Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tai's Til Noon

Hey, you know what's weird? Being in the neighborhood bar all by yourself. And I'm not talking about when the bar just opened, the bartender is in the corner playing video games, and you're the first person to show up. What I'm talking about is, it's 7:30 in the morning, the staff has left, the sun is shining and the only noise is coming from the TV that the owner left on for you, which is blaring a story about Danika Patrick only being 100 pounds for the 15th time in a row on ESPN News. You are in the bar and you are alone. Dude, it's really weird.

I found out that being in a bar all by yourself on a Sunday morning is weird this past Sunday morning, when I was in Tai's all by myself, feeling weird.

No, I didn't pass out under the pool table unnoticed and get locked in. And no, no one suggested that since I'm there all the time anyway, I might as well just stay there. No, I was there all alone because I was painting the bathrooms. And I was painting the bathrooms because, well, because they really needed painted.

The owner had patched the walls some three months ago, but never got around to painting them. And, you know, I'm always taken care of in that bar. My friend the bartender has been known on occasion to pay for my drinks, and even when he doesn't, I don't have to worry about having cash on me, because the owner is always cool with me paying my tab at some point in the future (the reason this works, for those of you who are thinking about walking out on a tab at Tai's, is that he knows I will, in fact, come back and pay it). So I got to thinking about that, and the half dozen people who were quickly tossed out for their inappropriate handling of me by the wonderfully attentive staff, and I felt like I should give something back for all their generosity, so I decided to offer to paint the bar.

Aw, who am I kidding? The walls looked like seven kinds of shit and it was driving me up a fucking wall every time I had to pee. I had to paint them. I begged to paint them. For free. Anything. I would have done anything to get those walls painted.

Luckily, the owner was sympathetic to my plight*, and agreed that indeed I should paint the walls, I should paint them whenever I wanted, and I should paint them whatever color I wanted. So after much consideration, I painted the walls a very dark blue right after close on Saturday. After close to give them the maximum time to dry before they opened again, and dark blue because it seemed like one of the more difficult colors to write people's phone numbers/leave kiss marks with lipstick/draw cartoon penises on. And they look really good. The owner and the bartender and others all stopped by during the day just to check out my handiwork, and all called to say how nice of a job I did.

But man is it an eerie feeling being locked in a bar by yourself for 6 hours on a Sunday morning.

*wanted his walls painted inexpensively

Friday, May 20, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen: He's Done It

If you have not yet been to see Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, stop reading this right now and go see it. I mean it. Drop whatever it is you are doing: tell your boss you are ill, take the kids to the sitter, turn the lawnmower off, get off the phone, take your hand off your dick...whatever it takes, and get thee to the nearest movie theater. Because George Lucas has done something wonderful.

I know, I know. Twice burned you were. Trust in George you do not. A bunch of crap lately he has made.

Listen. The Force is strong in that one. He has turned back to the good side, and just in time for Anakin to turn away. I cannot express to you properly how impressed I was with that film. The best I can do to illustrate is to tell you that I have completely forgiven him for Jarjar, indeed, for Phantom Menace in it's entirety. What I saw, at 12:01 on Thursday morning was truly, truly a Star Wars movie. Without spoilers, here is my review:

Anakin Skywalker's descent into darkness is absolutely heartbreaking. Peeps, the kid tried so hard to do the right thing, but in the end he just wasn't strong enough. He did all the wrong things for all the right reasons and it cost him absolutely everything. Watching the original trilogy will be for me like watching brand new movies, because I will now see them through the filter of what Anakin went through to become Darth Vader. He is finally a three-dimensional character, rather than the two-dementional character that I grew up with.

And speaking of Darth, the scene where he first suits up is everything I ever dreamed of. There was complete and utter stillness as the entire theater held their collective breaths and watched the mask go on, the helmet come down, a pregnant pause, and then...he take his first hollow, mechanical breath. But it doesn't end there. I don't know why this didn't register with me, because I knew it would have to happen, but when they tip him upright and Palpatine asks him, "Lord Vader, can you hear me?", hearing the answer come from the voice of James Earl Jones rocked me through to my core. It felt like I had been waiting my entire life to hear that sound.

Palpatine, by the way, steals the show. Steals it. That guy is just such an incredible actor. He is so evil I actually felt colder whenever he was on the screen.

Yoda too. Yoda rips some shit up in this one in a way that makes his battle with Dooku look like an afternoon at the ballet. I would not want to mess with that little green dude, I shit you not. The things they can do with CGI these days, I'm telling you.

Natalie Portman. It is ri-fucking-diculous how incredibly fucking hot that chick is.

The viewing itself was an interesting experience. I'd talked this thing up for weeks, and when the day finally came, my boss showed up at the office with a HUGE cake for me as a surprise. It has little action figures of Obi Wan and Jango Fett from their fight scene in Clones, complete with a backdrop. He had written "Happy Premiere Amber!" on it. By the way, did I mention that my boss is cooler than your boss? He is.

I took the cake with me over to Heather's house where I prepared for the movie dressing up as Padme, making Heather take pictures of me sitting outside in the grass like the scene I copied my outfit from, eating the cake and doing shots of DayQuil with Jim since we were both feeling shitty.

We headed for the theater early and were in our seats nearly two hours before showtime. As was almost everyone else. We sat and we sat, until finally two nerds generously offered their fancy, hundred dollar lightsabers up to any volunteers who wanted to duel. The most popular duel was the one between two girls in their pajamas. By the way, if you're a single gal who likes pimply nerdy guys who have never been laid, midnight premieres of sci-fi fantasy movies are the place to be. Dudes outnumbered chicks by my estimate at about 6 to 1. If was a festival of self-abused sausages in there.

Few people were dressed up, although I did see a 4 year old Vader (It's midnight! WHAT ARE YOUR PARENTS THINKING?), but it seemed like everyone had a lightsaber. I had left mine at Heather's and felt slightly left out, but being that all the geeks treated me like it was Padme Appreciation Day I didn't dwell on it much.

Hey! What are you people still doing here? Didn't I just tell you to get your ass off the internet and go to the damn movies? Scram, and may the Force be with you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Star Wars Day

Hey everyone! It's Star Wars day! Look for a post tomorrow or Friday on:

-My spoiler-free review of the film.

-What it's like to be at a midnight Star Wars showing.

-Photos of me and the other geeks dressed up like complete morons.

-Photos of the cake my boss gave me this morning.

Also, if you haven't checked it out yet, it looks like today is the last entry for the Darthside Blog. I will be sad to see it go.

Eleven hours and counting! May the Force be with you.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Grillin' With Chef Vinny

With summer fast approaching I am reminded of another story involving Vinny the Guinea. (I know it doesn't seem that summer is fast, or at all approaching, but work with me on this one people.)

Back in the day, Vinny, along with half the other people we knew, was employed at a certain telemarketing firm hawking magazine subscriptions. He was good at it. At least, he was marginally better at it than all the other magazine subscription hawkers in his office. We know this because one hot sunny day, he won a prize for being the top seller of the month.

The prize was a brand spanking new propane gas grill. And he was excited, and justifiably proud. He had earned that shiny new grill and by gum, he was going to enjoy it! He called up the whole crew and invited them over his house (we all still lived with our parents back then) on a Sunday afternoon for some down-home grillin' featuring his lean, mean propane powered grilling machine.

But, like most of Vinny's grand schemes, there was a flaw in his plan. See, when you win a free propane grill, you do not always win a tank filled with propane gas. Sometimes, as in this case, you win an empty tank and your cheapskate ass has to go buy the propane for it yourself.

Everyone arrives at Vinny's house late on a Sunday afternoon and starving, only to learn that there is no propane to be had. See, all the propane sellin' joints in southwest suburban Cleveland were closed for the day. Vinny hadn't got the tank filled on Saturday because he thought it already had gas in it. When questioned what in the world would make him think the tank was filled already, he responded, "I don't know. I guess I should have checked. I mean, I guess the tank did seem like it was kind of light..."

So: It looked like a burgerless afternoon for our heroes. But hark! What is that I hear from inside the house? Why it's Vinny's mom! And she's carrying a bag of charcoal, lighter fluid, and a book of matches out to her hapless son! Hooray! The day is saved!

Vinny's mom disappeared into the house while Vinny went to work on his parents more traditional charcoal grillin' getup. The rest of us settled in around the picnic table with our beverages and conversed amongst ourselves. Soon the scent of burning charcoal and sizzling beef filled the air. And it was good.

At least it seemed to be.

The first batch of meaty, juicy goodness was set before us, and we leapt on it like a pack of ravenous dogs. I bit down into mine and let the rich flavors slide over my tongue: salt, meat, lighter fluid...wait a minute, lighter fluid? I looked around me at my fellow carnivores. Aye, everyone at the table was looking from their burger to their neighbor, back to their burger and finally, over to Vinny at the grill.

Vinny was standing in front of the grill. From our vantage we could see another batch of meat, Vinny and his spatula, and a roaring inferno of angry flames. On closer inspection, we further saw that Vince had the bottle of lighter fluid in his non-spatula wielding hand and was frantically pouring it over the hot coals. "Vince," someone finally was able to intone, "WHAT are you DOING?"

"I'm grilling, what does it look like?" he replied in confusion.

It was then that we learned Vince had never grilled over charcoal before. Apparently he had also never WATCHED anyone grill over charcoal before either, because he really and truly thought that charcoal grilling involved the use of an open flame. When the fire kept dying down to embers, Vinny, not realizing that this was by design, began pouring lighter fluid over the briquettes to keep them alight. With our meat mere inches above them. The effect was a taste as though our burgers had been marinated in the stuff. Oily and bitterly disgusting they were, and I was merely thankful that no one had felt the urge for a cigarette with their meal and gotten their face blown off.

Shame of all shames, Vinny's mom heard the shouting, and came to Vinny's rescue by taking over the grilling responsibilities and salvaging what meat had not been tainted. While we sat at the table enjoying our revised dinner entrees, John leaned forward and asked casually, "Hey Vince, do you think you could go in the house and get me, just a bowl of lighter fluid so I could DIP MY BURGER IN IT? This one just doesn't taste right."

Here's to a delicious summer everyone!

Attack of the Stupid Brigade

I went to Best Buy last night to pick up some filmage for Sunday night viewing (High Fidelity and Holy Grail). If you shop at Best Buy as often as I do, you already know about the deal they have going where spending money in their store entitles you to your choice of 8 free issues of Sports Illustrated or Entertainment Weekly.

The woman in line in front of me does not shop there with the frequency I do, and the cashier was explaining this fabulous opportunity to her. Clearly this was a MAJOR life decision for her, because she hemmed and hawed about it for about 10 minutes before finally settling on Entertainment Weekly.

Entertainment Weekly, people. Remember that.

Even after making a selection she was still a bit confused by the whole process. "Eight free issues," she mused. "So, what is that, once a.....month?"

I am not kidding you.

But it gets even worse. I look at the cashier, wanting to share my amusement at this woman's stupidity with someone else, but she can't meet my eye because she's busy reading the back of the card to find out how often this woman will be receiving her Entertainment Weekly.

Sometimes I question why I ever leave the house.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Few people know this, but the center of the universe is a 10 lb. tabby cat named Kristen Ann.

She was a gift to me from my ex. He bought her from the Animal Protective League for $40. For that price she was spayed and had all her shots taken care of. From the first moment she was placed in my arms that fateful Christmas Eve in 2002, I was in love. She was soft and warm, with huge yellow eyes and little white toes on her front paws and when you held her she purred like crazy. 1153 called her the Mitten. She quickly became the fifth child in our house, and everyone spoiled her like mad.

Almost immediately, I think it was even that very first day, I became a complete basket case about her well being. I loved her so much, but I struggled to enjoy her company. Every time she curled up to me, or slept on my stomach, or looked at me with those HUGE kitty eyes begging for treats, all I could think of was "What if something happened to her? What would I do without her? What if she gets sick?" Everyone told me I was ridiculous, and I was. When I was younger I could never understand how people got so wigged out over their mangy animals. I'd never had a pet before. Kristen was my first, and the first time I laid eyes on her I understood.

In February I had to drug her to get her to Chicago because she hates the cage, and the car, and a 6-hour ride surrounded by both like so many nesting dolls was not going to go well without some dope. So I took her to the vet for her annual a few months early to make sure she was healthy enough for a tranquilizer. My vet in Cleveland declared "this is one incredibly healthy cat!" We packed up our lives and came here, and my amazing and resilient kitty settled in much more quickly than I had anticipated. All was going well.

On Sunday, I was sitting in my bed writing some lyrics while Kristen sat next to me having a bath. When I glanced up at her she was licking her arm, and that's when I saw it: an angry red rash, the size of a nickel on the inside of her arm. She had obviously been licking it like crazy for a while, because all the hair from around it was missing. I FREAKED OUT. She has skin cancer. She has a lesion. They're going to have to amputate. No, they'll just put her down. I'm a horrible kitty mom. How could I have not noticed this? She's going to keel over dead by morning. Jim and Heather worked on calming me down. It's just a little rash, cats get them all the time. The vet will give her some ointment and it will go away. It hasn't been there that long, it only looks that bad because she keeps licking it. I finally conceded it probably wasn't that bad, but continued to horde the guilt, because I'm shitty like that.

On Wednesday I took her to the vet. My vet oohed and ahhed over how pretty she is (because she is!) and how well behaved, and how sweet. She looked at the rash, said it wasn't a big deal, suggested I might want to have her teeth cleaned in a few months and listened to her heart.

And listened.

And listened.

And listened some more.

Finally: "Did you know your cat has a heart murmur?"

WHAT!?!?!?!?! I JUST had her checked not three months ago and was assured she was the healthiest cat alive. What heart murmur? The vet explained to me that she had a level 3 heart murmur on a scale of 1-6, and that the fact the she was checked three months ago and had no problems then was worrisome. A heart murmur could be just a ventricle that's not closing entirely, not a big deal, or a sign of a very serious heart condition for which she'll need to be medicated the rest of her life. How do we know which is which? We don't. Not without an echocardiogram, x-rays, ultrasound, blood work....

It was like my worst nightmare realized. I'm completely convinced she's going to die any minute. It's obviously my fault as well. Despite Jim and Heather and the vet all insisting that anything wrong with her is genetic, I KNOW that the truth is that I caused this by stressing her out to much and moving her across the country, away from 1153 and her home and everything she knew. The vet says that because she's asymptomatic, if there is a problem, we've caught it early enough that she should have a long and healthy life. But I know she's just saying that to keep me from panicking. The angel of my heart is going to croak and leave me here all alone and there's nothing I can do about it.

If you've never had a pet, don't get one. They break your heart.

Tests are forthcoming. I'll keep you all posted.

Today's Bartenderism: Pool Nomad

Pool Nomad: one who plays pool here and there. Used in a conversation: "So these two friends of mine want me to play pool with them in their league. They play on Tuesday. I thought about it, but I don't think I want to play on a schedule like that. I like to just play casually when I'm drinking. You know, at whatever bar I happen to be at. I play pool nomadically."

Also this morning, the bartender and I were brainstorming possible career changes for us both, based on things we actually like doing. For instance, I might be interested in becoming a painter, maybe having my own painting company. I pointed out to the bartender that as far as I know, the only things he enjoys doing are going out to get drunk and staying at home masturbating, and I'm not really sure how he's going to parlay those interests into a lucrative career. If anyone thinks of something, please let us know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Introduction to Vinny

I don't believe I've ever mentioned on this blog my friend Vinny.

Vinny is well known for his arresting, if illogical, commentary and behavior. Examples would include his profession that "a cat is like an autistic dog" and his observation that his own attractiveness "is not blatant". He is also inexplicably accident prone, such as the Glass Incident. The Glass Incident occurred in my former place of residence in a housing co-operative called Brooklyn Acres. I had moved in only three weeks prior to my get together, and had just had brand spanking new wall to wall carpet installed throughout the house. At the time, I had a collection of lighthouse-shaped glasses from Red Lobster that were free with my copious drinks. Vinny had brought along a bottle of red wine, and as the resident drunk, he completely filled up one of my lighthouse glasses with this easily staining libation. The rest of the crew were gathered in the living room. As luck would have it, Vinny had managed to select the glass with the weak bottom.

Now mind you, I had used the glasses over and over again, without ever having a problem. But when Vinny got a hold of it, all bets were off.

Vinny strolled into the living room as the rest of us looked on. What we saw from our perspective was red wine slowly dripping out of the bottom of the glass. This slow leak quickly escalated into a fast leak, followed by a spray, followed by spurting out of the bottom of the glass while Vinny continued to walk along, oblivious.

The next 5 seconds happened in slow motion. The entire room saw what was about to happen. Each of us leaned toward Vinny almost imperceptibly, and began collectively opening our mouths to speak....but we were two late. The entire bottom of the glass liberated itself from the remaining vessel and crashed to the floor, dumping red wine all over my not yet three-week old carpet.

Paralyzed as we all were before, we sprang into action. People jumped up to get paper towels. Glass shards were carefully collected. The vacuum was retrieved and run. A half dozen of my friends frantically blotted at my carpet trying to undo the entire event. Vinny, on the other hand, managed only to shout "MY PANTS!!!!" before grabbing the paper towels out of someone's hand and furiously wiping at the leg of his khakis. We all stopped and stared at him pointedly. "What?" he asked.

And this, in a nutshell is Vinny, whose actions and reactions are just slightly outside the realm of the expected. But more on this in a minute.

You're High

My best friend Mary and her loving boyfriend Rob have a particular verbal exchange that they frequently use with one another. It works like this:

Rob says something bizarre, or something with which Mary does not agree.

Mary responds with "You're high."

Rob replies with "You're pretty."

It is all very charming and sweet.

I was reminded of this on the train this morning, albeit not in the same charming context, when a woman sat down on the bench in front of me and announced "You're pretty," then proceeded to pet my head for the next two stops until she again said "You're pretty," then disembarked at Fullerton.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sicko de Mayo

I have been sick all week long. This is the fault of PGS Joe, who breathed on my roommate, who in turn breathed on me. Wednesday night we pathetically sat on the couch together, eating chicken noodle soup and watching pathetically bad movies whilst going through an entire box of Kleenex. I creatively dubbed the evening "Misery loves company" and speculated on Hot Heather's possible reactions to finding both our dead bodies on the couch with Miss Congeniality playing in the background. Jim would have laughed, but his lungs hurt.

At any rate, I went to work on Thursday despite a fever and the shakes because I really have that much to do, and unlike the number factory, there are no other people here who can cover for me. As I lamented having to get up and attempt to be functional, Vicodin Jim was lamenting that he couldn't go out and party for Cinco de Mayo.

A word on Cinco de Mayo: Chicago, where Jim and I reside, is not in Mexico. If it were, it would make no difference, because they don't get nutty over this in Mexico like we do in America. The fact that we do merely proves to me that we are a country of drunks, and that alcoholism is the true national pastime. And I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with this whatsoever. I just don't need to make up holidays as an excuse to get drunk. I'm happy to get drunk any old time. So missing the festivities of Cinco de Mayo was not on my list of things to be crabby about while I rode the train to work Thursday morning with fire in my lungs.

After putting in a 9 hour day, I was looking forward to drinking that sweet elixur NyQuil and passing out indefinitely upon my arrival at home. Alas, it was not to be. Well, the drinking and the passing out was, just not the NyQuil.

I wearily climbed the stairs to my second floor abode, but could not enter due to a 6 foot tall human with a bottle of Jose in one hand and a shotglass in the other sitting in a chair with a pile of chewed up limes in front of it and a fresh box of tissues at his feet. This human would be my roommate Vicodin Jim. "I thought you were sick, " I wheezed. "What are you doing?"

"I am sick," he replied cheerily, "but I can't even tell now because I've had 10 shots of tequila and a whole bunch of beers. I'm not going to let being sick ruin my Cinco de Mayo! Holy shit! You look like death! I mean really, you're all pale! Are you ok? Heather, go make Amber some tea before she passes out. Do you want me to make you some tomato soup? Oh and Heather, could you cut up another lime and bring a beer for Amber too?"

It was true. I was pale and I did look like death. Because of this I protested Jim's plan. Tea was ok, beer not ok. Tea, NyQuil and my bed. That was the plan I was sticking to. Jim would have none of it. "No. Some tea to revive you, and then you're drinking with me. Now, go put on some sweatpants, get a shot glass and come back out here."

At what point, exactly, did I lose all instinct for self preservation and the ability to think for myself? I'd like to go back to that moment, if you please, and slap myself.

I got some comfy clothes, scrounged up my shot glass and trudged wearily back to the porch, where I found Heather with my fresh cup of tea, freshly cut up lime, and freshly opened bottle of Corona Light. Jim poured us each a shot, while Heather informed us that we were on our last lime. Let the debauchery begin.

Jim and I went through the final lime in the space of about 10 minutes. Being that Jim was drunk, Heather was tipsy, and I was on my way, we decided it would be best if we walked the 2 blocks to our local Jewel to replenish our limes. By the way, shopping when drunk is worse than shopping when hungry. Erring on the side of caution we bought no less than 14 limes. Additionally, the spirit of the holiday hit Jim as we were leaving the store, when he attempted to get into some fisticuffs with a little Mexican kid standing outside.

After Heather and I dragged him home, we settled in on the porch. Things escalated quickly. Here is what I remember: 3 beers, 6 shots of tequila, hiding Jim's phone to prevent him from sending drunk text messages to his ex, eating chex mix, and waking up in my bed when my alarm went off at 6 the next morning.

I was confused. How did I get here? I don't remember walking here. Did I walk here? How do I feel? I'm not hung over. Am I still sick? Yeah kinda. But seriously, how did I get here? Another mystery: as I showered I discovered two HUGE bruises; one on each kneecap. Hmmm...

Heather filled in the blanks later. She estimates 10 or 12 shots of tequila were consumed by me, and approximately 25 by Jim. It seems I also drank a few more beers. We were, I am told, visited at some point by our friends the Smash and VonDouche. I have exactly zero recollection of seeing these people. My trip to my bedroom consisted of Jim hauling me to my feet and Heather walking me there. The tequila was emptied. Most of the limes were destroyed. I did not, it seems, do anything untoward, such as fall down the stairs or try to suck anyone's dick, which is good I suppose, but does little to explain the bruises on my knees. I may never know the story of that.

The moral of the story is...well, there really are no morals in this story. But what I learned was sickness needn't prevent you from getting pissed on fake holidays, tequila seems to have the ability to wipe out my memory and if I'm going to be drinking it, it's best to be at home amongst caring and helpful roommates and not out and about, because who knows how many people/canines/fire hydrants I would have tried to sleep with and/or beat up on my way home?

But I would really like to know what happened to my knees.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Rock This Bitch

Ben Folds! Yay!

Despite the fact that the ceiling of the Riviera was dripping on me for the entire show, and that I was there with Hot Heather who didn't want to be there, and that the opening act was some dude with an accordion and a cymbal (which he played with a drum stick taped to his right shoe), Ben Folds rocked my ass last night in exactly the way I've come to expect of him.

We all got to sing Army, and also Not The Same. And we yelled "FUUUUCK!" and "HAND ME MY NOSE RING!" in all the appropriate places. His cover of Dr. Dre's Bitches Ain't Shit brought the house down. He played not one, but TWO encores, which left me wondering: if we all just stayed there all night and kept screaming, exactly how many encores could we have gotten him to play? Even Hot Heather was forced to admit that the show was a lot of fun, or in her words, "It didn't suck."

Ben Folds will be coming to a city near you. Go see him. He doesn't suck.

Monday, May 02, 2005

How to Dress Like a Punk

PGS had a show this past Friday night and, as DenMILF, it was my responsibility to be there to rub Ben Gay on Joe's back (Joe tends to be somewhat hyperactive, and thought it would be great fun and garner much laughter if he vaulted a countertop half an hour before they hit the stage. It did garner much laughter, but he assures me it was altogether not fun. His screaming for Ben Gay quickly turned into screaming to get rid of Ben Gay after another friend dumped nearly the entire bottle on him. In an attempt to stop the burning of his flesh he tried to climb inside the refridgerator. I did what any loving den mother would do - grabbed the camera and started snapping pictures of how ridiculous he looked whilst laughing at him).

At the last punk rock show I attended, I felt exceptionally conspicuous due to my very very non-punk attire, which I was wearing due to the fact that I'm not, in fact, a punk. I was convinced everyone was looking at me as if I didn't belong and so tried to be as small and quiet as possible, which of course further added to my standing out as people attending punk rock shows are anything but quiet.

With Friday night's show fast approaching, Jim and Heather decided to solve this problem for me by borrowing heavily from Jim's wardrobe (including shoes) and giving me a brief tutorial in "SoCal" punk fashion. On Thursday night, they worked on dressing me properly, as though I were a living, breathing Barbie doll (minus tits). I was peppered with tips and advice as follows:
  • You always have to have an even number of bracelets, mostly the jelly bracelets all the kids wore in grade school. I pointed out that the bartender only wears one bracelet and it's metal, but did not receive a satisfactory explanation for this anomaly.
  • Your clothes should match, but not "too much". This was a debate that raged between the two of them on whether I should wear a black necktie or a gray one. My interjection that a necktie generally doesn't go with a t-shirt no matter what color it is was ignored.
  • Belts should worn at all times, regardless of the presence of belt loops, should be buckled on the side or in the back, and must remain crooked. I joked that it was a lot of work to look like I was too lazy to put an effort into my appearance. Neither of them laughed.
  • A trucker hat may or may not be appropriate, but if it sports the same band as your t-shirt you must change one or the other and/or drop the hat. We opted for the no-hat alternative.
At the end of this alternate universe "What Not To Wear" episode, they laid out all my entire outfit for me so that I could get dressed for the show by myself the next day, and told me to call with any questions.
And so it was that Friday night I showed up at the PGS show wearing a t-shirt, necktie, tiny skirt, crooked belt, knee socks, Converse, 6 plastic bracelets and an arm band. And in so doing, discovered the following: As conspicuous as I felt at the last show dressed like I just walked out of a GAP catalog, I felt 10 times as conspicuous at this show dressed in clothes I would never have dressed myself in. I'm quite sure I would have been far more at ease had I showed up stark raving naked with a giant flashing neon sign attached to my head reading "Gives hand jobs for crack" and an arrow pointing down at me.
On the other hand, being 27 years old and having dozens of 16-year-old emo kids hit on you is oddly gratifying, even if it makes you feel like a dirty cradle robbing perv.

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