Enough with the bitching. Here’s some positive stuff. In specific, here are five things that are exceptionally rad about Texas. Dallas in particular, of course, but some of them are statewide, not the least of which is…
Roy Williams, Demarcus Ware, Marcus Spears: FEAR THE DEFENSE. Hell, fear the offense while you’re at it. Playoffs. I’ll put money on it right now. I just won’t put too much money on it. We won’t count this one as one, since you knew I’d be mouthing off about the Cowboys anyway.
No State Income Tax: It’s awesome to actually be able to keep some of the money you make when you are compensated for work. The only real drawback is that I have to get a job in order to start enjoying this first and most foundational of radnesses.
That Thing That Happened Saturday: I went bowling Saturday night with some friends. Well, I bowled nine frames. Okay, that’s not the point. The point is that a dude got thrown out of the bowling alley Saturday — and it wasn’t me. That’s what I call a step in the right direction. (I do suspect it had something to do with my pink shirt, though.)
Fireside Pies, Cuba Libre, and the Old Monk: Pizza with bufalo mozzarella and fresh basil. Crab cake BLT tacos. An endless tap of Franziskaner. All within 10 steps of each other. On that note…
You Can Actually Have Happy Hour: I’m not sure if it was an Atlanta thing or an all-of-Georgia thing, but Atlanta didn’t have “happy hour.” That is, a restaurant or bar couldn’t run a drink special that didn’t happen all day. If you wanted to feature, say, three-dollar mojitos or one-dollar PBR, you had to have it all day long. Something about restricting “power drinking” in a span of time that would encourage people to slam down as much cheep likka in the discount window. Texas doesn’t give a shit about that. You can have one-dollar Miller High Life from 4-7 every day if you pick the right place. Yeah, it’s a small thing, as I’m sure that’s the case in many other locations, but after having it be different in Atlanta, I’m glad that’s how it works here.
Wherever You’re Hanging Out, Pantera Might Be There: And you’ll be all, “Dammit, Pantera, this beer is warm. Get me another,” in a Beavis and Butt-head voice. Then Phil Anselmo will be all “RRRUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHH!”
Apparently, going out on Friday nights makes me a weenar. I gotta stop that stuff.
I have understimated the power of the place to crush the man. I spent the evening in the company of friends — beautiful friends, wonderful friends, strong friends — but I spent the evening feeling like an olive being pressed into oil. A few of the Atlanta crew and I traded beeps, but that served only to reinforce the balance between the geography.
I wondered if I was just being dramatic and I answered myself both yes and no, but parts of the night were spent in the context of the memory of other people. This song reminded me of someone. That drink was the time someone and I spent talking about the weight of the individual versus the commitment he makes to someone else. This was someone else’s can of beer; that was the time so-and-so and I fought on the patio.
I met new friends tonight, people with whom I’ll certainly spend upcoming time, but the standards to which I held them aren’t fair. I compared them tonight to other people I knew; I measured them against the friendship and entertainment value of other people with whom I’ve spent unfair quantities of time. Their problems paled beside the impressions to which I held them in relation to other people. The weight of that vanity held me down. I’m not the common denominator among individuals. Another fellow’s personal and poignant loss isn’t measured by how much cussing and drinking he and I can do.
Tonight hurt. It hurt because I had unrealistic expectations of friendship versus nostalgia. At the same time, tonight was brilliant, valued in the context of whipping around in the Elise, jumping from fences to rooftops, and in the speaking of conversations that hadn’t yet occurred. I am closer tonight to people I knew beforehand and people I hadn’t known at all. I am closer to old friends and closer to new ones — but I’m no closer to the loves I left behind.
I am bigger than this. I will rise above this. I will grow from it. Everything happened tonight as well as it could have, but everything was still found wanting. The faulty factor was me. The emotional absence and declivity were my own.
This is going to be harder than I thought.
Oh, man, I had this dream that I was back in time a few weeks ago and attending my farewell party again. For some reason, it was being held on the front lawn of my high school. All my peoples were in attendance (as they should be), but also present were Jennifer Lopez and Troy Aikman.
I have no idea what this means, but I’m sure it’s significant. Somehow.
I wish I had a “dream editor” or something. Like, I wish I could record a dream, TiVo-style, while it was occurring in my mentals, and then download it (via FireWire) to my computer. There, I could mess around with it, change the sequencing, sub out “actors” and events, dub it over with some soundtrack, and then zap it back into my head. Then, I’d have my modified dream that night. I suspect, though, I’d have some frighteningly literal dreams. Like, a 90-second, continual loop of me jump-kicking some guy while the crazy-keyboards climax of “Cowgirl” fires out of some invisible speakers. Or maybe Kelly Clarkson and I would go have a strawberry phosphate while Coach Parcells says, “Suit up. We need you on the field.”
Thanks for bearing with me.
The drive is done, but the move isn’t. I’m here in Texas, sitting at a cast-off drafting table instead of my desk. I sleep on a mattress that kills my back. This house is full of cats.
I think my stuff is on the road out of Florida. It’s supposed to be here by next Friday at the latest. A word of warning: If ever you plan on an interstate move and you have a lot of books, ship the books as freight rather than paying movers to move them. Books are heavy. My estimate came in at $1,400 for the move, but my actual move rang up as more than $2,300. That’s a big disparity (especially when you’re paying for it but don’t have a job anymore), owing primarily to weight and gas surcharge on the weight. In fact, you might be better off moving yourself interstate, because once they get that junk on the truck and tell you how you’re actually in for, it’s too late — it’ll cost $600 in labor to get those guys to put everything on the truck and pull it off again.
Wish I’d have known. I moved to Atlanta 11 years ago with nothing but a pickup truck full of stuff. I guess I’ll chalk it up to experience.
That’s fine, though — I’m happy and I’m worked up. Demimonde is underway in earnest, which is my first real, honest-to-God-I-own-it novel. My goal is 3,000 words per day once I finish this last bit of White Wolf work, which is a pretty aggressive number. I’m setting the number at 3,000 per day, but I don’t think I’ll get 3,000 usuable words per day. I’m fine with that. So long as I get those words down, I’ll be able to pick the best of them and get them worked into the body of the book.
I’m kicking around some ideas now as to how better to use this journal. I want to hold myself accountable for the words I’ve promised myself to write, so once the White Wolf work concludes, that’ll be a regular portion of what I post here. I’ve also considered the idea of putting together a podcast for every two weeks or so. Again, it’d be mostly a record of how much progress has been made, but it’s a little more personal than a journal just because of the voice aspect. Like talking to people. On the other hand, does anyone really hear what I want to say? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose.
That’s been a large part of my philosophy of late. Time to take the risk. Put up or shut up. Now back to putting up….
(Oh, and as an aside, I’m going to be at Project A-Kon this year in early June. That’s a full-circle thing for me. I first got involved with Vampire gaming at Project A-Kon 13 dang years ago. That led to me meeting some of the White Wolf crew and then working for them. It’s a great show run by great people, and it’s tripled in size since I remember attending when it was at the Harvey Hotel in Addison. Good on them! Oh, and come see me if you’re in the neighborhood.)
(New Morrissey album, too! I move and great things happen. Hey, I still owe you guys music, don’t I? Better get on that.)