Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

Atlanta's "Bridge and Tunnel": OTP

While all this terrifying stuff is going on, I thought I'd take a break from my prayers for the people of the Southeast and all of those affected by the storm to discuss something far more trivial... but before I start, I can't even tell you how much my heart aches for those people on the Gulf Coast. I just pray that help will come swiftly.

Now, to my trivial diatribe...

Growing up in Sandy Springs, I never considered it lesser in comparison to other parts of the city. In fact, I thought of it as nicer than most parts of the city. It had a great school district, nice homes, and while outside the city, still retaining some semblance of culture. We definitely didn't live out in the "boonies" or the countryside (not that there's anything with living in the country, mind you-- I love the wide open spaces)... but we lived in what I thought was a well-respected area of Atlanta.

Granted, things change. But my town really didn't. Aside from the fact that it has become Georgia's newest city (and will be the seventh largest when it becomes official), and the recent influx of turtles (and, well, bats), there hasn't been much of a change. Sure, there are some new stores and some new houses, but nothing that you wouldn't expect from an "upscale" suburb close to the city of Atlanta...

So, I come to find out that there's a huge distinction between two types of people in Atlanta: OTP people and ITP people. Being OTP (Outside the Perimeter) and not ITP (Inside the Perimeter) has become a definite social faux pas in the city of Atlanta.

In New York City, they have the same type of delineation-- New Yorker or "Bridge and Tunnel". I lived on both sides of the NYer and the B&Ters and thought the labeling of those people who lived outside the Isle of Manhattan as lesser was extremely unfair. But honestly, I resigned myself to the fact it really didn't matter which side of the fence I was on-- everything was way too expensive either way.

I've found that this whole OTP vs. ITP has really pissed me off because it makes me feel that some ITPers believe that living outside the perimeter is for lesser people. And there are parts of Sandy Springs that are technically ITP but are still considered OTP because it's not Buckhead or Decatur or something. And in the end, the whole mess is truly bullshit.

I agree with this guy somewhat. I live a great life OTP and consider myself better off considering I don't have to cram myself three feet from my neighbors house with less than an 1/8th of an acre lot.

But instead of branding myself OTP or ITP, I consider myself one of the IDGAF people.

To those people who take pride in being ITP and think less of people living OTP-- GFY.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 

Photo Update 3: DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK!!!

So, yeah, I guess I've taken a blogger vacation... sorry about that. Next time I'll give you guys a heads up. But I needed some time away from the blog. Lotsa stuff been going on.

K and I went up to NYC for the weekend and stayed with our friend "The Bean" out in Astoria, Queens. Got there Friday night, and as soon as we get out of the cab, we have drinks in hand. We went to the neighborhood bar, Doyles, where I used to play music on a semi-regular basis. I ended up playing a quick 3-song set while there-- a guy was playing acoustic guitar and the bartender at the bar asked him if it was okay for me to play a couple of songs since I was in town for the night. Played a couple of quick ones, and went to meet up with my boy, Brad for his birthday.
Brad (the one with the "Blue Steel" look-- third from the left) is about the only person I know who is more intense about fantasy sports than I am. I think it's all my fault too... I was the one who introduced him to fantasy football. It's all been downhill from there. He's wearing a shirt that says, "I'm not dead yet". Best birthday shirt I can ever remember seeing. We had a killer time... while I was smoking outside, a couple of girls ridiculously tight dresses came up to ask me where some club I've never heard of was. I told them I didn't know. One of them says to the other, "Leave him alone, he doesn't want to have sex with you!!!" I laughed, said "Sorry I couldn't help you-- Happy Whoring!!!" and went back inside.

Saturday night: the real purpose of the trip. To see my buddy, Pete Wagner, who I've known since I was about 3, get married. It was really cool-- it was on the top of a building in Soho. Pete and his fiancee (now wife) are really sweet people, and I can't even describe how awesome they are together. It was really cool seeing them get married...

Pete's dad, The Doc, played an original song for them called "Don't Look Back". This dog's got chops, folks.

When talking to him later, he told me that he wrote the song about 30 years ago and played it at his sister's wedding. I thought that was really amazing.

The wedding was just a lot of fun... The DJ was playing some KICK-ASS hip-hop (a little out of character) and I danced harder than I have in a while. A lot of people from Hammertime's bachelor party in Vegas were there, and we did about as much damage to our lungs and livers at the wedding as we did in Vegas. God bless... I can't do this every weekend...

K and I were flying out of Newark at noon, and since we were flying standby, we needed to get there extra early. We wake up at 7:00 with MASSIVE hangovers and got out there in plenty of time. Except we got bumped from FOUR FLIGHTS. Not for nothing, New Jersey, but Newark Airport could use something... like more bathrooms in the terminal or slots like Vegas...

When K and I finally get home, we're relaxing and I decide that I'm gonna take a shower and wash New Jersey right out of my hair (again, no offense--seven hours in an airport will make you a bit bitter)... While I'm in the shower, I keep hearing this knocking sound... I'm looking around like, "What the hell?" And I look towards the window and see this black cpot in the window between the storm window and the glass...
AND IT'S A FREAKING BAT IN MY WINDOW! OM-FUCKING-G! I try knocking on the window and it doesn't move. I hope that it isn't dead and that I don't get rabies... It's gone and come back for the last couple of days. And now, K's kind of taken to it now... she's named it "Booger" (see, I'm not the only one that assigns names to animals and insects).

Anyway, I saw it fly in this morning from outside, so now I know how it got into the window. And tomorrow, it'll be out of here like Elian. Peace out, Booger!

So, aside from fighting off rabies-carrying flying mammals, I've been working on music... I'm making some really good progress, with 6 songs out of 14 already recorded, another 6 written, and two more I have to polish off lyrically.

I've had an entire album planned in my head for about a year now, and I'm JUST NOW getting to record some of the songs. I'm trying something a bit new-- not only will there be an album, but I'm writing an accompying novel (really a novella, but I don't like the way that sounds) to go along with it. I tend to make a lot of my lyrics a bit vague (sometimes intentionally, a lot of times unintentionally), but for this, I wanted to drive the point home. But we'll see how it all works out. While I'm hammering out the ideas I've found that I've got to scrap a couple of songs and write some new ones, but it adds to the strength of the overall theme and should make for a better album.

But I think that this is a unique concept-- not really a concept album, but more of a dual-work. And I guess if they ever make a movie out of the novella, there will already be an existing soundtrack...

Anyway, the first track of the album is named "On The Night In Question"... One of the lyrically complex songs I've written in a while. A sad, sad little tune. But as soon as I'm done with recording, I'll make sure you guys get a chance to listen.

And I'm spent... Have a great weekend folks.

Monday, August 15, 2005 

Hammertime in Vegas

My apologies for the lack of pictures-- there seems to be a bit of an issue with Blogger this evening. It's the best I can do for right now.

8/12/05 7:15 am EST

Woke up an hour ago. Didn’t sleep too well—it reminded me of how Christmas Eve used to be when I was little.

I’m at the Marta Station Now—K just dropped me off. While there isn’t any comparison, really, it’s nice to be back in a subway in the morning. But without the stench.

7:55 am EST

Approaching the Airport on Marta. The woman sitting next to me fell asleep and, on a sharp turn, proceeded to start falling into me. If it weren’t for my bag, her head would have ended up in my crotch. Fortunately my bag saved us both some unneeded embarrassment.

8:20 am EST

Made it through security in less than four minutes—a record for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

8:50 am EST
There’s a smoking lounge right next to my gate: not fair to my lungs or the unfortunate soul sitting next to me on the plane.

9:20 am EST
On the plane and will be taking off shortly. It’s a 3 ½ hour flight, but I came prepared with an arsenal of entertainment:

-my iPod

-today’s AJC

-two fantasy football mags

-several articles on playing roulette, craps and blackjack

-a pack o’ gum

9:20 am CST (over Alabama)

We took off about 20 minutes ago. It’s interesting to see the type of people on the way to Vegas. A strange dichotomy… there are two groups, really—the older, ragged, tired folk with seemingly bankrupt souls and purses full of quarters. The other: young twenty-somethings in tank tops and tight jeans. Both groups are heading to Vegas with hopes of a cheap buzz, untold fortunes and carnal pleasures. I’m finding myself strangely out of place, both identifying yet intolerant of both groups (I’m betting it’s the lack of constant nicotine flowing through my veins). But I’m definitely with them on the whole “cheap buzz, untold fortunes” thing.

9:40 am CST (over Mississippi)
The inflight movie is “Monster in Law”. Like passing a car crash, I’m horrified but drawn to watch. I feel dirty.

9:25 am (what fucking time zone is Vegas in??? Mountain? Pacific? Okay, PST)
That was torture. I can’t believe I watched that entire movie. I don’t know if it’s the plane or the movie, but I feel sick.

10:40 am PST
We just landed in Vegas. Rough landing, but we’re down. That’s all that matters.

When they say “prepare arrival for cross check”, what the fuck does that mean? Exactly what are they cross-checking against? I’ll have to check with the people at the office.

10:55 am PST

Holy shit. There are slots TWO STEPS from the gate.

And even better, slots in the smoking lounge. ATL airport’s got nuthin’ on Vegas.

11:20 am PST

On the shuttle to New York-New York casino. This airport is insane. Too much confusion here for my taste.

12:15 pm PST

Checked into the New York New York hotel. Requested a smoking room and Rusty and I were settled.

Nice room, hung up my clothes, having a smoke, and will be meeting the boys downstairs for lunch.

We can hear the screams of the people on the roller coaster. I hope that doesn’t go on all night.

12:55 pm PST

Just finished lunch with the guys. Unfortunately, one of the guys is missing. Hossein (Hose) was last heard from around 5:30 am after he won $350.

Theories running rampant on his whereabouts… hoping he’s not in jail.

1:56 pm PST

We just found Hose still at the table, $300 down AND WASTED. Met up with my boy Sommers, and we’re sitting here drinking, about to head over to the Excalibur for poker.

2:25 pm PST

After much protest, Hose finally agreed to go to bed. Met up with Josh and we’re on our way to play poker.

3:45 pm PST

I just won $60 at Texas Hold ‘Em. Kicked ass when I was down to my last three chips, went all-in and won all of my money back.

5:00 pm PST

My watch stopped in Excalibur. Luckily, I was able to get it working again…

Played two rounds of roulette—bet on black (always bet on black, they say) and broke even on the two bets. Now, sitting in the room with Travis and Rusty, drinking beer and watching the Braves.

5:25 pm PST

Got a really tasty beer buzz and Rusty and I are going to ride the roller coaster here. Gotta piss.

6:25 pm PST

Took a slight detour back to the room and stopped off at Nathan’s Hot Dogs… I haven’t had a NY dog in months—it was good.

Time to shower before Hammertime’s fancy bachelor party steak dinner.

6:40 pm PST

So fresh and so clean (clean)!

7:55 pm PST

At diner at BOA in Caesar’s Palace. Absolutely a huge place—it’s like a mall here.

Debauchery has begun to ensue.

We just saw Pete Rose here in Vegas… fitting.

8:45 pm PST

We just received our appetizers… I tried calamari for the first time and really enjoyed it. Squid bothers me, but fry it up and I’m happy, I guess.

9:35 pm PST

Saw my first Vegas hookers [sitting at a table a few yards away from us]. Definitely a liberating experience. [They kept going to the bathroom in pairs, we assumed to “coke up”.]

9:45 pm PST

As per Jonathan Sommers:

[Written by Jonathan] When I’m eating it, Hose can’t have any…

I’m not sure what he’s referring to…

11:40 pm PST

A brilliant two hours. Money is flying out of my wallet before I can think of spending it.

Recapping the events:

-We walked forever to find the taxi stand to take us to Jaguar (soon to be known as “Scores—Las Vegas”). 11 of us ended up cramming into a stretch limo and I, being the last person (besides Hose who demanded a window seat due to motion sickness/the thought of dropping a thousand to NYNY casino) had to sit crouched in an “in the woods, taking a shit” position while we made the 20 minute venture.

-We get out, pay the $30 cover, and walk in. I, the continual beer drinker, order a Miller Lite, and end up paying $7.00 for a beer. But definitely worth every cent to be hanging with Hammer on his bachelor party night. Although, it feels like New York City all over again.

-Hammertime is doing fine—a gentleman to his friends and to the ladies there. We sit down at the large table area reserved for us and I chain smoke while I watch people around me enjoying the “carnal pleasures” of Vegas.

[“Senator Center” and I left the Jaguar shortly after arriving, tired and wanting to conserve as much money as possible.]

8/13/05 12:12 am PST

I received a call from Travis, saying the boys are coming back from Jaguar. We’re headed to the tables, I’m sure.

Drinking MUST CEASE if I am to make my flight tomorrow.

1:47 am PST

I CLEANED UP DOWNSTAIRS. I hit blackjack on a couple of tables, doubled on roulette, and easily made back the money I spent earlier tonight.

Travis, who is coming over to hang out and smoke, convinced me to quit while I was ahead. God bless ‘em.

A good day in Vegas.

10:30 am PST

Been up for the last two hours. I’m terribly hungover.

I had packed everything the night before and gotten to sleep by about 3:00 am. Rusty came in around 3:45 I think, and we supposedly had a brief conversation.

I awoke with my lungs feeling like they’d had gone through a good “once over” with steel wool. I was to meet the shuttle out in front of NYNY at 9:30, so I crossed over Tropicana Blvd and walked into “Fatburger” for breakfast.

[End Journal--my pen runs out of ink]
Long story short, the flight back home wasn’t as nice as I had hoped. Weather in Atlanta delayed my arrival, and I was so hungover I couldn’t really even sleep. But I made it back in one piece, and I had a blast with my boys out there.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 

Fear and Loathing: The Vegas Project

"8/11/05 9:30 PM EST
The Plan
Here is where I will catalog my experiences in Las Vegas. I leave in about 12 hours from Atlanta.

To Do:
- Celebrate w/ Hammertime

-Play Blackjack

-Take Pictures & Detailed Notes

-Win Big Bucks (see #2)

-Be Responsible."


"8/11/05 9:30 PM (cont'd)

To Don't

- Lose Money

-Punch a sign/break hand

-Get kicked out of a casino


-Illicit drugs

Wish me luck, Fuckers!!!"


This weekend...

A quick post before I go to work this morning. I am going to be going to Las Vegas this Friday and Saturday for a bachelor party for my buddy, Hammertime. The trip will be fully documented and detailed here. Expect many tales of debauchery...

Thursday, August 04, 2005 


It's a busy time at work right now. Like many financial analysts, the first few days after the end of a month are extremely hectic, trying to figure out what last minute entries have hit the books. In an effort to curb stress, I've made a habit of going outside for a smoke about once every hour and a half or so.

(I know, "Smoking's bad for you! It'll kill you!" It's not a permanent thing-- just long enough to get me through this closing period and then I'm on the wagon again.)

So, my smoking location of choice is a little picnic area designated for people in need of Vitamin N, right outside one of the big-ass buildings on the campus. It's kind of ramshackled, but it suits everyone's purposes, I guess. It's basically shoved into this corner surrounded by a "trailer" used by the building maintenance people to store cleaning supplies and stuff.

A couple of days ago, I noticed this spider down in the corner of the smoking area. The body of the spider isn't any bigger than a Tic-Tac, but it's legs have to be about 4 inches long. Think of a fierce-as-hell-looking daddy-long-legs, but with a web. I'd say total length of this thing has to be about 5 inches or so, and it's this really creepy silvery-black color that would make anyone cringe.

Full disclosure-- I hate spiders. I'm not afraid of them or anything (my real fear is of bees-- a story for another time), but they still creep me out. If this guy was placed just right, I would have killed the thing, but of course it wasn't and I wouldn't be able to get at it without getting cobwebs all over myself.

So, I started fucking with it. Last week, I tried to flick an ash from my cigarette directly at the spider, but it landed in the heart of it's web. The spider, at lightning speed, dashed across the web, pounced upon the ash that I had deposited into its lair, tasted it (or tried to bite it) and then threw it a good foot and scurried back into the corner of its web.

WOW, I thought. That was really cool!!! So, for the remainder of the cigarette and for every cigarette for about three days after that, I kept doing the same thing. Once, he picked up the ash without tasting it and attempted to wrap it up in webbing... kind of funny to watch him do this, because as he started to wrap web around it, the ash fell apart, and he was left holding this ball of web and ash from his ass. Dejected, he snapped the web off, dropped it, and crawled back into the corner.

Anyway, this spider still creeps me out a bit, but I've stopped messing with it. And as creepy as I thought he once was, I think he's kind of cool looking now. I saw him catch a bug yesterday and kind of psyched for him. I watched him bite the head of a fly for about five seconds, watched the fly go limp, and Freddy started mummifying the thing. I've seen little mummified bugs in a web before, but I've never seen a spider actually consuming a bug (outside late night Discovery shows when I was in college).

I've even named him-- Freddy. [I wish I had a picture of Freddy... maybe I'll bring my camera tomorrow and post it up here.] It's kind of nice to come by every day and see if Freddy's still there and what he's doing... usually perched in his little corner of his web, waiting for a fly to bite the head off of.

Monday, August 01, 2005 

Atlanta Scratch-itti

This past week has driven me to drink. And what you're seeing is not iced tea, folks.

So, to start this off, The Squad Car is sadly falling apart.

The Squad Car doesn't have air conditioning. In Atlanta, that's like not having hands or something. I've spent the last two months with all four windows down while going 80 up I-75/85, unless of course when it's raining... then only the back two windows are down...

Last week, I was driving home, and the rain started coming down when I was about 3 miles from home. It wasn't just raining, it was POURING... literally sheets of rain. So I start to roll up all of the windows, and the front-passenger window is making this clicking sound and not rolling up. So I get three of the windows up, while the fourth is allowing gallons of water into the car.

I get home and at least get the window rolled up after removing the panel off the door and pushing it up through the metal frame. I admit defeat and decide not to mess with it anymore. So that left me with three windows. Ugh.

Then, Wednesday, during one of the hottest days of the summer, I get into the car and get halfway out of the parking lot when I realize there's NO REARVIEW MIRROR. The heat had melted the glue off the back of the mirror and it had fallen off the windshield. I get home (with considerably fewer lane changes than I'm typically used to), and get the trusty superglue. But for some reason, I can't get the freakin' mirror to stick back on the windshield. Again, I admitted defeat and decided not to mess with it anymore.

Friday, I drove to work, rearview-mirror-less and with only three windows down. It wasn't too bad in the morning, but when I got back in the car at 5:30 that afternoon, I caught the distinct smell of anti-freeze. No matter, I thought. It's probably just a one-off thing... Anti-freeze leaks during the summer, I guess.

I drop the car off at Papa Bear's for the weekend (he needed to pick up some fertilizer-- he still doesn't have his truck yet)... I get a call from Dad on Saturday morning asking if I smelled "ethyl-glycol" when I was in the car. I jokingly said, "What, you mean that 'ass-like' smell that's somewhat reminiscent of anti-freeze? Yeah, I noticed that on Friday." He laughed, and took a look under the hood. Turns out the thing has a leak in the heater and anti-freeze is being vaporized through the air vents into the car anytime the car runs.

...That couldn't be too hazardous to your health, could it?

Well, K and I agreed that I shouldn't chance it, so we went car shopping on Saturday before I took Mom, Dad and K to the Braves game (Papa Bear and my second game in a week-- huzzah!!!). There's a car dealership about two miles from my house, and they usually have an OBSCENE amount of used-car listings, so we trotted our asses over there.

Long story short, we found a 2003 Ford Focus (GREAT GAS MILEAGE, and surprisingly stacked full of toys for me to play with) and got a ridiculously good deal. It's blue-- almost the exact same color of the Cruiser. Seems that dark blue is the only color K and I can agree on...

I drive the Focus to work today, and when I take it over to my parents' house to show them the car, I noticed that SOMEONE HAD FUCKING KEYED MY CAR. The car that I've had for TWO DAYS. You can tell when it's just a scratch or a car door or something, but when it's someone keying it, you can tell that shit was intentional.

Bummer, man.

So who dunnit? I can't think of who would have a reason to. I haven't made any enemies at work (that I know about, at least)... however, there IS another car in the lot, however, that's the exact same color and make as mine. I hope it wasn't someone who thought I was stealing their thunder...

Anyway, if I hear anything, I'll pass it along. Otherwise, say your prayers, take your vitamins, and always believe in the power of Hulkamania.