12/12/11

Bar Trivia in Tallahassee

I think y'all already know this, but I figured I'd announce it again. Every week I lead two nights of pub trivia at local bars. Monday nights, 10:30 pm to a little after midnight, at Mockingbird Cafe on N. Monroe and Tuesday nights, 7:30 to 9:30 pm, at Corner Pocket on Apalachee Parkway. Each has its own flavor. Mockingbird is slightly drunker, slightly older, slightly more hipster, a little looser in feel. Corner Pocket involves a lot of grad students so it's a little less sloppy. Either way, the questions are much the same.

I do 5 rounds of ten questions each. They usually (although not always) break down like this:
1st: picture pages (10 themed pictures to be identified, everything from hood ornaments to iconic people)
2nd: current events, always
3rd: third round is the nerd round - straight up trivia (inventions, geography, religion, etc)
4th: pop culture (cult movies, cartoon theme songs, food in fiction, etc)
5th: oddball stuff (kids' games, before and after, slang, etc)

Highest scoring teams win bar tabs at the end of the night. I encourage funny guesses, dirty team names, plenty of drinking, and tipping the bartenders. In a town where you can find bar trivia any night of the week, I try to stand out with plenty of questions, simple rules, and fun information. No premade questions here - I put together all the rounds myself every week.

So, if you're in Tally and you like to think and drink, come check it out. You'll have fun. For a weekly hint and any updates, join the official FB page at:
http://www.facebook.com/bartriviawithhank

11/21/11

I just wrote a short story.

I feel good. I feel damn good. I feel a little like the inside of my brain's been scooped out. I just sat down and wrote out about 3,000 words that actually said what I wanted them to say. It's about a character I've been considering lately, a dude named Jingo. It's, I dunno, magical realism?

Of course, now I want to make people read it. I considered putting it up on the blog, but that just seems a little too public-access for something that may become a novel. But if anyone is willing to read it and maybe pass along a little criticism, email me and I'll send it to you.

It's called "What You Need, When You Need It".

11/16/11

plus, I have beer here

I'm supposed to be up and out and down to Mockingbird Cafe tonight for Whiskey Wednesday. This week's theme is rockabilly, and I can get down with that. Plus, dollar beers dollar shots. Have I mentioned I'm a college kid now?

But I dunno if I'm feeling it right now. It's muggy and rainy and I have shit I could play with here.

Grumpity grump. The end.

11/13/11

cheerful

I just rolled back in from a weekend camping down by the river. Sometimes when I go it winds up a tent city, with a large group of folks, lots of activity and beer and singing by the fire. Sometimes it's more relaxed, a few core people and naps by the water. That's what I needed this weekend, and that's what I got.

Rudy, Togi, and I packed up (too much gear, as usual) and drove on down there, first on the interstate, then a county road, and so on down to sandy dirt where I'm always afraid I'll bog down and have to get help yanking her out of the hole. Smooth sailing this time, though. We pulled up to the property a little before sundown on Friday and between then and now I devoted myself to not worrying about school or bills or any damn thing.

You know how it is with close friends around a bonfire. Voices in the dark, the crisp crack of a new can of Pabst opened, the occasional flare when someone gets to fire farming. We talked about abortion, war, queer politics, music, and sex. We told a few dumb jokes. It was excellent and it was just what I needed. We cooked hotdogs in a tinfoil package filled with beer, and they were delicious.

Today we got up, packed up, and drifted back into town. On the way out of the Madison area we stopped into a podunk little Jiffy Mart and guess what I found. Cheerwine! Yes, that delicious cherry soda I fell for in North Carolina and haven't seen since, in glass bottles, all cold and waiting for me. I bought three and I'm drinking one as I type this. How cool is that?

11/6/11

quick

Are you from here? Been here a while? Ate at Angelo's downtown, avoided the Past Time Lounge? Tallycast is looking for Tallahassee's oldest restaurant still in business. Can you help? Go check it out.

Other than that, not much hoppin. It turns out that school is remarkably easier when I'm not fighting society and my own awkwardness. Also, when I care enough to do homework.

Not so much housework, though.

9/25/11

Just Saying


I'm one of the ones that went with discs by mail in the big Netflix split. I was hoping that having most of the people that only really watch streaming would kick some of the "long wait" discs back into circulation. It seems to have happened some, but still. If you haven't watched that shit in 3 days, you're not going to. Send it back!

7/6/11

just for kicks


Okay, just for fun, here's one of them photo clip thingies I made today. It's to the song "10 Long Years" by the now disbanded local group Convicted, friends of mine. This is me and my buddies over the years, doing what we do best.

By the way, there's a show tonight if you happen to be out and about and in need of some fun. Love in Arms at St. Mike's Pub on Gaines Street. Starts at 9pm. The beer is cold, the crowd is friendly. Here's to good times.

6/10/11

Halfway to 70

In honor of my birthday, I'd like to share a few things I've learned in my 35 years.

- You can never own too many dictionaries.
- Nothing good comes from drinking tequila after midnight.
- Sleep when you get a chance.
- If you're patient and not too picky, you never have to buy electronics or furniture.
- Knees don't really heal.
- Nothing is all that weird once you're in the middle of it.
- Know where your flashlights are.

Thanks for having me, Mama. I sure think you did a good job.

5/27/11

just a note to say

To my friends who blog:

The comment field style that requires you to use a drop town box to pick what account you wish to post from doesn't play well with many browsers much of the time, including Chrome and Firefox. Magnum, I'm looking at you.

I mean, your style is your style. But I'd sure like to comment sometimes and can't.

5/26/11

I am one of the 500 laid off today from DCF.

11 years of sitting in my office trying to help make sure that there is some kind of assistance for people facing mental health issues. 11 years of doing all I can do for shitty pay, whether it is compiling data to help get some budget money or just talking respectfully to folks who call out of desperation and pain, looking for a friendly voice.

I went in today. I got the call. I shook the man's hand and signed the papers. Me and 499 other people in already stripped-to-the-bone offices got "separated from the Department".

Technically, we have until June 30th, end of the fiscal year. I suspect I may burn some of that sick leave I never got to use.

The last thing I did before I left today, to go home by way of the beer store, was to make sure a grant application got sent so that the citizens of Florida can hold onto a few more services. Yeah, state workers, we're such villains.

3/30/11

gearing up, getting ready

For seven years now (how has it been this long?) I've been throwing a big party every year when Tallahassee runs a parade past the front of my house.


That's us in '06, celebrating springtime and morning drinking.

I tend to do a lot of entertaining. I live in my own place (no roommates or kids to shuffle), I'm centrally located, I have a good front stoop for gathering, and it means I don't have to worry about a designated driver. But this party is something special. For one, it starts at 9 am, and there's nothing like having a good excuse to get a beer buzz before breakfast. For another, there's a fucking parade going by the front of my house!

This year might be a little different. Oh, I still expect the crowds, the food, the beer (a neighbor and I even intend to get a keg to make it all easier). But our not-so-esteemed Gov. Voldemort's been asked to be Grand Marshall this year. It's a slap in the face of all the people his administration is screwing, but that's not exactly new for the parade that used to be headed up by a guy dressed as the murdering scumbag Andrew Jackson. That being said, this will be the first year I have to remind people not to throw stuff at anyone in the parade. But booing remains legal. At least he's in the front, which will leave the rest of the parade to be enjoyed, heckled, and admired.

If you are local and read this, come on by. You know where I live. Bring a breakfast dish to share, and if you want something besides Pabst than BYOB. Parade party!

3/15/11

He digs it!

3/13/11

a weekend at the homestead

Mama and them were out at Dog Island this weekend, so I packed up my laundry and went out to keep an eye on the dogs and chickens and so on. There's never much to say about a quiet weekend, but I took some photos. So:

The bottle tree is blooming. Oh, and I just remembered that I left a green glass ginger ale bottle in the monkey grass that I intended to hang with the others. Sorry, mama! Didn't mean to leave trash in the yard.

Elvis and his ladies went over to visit the neighbor chickens. "Cluck, cluck, how's clucks?"

I just took this one because it seemed so cheesy country. Chickens and pickups!

Then I decided to make my wee nephew Owen a tent, because what kid doesn't love a place of their own? So I found an ax in dad's garage and set out into the bamboo forest to cut me some tent poles.

I dragged the poles up on the porch and lashed them together. I left one long for a flagpole. I'd bought a plain sheet at goodwill and cut it down for the cover.

And done! I fastened the cover with a dinosaur button, so Lily can leave the frame outside and just bring in the sheet when it's not in use. I left it blank so Owen can decorate it himself.

And here's Shane. He's really in tents.

Then some of my friends came over and we drank a lot of beer and had a good ol' time. And that was my weekend at the homestead. I love it.

3/4/11

Geeking Out

I didn't write this, but it so clearly speaks to how I feel about science fiction on tv (and in movies for that matter) that I have to save and share it. If you are any kind of sf geek and you didn't watch Battlestar Galatica (the new one - the old one is cheesy fun, but not the same kind of mindblowing storytelling) and Caprica, go start. Begin with BSG, by the way, and don't skip bits. It's a novel, not a comic book.

This is from a Television Without Pity recap about the Caprica episode "Gravedancing":

I mean, all we really ask of our TV is that there be fights and fucking and, on this channel, maybe a spaceship. But what if there were a soap opera that happened to be set in a SF universe, such that you could have the richest scientist couple in the world talk about going from Apple to Google in response to a terrorist threat, with a little GTA and IP law thrown in there? Most TV SF historically -- even the small bit now -- is on an Alan Dean Foster/Piers Anthony/Terry Brooks sort of track: Licensed and xeroxed, unrecognizably sexless and utopian, emotionally and socially shallow-to-illiterate, soullessly and bitterly commercial, and self-consciously intellectual on a scale somewhere between "nominally cerebral" and "borderline autistic." You get your occasional Babylon 5 (which would be... Oh! Pern, obviously) and Octavia Butlers and Nicola Griffithses like Farscape and all the Joss stuff, and yer Ender Wigginses like BSG.

Which is great! That's a long list and I'm proud of them all. But what if you went the full Cory Doctorow on that shit? What if Paolo Bacigalupi wrote the next hospital drama, or Ted Chiang was driving the new crimescene procedural? What if China Miéville had a teen drama on ABC Family, how wonderful a trainwreck would that be? What if Grant Morrison wrote Smallville? What if Neal Stephenson wrote Lost, suddenly and all those Asperger's clues actually meant something? Wouldn't it feel more like the future, then? Wouldn't you feel like we were going somewhere?

I'm not saying that even needs to happen: I'm just saying that's what you're watching. It doesn't have much to do with the TV SF we've been trained to expect, but it has a hell of a lot more in common with SF literature than 90% of what's out there. Not an heir to Roddenberry or Lucas, boo hoo, but a hell of a lot closer to the lineage of Bradbury and Sturgeon and Ellison. It's fine to look for what's not there -- to demand that everything act like space opera, to get vicious with SGU for attempting to be less formulaic and idiotic than its forebears, while handing over record ratings for utter trash fanfic like Tin Man and Alice -- but when you do that, you run the risk of missing what is there because you didn't even know to look for it.

It's exactly this kind of nonsense that's turned Margaret Atwood into a bundle of twigs and hair. Is there ever a valid reason to hold TV to a lower standard, much less refuse to notice when it exceeds that standard? Is the ghetto really that self-reinforcing? Do you honestly think people read Left Hand Of Darkness or The Sparrow or Iain Banks because they're about shiny spaceships and freaky aliens? And I'll tell you another thing, if you think this shit's boring, I cannot wait to introduce you to good old Canticle For Leibowitz, which is nine million pages of monks walking slower than those giant moaning turtles from The Dark Crystal.

2/26/11

Don't you got tits? Stick 'em out, for God's sake!

It came to light recently that a friend of mine has never seen a John Waters movie. He's not really a movie guy, but still - no reason to neglect the classics. He told me he does have one in his netflix queue, but it hasn't come up yet. I asked which one, and he said Pink Flamingos.

Oh, lord, no.

I don't know what happens to non-film-buff people whose first exposure to Mr. Waters is watching one of his filthy works without a guide along, but I suspect it involves psychiatric care. At the very least, they're not gong to wind up fans is my guess. You need to build up to something like that. So tomorrow he's coming over and we're going to watch Cry Baby, which I feel like is the perfect midpoint between his indie days and his Hollywood days.

Of course, more audience equals more fun, so a couple more friends (all well acquainted with Waters' genius) will be showing up at my house tomorrow for the screening. Since Cry Baby doesn't involve eating poop or graphic mom-on-son blow jobs, we'll probably want something to eat. Which is how I get to my real point, which is that I just threw stew fixins in the crock pot and my house now smells incredible. I'll probably dream of feasts all night. By tomorrow afternoon, deliciousness will be achieved.

Stew to Accompany Cry Baby:
- venison your brother-in-law bagged, cut into small pieces
- a can of sweet corn, because it was on sale at Publix
- two cans of stewed, diced tomatoes, ditto
- zucchini, because you need some green stuff
- a couple of carrots you find in the fridge that should have been eaten days ago
- a few potatoes that you remember at the last minute were in the cabinet
- fucktons of garlic
- a package of barley and mushroom soup from the Jewish section of the "ethnic" food aisle
- mushrooms, because I love mushrooms
- salt and pepper and that kind of stuff

Brown the deer in a pan. Dump the maters and corn and 3 or 4 cans of water into the crock pot. Add the browned venison and all that other stuff. Set on low for 10 or 12 hours. Done.

By the way, my favorite Waters movie with Divine is Female Trouble. My favorite without Divine is Desperate Living. You?

2/11/11

Fresh Ink

A million years ago or more, back when God laid an egg, back when dirt was clean, back when Superman rode a dinosaur, the mid to late 90s happened and I lived in Atlanta. Oh, a hell of a time was had. The tall buildings! The bright lights! The 24 hour gay sports bars!

I was in my early twenties and getting my ya-yas out at a rapid clip. For the most part - despite the alcohol, the strippers, the gunfire - I came away unscarred and unburdened with anything but a knapsack of stories and a handful of tattoos.

Like my interest in a septum ring (which I got at 21 and still gleefully wear, lo, these 14 years later), I'd wanted body art since I first knew it existed. As a kid, what did I associate tattoos with? Pirates. Strong men. Artists. Bikers. Freedom. As I got out of high school and actually started making friends, I fell in with the heavily decorated crowd. And so, no surprise, when I had the cash I got the ink. Most of which I still love today. And yet...

And yet, being the mid 90s and me being a bit of a fool, I got kanji on my forearms. Not big pieces, mind you, just one per arm. My only non-custom tattoos, and the only ones that show when I have my regular clothes and long pants on. In other words, what should have been my show pieces have been outdated, clichéd, plain, black crap.

For years - at least a decade - I've talked about getting them covered. Took a while to figure out what would hide them and still look good. Someone suggested old school roses, but that ain't my style. I briefly considered Scottish clan badges, but that seemed too... specific? I guess is the word I'm looking for here. Finally, it struck me. What tool do I love, collect, and use more than any other? Typewriters.

This year, mama got me a gift certificate to Sistine Skin for Christmas. So I put that together with a few bucks of my own and went and saw my friend Fronkie and she did me up right. Five hours in the chair, five different shades of grey and black, and one of those late 90s worth-nothing tats is gone, Daddy, gone. I walked out of that little wood frame house where she runs her business happy and hopped up on endorphins. That picture up there doesn't do it justice, by the way - it's fresh, shaved, and puffy. But I love it and it looks amazing.

All of a sudden, I'm one of the obviously tattooed. And it feels great. Remember folks, nothing else you can buy with be will you forever. Consider your ink well, pick your artist carefully, but if you want it in your heart, get it on your skin.

Thank you, Fronkie. Thank you, Mama.

2/9/11

keep drinking, start thinking

Have I mentioned that I've started running a trivia night at the Rusty Bucket, a local dive/biker bar? I delight in trivia. I roll in it. I keep buckets of it under my bed. As they say, I don't know everything about anything, but I know a little something about everything.

As I've written about before, for years I met up with my team - go, Drinkin' 'Bout It! - once a week to down beers and test our knowledge base against other boozy brainiacs. I mean, it makes sense that this would be my main outside hobby - it combines two of my favorite things on Earth. If I could find a bar trivia night run by hot gals in small clothes, my life would be complete.

But when the trivia night I'd grown used to shut down late last year, I called it quits. I needed a break. Had to have some time off. Recently I felt the old pull, so I spoke to the owner of the Bucket, a bar my friends and I have made our smoky home. She loved the idea, we settled on Mondays from 8 to 10, I decided on my format, and we were off to the races.

It's only been a few weeks now, but I get a real kick out of being Trivia Master. Five rounds of ten questions each means I spend my Sunday evenings putting together 50 questions about everything from weird sports (chessboxing! wife carrying!) to marine biology. The folks who have been playing seem to enjoy it (I had some grumbles about my Salma Hayek round, in honor of the golden globes, ahem, but it was all in fun). The bar's making money. And I get to play with my brain and drink for free. What could be better?

Anyway, long story longer, if you're in the Tallahassee area you should think of coming by some Monday soon. Get a team (5 people or less, please) or fly solo. I'll be happy to see you. And if you mention that you saw this blog post, I'll give you an extra point the first time you play.

2/2/11

Advance Warning


It's a little early, but I wanted to make a flier so here it is. BYOB.

2/1/11

monday all week

I feel dragged out thin and like the inside of my brain got rubbed smeary with soft cloth. Tired, bored, confined, no adventure, no smoke on the horizon, no sails billowing in salt winds that clean your face and clean my mood and push us out to sea.

Taken to pieces, the engine runs fine. Fine apartment, fine job, fine friends, fine hobbies, there's fine beer in the fine fridge and I just can't bring myself to give a tinker's damn about any of it today.

The engine runs fine, but the wheels don't turn.

1/16/11

day of rest

Waking up on a couch is okay if it's a friend's place and you've slept there a hundred times, usually with your boots still on. That saves time in the morning when you gather up your keys and phone and grab a cold coke out of the fridge and let yourself out into the cold dawn while your buddies sleep it off.

And by you I mean me.

Then across a Sunday quiet town, whistling along to the radio, nose pointed home to bed and cat and ice water for the next morning drymouth and clothes that don't smell like bonfire and friends who chainsmoke inside. I think I slept on my glasses.

1/8/11

Every kid is my brother here.

Got up to the bar tonight and had a beer, two, five, buddies buying, my night off. Over time, it's like we pass a 20 between ourselves, my rounds this week, yours next.

Same crowd, new night. Same steps: greet your way around the bar, down two, join the parade out to the back corner of the parking lot, wander back inside to the pitcher. A gal I know was dealing with unwanted advances, so I put my solid bulk between her and the fellow. Better to puke on yourself and pass out next to the building than to be that guy, eyes rolling in different directions, unable to understand that he's got no shot tonight.

And the horns roar out, 3rd 4th 5th wave ska, arms and legs flying around the pit in front of the band. The beat thumps into me and I find myself loud, chanting oi! oi! oi! oi! and catching grins, up on the toes of my boots. Another beer, the band ends, home again.

1/4/11

on inauguration day

I'm at work, digging ditches for the state of Florida.* I almost called in this morning so I could go downtown and watch the state I love get handed over to those who would plunder and pillage her, or at least catch the parade (hell, I love a parade). Instead, I took my shower, laced up my boots, and came into work. I might as well do my job while it still exists.

Tomorrow night I'm going to see a show at the Engine Room (Adolescents, Lower Class Brats, Love in Arms, and Ka Plaa). I need it. It's been a while since I got to bang shoulders with like-minded individuals while loud music crashes down on our heads. Once you get used to that kind of release, it becomes a necessity. Going without a good show feels almost like going without sex or solid food - sure, you can live that way, but why?

Will I make it to work Thursday morning? Well, there's a reason I didn't give in to that urge to play hooky today.


*I do not actually dig ditches for a living. 

1/3/11

the first working day of the new year

I'd rather be at home, wrapped up in quilts, with my mean-ass cat grumbling away on my belly. But were I both home and awake...

I'd rather be putting together the wire shelving I got for Christmas, now that I've realized what I plan to do with it. For years, I've kept all my exacto blades and markers and glue and other tools of the diy propagandists' trade in the top drawer of my living room dresser. It's handy, but I have to dig through it to find anything. But wire shelves + some sort of rubbermade bins purchased on the Target gift card I also got as a present = a way to keep all that shit at hand and ready to go. I just cemented this plan last night, now I'm chomping at the bit to put it into effect. Which leads to...

I'd rather be working on a new zine that I'm kicking around. But more on that later, because it involves getting a handful of people to write things for it. I don't know if you know this, but the majority of people I hang out with are a) funny as shit and b) convinced they can't write. "Just send me that story in an email," I tell them. "I will edit it to make you look good, but not change what you say. That's what I do." Herding cats, I tell you. Which leads us back to my first point.