Thursday, September 30, 2004

Dinner with Tina.

I did it, my doggies. Everything I said. Met Tina at the Chophouse, gave her a little orchid blossom to tuck behind her ear, had a white zinfandel waiting for her at the bar, complimented her arms, all of that. It was like we were on that little automatic thing at the carwash that pulls you along, so smooth did it go. After the meal we walked outta the restaurant and just kind of fell into a big hug and kiss right on the sidewalk, consumed with the old passions. We were a little outta bounds on some '98 Cakebread sauvignon, and we fell into a cab headed her way. Soon her little black dress was sliding down and we were in the throes. My Barry Brickens were draped carefully over the dressing-table chair.

I had expected to want to leave immediately after the deed was done, but it was nice to be back in the old familiar situation. We talked all about this and that, stuff we remembered about each other...she even pointed out how I always like to make sure my shoes are pointing the same direction before we hop in the sack. I pointed out the old B-52's postcard she still had on her mirror and settled back down into the fluffy pillows and big down comforter. Tina always has kept a good bed.

A little while later she poured us some wine as we sat at the breakfast bar. She looked good, with her bed-hair kind of falling in her eyes, all with the same cute old smile. It was that bad kind of comfortable, where you just might stay.

Fortunately my cell rang and it was Téodor, telling me that he had just recorded some new songs he wanted me to consider for Prime Time. I gave her a full kiss and pulled out, one more kiss in the doorway as it closed.

I walked home smelling the back of my hand, which I had sprayed with 273 when I was in the bathroom.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Saw Tina.

Damn, you know how it is. You are just out, having your day, maybe shopping at the shopping center or walking down a lane, and bang. There she is, your ex, totally unexpected. Your mind goes blank and you don't know what to do. There is that paranoid silence while you both gather your thoughts and wonder what the other person is thinking about you. This is how it went down with me today.

There is this new product called Komfy Kuddles, it's this self-adjusting pillow system that helps you be more comfortable while you're lying on the couch watching TV. It's kind of like a large robe that you get into, and as you move around and try to get comfortable it senses the areas of greatest pressure and inflates a little bit there, to give you more padding. If you move around some more, it readjusts. Anyhow, they sell it down at the A Dansk shop in Hidden Hills, and I was on my way to pick one up after a pretty long week of watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and Sopranos.

I was walkin' along, on the way to the shop, just lookin' in the windows of various vacuum repair shops and soul food places and dessert-catering companies, when out of a doorway steps Tina, all by herself, headed in my direction. We stopped in our tracks and kind of did the look-on-down and tried to think of what to say. I kind of wanted to do the hug thing, you know, since we shared so many sheets and laughs back in the day. Clark Gable or another classy man would have done that. You know, decorum and manners. I kind of made like a millimeter of a move toward her and my hands started to go up for the hug and suddenly she just jumped all in my arms, giving me this big old embrace and even that half-meaningful kiss on the cheek. She had on that 273 perfume that I had gotten her for her birthday a couple years back, the one I picked out specially for her, and damn but she felt so soft.

I just did not know what to say after we let go. She was holding both my hands and giving me this really tender smile and my first instinct was to take us out to Luigi's for a meal together, even (seriously) imagining getting us a hotel room for the night and falling back on the old ways.

I got a little bit of control over myself and suggested that we have dinner sometime, you know, just to catch up. It may have been going a bit far but I even suggested a time and a place (tomorrow at The Chophouse, a high times place we'd been once or twice before). She smiled and said she would love to.

Man, I know me. I'm gonna be all nervous up until I get there, then I'm gonna have some Ketel, then I won't be able to help but charm her in the ways I know she likes. Like a train with a devil brain, like a machine, we're gonna wind up in the sack. And the weird part is, I can't do anything to stop me. It's like Odysseus, he had no choice.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Back from vacation!

Damn! Chris took off for the last week, stone cold lying on various sides of his body on the beaches of Kauai, and right before he left he told us to shove off and take vacations of our own! I did something really unusual for myself: I fired up the Escalade, filled the back up with all kinds of hardcore gear from REI, and headed to the hills late last Friday night! No one else could come at such late notice, so it was mano-a-solo. Before too long I got up to this place called The Sonora Pass, which is pretty rugged terrain on the way to Nevada. Lots of cliffs and rivers, perfect for my new rappelling and kayaking equipment. I couldn't wait to scout out some good rapids and climbs. Say what you will about Ray Smuckles, but I do enjoy pitting myself against the elements now and then. It's invigorating. Remind me to tell you about the time we went waterskiing.

First things first, I hoofed on up to a nice secluded place where I wasn't gonna be seen by backpackers, and set up base camp. I had the new VikingXtreme ultra-lightweight 20,000 BTU cook stove, a fold-out chef's prep table, a mini set of Wusthof chef's travel knives, a snuggly North Face sub-zero chef's jacket and windproof toque (it had a chin strap and super-warm ear flaps), and a travel set of infused olive oils. All I needed was to provide the meat! I figured I'd shoot a rabbit or wild boar or something, or at least catch a wild trout or bass, so I set out with Tic Tac and this lightweight little telescoping Fenwick fishing rod (I also had the toque strapped on since a wind was pickin' up). I saw a rabbit run across the trail on my way down to the river, but I was takin' a blast from my travel flask at the time and couldn't get the gun out fast enough to drop the hammer. That was fine, though, as I was gettin' into the idea of some fresh fish with rosemary oil and crisped potatoes.

I had on these new Scarpa Freney XT boots, which the salesman had said were pretty much the best, but they didn't do too well on this big loose shale hillside I had to traverse in order to reach the river. You ever been on anything like that? It's like a 45-degree slope covered a couple feet deep in broken dinner plates, and when you step on it, you immediately start sliding. You kind of have to ride it like you're skiing: just go with the momentum and stay alert. I got about halfway down when my boot snagged on a piece of wood and I took a tumble. The first thing you do in this situation is cover your face: shale is sharp enough to turn exposed skin into deli meat. Pretty soon I had come to a stop, and I carefully took a look around.

Damned but if my entire outfit wasn't shredded to ribbons. I looked like a spent piñata. Remembering the flask in my chest pocket, I took it out and drained it before trying to stand up and see if anything was broken (they used to do this in the Civil War). It hit me pretty hard since the altitude was so high—the last thing I remember before passing out was burying myself under more rocks in case some hiker came along.

I don't know how much later I came to, but I'm glad I did because water was crawling up my sides! The river had risen a few feet due to a rainstorm, and I was in serious danger of drowning. Something in the Jameson must have given me unusual strength, because one of the rocks I had hauled over my legs was now too heavy to move. I was like, crap. That hiker in Utah cut his own arm off to save himself, and here I was, wastedly pulling heavy rocks onto my legs and passing out in a river. No wonder Brokaw doesn't call.

The water was halfway up my body when I went all lucid and devised a plan for getting myself out of this tangle. Long story short, I used the telescoping fishing rod against itself, gaining a mechanical advantage from the reel, having replaced the 12-lb test line with my carbon fiber boot laces. After a little bit of cranking, the rock had risen enough that I could wriggle free. As I was getting up, a big fat trout swam into my open boot, and half an hour later he was sizzling up in a single-weight Calphalon with home fries, crumbled andouille, and wild mountain thyme! I sat with a glass of '97 Cinnabar zin and reflected on the events as the morning sun rose.

After a good nap I loaded back up and headed home. I figured nature was trying to tell me something, and I was all ears. I spent the rest of the week watching Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs and working on my new line of lagers.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Damn but am I brewing fine beer!

Okay, so as you might have read, Waterbury turned out to be a spy and he ain't around anymore. That's cool, because it was getting to be about time that I organized my own parties once again. I kind of needed to prove to myself that I didn't need his help to run my life, you know? If you always let other people do things for you, you kind of turn into the soft calamari.

So! Tonight's party theme is BEER. I have been putting together a pretty substantial microbrewery toward the back of the property, just straight up making ales, stouts, pilsners, all that good stuff. I flew a guy down from Oregon to help with the fine points, and WE HAVE (sorry, caps lock) we have a nice little lineup for people to try. They can have the six-beer taster, 2ozs. of each, or just straight up try a pint. I think our best one is a Belgian Christmas Ale, which has just mad amounts of subtlety. It's about 6%, so folks should be hell of pantsy without too much encouragement.

To go with all this we got tons of grilled sausages on this special Eastern European grill that's the size of a hot tub. Potatoes are baking up in foil, the meats are sizzling away, peppers and onions are wilting, we even have a cotton-candy machine and a little booth that sells amber jewelry. The old dude that is in charge of the grill straight up sticks his thumb deep into the cooked potato and then pushes a tab of butter all down in there! It is going to be a real old-world night for folks. And if anyone's low-carb, I have this little table where you can mix Bacardi and Diet Coke instead of beer.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A damn relaxing Labor Day weekend.

Waterbury totally rescued us from throwing a "cone" party! Man, with like just six hours to go he rallied up and rented a huge flame-throwing mechanical scrap iron dinosaur from this local artist. He also rented this local circus act called Trompe L'Danse or something, which I was massively skeptical about, but they put on a half-hour acrobatics and magic show that was loot. For food he put out all this "munchies" type stuff, which I think was his way of winking at me and silently saying "I know that cone idea was because you were totally high, and this is my dig on you." Touché, Waterbury.

All the same, we burned one and tore into the buffet: chocolate fondue with cheesecake balls and snickers on skewers, a calzone bar, Funyuns, Beef Jerky, milkshakes, Skittles, Tom's of Maine salt and vinegar chips, macaroni salad, Dove bars, chow fun, potstickers, Chicken Tenders, the works. There was even a Coke machine. Damn, it was a good time...until all these dread-lock hippie kids showed up. I know they just like peace and want to be happy, but I don't like dreads on hippies. My posse played it hard and cold and pretty soon they dug the vibe and hit the gate. It has been a damn while since I smelled so much b.o. and patchouli oil.

For the three day weekend I mainly played it close and did a lot of swimming. I had Waterbury dress up in a navy blazer and deck shoes and blow a whistle, and I would dive into the pool and do a couple laps. He disqualified me in the last heat for crawling into my Floatee Lounge and cracking a Coors, but that was cool.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Tonight's party, kind of a new thing

Me and the fellas got kind of exclusive last night over at Téodor's, and we came up with this really incredible, experimental theme for tonight's party. The theme is cones.

Yeah, cones. Think about it: cones are a pretty basic part of geometry, and therefore a fundamental part of the world. Martini glasses are cones, party hats are cones, bottles are kind of cone-ish...there are more, we made a list (but I lost it I think on the way home). We went on-line and ordered everything we could think of that is cone-like, and then thought up cone-style food. Spicy tuna hand-rolls are cones, ice cream sugar cones are almond is kind of shaped like a cone...

Oh, Jesus. Now we've done it. Dammit, we can't have a party based on cones. No one's going to care about that that is clever. Maybe if tonight's party was like a Beatles cartoon instead, but it's a real party where people don't want to wear cone hats and watch Conan O'Brien loops on a big conical pile of TVs.

Crap. What am I gonna do with all this cone stuff? And what am I gonna do about tonight's party? I better hand this stinker off to Waterbury, he's pretty good on his feet.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I like wine!

It's been a while since I had some wine! I got to tell you, I been kind of avoiding the stuff lately, since I think it kind of gives me a little gut. They got these new Bacardi 0-0 posters around lately, where Bacardi and Diet Coke has like zero carbs and zero calories. I been mainly in that scene. I ain't a carb person, no, I am more in it for the zero calories. Been feelin' pretty lean lately because of it.

However, tonight I had wine! Man, it was nice to have a glass of the rich stuff. I dug into the cellar and got a bottle of Old Vines Zinfandel to go with this punishingly spicy spaghetti e polpettone I was cookin' up. I make a damn fine meatball, old family recipe, and no you can't have it.

Anyhow, I liked the wine a lot. After dinner though I walked up and down the stairs a few times, just to get the metabolism up. I want to get back down to my 2003 weight. I'm currently at my 2001 weight, a little high for my tastes.