering with.  Before we head to the house, I peer inside the barn, which has always impressed me.  There are no animals in the barn save for Mr. Draper's dog, who wanders about freely.  Instead, the ground is covered in wood flooring, more wine barrels are scattered about and there is rustic furniture tastefully arranged throughout the ground level with lights dangling from the very high ceiling down to about seven feet above the ground.  I wish that Amy and I could live there.

We walk over to the house and I notice the walnut orchard which provides daylong alternating sun and shade for the multitudes of bistro/bar tables scattered amongst them.  Mr. Draper hosts weddings and parties at the property, but today is an off day and all of the barstools and chairs are neatly stashed away at the other end of the barn.  I briefly remember the party that Don and Betty threw for the promotion that Don had just received at the ad agency and how much fun Amy and I had; we slept in the barn on the loft that was set up like a bedroom without walls.  How we wished we could live there instead of our tiny one bedroom place.

The house was not as large as the barn, but for what it lacked in height, it made up in square footage.  We entered through the customer kitchen area, which was a long hallway lined with many small tables for guests of the property to have breakfast or lunch or simply enjoy a cup of coffee while staring out the window past the trees and the road.   All of the tables are half-sized picnic tables, covered in real red and white checkered cloth (not the plastic found in lower quality establishments) with napkin dispensers and salt and pepper shakers at our disposal.

Mr. Draper passes Don and I a beer and some items "to nibble on."  He also makes a quick turkey sandwich for himself, which he splits with Amy saying that he made it just the way he remembered she likes it.  "So, what did you come to ask me?" he says, but before Don can say anything he follows with, "How's Betty."

Don lights a cigarette and take a long pull at his beer, "You know how she is...we're not talking."

"Oh, I see.  Okay, what is it then?"

Don looks at Amy and I, and I motion my head to see if he prefers for us to leave, but he raises his hand slightly and shakes his head no.

Then I woke up.  Weird.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Immortal Iron Fist - Ed Brubaker(W), Matt Fraction(W) and David Aja(A)

Immortal Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story (v. 1)The Immortal Iron Fist, written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and drawn beautifully by David Aja, was one of those books for which I was, of course, late to the party.  I believe it was the third issue of the series where I jumped on, but I was luckily able to dig up a copy of the second issue, and the first issue had received an additional print run that I was able to pick up as well.  I was immediately hooked and in love with Iron Fist after a separation of nearly thirty years.

As a kid under the age of ten, I loved Iron Fist, especially the Marvel Team-Up books with Spider-Man where he battled--and lost--to the Steel Serpent, usurper to the power of the Iron Fist.  There were also the many Power Man and Iron Fist books, and his own book, which introduced the comics world to Sabertooth, Wolverine's archnemesis, and also the great issue that included the X-Men (each written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne).  Around that time, I moved from Ohio to California and lost track of Iron Fist, or more appropriately he bowed out of the picture for all intents and purposes.

I hope that you have money to burn to buy this one!  I wish my dogs had not eaten this issue.

Fast forward thirty years and I begin to hear the buzz over the resuscitation of the character who I had loved dearly.  Of course my local comic shop had sold out of the first issue and I was left looking at the webshots of the striking cover image at comics review sites everywhere.  It was right around here that the regret over not adding this title to my pull list began to set in.  I did some frantic scrambling and begging to get my store to locate the sold-out issues for me, which they did, and I finally learned what all the fuss was about.

Uncolored art from David Aja for issue #1

Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction plucked Danny Rand (aka Iron Fist) from the obscurity he was dropped into and made him important to the Marvel universe once again.  Not only did they rescue the character, but they created a rich mythology behind the mantle of the Iron Fist, making Danny one in a long line of title holders, who Brubaker and Fraction would offer glimpses into--and eventually full issues--showing that Danny Rand had not even come close to reaching his potential.

More of the uncolored art by David Aja

Also revived is Danny's old nemesis, Davos the Steel Serpent, who is very much no longer imploded and in possession of strange new powers, which have been bestowed upon him by the mysterious being known as Crane Mother.  Davos is also backed by the legions of Hydra, as well as an evil multi-national corporation (aren't something like 90% of them evil?) intent of taking over Rand's own inherited Rand Corporation (one of the 10%).

Then there is the matter of Brubaker and Fractions's character, Orson Randall, the previous Iron Fist and the one who had stolen the Book of the Iron Fist, which detailed the powers and capabilities available to all who hold the title.  Orson, although appearing all too briefly in the series, created such a stir, that more on him and his background were needed.  Thankfully, the writers created a handful of one-shot issues dedicated to the older, gruffer yet more experienced Orson Randall, which for me was not even close to enough.  I would have eagerly anticipated whole story arcs extrapolating on the all-too-brief flashbacks into Orson's rich history, and adventures; a series would have been greatly appreciated in fact.  Maybe someday.

Davos the Steel Serpent

A beautiful page by David Aja.  Danny Rand and Orson Randall
Where the writers expertly recreated an obscure character and brought him to the forefront of Marvel Comics super heroes with the deep history, newly created mythology, and characters that are important, the artist, David Aja, only reinforced everything that Brubaker and Fraction had done.  Aja's gorgeous imagery, layouts and storytelling through art, make him an equal shareholder--possibly more--in the revitalization of Iron Fist.  As evidenced in the images above, Aja's artwork fluctuates between the insanely detailed imagery of the art within the pages, to the beautiful minimalism found on the covers, primarily seen on issue number four.  Aja was the perfect artist for this kung-fu noir tale and one who I cannot wait to see more from in the near future.

One of the most striking cover in the series
For the entirety of the Brubaker, Fraction and Aja's run on the Immortal Iron Fist, I was biting my nails waiting for the next installment.  I wanted to frame the most beautiful pages and covers from the various issues and hang them in my home, but the amount of frames needed would require a house large enough to accommodate the sheer volume worthy of displaying; there is also the matter of convincing Amy to let me do such a thing...not gonna happen.  The Immortal Iron Fist really struck me just right and I cross my fingers that the three responsible for bringing some much needed life to one of my favorite childhood characters, will someday return to create even more wonderful tales. 

Very highly recommended.  

Also, the entire run is collected in the gorgeous The Immortal Iron Fist Omnibus.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Montrose Country Club during the 70's

I don't know why this popped in my head, but the other day I was at the hotel that my father and my step-mother were staying at for their visit to Santa Barbara.  Amy and I were lounging around the hotel pool relaxing when I remembered the pool in Akron, Ohio.  It was called the Montrose Country Club and was located a quick five or ten minute drive from our home, which eventually became the home of--believe it or not--Lebron James up until recently when he decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Montrose pool was where my brother and I spent four of our summers before moving out to Santa Barbara in 1980.  To say that the pool was my life would be an understatement as it had everything that I could ever want, short of a roller skating rink, which was located just a bit further away.  The pools consisted of three olympic-size swimming pools that were connected to form a U-shape with a slide, a high dive and two low diving boards at the bottom of the U.  The left side was for open swim and the right side was for adult lap swimming, but just between you and me, I was probably a better swimmer than half of the fogies bobbing their asses slowly down the lanes with their spongy kick boards.  For two of the years, I was on the swim team and consistently placed first in most all backstroke races and alternated between first and second place for the front crawl, depending on whether I was racing George or not; George always placed first for front crawl.  Butterfly stroke is something best left unmentioned and not something I enjoy talking about.

During the Akron summers, my mom would drop me off at the pool for swim class and training, which included life saving, and she would then pick me up.  My brother and I would quickly eat lunch, and then the three of us would head back out to Montrose for the next three or four hours.  Montrose was not limited to swimming only, which is why one of my most favorite places on the planet.  Out front there were two miniature golf courses, inside there were many tennis courts for my parents, four or five actual wood hot tubs, a snack shack, and a large field behind the pools that lead to a playground with a huge slide that would become hotter than hell under the hot summer sun.  I could have very well lived there, oftentimes fantasizing that I actually did.

When I was not doing dives off of the high dive, I was swimming in the open swim area with my Mego Human Torch, Iron Man, or Lizard action figures, sans clothing, and dreading the inevitable "out of the pool" lifeguard whistle, signaling the 15 minute break that meant any of the the following:  it was time to rest on the red wooden lounge chairs and listen to Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" playing over the speakers, play some miniature golf, get a snack--which meant an even longer wait before going back in the pool, or we would go burn the shit out of ourselves on the giant slide.

I never wanted the day to end, even when I was sunburnt to a crisp and my eyes were completely reddened from the chlorine, I could have stayed for hours more.  When we got home, I would always drop my waterlogged ears with Swim-Ear for fear of the debilitating ear infection I once acquired and had to suffer a week without going in the water before I was better.  Now that I think of it, there was also the time that I split my chin open on the side of the pool and had to receive stitches--a horrifying experience in and of itself--and then had to stay out of the pool for two weeks then as well.  The time away nearly drove me insane.

Then we moved to Santa Barbara.  I missed Montrose terribly.

A decade and a half later, Amy and I went to Ohio to visit my father and step-mother and since they are currently living in the same area that I grew up, I asked if they could swing by the Montrose Country Club so that I could show Amy, but it was gone.  Where once stood one of my most cherished of childhood memories, were now the following:  Applebee's, Chi-Chi's, Verizon Store, AT&T store, Best Buy, Costco and some other drivel that can be found anywhere if you get in your car and drive an hour in any direction.  No more Montrose.  Wow.  From a relaxed enjoyable place that many families enjoyed, to row upon row of parking lots and people angrily shouting at one another.  Gotta love progress.

I just had to let you know that I missed you Montrose.  You were so good to me back then.

Friday, August 13, 2010

They Live (1988) starring Roddy Piper and Keith David

Dear Diary,

They Live"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum."  LOL!!!  I'm just kidding Diary, I'm not going to kick your ass...maybe I will kick Tobey's ass for AGAIN reporting my superhero nighttime exercises to the housing association.  Speaking of which, the roof of the damn parking structure should be able to hold the weight of a two hundred pound man and just because I landed on Tobey's stupid Sentra, does not mean I did it intentionally.  For all he knows, my efforts prevented someone from sneaking into his back patio, taking the house key that he has stashed under the ceramic toad in the right corner by the hose, going back to the front to open the door, flicking the wall switch to shut off the motion detector located just inside, dodging his cat, Mr. Socks, creeping up the stairs and minding step 5 and 9...they squeak, and standing over him while he sleeps for hours upon hours until...well, you get the picture, Diary.  THAT is exactly the type of thing that I protect this condo complex from, but Tobey and his stupid face has to ruin it for everyone.  "My daughter can't sleep when you fall through the parking structure roof and scream in pain everytime you hurt yourself.  You also owe me for the damages to my car.  Where's your wife?  Why am I talking to you?"  WTF!!!  You see, Diary?  Stupid...Face!!!

Anyways, now that I am no longer allowed to camp out at the mailbox to wait for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on glorious Blu-F_ing-Ray--thanks again go out to Stupid-Face Tobey for that one--I decided to broaden my horizons and try out some other cool flicks, since the release of the new Twilight has not even been anounced!!!  So instead of cool shirtless werewolves, vampires and lame girls who only complain and act all annoying due to ab..stin...ammintz, I went all sci-fi on this hizouse and rented They Live, starring Roddy Piper and Keith David.  Now, you might remember watching Roddy Piper back in the day when he was a WWF wrestler and battling it out with the Hulkster, Hulk Hogan!!!  "Hulky's such a yo-yo!"  Ha ha ha...LOL!!!  Anyhow, my man Roddy ditches the kilt and the wrestling boots, which is a bit of a shame, but he more than makes up for it in ass-kicking awesomeness!!!

Rowdy Roddy is a down on his luck drifter, which is apparent throughout the movie because of the persistent blues riff that plays from beginning to end.  I guess this type of music makes sense, because Piper, who's character is named...huh, you know what diary?   I never caught the characters name.  Let me go watch the movie again.  Back soon!!!

WTF...huh.  Diary, Piper's character does not even have a name!!!  He is not only too cool for school, he is too cool for names!!!  Maybe everyone who meets him thinks, "Man, what is that dudes name?  He just showed up here and he wants to work on the construction site, but for the life of me, I just can't remember his name.  Where is that blues music coming from?  He must be down on his luck or something, at least he has a mullet and a toothpick.  Wait a minute, he's taking his shirt off...okay, homes does not even need a name as far as I am concerned.  He's totally yoked!!!"  Piper then meets Frank Armitage--which is a bad-ass name if I ever heard of one--played by super dude Keith David.  Now Diary, just because David has a name--Frank--does not mean that he does not rock.  The opposite in fact.   He is so cool that he gets a name, a rad one.  Frank and Piper are like a coolness yin-yang, the named and the unnamed.  In fact, it is so cool that I am freaking out.  No serious Diary, I am totally beginning to freak the f_ out.  Shit!!!  I...

I'm back.  I was totally seeing double rainbows there for a moment, but Amy brought me my medicine and it is all good.  Plus I have a beer that I snuck out of the refridge which Amy did not see me grab.  Back to They Live.

Frank has a wife and kid back in Detroit, who he has not seen in six months.  The steel mills went under, and they gave the steel mills a break, but the mills gave themselves a break.  He says, "Everyone is out for themselves and looking to do you in at the same time."  Kind of like today, huh, Diary?  That is why I patrol on the parking structure at night...bankers, steel mill owners, congressmen and now Tobey, BEWARE, your corruption is at an end.  Anyways, Frank is awesome and wears a purplish/pink tank top with a sleeveless denim jacket, which is a clear sign of everything that ruled in the 80's, plus things are tough all over as indicated by the blues track which I cannot shake out of my head.

Piper believes in America and he proves this point by playing the harmonica near the place that some bums are getting pissed off at their TV.  The Bums are mad because some a_hole scientist has preempted their Lee Press-On nails commercial to tell the bums that "They" are among us.”  Great description, Doc, how about you give us the rest of your damn diagnosis and tell us who "They" are?  Why be vague, when you can say say, "Hey bums!  There's a box of sunglasses over by the dumpster.  Why don't you go put that shit on, see the truth that there are butt-ugly skull-faces out there and save your world.  USA.  USA."  *back to the sunglasses shortly, Diary*  Unfortunately, Lee Press-Ons are more exciting to us Americans.  Anyways, Piper thinks the commercial is weird, and that there is something to it, so he goes to the church at 4:00 AM and discovers what looks like a cross between a meth lab and a Sunglasses Hut store.  The Church/meth lab should not come as a surprise to anybody, but the Sunglasses Hut aspect is HIGHLY suspicious.  Just then, the police raid the shanty town and generally tear shit up.  Piper would really like to body slam some bitches, but Frank says, "I walk a white line," to which Piper says, "Well, the white line is in the middle of the road...that's the worst place to drive."  I so understand this, especially after that very expensive ticket and the impounding of my car for driving while sedated.

The next day, when everyone is picking up the pieces of their lives, Piper goes to the METHodist church and kicks the wall so hard that he is beyond manly so that he can get a Sunglasses Hut box and Piper finally puts on...THE GLASSES!!!  Now diary, these are not the type of glasses that tell you where magical gold tablets are, but actually let you see how boring the world is and who the butt-ugly skull-faces are.  Everywhere there are signs saying, “Obey" or “Consume” or “Submit” and I was scared that I was actually back at the psyche ward again or locked away in my parent’s very cold basement…so cold, so very, very cold.  Thankfully, it was just the movie.  Piper then gets completely awesome and tells a skull-face in the supermarket, “You know, you look like your head fell in the cheese dip back in 1957.”  You know diary, one cool aspect of the glasses is that they totally f_ you up; I wish I could get my hands on some.  He then mixes it up with some human cops and  some skull-face cops until he gets a gun and goes to the bank to say, "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum."  LOL, that cracked me up and true to form, the Rowdy One kicks ass on some skull-faces and goes on the run, eventually meeting a real life 80’s lady with honest-to-gosh 80’s hair!!!  You would think that she would think hanging around with a wrestling superstar would be hot, but that is not  the case.  Sadly, the beotch throws his ass out a window.  I was sad and yelled at the screen, which made Tulip hide behind the couch again, but she eventually came out when she realized that Piper was okay.

Anyhow, the blues music plays really hard now, because Piper definitely has some blues going down.  Luckily he heals up pretty quick, but then tragedy strikes when Frank refuses to put on the magic glasses.  Now Diary, if a big beefy wrestler came to me with a pair of glasses and told me that I needed to see the truth, then I sure as hell would do it., but not Frank.  You see, Frank has style—who else would wear a purple tank top with a sleeveless jean jacket?—and he is not down with the Sunglasses Hut fare, so they get in the most awesome fight that anyone has ever seen, and for five minutes none the less.  It is brutal like the time I caught that possum trying to invade the parking structure…yup, Diary, that brutal.  Piper ultimately wins the fight for the intercontinental championship belt and puts the glasses on Frank, who sees the butt-ugly skull-faces and the dreary signs.  He is shocked.  So shocked in fact that the blues music kicks in again.  Tough times, Diary, tough times. 

The guys then team up to expose the skull-faces for the skull-faces that they are and Piper shows how baddass he is by saying, “Brother, Life’s a bitch.  She’s back in heat,” and “I got news for them…there’s gonna be hell to pay, cause I ain’t daddy’s boy no more.”  How f_ing kick ass is that, DIary?!!!  They then see an alien teleport device, which is totaly unbelievable, because there was no long line to use it…so yeah, totally fake.  Unfortunately, some bad shit goes down, that I do not even want to remember, but at least they destroy the tower and now everyone can see the Skull-faces!!!  Then to provide a happy ending for the first time…boobies!!!  There you have it, Diary, They Live absolutely rocks the socks. 

Well, time to sign off, the pills and beer have made me very sleepy and I promised Mr. Mousey he could borrow the movie.  The funny thing is that he wants to know only the time that the fight begins and the time that the boobies begin.  He is so weird!!!  I need to catch some  zzzz’s so that I can get out to the parking structure, because the night is wrought with peril and danger never sleeps.


Friday, August 6, 2010

100 Posts! Dang.

I am pretty happy today.   Hitting this 100 posts milestone on my silly little Donist World blog is a pretty big deal to me.  I would not say that I was exactly thrilled to hear the alarm go off at 5:30 AM every weekday morning, but once I was up, showered, dressed, took the dog out, had some water, ate some breakfast and finally sat down to write something...anything...I was happy with the end result.  Some mornings it took me a while to get started, while others the writing just flowed all too easily, but by the time I completed a post, I felt a very real sense of accomplishment that I have rarely, if ever, felt at a regular 8-5.

Most of my posts I loved and enjoyed writing, and some were admittedly "meh."  Too many times to count in putting down the stories, other memories that had slipped my mind came crashing back to leave me to wonder how I could have ever forgotten such events and feelings.  It was refreshing to recall, but frightening how fluid thoughts could be.

This weekend, or more likely next weekend, I will also finish the third draft of my novel.  I am concerned that for a Science-Fantasy-Hero genre novel that it is entirely too long at 550 pages, but after a rewrite of the first two chapters and some whittling down of some of the unnecessary elements and sentences on the fourth draft I will be ready to do queries, a synopsis and begin collecting the rejection letters mixed with many acceptances provided I pay the an agent a reading fee.  I will have queries out before the end of the year.

Now that I have hit the 100 post mark, I will be scaling back to two or three posts a week so that I can begin storyboarding one of the six screenplays that I have in mind.  I will also be working on a comic book script for my comic book writing course, which I just started.  The completed comic script will be done in five weeks and the first screenplay should be finished before the end of the year.  After that, I will begin the sequel to my novel sometime during February 2011.  If it wasn't for the pesky day job, I can only imagine how quickly my writing would improve and the the amount of stories in all mediums that I could produce.  Then of course there is the young adult novel series and the quirky Tulip website that I want to do.

Regardless, I am excited for what is yet to come, what I have yet to learn, and I what I have yet to create.  I would also like to thank my one faithful reader, Obie, the Boston Terrier and Tulip's brother...just kidding.  Thank you to Amy for helping me with my novel, listening to me read most of my posts and for being very supportive of what I do.

The Crocodile Lounge Ultimatum

Although I try not to get political in my posts--there are plenty of blogs out there doing that--I have to say that I am very happy that Prop 8 was overturned by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but I fear the fight is far from over.  There are many more deserving of marriage than those who have been married multiple times yet were in support of Prop 8.  Take for instance Newt Gingrich and his three marriages with the details being pretty harsh--look them up--and he is one of the supposed champions of the sanctity of marriage.  I'm sure his fourth marriage to a hot eighteen year old in the coming years will be extra-extra sanctityified with an extra cherry on top to pop.  Equal rights for everyone.

That said, I need to point out that my next story uses terminology that I myself do not use.  I am quoting specific real events and detailing guys that won't take no for an answer and I learned firsthand about the extreme levels of bullshit that women have to deal with every time they step out the door.  There you go.


I guess there were points in my life--roughly 8-10 years--that I enjoyed the nightlife, multitudes of beverages and dancing at 80's dance clubs or clubs that had hot goth/alternative girls in attendance.  One hot alternagirl, who I had first noticed working at a clothing store located around the corner from the evil music store corporation where I worked and who I had subsequently crushed on for about two years, eventually went to work as a bartender for The Crocodile Lounge, an odd-duck bar located in a hotel in a very unstylish part of town.  Unfortunately, we were destined to be only friends, and nice guys did indeed finish last, since she had preferred a guy that ended up in jail for using heroin over me.

We were sitting at the bar on the stools towards the upper left.
Regardless, I was still friends with the woman and agreed to stop by and visit her at the off-the-beaten-track bar.  A motley group of eight of us walked in one evening and the place was fairly empty with the exception of a pair of portly business men who looked as if they had stepped out of the sixties to sell old hoover vacuums door to door.  The bar also seemed displaced in time with a semi-tropical seventies vibe of plants and Pier-1 style wicker furniture and no corners in the room.  We bellied up to the bar and I sat in between my brother, Jeff, and our friend Lael.  The rest of the group sat to the left of us and out of earshot.

The bar quickly livened and a group of five obviously foreign men dressed in a manner that stood out in Santa Barbara, but was most likely considered fashionable somewhere in the world sat immediately behind us.  We were laughing, joking, and skating the fine line of sobriety and drunkenness, when three of the five tourists approached us.

"Excuse me.  Excuse me please," said one of the men in a heavy German accent.

"Yeah...,"I said warily.

" vere vondering...," said the man

"Yeah...," I repeated.  Jeff and Lael were now turned around in their seats, wondering what the German man was wondering.

"By any chance are you...uh...faggots?" said the German man in all seriousness.  Slight, hopeful smiles appearing on the faces of his two friends.

"What?!" I exclaimed, completely taken aback and thinking the guy needed to consult his translating device again.

"Yes, sorry.  Are you men faggots," the man repeated.

Lael chimed in at this, "I'm an actor, so I guess you could say I'm half-faggot."

My brother nearly sprayed his gin and tonic out his nose, as he began laughing uncontrollably.

"Vat???  I don't understand," the German man said, clearly confused.

"No, no.  None of us are gay," I said attempting to end the questioning, although I did doubt the validity of my comment considering one of my brother's friends who was gay at the opposite end of the bar.  Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay, my housemate and friend of six years was gay, but I was completely taken aback by being picked up on by a man.  Hell, I would have been equally stunned if a woman had propositioned us instead.  It just was not something that ever happened to a bunch of D&D/theater/comic book nerds.

The three of us stared at the the three of them, who were clearly not taking the hint and the man made one last attempt.  "No?  Yes.  Ve vere thinkink that ve could go back to our room and maybe pull a train or somethink.  Vat do you say?"

'Pull a train,' what?  Was this guy so drunk that we magically appeared interested in them, we hadn't even noticed them.  "Look," I said, "we are not gay and we are not interested.  Thank you, but no.  You should also be careful of who you say that to...some people might take offense and get angry." I turned my back on the men and Lael and Jeff laughed and managed to do the same.  The men went back to their table to relay the information that we were indeed not "faggots" to their friends and the five Germans began scrutinizing us from their table, possibly trying to uncover some clue.

"What the hell does 'pulling a train' mean?" said Lael, laughing so hard that he barely managed to get the words out.  My bartender friend had come by at this point and I relayed what had just happened to her; she doubled over with laughter.

"What does 'pulling a train' mean, and why did they think that you guys are gay?" she managed to squeak out between laughs.

"Wait, what?  What do you mean by 'you guys?'"  I said, slightly offended.

She smirked at this, leaning forward to say, "No offense guys, but none of you exactly scream gay to me.  You know, the clothes, the hair and disheveled looks.  Nope, verdict is not gay, not even close."  She looked down at the end of the bar to my brother's friend, "...with maybe one exception.  Maybe those guys meant to go to Chameleon and not the The Crocodile."

Now there was a thought.  Maybe the Germans had mixed up their reptiles and instead of going to the gay bar, ended up at a hotel restaurant bar instead.  What a disappointing mistake.  With the exception of one guy, none of us appeared even remotely gay.  I was overweight, unshaved, had a pony tail and wore faded slacks and a paisley shirt.  Jeff was wearing a concert t-shirt and Lael was unshaven and wearing a hole-ridden t-shirt with a cowboy riding on a giant jack rabbit.  We may as well have been playing Risk at the bar.  None of us were expecting to be hit on by anyone, whether woman, man, vegetable or mineral.  Honestly, who would hit on us?

We spent the next twenty minutes discussing the various positions that "pulling a train" could possibly entail, before deciding to call it a night.

On the way to the cars, we heard, "There they are.  Have a gud evenink.  Gud night faggots."  There on the other side of some hedges were the Germans waving, laughing and wandering the perimeter of the hotel.  We shook our heads in confusion and drove away.  Hopefully they found an actual gay bar during their stay in Santa Barbara, otherwise it was destined to be a boring trip for them with no pulling of trains for anyone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Don's John and Willie the Dog Knows How to Please the Ladies

This one is going to be a bit short and sweet...or rather short and disgusting.  Amy and I were at the Tiburon celebrating my birthday and the last of our friends had left for the evening.  We were standing outside at the street, just the two of us, waiting for a cab, when we drunkenly looked at one another and simultaneously announced, "One more!"  We did not return to the Tiburon, however, opting instead to go to Don's John, aka Don's Cocktails next door for a change of scenery.

We grabbed a seat at the bar and the mood was fairly quiet, but the weirdness started almost immediately.  The bartender was smiling at us and while we futilely attempted to determine how we knew the man, he announced that he was the same bartender from the Tiburon, and that no one was over there since we had left and that he had decided to follow us to the neighboring bar and serve us drinks there as well.  Okay...sure, why not.  I honestly don't remember if there was a Don's John bartender working, but I was fairly certain that our personal bartender was as loaded as we were.

We began to sip our final cocktails of the evening, when I glanced down to my left and noticed an Australian Cattle Dog hanging out in the bar and staring at me with intent disinterest.  "Hey sweetie, check out that cool little puppy," I said in a voice that sounded remarkably like Barney Gumble from the Simpsons.  Amy saw the dog and said, "Hi doggie," in the female equivalent voice of Barney Gumble from the Simpsons, and apparently that was all Timmy the Drunk needed to pull up a seat next to me and begin to tell us his stories.

Donist after six or seven vodka tonics.

Now, usually I would just give anyone that was rude enough to butt into a private conversation the evil eye, and possibly tell them to bugger off, but that night I was Jolly Drunk Man and smiled when Timmy the Drunk joined us at the bar.

"Oh...that there is Willie, he's always here with me," Timmy said, gesturing to the dog.

"Really?  He's a cool dog," I said, with all of the seriousness and intelligence that I could possibly muster.

"Yeah," said Amy, doubly so.

"You know...Willie really knows how to please the ladies...if you know what I mean," said Timmy in a shouted whisper.

"Wait...what?" I said, definitely not knowing what he meant.

Timmy raised an eyebrow and with a devilish grin said, "Let's just say that Willie has pleasured about 90% of the women that I have been with from here.  You know...orally."

I looked around the bar at the few women in attendance and sobered slightly.  Amy's eyes were as big as tea cup saucers as she stared at the slightly annoyed looking diminutive dog.

"Yup, he definitely has a way with the ladies."

At this point I started laughing and held my cocktail to the air in honor of Willie, who looked as if he would prefer to be eating a bowl of kibble or possibly pleasuring "the ladies" instead of being there.  When I had first seen the dog, I wanted to get up to go pet him, but after the little tale of Willie's exploits I decided against the action and remained in my seat to finish my drink.

Timmy ended up hanging at the bar and telling us how he used to work at a horse stable, and about all of the hot, rich women that he would bed during those days, as if he were a modern day Lady Chatterley's Lover or something.  He also said that the women paid him for his services, and in looking at Timmy, I could only assume that the time that he was reflecting upon was many, many moons ago.

At this point, the creep-out factor began to push its way above the surface of the many vodka tonics and Amy and I excused ourselves for the evening to go outside and catch a cab home.  "Goodbye Willie," we chanted as we stumbled out the door and laughed until we were barely able to stand.  Now that I think of it, I should have asked the little Australian Cattle Dog for a tip or too, god only knows I could always use some help "pleasing the ladies."

I is very good at making the sexy time with the ladies.   Know?