Monday, June 21, 2010

Living in Sepia

Everyone else is posting their pictures: here's my image of the strange orange/yellow sky we experienced last Thursday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Night of a Thousand Borrowed and Tired Catchphrases

Location: Lyn-Lake, Minneapolis, MN 55408, USA
I was going to file this under my other blog, Cool Minneapolis, but it turned out to not be that cool.

We met up with some friends at Sauce Spirits & Soundbar for a trivia night hosted by the guys pictured, Joe and Noah (Noah's on the left). I've been to Sauce once and didn't care for it: mediocre food, proud prices, and they list Absente as one of their brands of absinthe. The gaffe is that Absente doesn't contain wormwood, which is the definitive ingredient of absinthe. It's like, "Here's your scotch! Mind you, it doesn't have barley and it wasn't made in Scotland."

But we need to be social and these friends in particular are awesome people. And even though Sauce's crowd isn't my people (it tends to attract hipsters and young douchebags), I tell myself I'm still glad that events like this are going on. Tonight's trivia contest was '80s themed, and people have fun with that. Yeah. Imagine a week without a free, fun trivia night, and imagine a week with one. The latter week is better, right? It's great that this city has so many things for different people to enjoy, I tell myself.

Then we got to a certain multiple-choice question about when a song or a movie took place. The answers were: 1) 1989, or 2) 1990. My groups thinking was, This is an '80s trivia contest. No way would the answer not fall within the purview of the '80s. By the sound of the crowd when the answer was revealed, that was many people's thinking too. And even Joe and Noah admitted that it was a "contentious" question but they included it anyway. I had two absinthes in me and I thought I'd try a little heckling. Everyone was doin' it.

ME: How about an '80s trivia question about the Hindenburg disaster? Was it in 1989 or 1937?

NOAH: How about you shut the fuck up?

That was it. That was the witty rejoinder the bar found suitable to cheer. Noah plumbed the depths of his cultural reference and pieced together a desultory juxtaposition to entertain and provoke thought... Naah. He repeated something he'd heard a hundred times before, and not to be outdone, Joe chimed in: "I believe you've just been served!"

Translated: We're already so successful as an event night, we don't need any new patronage.

I had a comeback forming in my mind, but I decided not to prolong the agony. He had the mic, after all, and bereaved of humor or cunning he could always shout me down. It's not the audience's role to take the spotlight away from who's on stage (unless their stage presence is so nominal the beam simply slides off them in search of something substantial), and even if I did cook off a good comeback, what would that get me? The admiration of a roomful of drunk douchebags? This was not the hill I wanted to die on.

After the contest, as we packed up to leave, Noah approached our table. He glanced at me and then apologized to everyone else. "I was just having a gag," he explained to the four people he had not told to fuck themselves in front of a building full of strangers. My wife says this is my fault for looking so murderous, how could he possibly approach me, and that I deserved it in the first place for being a heckler. I don't know what anyone else's take was on it: I didn't do a lot of talking with anyone from that point on.

I was immediately reminded of the time my team (different people) won Triviasco!, and that host also took time out to award me "Biggest Douche of the Evening" for the amusement of everyone sitting in that half of Pizza Luce. No one had my back then, either, my own team thought it was hilarious. Or the time I left Mayslacks to invite a nearby friend to come out and see the live band (can't recall who; the frontman sounded like Johnny Cash), and upon return the lead singer announced to the bar that I'd been sucking my friend's cock in the bathroom. Again, the people I was with thought this the pinnacle of comedy and looked down on me for being upset.

What's to be learned from this? "Going out" is an activity not meant for me, and "friend" doesn't mean what I think it means.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thickening Up the Time

Not sure how the formatting will look: rarely do I e-mail my entries into this blog.

After four months of indolence, things have picked up both professionally and personally. I'm working as a proofreader/copy editor for Patterson Companies, focusing on branches of the medical industry that are relatively new to me. I like when that happens, I appreciate being educated in new disciplines. That's what's so fantastic about being a copy editor: you're compelled to constantly learn new things and shift your mind into a new context.

My evenings will be filling up as well. I'm no longer with the writers group: it seemed to drift apart as members stopped showing up, new members were shy or preoccupied, and I know I wasn't producing any new material. I don't know why I was able to produce a short story every day for nearly two months while I had a job, but when I was unemployed I couldn't generate one new idea and develop it into a story. Maybe the group would even still be together if I'd tried harder. This experience shows me I'm not ready for a writers group, currently.

As for the busy evening schedule, Mondays I'll be tutoring ESL students at CLUES, Thursdays at Holy Rosary. After attending the pre-training sessions with Minnesota Literacy Council, it's up to me to get some practical experience in this field. Aside from that, once a week I'll be training to gain certification as a Streetcar Operator: I simply wanted to find a schedule of when the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line was running, but I found an invitation to learn how to run these beautiful machines, and there was no way for me to resist. You know? As long as I'm living here, I have a free evening, and the training's free, why not? Why not do something as awesome as operating a trolley during these beautiful summer evenings?

One might say, "Well, at least your Fridays are open." That's true: Fridays are designated date nights with Rebecca, and nothing gets in the way of that. We can go out and see live music, or we can stay home and watch movies, but whatever I do--especially now, as the rest of my week becomes occupied--I need this time to focus on my beautiful and clever wife.


Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.