Friday, April 21, 2017

What A Coinky Dink

So the other night I was reading lurking through the posts of some of my Facebook friends and I spied a pic my friend Wayne took of a book. Turns out, it's a just published memoir by his cousin David Leite recalling the ups and downs of everything from his southeastern Massachusetts ethnic-household upbringing to his adolescent and then adult struggles with bipolar disorder, sexual identity struggles and his ever-fluctuating waistline. David is a successful food writer, cookbook and cooking website creator and now, non-fiction author.

Here's the coincidental part though: The Smashing Glass Incident, which I touched on in the last post, and disclosed fully here, took place about a week and a half after Wayne and I stayed with David at his Brooklyn Heights brownstone rental for a long weekend. And events that occurred during that trip were a big part of the build up towards the Smashing Glass Incident. All this, exactly 25 years ago this month.

The last link above will bring up the FLASHBACK post (aw, remember them?) I wrote back in 2009 about this New York visit. I detail quite a few activities we enjoyed while there. (And, a little unsettling, a few of those details I don't recall anymore now that eight years have passed from that post. Thank goodness for this blog!) But I do remember a couple of the not so enjoyable incidents that happened on that trip as well. And, I frankly have only myself (and my habit) to blame.

On one of the nights that weekend, we had dined at a cozy, neighborhood restaurant near David's apartment in Brooklyn. I think it was Indian? Not really clear on that. But I do remember it was a place where alcohol was strictly BYOB. I remember feeling secretly pissed that I couldn't order a drink with my meal. "I was on vacation, dammit!" I was overcome, quietly, with irritation and anxiety at being "forced" to get through a nice dinner without booze. This reaction was quite a bit unusual.

Back home, I'd been slowly getting into sneak drinking, as I mentioned in past posts, but I wasn't a bar hopper at all. So my intense craving in a public establishment was a bit of a surprise. I think David and Wayne sensed something was off with me but I managed to fluff it off and get through our meal without revealing my inner irrational rage.

As we were leaving, I noticed another table, which had just cleared out minutes before us, had on it a half empty (or was it half full?) bottle of wine that the patrons had abandoned. I knew it'd soon be dumped away in the trash once the table got bussed so I told Wayne and David I was going to get it and drink it. The look of horror and revulsion that they simultaneously beamed at me was truly unexpected. I really thought that I was being rational (and even ecological...waste not, want not).

But, of course, they saw it for what it was: a seriously troubled and desperate grab at someone's garbage for a drink. Though I didn't see it that way then, I must have spilled the beans in that one expression of depraved lust for alcohol that likely put up a shitload of red flags.

Wayne knew I was an alchy, but I think, at that time, he thought I had it under control. I usually was able to cover up the true depth of my disease pretty well. I don't know if Wayne had shared the story of my addiction with David, but he surely knew about it now. Naturally, I turned away from the discarded bottle and it was an awkward walk back to David's.

But this wasn't all.

The next morning as Wayne and I were getting ready to leave for the train station to go back home, David, looking a little concerned to say the least, asked Wayne aside to talk with him privately. It turns out, one of his roommates had discovered that a bottle of vodka they had on a kitchen counter had been used up and the vodka had been sneakily replaced with water.

Yup. Being deprived of my table-scrap vino, I opted to chug the vodka down. And, figuring it wouldn't have been noticed 'till Wayne and I were gone, I filled the empty bottle up with water. Not the first and not the last time I'd pull idiotic shenanigans like this.

How Wayne actually continued to still be my roommate after that I don't really know. It could have been that I, like a lot of alcoholics, talked the "good talk." I don't remember what I said to make the stain of that go away.

But, as we know, Wayne would be tested once again less than two weeks later, having to sweep up the broken shards of glass off our kitchen floor and pry open his heart to once again forgive this sorry soul.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Happy Anniversary?

Well, I think many people would think it weird that somebody would "celebrate" flinging a crystal goblet at their roommate's door, but I guess I do. Not the specific action, but I think back with awe and envy at how that action was the spark that got the engine started down the road to redemption with a huge rev.

Hitting Bottom is what the AAer's would call it. The point where I could continue no more since I wasn't able to fathom going further down into the abyss.

Of course, as we know, the redemption was, when looked at through 25-years-older glasses, rather temporary; that's true. Only four solid years (if you look the other way for a couple minor transgressions). But they were a good four years.

I never emblazoned the date of the Smashing Glass Incident into my memory, despite its importance, but I recently tried to work it out with what I remembered of my usual schedule back then on a calendar from that year. I figure it was around the third week in April 1992 so I'm picking the 20th. And that makes today the 25th anniversary of that date.

So I raise my (oddly enough) glass goblet of Diet Coke (that's right, we're gonna try this yet again) and salute my fridge pic of 28-year-old me.

I'll forgo the drama of throwing it though.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Flop Sweat Vultures

Warning: The following opinions may crinkle some feathers, especially if you yourself are a flop sweat vulture.

In the past week, two big headlines stirred the hearts of a lot of people. But not in a good way. In a bitter and judgmental way. I'm talking about the United Airlines CEO response to accusations of violating the civil rights of one airline passenger and the Sean Spicer flub where he said Hitler didn't use chemical weapons on his people.

I'm sure everyone's Facebook feed was chock full of countless comments about these incidents. And, it seems, the general consensus appears to favor a highly critical stance against both white men persons' handling of their issues.

I'm not defending what they said or their actions after being attacked by the media in general. But I just want to point out what seems to be a growing trend among, really, all of us. And it points to an emergence of a Culture of Blame.

Remember a few months ago when I spoke of this invasive attitude that looms over my workplace like an evil and malevolent smog? Well I see now it's just a microcosm of a greater trend that's enveloped the nation...if not the world.

The hyper-scrutiny of pitchfork and torch bearers to root out the sinister Frankenstein monster among them has made for a natural phenomenon to inevitably occur in the statements and actions of the victims of their ire. Flop sweat. Like an actor who gets so nervous on stage in front of an intimidating audience that they break out in a visibly glossy, and unfortunately, uncontrollable flop sweat, which, in turn, makes the actor MORE nervous since he/she knows the crowd can see their fear and makes them even MORE likely to make the error they're praying they don't make like fuck up or forget lines, freeze, or, probably worse of all, run off stage.

I think this is what happened in the case of both gentlemen spoken of above. And, frankly, I feel sorry for them. The mistakes they made were, in my opinion, only made because there was such intense negative attitude directed toward them that they simply got flop sweat and fumbled it. Then the flop sweat vultures pounced. And never let up.

I've had my own experience with flop sweat vultures this week and let me tell you, it ain't fun. I armed myself each day with an attitude that I'd best the enemies I apparently have in droves at work and I'd shine triumphantly above it all. But the vultures don't just wait for you to present their carcass to them, they hasten your death in any way they can.

Suffice it to say, I haven't committed any transgression as bad as the United CEO or the president's press secretary, but I feel I gushed a couple of gallons of flop sweat out of my pores the past few days because I'm trying too fuckin' hard to be a good boy and subsequently made a few boneheaded screw-ups.

We'll see if these fuck-ups come to any fruition as the week bears down on me. This anxiety and stress is freakin' NOT what I bargained for from this place.

These fucking flop sweat vultures are fierce scavengers and I think before long they're gonna try to pick every speck of flesh from every fuckin' one of my old, brittle bones.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Day 5....SCREECH!

That's right! Pull that stylus off the record. We're not gonna treat this Phen-aided "initiative" like the other ones.* I'll let you know when it's all said and done how I did with my weight loss goals when I'm good and ready.

But for now...I need to rant!

*(BTW, just to break my own rule a little bit here, the count is now at 4 pounds lost.)

I may be getting too paranoid here, but, at my workplace, that's actually the norm, not the exception. Unfortunately I'm talking about between staff members, not including the residents. I feel like I'm being targeted.

Charmaine popped in unexpectedly this morning before 6:00 am and asked me to come into her office. She asked me about the accusation a new team member had that paints me as a dismissive and rude coworker. Once again, I'm having to defend myself against this shit!

In truth, the coworker in question was a temporary fill-in on the nightshift and, seeing she was having difficulty staying alert and awake since she wasn't used to staying up and working all night, I let her know that most of the tasks assigned to us are a little complicated to initially learn and I'd cut her a break and just do them myself since it'd be easier than having to train her how to do them. I thought I was doing a favor for her. Basically, I was saying..."I know you're just helping out and filling in so you might be tired. No problem. I can do everything myself. You can just relax."

But maybe she perceived this as dismissive of her abilities or me being lazy, not wanting to teach her things...I don't know. You think you're doing someone a wink-wink-nod-nod favor and they take it the wrong way. Cognitive dissonance? Inter-cultural miscommunication? Wait a minute, what race was this staff member? Yup. You know it. Black.

Again, let me defend my apparent racism. It's not that I'm condescending to her or projecting the impression that because she's black she wouldn't be able to be trained's her thinking that I'm thinking that and that she both wants to join the rumor mill-initiated Anti-Michael Gang for street cred as well as pounce on an opportunity to make a white devil entitled prick pay for his peoples' sins.

A white chick or guy being told by me they could chill and get paid to sit on their ass and watch YouTube all night would think it sweet. And, to clarify this position, if I were a black dude and told a black chick or dude to chill and do nothing, they'd be all for it. But because I'm white, they think I'm trying to trick them into getting caught doing something they shouldn't. Or, perhaps to supply myself with some kind of leverage in a blackmail situation in the future. Either way, they think I shouldn't be trusted.

It all comes down to trust.

Is Charmaine able to discern these delicate aspects of inter-staff behavior? Is she able to put aside any potential anti-white feelings she may herself harbor? Is she even intelligent enough to know that one plus one equals two? I don't know. My gut says she's a total tool and is as dumb as bug so trying to predict an outcome on intellectual probabilities might be challenging.

With her obviously inferior skillset, witchy-twitchy roaming eyeball and her faux-Pollyanna affect, she may well opt to get rid of a smart, observant and boisterous employee like me who might expose her for the sham she really is.

If so....well, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Birthday Bash!

This has been one of the best birthday celebrations I've ever had! Perfect weather, great activities, awesome food and drinks and multiple venues. Combine that with an amicable Ric, clearing lungs and, of course, the fabulous Rainbow Magic and, well, you can see why I had such a great time.

I thought about doing the SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival for my birthday weekend over a month ago and when I texted Ric about it, he was all for it and even offered to spring for an overnight stay at a nice SeaWorld area hotel.

We set out around noon yesterday and since I was coming off work at 7:15am, I had the choice to either take a nap for only a few hours or just push through it. With the help of that special blue and white pill, I picked pushing through. And push through I did.

After a frantic Ricky Roadrage ride on the mess that is I-4, we got to our hotel, the Hampton Inn Suites at SeaWorld, and checked in. Since, due to traffic, and Ric missing an exit, we arrived at around 1:30, we'd already missed the several shuttle rides to the park, so we chose to walk. It really wasn't that far at all.

Quick note about the room: Hampton Inn is owned by Hilton and though this brand is supposedly less prestigious than the Hilton named properties, this particular hotel and accommodations was worlds better, IMHO. than the Atlanta Hilton from a couple weekends ago. Of course, this is Orlando and the stiff competition along with a traveler's expectation of a magical family experience keeps hoteliers on their feet. Plus, it was more than double the cost of my Atlanta room's daily rate.

Like Epcot's annual Food and Wine Festival, this was SeaWorld's take on a similar seasonal guest event. We got pre-paid lanyards which allowed us 15 food or drink items ($55) from any of the nearly one dozen food vendor booths. Despite our best efforts, we weren't able to fully complete our card. I, for instance, have eight more items to go. Luckily, we can bring it back to a future scheduling of the event through late May.

The food kiosk lines were not bad
In order, I had:

Mexican: Braised Chicken Adobo with Mole Sauce, Cheese and Mexican rice.
Caribbean: Cinnamon Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Sweet Plantain Mash & a Red Wine Reduction
Florida: Coconut Shrimp atop Swamp Cabbage Slaw with Mango Horseradish Sauce
Mediterranean: Sea Scallops Proven├žal served with Wild Mushroom Risotto
Grilled Lamb Chop Marinated with Rosemary Mint and Served with Roasted Potatoes and Greek Tzatziki Sauce
Pacific Coast: Braised Pork Cheeks with Savory Apple Polenta & a Red Wine Reduction
Brazilian: Brazilian Churrasco Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri & Garbanzo Frito
North Atlantic: Bacon & Cheddar Hushpuppies Cornmeal Fritters Served with Honey Butter

Example of food and beer sizes
Ric enjoyed pretty much the same as me but he stayed away from the scallop dish, had an additional item or two and he focused more heavily on some of the dessert items.

Festival Funtime!
Though Ric outpaced me, I had my fair share of beer as well, opting for the 20 oz. souvenir cup at $9.46 and subsequent refills, of any beer you chose, at $7.99.

My beer selections:

Kona Fire Rock
Dogfish 60 Minute
Mahou Cinco Estrellas
(Wow, just four? I don't remember getting any others.)

Free Hugs!
There were several live bands playing throughout the park but the headliners were none other than the Village People who performed at the Bayside Stage at 4:00 pm.

"Young Man!" (Err, more like old man, actually LOL)
We rode Journey to Atlantis and Ric also rode Mako and Kracken...but only once each, the park was decidedly more packed than that Monday a few weeks ago.

The lines for the rides were not great
After closing down the park at 9:00, we took an Uber to Point Orlando on I-Drive and stumbled upon Maggiano's Little Italy. This was a somewhat upscale Italian restaurant and, like any popular place on I-Drive on a Saturday night, we had a 45-minute wait to be seated. This was totally fine as it gave us a chance to have a few drinks at the bar and to get to know the two bartenders on shift, Justin and Nicole.

Barside Buddy Shot!
Once in the dining room, the waitstaff, like the bartenders before them, were top notch in enthusiastic engagement. Like the best of Orlando, this place truly provided a wonderfully crafted guest experience. Ric ordered Sausage and Cheese Gnocchi and I had the Veal Parmigiana. But the real star of the meal was the phenomenal Risotto Balls with Marinara appetizer. We both agreed we'd be happy to just have these for the entire meal! So flavorful.

Justin the bartender had taken note during our conversation with him that it was my birthday eve and surprisingly had our servers deliver a small plate of decadent chocolate truffles to me after our meal. It was emblazoned with a candle and the words "Happy Birthday" spelled out in caramel sauce on the plate rim and, of course, they sang Happy Birthday to me. Totally awesome!

By now it was heading towards midnight so we took an Uber back to the hotel to drop off our doggie bags (the portions were huge and, understandably, we had limited space in our stomachs) freshen up and head on out to yet another bar. For once, I was the instigator of keeping the party flame alive. Ric was pooping out, so after I took one myself, I gave him one of my Phentermines. He says it didn't give him pep and in fact he thinks he got more tired from it, but we trod on nevertheless and Ubered once again over to Howl at the Moon, an I-Drive bar which reminded me a lot of venues on Bourbon Street in New Orleans with a lively, loud (and drunk) tourist clientele and live audience-request music.

Perhaps requested by another patron who'd also attended the afternoons show at SeaWorld, the bar entertainers were tasked to perform none other than Y.M.C.A. How meta!

We Ubered back to the hotel after closing the car down and, both of us thoroughly wiped out, we collapsed into our super comfy beds and were soon out like two lights.

This morning, I made my way down to the hotel dining room for their free hot breakfast buffet around 8:30 am and we both checked out around 10:30.

I-4 Ricky Roadrage, the Morning Version on the way back home.

We capped off my birthday celebration with a lunch of wings and a couple of pitchers of beer at Hooter's near Sanford Mall and caught the matinee showing of Kong: Skull Island at the nearby Regal cinema.

A real nice time I must say with my good buddy Ric.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Guess What's Back?

Wait for it...


Monday, March 27, 2017

TRAVELOGUE: Atlanta, Georgia: Day Three

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Those Mai Tais and the super-comfy bed made for a nice night of sleep and I got up around 9:00 in the morning feeling quite refreshed. Yes, sore from another day of hard walking (for my out-of-shape body), but refreshed nonetheless. I was also feeling a slight sting from a scrape on my left knee and a small cut on my right ankle. The only way I can imagine I would have sustained these small injuries would have been during the very bumpy roller coaster ride. I guess it was rougher than I thought.

My breakfast consisted of the leftover Checker's food (minus one burger which I kept in my bag) and a couple of in-room brewed coffees after which I gathered up the remains of my belongings, did a quick scan and made my way downstairs to check out.

I was given a receipt for my stay and it showed a zero balance as it should but it was only the original booking invoice which was paid for months ago on my BOA Visa. I asked the clerk about the $50 security deposit on my AMEX and he assured me it was taken off. (NOTE: As of this writing, it, along with two other mysterious charges from Hilton for around $12 each are still on the American Express card...we'll see if that corrects itself soon)

The bellman did accept my bag on hold as I told him I was flying out later so I made my way hands-free back to Peachtree and, avoiding the hated Death Escalator altogether, I waked out onto Peachtree Street and made my way down the hill towards the Georgia Aquarium.

At $42 I thought it was a bit steep but it seemed par for the course. Everything seemed expensive here. (Well, except for those Mai Tais, I thought those were a bargain) It turns out though that you got quite a bit for your ticket price.

The aquarium has multiple exhibits through out its huge two story building along with as many 4-D movies as you'd like (4-D movies, like Shreck 4-D and A Bug's Life as Universal and Disney examples are 3-D movies with a rigged-up theater to include scents, water sprays, bubbles and seat motion to the experience) the Ice Age movie I saw even had real falling snow effects. Plus there was a sea lion show, beluga whale feeding and a really good dolphin show.

The awesomely massive aquarium windows and a through the tank see-thru tunnel (even better than Sea World's) were the star attractions for sure. They also contained in those massive aquariums the largest sea creatures other than whales I've yet seen. Sea World may have the fact it's an entire theme park not just an aquarium going for it, but as far as aquariums on their own, this one kicks some butt.

After an entire afternoon at the aquarium I made my way through the nearby Centennial Olympic Park. This is the place where the 1996 Atlanta Olympics were held. I walked over to the CNN Headquarters to check out the studio tour but the sign said the next one wasn't for over another hour so I roamed the huge atrium/food court a bit and checked out (but did not ride) their massive escalator, apparently the longest in the world? What is it with Atlanta and escalators?

It was getting on near 5:00 so I walked back to the Hilton, got my bag and instead of dealing with the Peachtree Death Escalator, I walked down Peachtree Street to the Five Points station. And what did they have there? Another Death Escalator! Fuck.

I made it down, hopped on my train taking me back to the airport and hung out in Concourse D, ate my cold Big Buford that I'd packed away and people-watched 'till my flight time.

The flight back was really quick taking just over an hour and before midnight I was driving home.

TRAVELOGUE: Atlanta, Georgia: Day Two

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Got up around 8:00 and pulled open the heavy drapes to see that although the forecast had called for some rain, it looked fine and as it turns out the weather not only today but all weekend would be perfect. Low 70s and lots of sun.

I'd noticed yesterday that to the northeast of downtown there was this other cropping of skyscrapers. I'd already known through prior research that the "downtown" areas of Atlanta were broken up between the older Downtown area, where I was and the newer Midtown section which I guess has more of an arts district flavor? But this "city" seemed way off like ten or more miles I'd say. Turns out it's an area called Buckhead. The rich section of town. And let me guess, the whiter section of town right? Looked it up and yup...80% white over there. Looks like they want to become their own city. Well just from the distant looks of it, they sure could.

More about my room though. The more I looked, the more I could see why the cheap rates. Even though the decor wasn't particularly dated, it was pretty worn out and dirty when you inspected beyond the first glance. The light fixtures looked nice but the lamp shades were cheap-looking and one even had a hole in it. The surfaces of everything were black granite with a speckled look, but if you ran your fingers across it, you noticed many of the speckles were actually dust. But the worst part was the cloying odor of Carpet Fresh. It wasn't only in my room, but in the halls and common areas of the hotel as well. From the exterior facade I'd guess this building was built in the early 70s. Checking right now: Yup, Wikipedia says 1971. So, yeah, it sure needs that major renovation. As it is now, it sure isn't what I think of when I think "Hilton."

But I didn't dwell on these minor issues. The bed was super comfy with 500-count sheets, goose down pillows and comforter, the bathroom was tiny but it was quite modern-looking and the shower had a feature only old buildings have...a hot and powerful jet of water. They didn't have modern eco-pussy attitudes about water conservation in the early 70s, showers ran full and stayed hot as long as you needed.

I was a bit sore from all the walking and standing I'd done the day before but I drank two cups of in-room brewed coffee and made my way back to the Peachtree Center. Since I did end up munching on the second Firehouse sub last night while I painfully watched Bruce Wills try act his way through this terrible movie, I bought a breakfast burrito with coffee ($8) and sat at one of the tables trying not to look out-of-place as literally the only white person among the mass of other diners.

Suddenly, just as I was finishing up my meal, a big ol' rock 'em, sock 'em fist fight broke out between two black teenage guys not four feet away from where I was. One in a security uniform. At first I thought he was the security on-duty at this place but his uniform was different; I think he was security somewhere else probably there to get a pre-shift breakfast? I don't know, all I know is I heard him yell at the other dude as he railed into him to stop "pressing up" on him. Not sure what that means.

The other kid tried to strike back but security dude cold-cocked him upside the head and the kid went down to the hard tile floor with a bang, hitting his head with a loud smack and knocking what looked like 3 or 4 cell phones out his pockets. Sure there's more to the story based on that there.

The crowd was screaming and wailing with the women all like "Oh Lordy, Oh Lordy!" I kid you not.

I didn't know if this security dude was armed with something more than his fists and I wasn't sticking around to find out. I made like Snagglepuss and Exited, Stage Left. Yes, unfortunately, stage left meant down the dreaded vertigo-inducing Death Escalator. Then I took the train to the western terminus of the Blue Line. From there, I hopped on a bus for the short ride to Six Flags Over Georgia.

Got my ticket ($72) and explored a bit, making my way over to one of I think only two alcohol-serving watering holes in the park. And, get this, not only did they ID and bracelet-tag all patrons, but you had to consume your drinks there. You couldn't do like any Orlando park (or any other theme park I've ever been to for that matter, including, back in the day, the now defunct Six Flags New Orleans) and walk around with your drink. And there were badge wearing security guards all around the bar making sure you weren't slipping some to some kiddies. Yeah, 'cause if I were inclined to get my kids booze I'd choose to shell out $72 dollars for admission and $15 a drink to do so.

I sat at the patio bar of this place called JB's Sports Pub, ordered a fairly-ok cheeseburger platter with really nice spiral-cut fries ($18) and a tall Sweetwater IPA ($15). Yes, this place is more expensive than our top-level theme parks here in Florida in all except ticket price. This guy and his girlfriend sat next to me and they struck up a conversation which I tried to keep up somewhat but with their thick Georgia accent it was like they were speaking another language.

Not fitting on any rides here back home, I didn't even try any of the more restraint seated options but I was (just barely) able to successfully get the lap bar down below my bulging belly to ride the Great American Scream Machine, a really nice ol' out-n-back woody seen here:

But the lines were sick long with wait times well in excess of an hour for anything, even the single dark ride in the park, a really quite lame slow river boat ride, "Small World" style, through a Monster Mansion. Mediocre animatronics and effects, plus confusing theming, starting out with comical cartoony "monsters" and then slowly delving into a hell-like scene with more scary-type monsters and back again. I guess to ease the kiddies into the monster atmosphere without freaking them out too much?

I also tried out their park-circling train ride but the combination of the hokey and out of sync recorded narration along with the noxious two-stroke engine fumes had me jumping out at the first stop available.

Back to the bar for a couple more beers before heading out as the sun was getting low on the horizon. For a park which had little to offer for me due to my size and my intolerance of the massive wait times, I was able to walk around it a bit, even though it was quite hilly and I drenched my clothes with sweat, it felt good to do something physical and the sights and people were interesting to see.

I made it back to Peachtree Center, grabbed a couple of Big Bufords and two chili dogs at the Checkers kiosk ate half the order for dinner in my room and saved the rest for tomorrow.

After a nice relaxing shower and my in room meal, I got dressed up in my black slacks and collored shirt and made my way down to Trader Vic's. But there was a reunion in the neighboring Marriot Marquis hotel of some black college sorority and many of them were staying here in the Hilton as well. Just as I was trying to get down to Trader Vic's on the lower level, they were clogging up all eight elevators trying to get their Flapper-looking costumed butts next door as their shindig was getting underway. I took the stairs down all 13 flights and then had to exit the building to enter the restaurant from the outside.

Once there I sat at the very old skool swank Polynesian-themed bar and had two very strong glasses of their signature Mai Tais ($10 each) to cap off the evening before going back to my room for the night.

TRAVELOGUE: Atlanta, Georgia: Day One

Soon after finishing my previous post, I decided that I may as well go and if worse came to worse at least it'd make a great "awful trip" post. Now that it's all said and done, I gotta wasn't bad after all.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Woke up at 2 am having packed and prepped and gotten to bed before 8 pm Thursday night. Despite the off hour, I wasn't that tired, but all this deviation from my regular sleep pattern did give me a perpetual feeling of jet lag and just a general lack of energy overall and these symptoms would persist throughout the weekend more or less. But I strove forward.

Got to OIA satellite parking around 4:00 but since I parked in the South lot, the shuttle dropped me off at my terminal a bit later than I'd expected. And time was ticking since my plane was set to leave at 5:02.

Made my way to security and though in the past the TSA folks here in Orlando seemed much less Gestapo than other airports, it seems this "rabid dog attitude" has now seeped into the crew here.

Since it was 4:30 in the morning, the roped off maze that was set-up for travelers to file into like good little sheep was quite moot as there was just one guy ahead of me. He saw it too and he maneuvered under the ropes to go straight to the security check podium. So I followed suit, but since I wasn't as nimble, I accidentally tripped the stretchy fabric ribbon and it popped out of its post and quickly retracted, like a retractable tape measure, into its other post. One of the TSA agents went to re-string up the ribbon and came to me, tapped me on the shoulder and said "You're supposed to go through the queue properly!" or some snarky remark like that, telling me off. I just ignored the fucker and proceeded to the podium. God forbid you don't respect their authority! Even if there's no one else in the queue and you just did what the guy in front of you did.

It did get me to pause just enough to spot a shiny little copper coin on the floor just before the security check point. Since I was wearing my contacts I couldn't make out details of the coin but I could tell immediately that though it was the same color and size as a penny, it wasn't one. Once I got to my gate I still couldn't make out the markings so I took a picture of it with my phone and blew up the image. It was a Bahamas penny. Cool.

Of course I sat down for only a couple of seconds as by now my flight was calling last boarding. The plane was packed solid. I guess for the cheap rates Frontier was selling these seats at, a lot of folks did like me and woke their ass up early in order to take advantage of them.

The flight was a quick hour and a half and after deplaning I saw that Atlanta's airport was a bustling madhouse of activity...even though it was just 6:30 in the morning. With tons of time on my hands, I made my way aimlessly through the many concourses, sometimes taking the rapid transit train but other times riding the moving sidewalk through the connecting corridors to witness amazing details like this area which was decked out with a simulated rainforest motif right down to background sounds of running water, rushing wind, and squawking birds. Very cool.

All the eateries were jammed packed and, of course, expensive so I opted for just a small bag of cashews and a Vitaminwater Zero from a gift shop ($7.50).

I people-watched for a couple of hours but after getting antsy to move on I made my way to the MARTA terminal, bought a weekend Breeze pass ($18), and made my way into the deep, dark heart of the Black Mecca.

Now let me defend myself before I go on any further. First off, I'm not the one to come up with the term the Black Mecca, Atlanta, it turns out, has long held that title. But this trip was my first hand experience of it in person and it was just a bit freaky. Having always lived in white majority communities (even the parts of New Orleans I lived and worked in) this was (pardon my comparison, I don't mean it to sound crudely racist) like I was Taylor and I just landed on the Planet of the Apes.

I rode the train through to Peachtree Center and in order to emerge from the deep-ass bowels of the subway platform, I had to white-knuckle it riding up this incredibly steep and high beast I would dub, the Death Escalator. Here's my pic looking up and some guy's video going down it.

And just like this video, it was a loooong, creaky, creepily-lit fright ride. The moving handrail and steps were not totally in sync either so you had to move your death grip every now and then or it would pull you down. I'm still researching if anyone has ever fallen on this thing. Surely there have been deaths. With my top heavy body and severe acrophobia, I was shittin' bricks!

At the top of this thing is the just below street level MARTA station and to the right is a rather dated mall with a few shops and stores but it seems to mainly function as a fast food food court.

I walked through here and across one of the areas many skybridges to the Courtland Street garage, took the elevator down 7 stories to ground level (Huh? Wasn't the mall just below street level? Yes, but because it was at the top of the hill which seems to be the center of the downtown crop of sky scrapers, it worked out to be 7 stories up when I made it over to the street my hotel was on.)

The hotel is definitely in the midst of major renovation but the lobby looked decent enough, albeit it, like my room, seems to have been lay-overs from the last update I'd guess, maybe around the late nineties from the looks of it? No matter, fact is I was here for a cheap rate so I wasn't expecting brand-spankin' new.

Happily, when I got to the registration desk, I was allowed to check in right away even though it was only 10 am. I dragged my tired, sweaty ass to the glass elevator and up to the 13th floor, got in my room, took a nice hot shower and sat looking out over the scenery below for a while before taking a short nap.

Around 3:00 I was getting really hungry and when I had walked across the skybridge earlier, I thought I saw a sign for the Hard Rock Cafe down below. I decided I'd walk over there for a burger and a beer or two but when I got there, it turns out it was only a billboard for the Hard Rock Cafe. I thought I had seen on a map when I originally scoped out the city days ago that it was not far away so I made my way towards the area I thought it would be and trudged up a steep incline back up towards Peachtree Street. On the way, I noticed a tiny liquor store and made note of it.

Getting near to Peachtree Street I couldn't see it, just saw a Hooters on the corner and I'm not a lover of that so I opted to head into the nearby entrance to the Peachtree Center Mall again and grab something there. (Turns out that the Hard Rock was right across from Hooters so I was closer than I thought.) I got two subs from Firehouse subs ($14) figuring I'd have one once I got back to the room and store the other in the mini fridge for the next morning. I also went back to that liquor store and got a six-pack of Dogfish 60 Minute IPA ($13).

Back in my room I watched as the shadows got longer, munchin' my Italian fully engaged sub, sippin' some nice hoppy ale and soon was down for the count. After forcing myself to watch "Live Free or Die Hard" on HBO, I got under the covers of my quite comfortable bed and was out like a light.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Georgia On My Mind

Almost two months ago I read one of my Travelzoo offers that I get on a regular basis. It takes a bit of extra effort since I have my email setup so that all Travelzoo emails go into a separate folder. I saw that they had an offer for a discount rate on a 4-star Hilton hotel in downtown Atlanta. Since it was undergoing renovations, they were offering $65 a night booking. Sure, I thought without a moments notice and booked a couple nights for as long out as I could so I'd catch warmer weather. I didn't want to go to Atlanta in the middle of winter, it's colder than here.

Well now that time has come. I also booked roundtrip airfare not long afterwards so I'm all set to go, very early tomorrow morning for a weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.

Problem is, I don't really want to go now.

After booking shit I checked it out and there's just not a lot that interests me in Atlanta, Georgia. I mean if it were Athens, Georgia, I'd love to tour the proving ground of the early B-52s. If it were Savanna, Georgia, it'd be nice to see the historic homes and stuff and stroll the cobblestone streets. If it were Cordele, Georgia, it'd be fun to see the jail Ric spent a night in, just kidding.

I'm thinking Six Flags Over Georgia might be an adequate diversion but the place is less than half the size of IOA from what I can make out, has typical non-Orlando quality and is almost as expensive as an Orlando park in ticket price with some shady "fake discounts" for buying online. And the food and drink prices seem higher than here? What?!

Weather isn't projected to be great. Cold with highs in the low 70s and rain possible for Friday and Saturday; most likely for Sunday.

Probably because of the renovation discounts, Yelp reviews paint a poor picture of service and value. And with hoity-toity standard check-ins beginning at 4pm (but delayed due to heavy occupation according to several reviewers) and 11am check out, it looks like I'll be having to whittle away time on Friday and Sunday as I try to find things to do while I fill the gap between flight arrival/departure and check-in/check-out times.

Long delays, cold, rain, airport parking, tourist trap tours, ghetto traversing public transit, an overpriced, chinzy amusement park and likely a heavy dose of Southern in-hospitality and I'm really thinking twice about all this.

Stay tuned to see what I decide.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Fabric Of Reality Is Ripping

Never mind a delicate word like "tearing," it's fucking RIPPING!

Russia hacked the United States presidential election...FACT!

Their goal was verified as attempting to assist Trump's campaign and sabotage Clinton's...FACT!

Trump actually won despite all of the reputable media analysis up to and including election day predicting he'd lose...FACT!

The FBI is investigating possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians...FACT!

Members of Trump's posse have already been caught lying about their meetings with Russian spies...FACT!

Trump continues to be just fuckin' weird and delusional.

He thinks Obama wiretapped him but has no substantial evidence pointing to this outrageous accusation. He flies to his golf courses almost every weekend and conducts secret meetings there. He continues to hold "Make America Great Again" rallies. He uses Twitter like it was a fucking diplomatic cable shooting his mouth off with rude, immature and divisive statements. He jokes with a foreign head of state at a press conference that he and she share a joint experience of illegal wiretapping by the US government. "Spicy," his White House Press Secretary, is just slightly less loony and outlandishly-aggressive than the parody of him by Melissa McCarthy on SNL...just slightly.

And the list goes on and on.

The only solution to this total fucking mess isn't to impeach him...that'd only put that homophobic fucktard Pense in the Oval Office.

No, we need a total reboot.

Yup. We need to have another election. And we need it soon.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Still There

According to NASA, my name still roams silently through space high above the lunar surface. As reported on CNN, NASA has found their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter along with a lost Indian probe in orbit around the moon. Now, from what I can garner, the LRO wasn't lost, it is in fact still operating and its team is in radio contact with it, but I guess this was one of the first times they detected it with ground based radar.

As far as why my name would be on the spacecraft? Well, a year before they launched it, NASA initiated a "Send Your Name to the Moon" project announced on their website. People could submit their names and they would be placed in a microchip and installed on the orbiter. I'm one of them as attested to by this certificate.

I guess the idea is, someday far into the future, either humans or other intelligent life will make use of the quaint early 21st century silicon-based wafer and uncover all 1.6 million names that were programmed into it. Maybe even create some kind of memorial from the names. "Space Dreamers of the Ancient Pioneer Era"

Hopefully, the far future plaque or obsidian wall etched with our names won't be titled something like "Some of the Last Humans Who Lived Just Before their Final World War"

Thursday, March 09, 2017

My Tortured Mind

I'm trying to be "a better me."

So I'm focusing on analyzing my triggers and working out strategies to deal with them.

And, more and more it seems, it's not just my conscious mind working on these tasks. My subconscious is chugging right along as well making the valiant, and sometimes, just sometimes successful effort.

The conscious battle against most triggers, if there's gonna even be a battle at all, (It's not always there. Many times I go down with not a single protest.) is often fought as I'm en-route to or in proximity of a potential "buy." You know these, I've had names for them for years...Christie's Syndroms, Publix Crisis, and they often feature a behavior I've been doing more frequently and just named today...the Park n' Sweat. This is where I'm fighting the good fight as I'm parked in the parking lot of the store. Right there. I gotta be honest, it's probably a 75%/25% thing. With the greater figure going to the times I go in.

But today was one of the 25%. I just sat there, sweating out the inner voices trying to coax me one way or the other. Sat there watching as a fellow alchy made his way in. Oh yes, 7:30 in the morning is when we alchys go in. But I think the others are usually in a bit of a worse off state. It's probably the start of their day. Their presumably full day and evening of drinking. But for me, it's, as you know with my night shift schedule, after a long shift of work, 5 o'clock is now, it's Miller Time.

But knowing that sometimes makes my Park n' Sweats harder. 'Cause if I was getting up and hitting the stores each morning just as they're able to legally sell again, I'd probably more readily recognize the shit I was in. Or, maybe not. I think many in that shape are probably just too far gone to even have Park n' Sweats anymore. I don't want to know. That is, I don't want to progress to that point where I'll find out, first hand.

So my subconscious jumps into the fray as well. One of the weird and new behaviors to spring up? It's what I'm calling Hangunders. Huh? Well you know about hangovers: the after drinking sickness caused by dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and trace formaldehyde build up, etc. Well now I've started to have severe bouts of nausea the second I start to seriously get triggered. When my alchy mind is on a stampeded mission to buy and guzzle, my sober mind can only scream out in what's likely a very crude reptilian brain response to danger or threat...I start gagging. And I mean outright whelps of automated vomit motions as I try to fight the intense waves of nausea overcoming me. To the point of tears and sometimes even to actually vomiting. Remember though...this is all way BEFORE I touch a drop. I'm just thinking about it!

But involuntary retching is not always successful in stopping me. The last time I did it, I puked a little in my sink, picked up my keys and drove to the store, gagging and holding back more urges to vomit all along the way. Held my composure, went in, bought the usual "6-24" (6-pack and a 24 oz. like a Foster's oilcan), got home, puked again and just as I pried open the cap on my first bottle, the nausea instantly went away. My subconscious suddenly gave up. It knew the battle was over.

Man this shit sucks. Many other wagon hops have brought me up to that Pink Cloud awfully quick so it was mainly painless. But this one, she's a tough ol' bitch. And I'm not catchin' a single break. I'm white-knuckling this thing every hour of every fucking day.

And I'm only on Day 4.

Monday, March 06, 2017

BINT Silver Anniversary

Back in '92. (Back In Ninety Two or BINT)

25 years ago.

I've posted a lot about this time, most notably here, and tried in recent years to re-capture the spirit of that time. Funny pun in the word "spirit" used above since it was all about spirits, ie: alcohol.

Like then, I feel very much the same as I remember feeling just before the Smashing Glass Incident. I feel like a sad hamster on a squeaky metal wheel in my cage, running awkwardly as fast as I can inside that wheel but, of course, getting nowhere.

I've always had a thing, almost an autistic thing for anniversaries of milestone events in a timeline. Especially milestones in my life.

Can I utilize that impetus to help mark this anniversary year as the point at which I made the commitment to go back to the spirit of twenty five years ago? Not sure. I thought the 20th anniversary would be powerful enough to do just that but that didn't work out then. Aw heck, I didn't even really try until a year later when I first went on the Phen (aka Rainbow Magic).

What was the key element that two and a half decades ago?

Oft times I think it was the actual smashing of the glass.

Many times I figured it must have been the "coming out" as an alcoholic who'd lost control...not just to myself but to someone I loved.

I've discovered through the years of thinking back to this time that many unconscious decisions were made by me leading up to the inevitability of the events that spring.

Little things like self-demoting, then eventually demoting yet another "rank" lower and transferring to night shift. Picking up and taking home that one-night-stand while I was still living at Logee...why? So he could see the way I was living and shy away the next morning? 'Cause that's what happened. How about dramatically up-ing my usage level seemingly overnight that early spring, just before smashing glass. Whereas historically I stuck almost exclusively to beer, suddenly I was drinking 12-packs of it warm from the side of my bed along with a few swigs from bottle of Jim Beam every day.

All I know for sure is I need to jump back on the wagon sometime soon. May as well be in this Silver Jubilee year because there's no fucking way at this rate I'd be able to keep treading this crazy-ass wheel until the Golden Anniversary rolls 'round.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Tamp The Tude

I's gotsta "tamp the tude" today 'coz  I be triggered!

I haven't posted about work lately 'cause really things have been rather ho hum. Until recently.

First off, my annual review which was conducted a full month late, was not as sterling as it's been in the past. Why? My supervisor said the 3-11 shift has complained that during some recent busy times (like the scabies outbreak...yeah, right on the heels of the bedbug crisis...this place looks all posh but pull back a metaphorical layer or two and you see the scummy, disgusting underbelly) I was not helpful and shit. I reminded her that in fact I bent over backwards to help, jumping in to help with med deliveries and even application of scabies cream on one resident who refused it for all other staff.

I told her that I think the person saying this shit about me (no I didn't use language like that, this place is too uptight for that) is Michelle because I called her out one night since she repeatedly takes forever to complete her duties running herself into overtime. I was trying to be pro-management in that I knew her game: she was purposely procrastinating shit so she would end up with a few minutes overtime each night for "approved reasons."

My supervisor was playing dumb like she never knew that some employees play that game. And the sad thing is I think she really was clueless. Her management style is so "Mommy Loves You!" with her subordinates, bringing in food all the time and even sharing some inside info that is really none of any one outside of management's business with her "family" of "coworkers." She's one of these managers that still think she's "one of the gang" and that everyone "has her back." Well, she's got a lot to learn about entry-level employee mindset, especially here in Florida.

Some are just outright sneaky motherfuckers looking to fuck over their employer every chance they get. Especially prevalent among black people. My theory: they equate having to answer to "a boss" and "follow the company rules" with "obeying massa" especially if the company, as it is here, is white "owned." (We're a non-profit so it isn't owned per se but the Board of Directors, CEO, CFO, Clinical Director and Jessica, whatever her fuckin' title is, are all white.)

So my supervisor said she "put in" for my 3% merit raise but "hasn't got it yet." That was two pay periods ago and I still "haven't got it yet." My suspicion is I'm at the ceiling. I mean, they've got to be asking themselves: "Are we going to increase the highest paid caregiver in the place yet again?"

Oddly enough, Anthony (formerly Tony but now the queen doesn't want to be called Tony anymore) was telling us after shift report last Sunday morning that although he's back now as part time, when he was full time a few years back he was one of a bunch of employees, including admin level like the then-HR Director, that got fired because they made too much. Made me gulp silently 'cause I don't know who knows I make what I do.

And now, last night (well, what you would call "last night"...I call it earlier today).

One of the residents gets a midnight dose of antibiotics, I bring it to him in his room. He punches out the pills from the bubble pack cards and I bid him goodnight. Did I see him actually swallow them? No. He's not the type to cheek meds or otherwise fuck around so I didn't play Nurse Ratched with him.

My co-worker, the new black girl (yes she's like the fuckin' fifth one or somethin') brings this guy his 6 am dose. Well, she sees some pills lying on his counter top and asks him about them. He says "Michael gave them to me and I put them there and forgot to take them." She brings them back to the Health Center and tells me what the resident said. I'm looking at her like..."What the fuck dude, this is a med error, are you shittin' me?" and tell her "I'll take care of it." I mull over what to do. Of course if it were me, I'd keep quiet about it and dispose of the pills and that would be that. No worries. I'd do it for anyone. It's only antibiotics for cryin' out loud.

But she's a Glory to the Lord Bible-thumper so of course she has a big moral dilemma with "covering up" this. Oh but if I was black she'd back me up. Since I'm a white devil, she's not throwing a single bone my way. So I say, well go ahead and write up the med error and I'll add my response (which is the proper way to do it) but she's also really reticent to "take charge" of anything, preferring to continually play dumb and defer to me to make all the tough decisions. Well, not this time bitch. You want to throw me under the bus, you best get a running start 'cause I's a big ol' fat cracker!

So if I get fired over this shit, at least I said my piece on it. Now I just have to "tamp the tude" when I see her again tonight (or what I call tomorrow) or that too will be held against me in the Court of Estrogen-flooded Law of Lakewood.

Monday, February 27, 2017

And The Oscar Goes To...OOPS!

Social media blew up last night as the most amazing M. Night Shyamalan-esque twist ending occurred in the final minutes of the Oscars. I watched it unfold in disbelief as much as anyone. Somehow, despite all the surely well-rehearsed steps taken to prevent something like this, the wrong winner was announced for the last and arguably most anticipated award of the night: Best Picture.

Here's how it supposedly happened: "Someone" (as yet unnamed according to my searches) appeared to have handed the presenters of the award, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty (presenting on the 50th anniversary of their roles as "Bonnie and Clyde" in that 1967 film), a sealed envelope which should have been for Best Picture but was actually a duplicate of the envelope that had just been used for Emma Stone as Best Actress.

Every year, according to the Price-Waterhouse rep who commented on this flub, the awards are printed on two sets of cards in envelopes in two separate suitcases. This is as a precaution should something happen to one set, a "fail-safe" redundancy. Makes sense. But somehow, "someone" used the set that was supposed to be the reserve, first mistake, then, proceeded to give the wrong award from that set (Best Actress rather than Best Picture), second mistake.

And, in what I consider the third and most egregious mistake of all, the presenters, Beatty primarily since he first read the card then Dunaway who also read it, either failed to notice the small print which said "Best Actress" on the bottom of the card designating this as the Best Actress award, as well as misunderstanding the format of the card which read Emma Stone in larger font first then La La Land in smaller font underneath being the title of the film of her awarded portrayal.

It's funny but as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty came out on stage, my first thought was "Wow, they look really old." Not out of meanness, just noticing the facts. They are old. And they both looked and acted a bit "out of it" like many old people do. Sorry, just stating my observations. Faye looked like she was squinting a bit, since it's been years since she's been familiar with the bright lights of the stage and Warren was making these weird little mouth movements like he had cotton mouth, or was he mouthing his or Faye's lines for the presentation? Maybe he couldn't quite read the TelePrompter and had to go on memory?

They said their little scripted lines and then Warren opened the envelope. He saw what I'd described already and I'm sure a big part of him was screaming out inside "This doesn't look right!" I mean, I do believe he's presented at awards shows before including the Oscars. I'd bet money on it. But even though he hesitated in what the audience and even Faye thought was a comedic way he must have reassured himself that there'd be no way someone would screw up so much. So he did what any doddering old fool would do I suppose and handed it over to the woman. Faye didn't even bat an eye. She saw La La Land on the card, ignored the actress name and the fine print and read out the wrong winner.

Sadly, the cast and production team for La La Land came up and grabbed "their" golden Oscars and three dudes got to the mic making heartfelt teary-eyed acceptance speeches while people in headsets and the shivering old Beatty were milling about behind them trying to tactfully break the news to the group. One dude even went to the mic and started thanking his maw maw, paw paw or whatever and then blurted out "We lost by the way!" Jimmy Kimmel, the host, never looked so awkward as he ambled towards the mic.

Jimmy jokingly blamed Steve Harvey in reference to a similar fuck up a couple of years ago at the Miss Universe pageant when Harvey announced the wrong winner and the same super-awkward exchange took place minutes later as the the crown was removed from the wrong girl to the right one. On stage. Ouch!

Gotta hand it to the La La Land guys though, unlike in the Miss Universe mistake where the wrong woman just stood in disbelief and did nothing, the La la Land folks were happy to give over their 2-minute Oscar-hood to the folks with the real win, Moonlight.

This presentation went very long this year, not wrapping up until well after midnight and I'm sure millions of viewers who were struggling to stay awake on a Sunday night switched off their sets once the Best Picture winner was first announced.

Like many who may have done the same thing on election night when all the media outlets were still anticipating a Clinton victory, they'll be waking up to a bit of a surprise this morning I'm sure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Silent Movies

For two decades, one of my favorite rituals was to log into IMDb after watching a movie to learn more about what I'd just watched. I'd get info on the actors, the crew, professional and amateur reviews. But what I looked forward to the most was reading the message boards where people would post questions or comments about the film and there'd be sometimes epic threads in all flavors of intelligent and not-so intelligent responses. It was the internet as a community, where people across the world would be able to talk about the movies.

Just now I finished watching "Passengers" and went to IMDb to check out the boards about it. And, as I scrolled down to near the bottom of the page where the message boards usually were placed I couldn't find anything. This happens sometimes for really old or obscure movies since there hasn't been anyone who cared to post anything, but for a brand-new and popular sci-fi film with top notch actors? I checked out links to other films and got the same result. Nothing.

I googled "IMDb forums" and found out why. Several media sites had articles announcing that as of yesterday, February 20th, the message boards on the site had been discontinued.

I feel like I've just lost an old friend.

Welcome to the new internet. Free speech is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Apparently, according to several of the articles I read, IMDb became disenchanted with having to police the boards for vile trolling and hate speech. According to at least one article, hate comments were rife and have been usurping the boards more and more as time went by. I call BS on this. Yes there'd be the occasional dickhead who spouted crap but for each douchebag there were plenty of others who would put that troll in their place right quick. Plus there were built in features to the boards which helped sanitize them for a more general "PG-rated" user experience like the word "beep" replacing any written curse words.

I'm one of the early users of the internet and I remember those days fondly. It truly was like the old wild, wild west. And I remember how we pioneers predicted that the frontier would be slowly but surely tamed and toned down once the corporations got their greedy, grubby hands on it. And sure enough, that's what's been happening over the past twenty years.

So what's next? reddit? Why that's nothing but a cesspool of libtard geeky neckbeards sitting alone in their mother's basement, right? Shut 'em down! Blogger? Eh, blogs are a dead forum anyway but too many try to rabble rouse as it is. Shut 'em down! What about the creme de la creme of free (thus sometimes disturbing) speech...YouTube comments? By some accounts, they've already started sanitizing content through monitization guideline restriction and frequent controversial channel closures. And many if not most YouTube comments are notoriously vile.

Free speech interferes with the true machinations of the corporate entities that are transforming the Web. The real message is what the corporations want you to see, read and hear. And it comes down to one thing. Their bottom line.

We see it so blatantly now with Facebook and Twitter. Ads are everywhere. Insidious ads that directly target your interests. How do they know what you like? Everything is witnessed and logged. Google searches, online purchases, sites visited, even software installed as reported by your operating system. Think your emails or Dropbox files are private? Think again. Why, someone's probably watching and listening to you from your computer or phone's camera and mic. No where is safe. Big brother is indeed watching you. They want your money.

Gone now are the days of sharing free thought and ideas for the sake of knowledge, learning and understanding. Anything that detracts from the corporations' goal of getting your money is being silenced.

This is how freedom dies on the Web. It's deleted. Like it never even existed at all.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Rico Koyo Era Begins

Breaking News:

Ric just messaged me that the fellow weekend bike warrior that promised him a management job just left the company he was working for and took a better position elsewhere.

So what's this mean for Ric?

He's likely screwed.

Without the advocacy of this guy, Wilmer, being his mentor, Ric only has his own merits to bargain with. Though he does have some management experience from decades ago, it's not in the hospitality industry. In fact, I'm pretty sure of all the many jobs Ric's had over the years, he never mentioned working even as a waiter in a restaurant, so I don't think he ever has. How could that hold up to other more qualified applicants?

Ric said that Wilmer is pulling for Ric to be his replacement. Um, as a COO of a multi-million dollar company? Wilmer has a freakin' MBA, how would Ric be able to take that job?

I haven't yet talked to Ric directly about all this but he did preface the text saying "Life sux even more now." so I think he must realize that he's being fucked with. I warned him a couple weeks ago when we went to see Rogue One together that I researched this Wilmer guy on social media and I thought there might be some concern about him. Wilmer had been posting on Facebook and other sites that he was in the works for a big move. I guess this was it. Why this guy lead (and presumably is still leading) Ric on is beyond me. How could he be such a douche? Unless Ric totally misunderstood him or is outright lying about all this. I don't really believe those two options though.

Poor Ric.

I hate to withdraw even more than I have from him over the years but let's face it, he's heading for a total collapse I believe. He's burning through his 401K remains, now down to some $20K according to him. I'm pretty sure his standard budget, not accounting for the costs of this DUI defense now, total more than a couple grand a month in expenses.

With no ability to drive, he's right back where he was in 2004 when he got his license suspended during the 3rd DUI drama. Yet then he had his AIG job and he moved from Casselberry to Lake Mary just so he could be closer to it. Amazingly, despite the punches dealt to him, he really pulled out of it quickly. Cognitively restructuring his lost driving privilege into a fanatical zeal for biking and getting his finances together enough to buy a condo he was determined to not be beat.

Once he got his conviction and part of the sentence was a year's probation after a 30-day rehab stay I watched in awe as he complied with his mandated alcohol abstinence with apparent ease. The year he was a pod person.

So this time 'round, I think he'll either have to totally transform himself as he did then or face real hardship. I just can't see how he'd be able to do it right now as all the shit is hitting the fan, but maybe, just maybe he has enough resiliency and drive to bounce back yet again.


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Exhibit A

I wish the best of luck for Ric in his upcoming drama regarding his newest DUI but I present a bit of disconcerting evidence from his Facebook timeline:

Here he is with his buds, celebrating his birthday at Friendly Confines, his bar of choice in Lake Mary, two nights before his DUI.

Here he is with Joe at 2:00 am later that night after hitting only "two light hits" of weed.

Here he is with his nephew at several Knoxville watering holes the two nights after his release from the Georgia jail.

Hopefully his judge won't see these.

...It's Gonna Be A Bumpy Ride

About two weeks ago I wrote a post titled Fasten Your Seat Belts... announcing that Ric had bought a car and after a hiatus of some 13 years he was going to be driving again. Why 13 years of no driving? Well, as you can read about here, he was charged with his 3rd DUI just before the founding of this blog.

Un-fuckin'-real as it may sound, Ric, in just two weeks after buying his car, has been charged AGAIN with another DUI!!!

It was just this past Friday as he was driving north on Interstate 75 through some little redneck town in Georgia since he was traveling to visit with his nephew at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. According to Ric, the cops stopped him because, and Ric admits fault in this, he was doing 85 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. Understandably Ric was super nervous and the cops noticed this. They assumed he was on something and made him do a roadside sobriety test. Then he was cuffed and put in the cruiser.

But Ric's story gets a little muddy from here. He said that they wanted to take him to a hospital to do a drug blood test and Ric says the cops were suggesting to him that if he refused to take the test he could be set free and be on his way after a night in jail and a quick arraignment. Ric said the cops were saying the blood test could take several weeks to complete and this might delay his release? (Sounds fucked up to me) Ric apparently refused the test and requested a breathalyzer to which the cops said no because they were under the belief he wasn't under the influence of alcohol but drugs.

So he was brought to the jail and spent the night there. He got a bail bondsman to post bond for him. When I asked him what collateral he used since the bond was for something like $2,400 he said the bondsman put up his own collateral. (Huh? I'm pretty sure the only reason he got a bond in a state outside of his residence is he must have signed his condo as collateral. Why he's not admitting this is either due to ignorance that he did it or embarrassment.)

He was released the next morning but did this experience deter him from continuing on his journey to Knoxville to play 54-year-old frat boy with his under 21-year-old nephew? Nope. He posted selfies of himself with his nephew at Knoxville sports bars smiling as if nothing ever happened.

After his weekend in Knoxville, according to him, he spent the last couple of business days in Atlanta in order to iron out the issues by hiring a lawyer and conducting his own, self-paid drug tests. This was likely good advise from his lawyer. As to why he didn't do it the night of his arrest? Maybe the cops deceived him or maybe he was afraid of what the tests would reveal since he admitted that a couple days before he left for Knoxville, he and his friend Joe smoked some pot. He said he only had two light hits. Hmm. How the plot thickens.

So what's Ric looking at? Well, in Georgia, he's charged with a first offence misdemeanor DUI under the influence of drugs. But once this is communicated back to Florida, it will be tacked on to his existing record and count as his 4th DUI charge. Since he refused the blood test, he's looking right there, no matter what, at a one year suspension of his driver's licence.

If he beats the rap and the case is either dismissed or he's found Not Guilty, he should be free of further penalties, but the one year suspension, at least in Florida may stand since he refused the test. I'm not entirely sure but I think that's the case. And this will, IMHO, be the outcome. Without a positive test for drugs in his system (assuming the ones he did come up clean) there's no evidence.

But we're talking backwoods Georgia. Good Ole Boys, Dukes of Hazzard country. What if they come up with "evidence?" Or what if the judge doesn't need evidence to convict? "Roscoe says you was high as a kite, Boy, and you're gonna hang!" "What's more, I detect a bit of homosexuality in you, Boy!" Clap Clap of his gavel. "Full penalties to you, you Sodomite!"

Yikes! Let's hope it doesn't come out as that. But either way, without his licence he'd have a very hard time being able to get to and from his new job promised to him. It's down in the I-Drive area. And though he was talking to me how he might be able to get there by public transport and his bike, it isn't likely feasible.

Sadly, though I had a bad feeling about his prospects even before these new developments...quitting his job, and hanging his hopes on a career in a field he knows nothing about...I now feel he's never gonna be able to ride this one out. It'll be a full blown Koyo for him, for sure.

I hate to say it, but my oh my, how the tables have turned.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Cracker Nostalgia

Earlier this week I took advantage of a BOGO at Publix on Nabisco crackers mainly 'casue I had two blocks of Cabot's cheese that I bought the week before. Can't have cheese without the crackers.

I got my all time favorite Chicken in a Biskit and my second favorite Vegetable Thins. I don't regularly buy crackers but if I do I usually opt for a box of Chicken in a Biskit so I'm familiar with the evolution through the years of that brand. More like Devolution if you ask me. Their a drier, blander and less exciting version of their former selves. But I hadn't bought Vegetable Thins in many years so I was shocked to see what I got when I opened the box. The shapes were all wrong. They used to be good-sized crackers that you could put a slice of cheddar cheese on. Now they're tiny. They used to have shapes that were like the vegetables they were made with...onion, carrot, bell pepper, tomato. Now they're some funky convex and concave curved rectangles. Like CIAB, they also were dull and dry. What a disappointment.

I tried looking online to see when the recipe had been changed and I didn't see any reference to the crackers of my youth. Oh,oh, was this another Mandela Effect? Luckily no, as after a little more digging I found some references to the old shapes. Remember, the internet has a short memory span and it looks like these new crackers have been around since about 2008 or 2009 it seems.

But what was really weird and I found it almost right away was the fact that during the 60s, when I guess these crackers had first come out, the original Vegetable Thins shapes were the same as the newest ones. So it looks like they went back to their classic version. Yet I know that by the 70s the crackers were redesigned into the vegetable shapes I remembered. That's what made me think of a Mandella Effect.

The picture of the old cracker boxes reminded me of some others I loved as a kid but have been discontinued a long time ago. Bacon Thins. Yes! Why is this no longer a thing? Onion Thins were really good too. Now Celery Thins? Never tried them but I guess it's no wonder they're not around any more. Makes me think of old fashioned glass condiment dishes with sections for celery and olives. Mmmm. NOT!

But you know, it does make me think how good an idea it would be to start up a small baking company that produces crackers in these mid-century, old style flavors. You could have Pickled Egg Thins. Or Head Cheese Thins. Or Pimento Loaf Thins.

Hey, how about cocktail party selections like Extra-Dry Martini Thins or Highball Thins? Why drink and nibble when you can combine the two?

Or maybe to realistically reflect the era you could have Duck and Cover Thins, Dead Not Red Thins or maybe Whites and Colored Thins...or how about Back Alley Abortion Thins. Too much? Did I go too far?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Move Over PewDiePie!

I'm movin' on up!

Several of my most recent uploads on my YouTube Channel have been gaming vids, mostly from the very popular Planet Coaster of late. And because of this, my viewership and subscriber roll is climbing.

That's right Bitches! I got 68 subscribers! Woo Hoo! I'm gonna be the king of gaming YouTube channels. Yeah.

Um, but I guess I have a bit of an arduous climb ahead of me in that journey.

PewDiePie, in case you don't already know, is currently the most popular (by viewership and subscriptions) on YouTube. Let's see, as of this writing...let me check...he has: 52,759,278 subscribers. He reportedly makes over 12 million dollars a year and has an estimated net worth (from just 6 years or so of videos as well as the sponsorships and side-deals like books and likely speaking engagements) of about $65,000,000. And this is accounting for the over 50% income tax bracket (Sweden).

So yeah, if you want to watch some lame ass old fuck struggling through games drunk as all hell or some tours of simulated theme parks, go for it. So like they say, comment, like, subscribe...(and make me rich!)