Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Call 073008 Original Draft

Ever heard that saying about how little man really knows about the ocean? You know, how he supposedly knows more about space than he does of the ocean’s deepest, darkest depths? Well that’s sort of how I feel about the Mid-Cities. I honestly think I know more about Los Angeles and its surrounding environs than I do about the mysterious suburbs northeast of the Fort. Once, a long time ago, I referred to them out of frustration as three large growths metastasized around the main artery between Fort Worth and the airport, choked and throbbing with chain restaurants, sports bars and about 8,000 clogged onramps. So I sought to better understand these enigmatic wastes and unlock their potentially beautiful secrets, in this case, three legendary dives, The Starlite Lounge, the Den and Volcano’s.

My previous drinking experiences in the Mid-Cities involve two house-parties about twelve years apart, and at both of them, I was so hammered I could have been hanging out in the fields of Mars for all I knew. But I did find people to drink with, which meant that there must be places to get drinks other than some dudes’ refrigerator. I got in the Erin Gray (my van, repurposed here for the purpose of research and exploration) and set out at 9:30 for Volcano’s. At 10:30, I still had not found it. I’d like to point out that my disorientation was not the fault of the bar’s. I’m just terrible with directions. But, I reasoned, these places aren’t that big, so maybe if I just exit somewhere, I’ll bump into it eventually. This succeeded about as well as you’d think, and my next thought was, Jesus, did that sign just say “Colleyville?!”

At this point, I was desperate for a beer, and finally, I saw some green neon. I exited, parked, and, encouraged by the sound of “Stranglehold,” wandered into Papa G’s Sports Bar. Now, I generally don’t like sports bars, but what with the aforementioned desperation and all, I swallowed my inner snob and bellied up for a Pacifico. The joint was packed, but I felt totally out of place, so I downed my beer and returned to my quest. At 11:30, I was on the right track, though I was beginning to feel as if I had entered the eerie, evil weirdness of Stephen King’s The Wastelands. But low-and-behold, there, across from the Bell Helicopter plant lie The Starlite Lounge. And it looked pretty divey, though it smelled like Chinese food, probably on account of the fact that it serves Chinese food. Anyway, I was confronted with a heretofore unknown (and probably apocryphal) fact: HEB bars often have gambling facilities. There was a poker game going on, and some slot machines, and from the juke came a cover of “Viva Las Vegas.” Not quite what I expected, but whatever. I finished my beer and headed to the The Den.

Now, since The Den is on Industrial Parkway, I had to make a decision to either look for it or give up and go to a strip club. But I soldiered on, to my eventual disappointment. If the Starlite Lounge was not quite my cup of tea, The Den was like a glass of motor oil. Or marbles. There. Was. Karaoke. And in between the “performers,” there was… Nickelback. Of course, the song was “Rock Star,” broken up into snatches of bumper music, and the entire bar was knowingly signing along. I was the proverbial square peg at Papa G’s, but at the Den, well, I was a guy who doesn’t like Garth Brooks and Nickleback in a place where they are revered as gods.

I never did find Volcano’s, though I hear that it is more up my alley. And to be fair, all the folks in those other bars were having a blast. If you’re into poker and karaoke, you know where to go. For me, I’ll let the Lost Dives of the Mid-Cities stay that way.

Friday, July 25, 2008

They do no such thing!

From a Craigslist' Musicians post:

"I'm a lead guitarist in a metal (all kinds, death, black, thrash etc.) band
called Tears Bring Fire..."


I had no idea! In my experience, tears have brought sympathy, embarrassment, pathos, derision, comedy, commiseration, joy, schadenfreude, capitulation and of course, sodium chloride, but obviously, I have really underestimated their carrying and delivery capacity.

I submit that tears might also bring:


nothing to the table

enough for everyone

paper plates and napkins


blanket-borne smallpox


their gameboys

their A-game

their purses


a world of pain

solid fundamentals

a message of peace

about a paradigm shift

a change of clothes

invasive, foreign fauna

way too much luggage for three days

the wrong maps

their own dice but no Monster Manuals

your ex along, much to your chagrin

it on

the dead to life

me flowers

the wrong cables

up who she's sleeping with now

that one guy who's totally sketchy

you Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz plus $2-wells and $4-Jagerbombs!

an end to the suffering, at least


Sure it's funny, unless it's your van driving over the manure.

Yesterday, while driving over the quaint, authentic, old-timey bricks of Exchange Boulevard, I had to slow to a crawl because I was cut off.

By a man riding a horse.

I fucking hate the stockyards.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dubious accuracy, but hey, I'll take it.

My mom's scale claims that I am maintaining 186. Shortly thereafter, I ate tri-tip. And a baked potato. And some more tri-tip. Whoops!

Tour diet sucks. Especially when your tour takes you to Hermosa Beach and you are surrounded by people who exercise constantly.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

3 servings of vegetables!

Well, this is gross, but one fun facet of touring is being backed up a lot. I'm sure it's the anxiety of being in new places, and that it has nothing to do with eating hamburgers for a week. Coffee and cigarettes occasionally break the "log jams," but I've taken to drinking V-8. According to the bottle, it constitutes 3 servings of vegetables. It turns out that you can also put vodka in it, which makes it health and fun!


Monday, July 07, 2008

The tour goes well. But not the diet.

Ugh. Ate a Big Mac. That's what, a whole cube of butter? Tour food sucks. However, tour art wins big. Stay tuned for my piece entitled Eric's Leg, Covered in Pictures of Dicks.

What? It's a surrealist piece.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Who steals sweaty t-shirts?!

So last night, Darth Vato played our kick-off show for our West Coast Tour (Tour of Doody is the tentative name). It was a thousand degrees in the bar, so I took off my shirt (as I am wont to do) after the second song because it was drenched in sweat. I tossed it near the snarl of cables dangling from my bass head. And somehow, someone got back there while we were playing, got on stage and snaked my sweat-soaked Me-Thinks t-shirt. This was the first time I wore it. And let me tell you, I am pissed. You see, the Me-Thinks are my favorite band. Their frontman is a very good friend of mine, and when they come out with a new shirt, I am super-stoked (this means I have been super-stoked twice). And even though all their larges sold out, I was able to squeeze into a medium without totally making the ol' beer gut look like a third trimester. And some fucker stole it. What a load of crap. I hope that guy gets diarrhea.

Oh and also, if you've ever been in a 7-11 and contemptuously wondered who on earth eats those taquitos that have been rotating all day, well, you've obviously never been drunk and in need of an afterparty-powerup booze sponge. I will concede, however, that 7-11 drunkfood is pretty low-rent. I guess I have very little shame.


Despite my best efforts, I am still at 37" around the gut. And by best I mean worst.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ceterus Parabus?

I think that means something different. All things being equal, THE GUT has returned to a size of 37" across the navel. Bet you didn't think you have to imagine my navel did you? But anyway, that's the smallest I got it to when I was working out and eating right at the beginning of the year. As the prior posts show, I have not been as diligent about doing time in the gym as I should be, and I've still had the late-night Shitaburgers and beer blasts. So who knows. We'll check it out in a couple weeks. I'd bring the tape measure with me on tour, but that sounds kinda gay.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What do you put in a vegan kids meal anyway,? (Answer below)

I've talked about the Spiral Diner, Fort Worth's award-winning vegan restaurant before, and our tour departure date looms near, I've got fast-food on the brain. While we are planning on bringing a small tailgating grill with us, I'd be kidding myself if I said we're not going to eat any fast-food. When you're driving on several interstates for two weeks and visiting places you've never been to, eating Crap in the Box is pretty much unavoidable. And while Caca Bell apparently has this new "Fresco Menu," our options for eating somewhat healthily are limited, at least while we're driving between tour stops. If only there were a chain of vegan fast-food joints! I say vegan, because you can still have fatty food that doesn't have meat in it. Unfortunately, I have a hard time imagining that a chain like that would survive very long in America.

What do you guys think?

Answer: Hemp sanctimony!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The uphill struggle

I figured out that I really don't spend a lot of leisure time in bars--when I'm in one, I'm either playing with my band or slinging drinks. Unfortunately, both of these endeavors facilitate getting more than one or two beers into my mouth. If I had to lay blame on a single contributing factor to ten or twelve years of steady weight gain, it's beer.

There is an obvious solution.

It is actively ludicrous.

It's not impossible for me to quit drinking beer; I did it in 2007 for almost a month, and I also did it for a few weeks in January. During those periods, I also did a lot of jogging, and I lost a noticeable amount of weight. Darth Vato goes on tour in a few days for two weeks; making a healthy routine during that is not a reasonable expectation, but I'm committing to seriously pursuing one when we've returned to the real world.

What a boring post! I hope that if anyone reading this is trying to lose weight, you focus on the regimen and discipline, and also, change your metric. I suggest ignoring the scale and using a measuring tape around your gut or butt or wherever (chins? Can you measure chins? You can certainly count them!) as a bar. While the results are not as immediately dramatic and rewarding as seeing the scale's needle dip a pound or two every few days, losing inches is much more demonstrative of your progress. It helped me last year, and I know it will help me again when I hit it hard in a few weeks.