Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Frost Giant's Daughter

I'm apologizing in advance, because this post is pretty much a repeat of the one last year about how people can’t drive when it’s cold. Not surprisingly, I really can't complain enough. Why is it that in this dumb town, whenever the weather is rumored to freeze, people completely lose their abilities to make rational decisions when sitting near the wheel of a car? Last night, I went over to watch a movie with Kerry (funnily enough, it was An Inconvenient Truth). He lives about five minutes away, and that's if the lights are bad. But last night, the traffic idiocy was such that my trip took fifteen fucking minutes--all because the mercury dropped down to 45 degrees. Every four-way stop featured retarded jackoffs simultaneously barreling into the intersections as if right-of-way rules have never existed. Imagine a bunch of near-sighted old people on acid driving bumper cars, and this is a little bit like what happens here every goddamn winter. I'm not saying I am the best driver, and frankly, I am terrified of driving on ice, but at least I error on the side of caution. These other assholes, though... it's like they forget/ignore all prior knowledge and experience of physics, traffic decorum and common sense.

I wish I lived in Hawaii.

--The Robo-Pirate

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I should write about Darth Vato's trip to Austin. So here's the short of it.
The tread ripped off a tire near Itasca. We changed it, and made it to Austin in time for Kerry to buy a Les Paul at a vintage shop. We ate Cuban food. We played at Headhunters. It was a good show. We went back to motel, and the next day, Kerry took the Grampus to get new tires. He found out it needs about $1100 worth of repairs. Then we drove home. Someone parked their truck in the space where the trailer goes. I wrote him a snooty note. He moved his car. The End.

Actually, that's the long of it. Here's how it went. We got a flat and fixed it. Kerry bought a guitar. The show was good.

But here's what I'd rather write about: all the scattered thoughts/songs/pictures that cycled through my head today.

"Zyclone B. Bathhouse"
This is a crappy NOFX song off 46 or 47 Songs That Weren't Good Enough for Our Other Albums. Though I'd like to, I can't actually listen to it, because it's on my broken iPod, and my computer here at work has a broken headphone jack. Thus, one single half-line continues to bounce around my head indefinitely.

"The Space Jockey"
This is the weird fossilized alien thing in the spaceship where Kane found the xenomorph eggs in Alien. It's gross and thinking about it gives me the willies. And I can't not ponder it. Why is it fused to that weird turntable/telescope thing?

"Busey and the Beach"
I watched this episode of Entourage last night. It's the one where Turtle knocks over this ridiculous sculpture of Gary Busey's. Then later, there's this party in Malibu thrown by that eel Josh Weinstien, and Busy later pours a bucket of water on Turtle's head. He also tells Ari, "you're a gut maggot, without any guts." Ari goes, "you're going to spin right off this planet, Gary." This episode has a lot of good lines in it, and Busey is so fucking weird, which makes it one of my favorites. Also, Monica Keena looks swollen.

This has to do with work. It's boring.
"So tell me, Luke... What's a Friday night like in Fantasy Land for you? Do you meet up with the Care Bears and cruise around in that cloud car?"
This is a line from the comic I'm working on. I don't think it works very well, but I like it and can't seem to part with it. It's just really cumbersome. But not "Cumbersome," because then it would be completely terrible and a relic from 1994.

This is a new Darth Vato song I've been working on this song for over a month. It's about being how pathetic and depressing life is when one just sits at home alone smoking pot. I'm having trouble with the second verse. Since I don't sing, my melodies always always sound half-baked. It's actually a pretty moronic song, which is par for the course of Darth Vato.

"How much I hate phones"
I hate them. A lot. Especially when they are ringing or other people are using them. This corresponds with how....

"I hope I get to be self-employed someday"
I have a really hard time tuning things out and focusing, and I feel like it makes my performance at work suffer. But why should I be the "special needs" employee? Just because I get bothered by other people's meetings and phone calls doesn't mean I should be allowed to separate myself. But I really do bristle whenever someone is on the phone longer than necessary. You become painfully aware of everyone's verbal tics when you hear them several times a day for extensive periods of times. I recently read this book about an austisic teenager called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In that book, he talks about how he becomes overwhelmed by everyone's voices, and I can totally relate to this.

"The Asteroid"
Apparently, there is an asteroid that has a 1 in 50,000 chance of hitting the Earth in like 2029. That's a pretty good chance--better than winning the lottery or even that stupid Chili's Guest Satisfaction Survey. NASA is trying to come up with a plan, and not surprisingly, one of the plans involves landing an astronaut on the asteroid and somehow causing it to change its trajectory like three degrees or something. This is all based upon what Kerry told me; I tried to watch it on, but what the idiot reporter lady wanted to talk about was how she imagined Bruce Willis might be interested or something. I don't know, because I quit watching. It really pissed me off. Here, I wanted some information, and all this fucking bitch could do was be a fucking moron. If I wanted this kind of fluff, I'd hit myself in the head with a brick and get my news from E! Online. All of this has made me consider that:

"CNN is fucking useless to me."
I don't want to watch a video that has a 20 second ad tacked to the front of it. It's part of why I like to read things. Thanks for not helping me out, CNN. Maybe you can get together with Apple and make more iPods that quit working.

"Would I rather be a dolphin or a dog?"
This is a tough call. Domesticated dogs have it pretty sweet. Everything is exciting for a dog, and nothing seems to rival dogs in experiencing pure joy. However, dolphins are highly intelligent. And I love being underwater. And they team up and beat the shit out of sharks. Still a toss up.

"Is 'Luke or Han?' an appropriate question for a dude to ask a girl on a first date?"
Probably not. But it should be.

"But anyway, what if he askes and she says, 'Luke'?"
Then you should never call her again. Any girl who would pick Luke over Han is probably prone to melodrama. And if you're a dude who hopes that she'll say Luke because you're a nice guy and Luke's a nice guy, well, we know how nice guys finish.

"I hope our show at Fitz's is good on Thursday."
Indeed. Darth Vato is playing at Fitzgerald's again on Thanksgiving night in the first slot. Hopefully this turns out well. Hopefully I have shit enough before hand so as not to feel bloated and tired.

"How'd I get so far into debt?"
Rhetorical question.

"How'd I get this fat?"
Again. Pointless to ask. Beer, pretty much.

"Why does working out suck?"
Because I'm out of shape. And it's hard.

"Why does my brother like Avenged Sevenfold?"
It's embarrassing.

"What if I had gotten good grades in college?"
Then I'd probably have the stress of a more successful job.

"Will I ever get my tattoo finished?"
Only time will tell. Gayest self-answer ever. Which really means, "probably never."

"Does my failure to anticipate the plot twists of the current Astonishing X-Men story arc mean that I am not as perceptive as I think I am?"
This probably will leave most people scratching their heads. I include this because I often question my own perceived intelligence, especially when I miss the hints to major plot revelations in movies and books. For instance, in hindsight, the end of the Sixth Sense was totally obvious, yet I was among the many who was totally surprised. I did pick up on Amanda's impending doom in Saw III, but the clues weren't exactly subtle. As for the comic mentioned above, understanding it required a lot of research on preceding backstory. Basically, this malevolent psychic entity called Cassandra Nova has caused a bunch of illusions, in the process incapacitating the X-Men one by one. Her goal is to use one of them to transfer her essence from this blob into--you know what? Who fucking cares? I read this title because Joss Whedon's dialogue is the best, not because the plots make any sense..

"Maybe I should work on my comic book."
But when would I drink and sleep? I guess during work.

"Zyclone B. Bathhouse."
See? Still there.

"What's the difference between Monet and Manet?"
You'd think I'd have learned this in college, but the fact is, I really didn't learn much of anything in college.

"Flights are expensive."

"I hate the Dallas Cowboys."

"I hate that Dallas Cowboy fans quote Larry the Cable Guy."

"I hate 1310 The Ticket."

"I hate the Colts for losing to the Cowboys."

"I hate that I ever think about football, even for two seconds."

"Having a band that can't tour constantly is kind a of a bummer."
I've been thinking about this one for three years. Oh sure, we go out of town a couple times a month on average, but never for more than a weekend. If you want to make music your life, your biggest obstacle will be debt. It's amazing how cheaply one can live if one does not have to pay on student loans, credit cards or vehicle notes. When I worked at Chili's, I made around $10/hr, which basically worked out to $1600 a month. My current rent and utilities, in the most expensive and nicest apartment I've lived in, are under $700 per month. When I examine the choices I have made over the years, the only ones I regret are the ones that were the most expensive. Dumb dumb dumb. And what's funny is that I have never used my degrees for anything.

"This one Garfield strip."
I know. It's not cool to like Garfield, and I'm not really a fan anymore, but there is one strip where Garfield leaps at Jon's cheeseburger, and Jon says "Stop right there." And Garfield is left suspended in mid-air, his mouth crossed in an X of perplexion. Jon says, "Sometimes that's all a cat ever understands." This always killed me when I was a kid, and it still makes me smile. I like it because it shows how every cartoon, even a hack-job like Garfield, indulges in absurdities that don't translate nearly as well in other media. And there's also the implication that a cat understands anything. Or rather, obeys anything. I love cats, but c'mon, it's their world. We just live in it. They are the embodiment of aloofness.

No One Wants to Play Sega with Harrison Ford
Brandon Bird is one of my favorite artists, and this is one of my favorite paintings. Though it's easy to get burned out on pop culture tweaks, his are always surreal, wry, and spot-on.

"Science Friction."

Though this is probably also the name of a porno, it's also the name of a Hot Wheels car I had as a kid. It was maroonish, with an orange laser cannon on the roof.

"Transformers, as a concept, is kind of stupid. The level of belief suspension is not for the faint of heart."
But I guess that's why it's a cartoon, right? I hate what adulthood can do to one's imagination.

"Heroes is awesome."
Next to Entourage, this is my favorite show. Though I'm relieved as to how Monday's episode ended, I'm now frustrated for a bunch of new reasons.

I could go on. I love to backtrack through thought patterns, and looking back at this list is interesting when I consider the intangible threads between each item. As I sit here excited at the prospect of my work week ending on Today, I hope that someday, I'll make my living doing this sort of thing. Not because I'm lazy (okay, maybe a little bit), but because it's a lot easier for me to be passionate about thinking and writing than it is anything else. For those of you who are able to do this, (Heather Armstrong, I'm looking at you), I am totally jealous. God bless you, and may your ad revenue continue to roll in until the internet collapses or that asteroids collides with the Earth.

--The Robo-Pirate

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


If you go to this week's Onion A.V. Club, there is an interview with one of my heroes, Chuck Klosterman. Read the interview if you want, but the most important thing is that he looks a lot like my friend this guy.*

--The Robo-Pirate

*That guys is my friend, Walker. He writes songs and hangs around the bar I work at, and is an all-around nice guy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A message from TXDOT

My dad, a recovering technophobe who is finally joining the rest of us in the AGE OF COMPUTERS, sent me this forward today. It's a safety warning. Rather than forward it, I thought I'd post it here. That way, ONLY MY READERS WILL BE SAFE. I think that logic went into writing the Bible. But anyway, feel free to pass around a link to the Robo-Pirate or just tell your friends why you shouldn’t use cruise control on wet roads yourself. If they are skeptical, make sure to tell them you read it on the internet.

A 36 year old Kilgore, TX resident had an accident several weeks ago and totaled
her car. She was traveling between Gladewater and Kilgore. It was raining,
though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydro-plane and literally
flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the
sudden occurrence!

When she explained to the highway patrolman what had happened he told her something that every driver should know - NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON.

She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe, consistent speed in the rain, but the highway patrolman told her that if the cruise control is on and your car begins to hydro-plane (what happens when your tires lose contact with the pavement), it will accelerate to a higher rate of speed and you will take off like an airplane. She told the patrolman that was exactly what had occurred.

The patrolman said this warning should be listed, on the driver's seat

A couple of comments:

1. Where the hell is Gladewater? I know where Kilgore is, but I thought Gladewater was
that place in Florida where magazine subscriptions and vacation scams came from.
2. State cops who travel Texas freeways pulling people over and blocking off traffic are not
called Highway Patrolmen. They are called State Troopers, or, in East Texas, REDNECK
3. I don’t want to tempt fate, but I suspect this is a hoax. In order for something to take flight,
it must have some physical structure that creates lift. Unless her car had wings, I doubt she
went aloft.
4. Flying car = totally awesome.

Now, I acknowledge that unlike DFW and West Texas, East Texas does have some topographic features other than general flatness. So it's possible that she hydroplaned across the top of a hill, which I suppose is technically flying (in a Dukes of Hazzard sort of way). Disregarding this possibility, I think a car taking flight from level ground is impossible.*

--The Robo-Pirate

*Or is it?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Escape from Fort Worth. Except that I just went to work. Which is in Fort Worth. My old title was way better. Just read it, okay?

Prior to the panic I experienced upon discovering I am to be a Leader of Meetings (see below), I drove to work. Driving to work is worth mentioning because it always depresses me. I'm not going to kill myself or anything, but the time spent between my apartment and my job nearly always bums me out.

I live about eleven miles away from my office. There are basically three different routes which I may use, and they all take about twenty minutes. The one with the least congestion is the most out of the way. The one that is a little shorter is rife with cops, stoplights and the occassional horse trailer convoy. The most direct one has the thickest traffic and biggest stretches of construction. It is this combination that shrouds my day in gloomy frustration.

I'm sure that every moderately large city is plagued with bad traffic, but in Fort Worth, unfinished road maintenance is such a salient feature that it might as well be mentioned in the city's tourist literature. It's probably not as bad as I make it out to be, but it is for me because the areas which I normally frequent end up squeezing cars into one lane. As if this weren't annoying enough, these areas have the country's (allegedly) most poorly-timed stoplights at every block. As far as I'm concerned, Fort Worth traffic is an ordeal on par with flying standby at Christmas.

Today, however, was especially bad. I don't know if it was because I went to work earlier (what a nice reward for trying to get a head start, right?), but the lines of non-moving cars made me want to yank my eyelashes out. So I went a different way. In the process, I became the idiot that you yell at for pulling out at the wrong time and almost t-boning you. Know why? Because I pulled out at the wrong time and almost t-boned this guy in an Acura. As he will probably be telling it for the rest of the week, I was that "idiot in this shitty white-trash van" who continued into a four-way intersection that only had two stop signs. And of course, because I wore flip flops today, I got hung up on the gas pedal and nearly missed stopping in time. And then, when I slammed on the brakes, a hail of change spilled out of the overhead sun visor and onto my head. It's what I imagine hanging a leprechaun upside and shaking it would be like. Or, every day for Super Mario.

Between the excitement of my near miss and roadblocks the traffic and orange cones, I half-expected Lee Van Cleef waiting for me at the office. "We'd make a great team, Steve," he'd say.

I'd light a cigar, give him an icy stare and hiss,

"Call me Plissken."

--The Robo-Pirate

"I'll be doing what?"

My eyes are crossing in trepidation. I just read a meeting request that contained the sentence "Steve will lead the meeting."

I have no idea what leading a meeting entails. It might as well have read, "Steve will be planning the next space shuttle mission" or "Steve will be demonstrating how to turn pickles into chickens."

--The Robo-Pirate

On the plus side, this looks like a job for....


Friday, November 10, 2006

Racist frat guys are upset about being portrayed as racist frat guys.

I haven't seen Borat yet, but I know there is a scene in which he encounters some drunk frat guys in South Carolina who, over the course of a bunch of beers, say some really awful things bemoaning the absence of slavery and the apparent power surplus enjoyed by minorities. So in other words, they have made themselves look like bigoted retards in a nationally distributed film. Good work on that, duders.

Not surprisingly, the two guys filed an anonymous lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, alleging that they were basically tricked, and that they have suffered a bunch of the usual nebulous damages (emotional, physical, loss of income, humiliation) because of their appearance in the film.

I'm sorry (wait, no I'm not), but I really can't feel too badly for these two fucks. Too bad you guys were too stupid to keep your racist bullshit under wraps in the presence of a camera. And really? Loss of reputation? What reputation were two redneck frat guys from South Carolina cultivating before? Presumably, if their attorneys can prove that they were essentially tricked into signing waivers after getting hammered (I think there is a precedent set by some regretful Girls Gone Wild stars), they have a leg to stand on, but hopefully, it will not keep them getting their asses whipped by someone big, black and justifiably angry.

I'm just saying is all.

--The Robo-Pirate

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't worry, K-Fed. There's always Wal-Mart.

Well, it took her long enough.

Celebrity redneck and baby-factory Britney Spears filed for divorce from white-trash husband Kevin Federline, citing the ever-popular irreconciable differences.

In the case of this marital dissolution, I think irreconcilable differences means "I'd like my abs and career back, please."

Kevin Federline, of course, will likely wait dejectedly for the shortbus to pick him up and take him back to the resource room.

--The Robo-Pirate

Entertainment Weekly, after giving him the silly backpage last week, gave his album an F in this week's issue. If you read this, Kevin, the F is not for your last name.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I heart the Me-Thinks

Look to the links under the things that make my ears hurt and click on the Me-Thinks. On the FW Weekly's dime, I took them out last Wednesday and then tried to remember the details. It'll run in the Weekly on Thursday, but you can read it down below first.

An Evening with The Me-Thinks

If you drive east on Belknap, you’ll end up in Haltom City. You’ll know because the background scenery turns into a loop of pawnshops, used-car lots and shade-tree mechanics. It’s a little like being in a cartoon, if said cartoon were directed by T.S. Elliot. Sometimes the scenery is broken up by a Vietnamese or Mexican restaurant, but mostly it looks about as industrial as a suburb can be. It’s not bad; it’s just, you know, Haltom City.

This is where The Me-Thinks are from. When you hear them, it makes perfect sense.

Ever year, The Me-Thinks win the Weekly’s Best Hard Rock award. If you had to describe them in two words, I suppose Hard Rock would work, but it does no justice to the poetic inebriation that makes them my favorite band in town. Instead of Hard Rock, try these:

The Me-Thinks are the sound of smog, collected and sculpted into grinning, slaphappy gargoyles.

They are the sonic manifestation of the bong rip you took right before puking.

They are an ’82 Monte Carlo, painted by Earl Scheib and driven by Rat Fink.

They are talented burnouts.

They are perpetual adolescents who have extended their glory days instead of merely longing for them.

They’re funny, they’re loud, and they bask in self-deprecating wit, while remaining untainted by precious, cutesy hipster-irony.

And also, they bring their own fog machine.

The band used to be a three piece, but now it’s a quartet. Ray sings and plays bass. He’s also Fort Worth’s answer to Coop, as his subversive takes on pop art have advertised pretty much every rad show in town for the past three years. Marlin is lead shredder; he also operates the fog machine. When he plays, he looks like a statue of Bacchus, if Bacchus hung out with the Norse pantheon. Will used to play drums, but now he trades leads with Marlin. His other forte is biting wit. In any other band, dual guitarists would merit coordinated rock poses, but that sounds like a lot of effort for these guys. The latest addition is Trucker John, who has filled Will’s vacant drum throne. He’s in a billion other bands, most of which are some permutation of hardcore. They are buds since junior high, and they make their own fun. Whether it involves booze, pharmaceuticals or vintage amps, they still manage a good time.

For the past 800 years or so (by my estimate, anyway), they’ve been chronicling their good time on an upcoming album. It’s called Make Mine a Double, so named, because it’s actually a double-E.P. If making a double E.P. rather than a single album strikes you as a cleverly moronic thing to do, you’re absolutely right. It’s reason #108 why they are the coolest band in town. But now the record is finally in the can, and it’s awesome. I’m biased, but I defy anyone to find a better blend of stoner-garage-punk around. It’s like Motorhead playing Circle Jerks songs, or the Stooges fronted by Fat Mike. Songs like “Burnout Timeline” and “Permanent Krokus” perfectly encapsulate life in the HC in its entire gritty splendor. If there is a need for a soundtrack to a house party gone off-the-tracks (and I posit that there is), that soundtrack is Make Mine a Double.

People tell me that my band, Darth Vato, plays party music, and I always respond with, “you should listen to the Me-Thinks instead.” Our partying is bush-league compared to theirs. I don’t mean to sell Darth Vato short, but I’m okay with being second-string. We’re in illustrious company, after all. To be fair, I think some of the best nights I’ve had have been playing with the Me-Thinks at the Wreck Room. When the “Best Of” issue of the Weekly comes out every year, I am genuinely puzzled that “Darth Vato and the Me-Thinks, Any Time They’ve Played at the Wreck Room” is not a nominee. I realize that we were nominated this year for our shows at the Moon, but I think our shows with the Me-Thinks are way better. This is not to say that the Moon shows suck; I just prefer watching the Me-Thinks churn out Turbonegro covers while drinking enough to forget my own songs. But whatever. Opinions, assholes, etcetera.

So I love the Me-Thinks. Even though they claim to be “Fort Worth’s shittiest band,” everyone knows different. Sure they get ripped, but they also shred, and they usually do both at the same time. They have a funny rule, though. They don’t headline. I know because I asked. Darth Vato is playing with them on December 15th. Since I think they’re pretty much kings, I suggested they take the midnight slot. Ray said, “Nah, because we’re only functional drunks past eleven. By twelve, we’re totally useless.”

Last week, I found out that this is really only a half-truth. I took them out for drinks in honor of their double-E.P. release on Saturday. Predictably, their capacity for functional booze absorption is a lot greater than they let on. What follows is foggy record of my attempt to hang with them and their crew.

* * * * *

I guess I got the memo wrong, because I show up at Fred’s at 7:30. We’re starting early, but not that early. I kill my time with a Maker’s-and-Seven at 7th Haven. So really it’s more like two Maker’s, but whatever. I reason that with these guys, plus or minus a drink isn’t going to change the evening’s outcome too dramatically.

Eight o’clock rolls around, and I roll back to Fred’s. Ray, Will and Trucker John have arrived simultaneously, and a couple schooners go the way of the dodo as we await burgers. Will and Trucker John will later be mocked for sharing an order of fries between them.

We’re on our third beers when the burgers arrive. Between bites, I get a bit of Haltom City Punk Rock History from Ray and Will. I ask them about Hasslehorse, an old band of Ray and Marlin’s in which Marlin actually played keys. Hasslehorse’s history is given cursory treatment, because it quickly gives way to a more enthusiastic discussion of life in the early to mid-‘90s. This thread leads me to believe that those years were little more than a series of keggers rumbling between the HC and Riverside Drive. The stories are populated by heshers and whippets and a trio of pilled-out scenesters, three chicks who would barrel into every party like Andy Capp tussling with his wife. Nowadays, the radius of the party zone is a little narrower. For the Me-Thinks, the epicenter is now their rehearsal space, a non-climate controlled tin shack, where they claim nothing ever gets done, except for a lot of drinking and the occasional screening of a Vivid Video.

It’s now 9:00, and we’ve put away three or four rounds. I should probably keep better track of this, but whatever. We make plans to hit 7th Haven before calling it a night. I know this will likely never happen given the pace we’re at, but it’s good to have goals, I guess, the road to hell being paved as it is. The next stop, anyway, is the Shamrock. Prior to this, we sit in my van listening fIREHOSE. Weed may have been involved. I don’t really know; at this point things are already hazy. Marlin never made it, and his absence prompts Will to deride his bandmate’s affinity for cock-rock such as Poison and Cinderella. Ray defends him, as much as is possible, on the grounds that Marlin just really likes hot licks. This, I think, is a dubious argument, but I say nothing, since it’s now 9:15 and there are still drinks to be had. We amble to the Shamrock.

The Asian Media Crew is waiting for us in the parking lot. They are as much a component of the band as Marlin or Trucker John.

The Asian Media Crew is a two-man operation whose ostensible function is to accompany the band everywhere and record any ensuing hilarity. There is a video camera, and I’ve seen them use it before, but tonight it will be employed intermittently. The Asians are Rat and Calvin, and they wear matching jumpsuits. Mostly they just drink and crack jokes. This past summer, I asked Ray if he was coming to the FW Weekly music awards. “Maybe,” he said. “Depending on hangovers, we might just send The Asians.” Sure enough, Rat and Calvin were the only ones present to accept the Me-Thinks Best Hard Rock Band award. I asked Rat where the band was, and he said, “I dunno. Probably at home being lame or something.” I can think of no other local band that makes public appearances by proxy, and this is yet another reason why the Me-Thinks are my favorite crew in town.

Anyway, we bounce into the Shamrock, where Marlin has been patiently waiting for the past hour. Apparently he didn’t get the memo either. Marlin is soft-spoken and considerate, and like the rest of them, enjoys a lot of beer. It’s 9:30ish. Round one (or round five or six, if you’re counting), is a flight of Sierra Nevada that everyone quickly polishes off. By 9:45, we have emptied round two, and One-Fingered Will (front man for hardcore outfit One Fingered Fist) brings over a bunch of Patron shots. When my stomach gets wind of this development, it knots up in anger. Its relationship with tequila is at best stormy; most of the time it is one of pure hatred. But down the hatch anyway, stomach be damned. I notice that Ray, Will and Marlin toss these down without blinking. Same with the Asians. I hope no one catches my grimace.
I didn’t walk into the bar clearheaded, but now my view of the Shamrock looks like a Monet painting. The joint is kind of empty; in my current state, it looks positively cavernous. Like Bat Cave cavernous. For all I know, Batman and Alfred are picking the songs on the jukebox. Evidently, they like Black Sabbath.

I don’t know what time it is by this point. My phone is on the floor, probably because I am unable to make a convincing fist. Still drinking, Ray and Will are discussing the Pogues. There is one rule about this particular topic: you can never talk about the Pogues’ music, but only about Shane McGowan’s gnarly teeth. Like an idiot, I break this rule by saying something about how Flogging Molly sounds like the Pogues. Will graciously steers things back where they belong, in the realm of Irish punk band orthodontics. Someone buys some Jager shots. After these go down, Marlin says they can call me a cab later if I want. I don’t know when later is, because it feels like 3 AM. Though I’ve drank with these guys at a number of shows, I forget that I am a rank amateur. It’s like being proud of getting your orange belt and then sparring with Chuck Norris.

My phone says it’s 10:42. I think it’s a fucking liar.

At this point, Rat is animatedly talking about grilling fish. He’s so excited that I think he has won the lottery. It turns out that he just really likes fish. He schools me on where to eat pho in the HC. I go to Tu Hai, which he says is good, but I’m supposed to go someplace else, which is better. I’m not sure, but I think Calvin is taping this exchange. He’s cracking up, regardless. But the whole table confirms, that yes, whatever this other place is called, it’s where you go for pho.

It’s 11:05. I’m trying to ease the booze-throttle back a bit, not that it matters a whole lot now. Will says he has to check out around midnight, but that doesn’t seem to slow him down. Same for Ray. While some more beers arrive, he tells me a story about being sixteen and sneaking backstage at a G.B.H. show in Dallas. I think this is about the coolest thing in the world, until he tells me about being a kid and showing up to skate a pool only to be overrun by the Zorlac Skateboard guys. Marlin gives me a burned copy of a Peaches album. I unsuccessfully try to stuff this in my shirt pocket. The three of them duck in and out of encyclopedic music debates, gently giving me crap for being a relative lightweight and giving each other crap over Rolling Stones songs. I wonder if it is midnight yet. It’s only 11:15.

The next time I check my phone, it’s almost midnight. I think the Asians have just left. Something about work the next day. Marlin has taken tomorrow off so his booze-cruise is still merrily afloat. Will and Ray are comfortable with loping into work beneath clouds of staggering hangovers, though Will leaves shortly after this proclamation. Something about driving home before he gets too gone. Eventually, Ray and I remain. When he leaves, I follow. I will nap in my van. My fortune is such that I have to make 9:00 flight the next day. I’m pretty sure I won’t notice any of it. I figure I won’t remember too much of the night anyway. Hopefully someone will, and I think this is pretty much par for the Me-Thinks course. It makes me wish I had my own Asian Media Crew. Too bad I didn’t grow up in Haltom City.

--The Robo-Pirate

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Win Ben Stein's Vote

So I'm in Lodi, waiting to go to Davis to watch my little brother play water polo. Since he wants to transfer, this may be the only collegiate game I get to see. I'm disappointed, but that's a whole 'nother post.

Anyway, in case anyone who lives outside of California is interested in who Ben Stein supports for Governor, it's Schwarzeneggar. I just answered my parents phone, and he told me so. I'm a big fan of Ben Stein, not only because his game show was one of my all time favorites, but also because he is Jewish AND politically conservative. That juxtaposition fascinates me in the same way that a black dude fronting a hardcore band does, or a cat nursing a litter of abandoned puppies.

--The Robo-Pirate