eat, drink, make merry

I am a man who likes to throw parties. Birthdays, holidays, sunny Saturdays with nothing else going on, give me a half a reason and I'll have two dozen people and three dozen hotdogs at my house. You say "Flag Day" and I hear "fill the keg and buy some ice".

See, I like being able to throw down with my nearest and dearest, drinking beer and eating grilled meat or pot luck dishes and cranking up the music 'til we can hear it out in the side yard. I also like being able to wrap up in my own quilt with no worries about driving at the end of the night, no stress about when to leave and whether to sleep over or hold back on the booze. I'd rather clean my bathroom and put Christmas lights up outside than worry about getting from point A(lcohol) to point B(ed).

Plus, throwing a party means I get to make a flier. You can keep your fancy, folded invitations - my aesthetics are based in the punk scene, and my announcements reflect that. Ripped or copied pictures from Horror Comics and old encyclopedias. Spray painted, stenciled lettering and bright images. Lay outs based on Communist propaganda posters or wanted posters. For this year's 5th Annual Parade Potluck Party, I broke out the construction paper and glue. I can't draw Santa, but I can sure cut him out.

The parade parties are my favorite every year because of where I live, right on the route. The Springtime event happens in the morning, and everyone is drunk and sleepy by early afternoon, napping and picking at leftovers. But the Winterfest Parade kicks off at dark, and we wind up carousing into the night, building bonfires and singing songs and, sometimes, hooking up with folks you didn't even expect to see.

Anyway, if you are out at the parade this year and see me and my crew, stop by and say howdy. Bring a dish and a bottle and join us. If you're an asshole, we'll toss you off the wall. But if you're good natured and up for some fun, well, maybe you'll make a few friend or two. Either way, it''s going to be a hell of a party.


local legends

Hey, The Engine Room, which is to say The Beta Bar, which is to say The Cow Haus, which is to say the longest running independent music venue here in Tallahassee, needs our help. Money is tight, bands are asking more to play, and the new owners are trying to keep shit running while they get their legs under them.

There's a show tonight and a show tomorrow (click that link up there for details), and on Saturday a whole mess of local acts are getting together to play and raise cash. I mean, this isn't just a bar, this is a local institution. If you're into punk, metal, real rock, alt country, hip hop - if you're into live music, you've been to shows here. I've fallen in love there. Embarrassed myself badly by passing out on an amp. Suffered mosh pit injuries. Made new friends. Danced my ass off to everyone from the Gossip to Hank Williams III. Attended a wedding. Attended a hair metal birthday party. Attended a wake. Drank enough beer to float a pirate armada. Witnessed streakers and holy rollers. And, if you are from here, odds are good that you've done some of that, too.

So, the line up on Saturday is:
me and the devil
oh geography
adam reid
boss fight
good morning engineer
only thieves

The tunes start around 4pm and the door is only $5. Support our scene. Give what you can, because we get more back in return. And if they manage to make it through the weekend, I'm spinning tracks for Effed Up Punk Nite next Tuesday the 18th, starting around 9pm. Come on out, sing along, have a good time, keep it alive.


2009 - 2012

I honestly didn't think he had a snowball's chance in hell.

After seeing the hopes and dreams of Americans ignored and trampled by those in charge for the past 8 years, I honestly thought that the results would go Republican by hook or by crook. When I read or heard people call Obama everything from "half-rican" to slurs that I sure as hell won't print, I thought racism had us looking down the barrel of another soul destroying decade. When pundits and politicians made him out to be a Muslim and Muslim out to be a dirty word, I thought for sure that we were well and truly fucked by our own fears.

Watching Obama rise in the polls as the economy sank under the weight of rich-get-richer bullshit, I steeled myself against the coming heartbreak. Listening to him debate and speak intelligently, beautifully, I resigned myself to the knowledge that we'd be bouncing between McCain's anger and Palin's bigoted stupidity until 2012. Casting my vote for Barack (and against those who would make some of us second class citizens, unable to access the rights afforded all other Americans), I knew - KNEW, I tell you - that it was a worthless gesture, only done to make myself feel like at least I had my say.

I showered, dressed, ate some cold pizza, and put on my flea market purchased Obama for President hat that night, always reminding myself not to get too hopeful. That they lied when they told us any of us could - with hard work and a strong soul - grow up to be president. I met with my friends and went to the bar already heartbroken, ready to drown my sorrows. Eyes glued to CNN, I felt that resolve slipping away, felt a giddiness rising in me like bubbles in my blood, as the results began coming in.

We couldn't help but notice the difference between the suited white folks, quiet, stiff, at McCain's headquarters and the cheering, hugging, up for it throngs in Chicago, all faces shining, all colors and races and ages mixed and ready to get back to being proud to be Americans.

And around 11, when CNN declared that, against all odds, against the lessons of hundreds of years of slavery and pain, against my own certainty that it simply would not be allowed to happen by those in charge, we voted Barack Hussein Obama (who was NOT a member of Skull and Bones, whose family did NOT amass a fortune in bed with Nazis and warmongers, elite but never an elitist) President of the United State of America, something broke open in me. I threw my arms around the person next to me and we bear hugged and hollered. Folks jumped up on the bar. Bells rang out, and you could hear the yelling from all around us, up and down the street. All over the US, dawn in view. All over the world, proud for us, happy to see us come to our god damned senses.

We were laughing and bellowing and chanting. I called my mama and my daddy and couldn't stop yelling WE DID IT and I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, I CAN'T FUCKING BELIEVE IT! I caught a shot on tv of Jesse Jackson, one of the crowd in Chicago, tears running down his face in joy despite every nasty thing he said about Obama during this race, I lost it and just started crying. Hell, I'm crying right now, in my office, thinking about that night and what it means.

Through McCain's sincere concession (where was that guy during this campaign?) and President-Elect Obama's victory speech, the emotions in that room (in our country - our country) swelled and rose to near bursting. When he said "I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand," not a soul in that room wasn't ready to go out that moment and put a shoulder to the wheel and take up our share of the burden.

Every so often that night a chant would break out. Not "drill, baby, drill" or even "burn, baby, burn", but YES WE CAN. Yes we can, in Chicago. Yes we can, in Tallahassee. Yes we can fix this shit, given a steady hand to guide us and a steady voice to pick up our spirits when they flag. Yes we can rise above even the fucked up part of the election, when people in four states chose to gaybash by ballot. Yes we can have our freedoms and our fellowship, too.

Yes we can, because yes we fucking did.


in hope instead of fear

I cast my vote, and I did it gladly and with hope.

I won't know what else I have to say about this until tomorrow. But if you want to celebrate/drown your sorrows, meet me at St. Mike's Pub tonight. This isn't a night for sitting home, this is history.