Karaoke is like Fight Club. All week long, that guy on stage is a cashier at Publix. But for a few moments on Thursday night, he's a fucking rock star. He's singing his hit, and the audience knows every word.

Me, I love karaoke. Bad, good, country, rock, hipsters, or rednecks, I'm down. As long as people are willing to grab that microphone and go for the gusto, I stand ready to cheer them on. I go every week with a crew and almost never perform. I am strictly there to drink beer, holler, clap, and sing along from my seat. It's a crazy thing that in this day of polished, autotuned perfection, adult are still eager to get up in front of a crowd and give it a try. Some of them, even sober.

It's something that I assume comes from back around the beginning of people being people, taking turns around the fire to entertain or inform the others. We find nothing so amusing as each other.


Like a damn waterfall.

So Tuesday night I did trivia at Corner Pocket, headed home, and started working on a big zine project. Around 3 am, my nose starts to run. I look down and it's blood. A lot of goddam blood. Grabbed some toilet paper, stopped the flow, and starting deciding whether or not to freak out.

It's winter, so it's dry, and that can cause nose bleeds.
It's not stopping.
I never get nosebleeds.
This is so much blood.

I called my mom, but she was asleep. Called one sister, she didn't answer. Called another, she grabbed the phone, said she'd come take me to the ER. She's got two kids, though, and I hated that she was going to lose sleep dealing with me.

Still bleeding.

I cut off my computer and tv. Changed toilet paper. Got the septum ring out of my nose and put it safely aside. The first sister called, announced she was coming to get me. I called the second and told her to go back to bed. She said, "Ha!" and told me to text her as soon as I knew anything.

Still bleeding.

Do you know how hard it is to lace your shoes when you are a fat man holding toilet paper clamped to your nose? Got dressed. Grabbed my hoodie. Locked the door, there's my sister and her boyfriend. Went to the ER.

Still bleeding.

They took my blood pressure, which was on the high end of not good at all. Got me into a room pretty much straightaway. I was pretty freaked out, but the nurse said I wouldn't die. She had on scrubs, so I believed her.

Still bleeding. For the next 3 and a half hours, I held gauze to my nose and swallowed everything I couldn't spit out. Gross, yes? Grosser in person.

Dude, I swallowed so much blood.

As the doc told me afterward, "With pressure and time, every injury stops bleeding. Either it clots of you run out of blood." Funny guy, that doctor. It finally stopped. He took a look, said it was a tiny hole, but my high blood pressure made it gush.

He said, lower your blood pressure. He said, seriously, you don't have insurance. He said, fill out your paperwork, here's a scrip for your bp, go home. Don't pick your nose so hard.

My entire adult life has consisted mostly of red meat and beer. Crap.


Facts About Fruits

I lead trivia nights in a few local bars. I double source my questions, but every now and again someone wants to argue a point.

Last night, a dude took me to task for calling an avocado a vegetable. But no, he insisted, it's a fruit! He had his smartphone out to prove his point, ready to educate me with the true facts. Yep, it's the fruit of the avocado tree, but culturally it's a vegetable, just like, oh, most of what we consider vegetables. He wasn't having it. Culturally? Culturally! But it's a fruit!

Packing up my gear, I didn't want to stand around and argue taxonomy. Plus, turns out this gent was throwing darts and just happened to hear me be wrong and felt the need to rectify that issue. He'd never played my trivia and told me that he never would, since I clearly did not care about the truth. I gave him a thumbs up, grabbed my bag, and got the fuck out. I wonder what outcome he was expecting from that encounter. I don't think he got whatever he was after.



"(Delayed sleep-phase disorder)-friendly careers can include security work, work in theater, the entertainment industry, hospitality work in restaurants, hotels or bars, call center work, nursing, emergency medicine, taxi or truck driving, the media, and freelance writing, translation, IT work, or medical transcription."

That's me. Bouncer/walmart greeter/preschool teacher at a local hipster bar. I stand in the lobby at night and sometimes throw people out if they are overcome by strong liquors. The bar closes at two, and around 1:30 I start to be very grateful that the patrons are about to be someone else's worry. Good folks, for the most part, but evil loves last call.

Time change tonight. Fall back, etc. At 2 am it will suddenly be 1 am again, and the staff will probably take a deep breath and maybe a shot and buckle down for the extra hour of hooliganism. It's gay night, so the FSU/Miami game should only have a minor impact in the usual rowdyism, but on the other hand drunken drag queens. Adventure!


Confirmed Bachelor

"Whenever I come to your house, I know I won't be able to get a snack. Like there won't be crackers."

I think I've edged over into confirmed bachelor territory. Not in the Victorian-euphemism-for-gay way (although, now that I think about it, not necessarily not in the Victorian-euphemism-for-gay way, either). In the I've lived a one bedroom apartment for ten years and the oven has never worked way. The ran out of toilet paper so I just took multiple, specific showers throughout the day way. The eight jars of mustard but nothing to put it on in the fridge way.

Most of my old friends are married or shacked up. I'm the last guy my age in town who sleeps with women but isn't paying child support on a kid or two somewhere. I've come close to tying the knot a few times, but never gave it that final push into foreverness.

Some nights I'm lonely. My cat is a good companion, but doesn't go in much for conversation. Once in a while, when friends are having relationship troubles or I'm particularly comfortable sitting around in my skivvies watching Battlestar for the nth time, it occurs to me to be happy in my solitude. For the most part, it's not even something I think about. I have close friends, I have loose associations, I have plenty of human interaction and hugs and emotional support and laughs, so it's not like I'm longing for love. I even get my share of physical affection, albeit in a more casual way.

My bachelor days could end. I could fall head over heels tomorrow and get married next week. But right now I'm more concerned with the fact that I'm out of toilet paper and don't want to take another shower.


bed time

Okay, day shift. The planet is yours for the next 8 hours. Don't fuck it up or burn it down. Try not to wake me up unless someone is bleeding.

8 hours the hard way

I'm removed morning from my day. It seemed like the smartest thing to do. 37 years of attempting to sleep from night to day made no changes in my hard-wiring. When the opportunity presented itself to rearrange my schedule to suit my nature, lord, I jumped on it.

To bed at six, as false dusk greets the fishermen and the breakfast chefs. Up around two, as the rest of town begins that long, post-long snooze into evening. Right now, instead of hitting a snooze button and trying to come up with some way to finagle another 5 hours of sleep, I am just thinking of heading to bed. Lord love a duck, it's a beautiful life.


11:23 pm and I have too many books

Time to sweep the shelves. I've got more books than room, some of them dating back to grade school. Time to ditch a few, box them up and release them into the wild. Maybe take the cleanest down to the local used bookstore and swap them for yet more books.

Mercedes Lackey and her horse stories for lonesome and misunderstood teens: gone. Piers Anthony and his bad puns and inappropriate sex: gone. Thomas Harris, Dean Koontz, Elizabeth Peters, all those middling novels bought at Goodwill to pass a lunch hour: outta here.

Honestly, I'm keeping most of them. I have hopes of passing Harriet the Spy and Sport and the Oz books (both Baum and Thompson) and Rascal and so on along to my nephews as they grow and learn to love reading. I'll always keep plenty of paperback sf around to reread when I want something familiar or a fiend mentions needing something to read on a trip. The classics - Shakespeare, Twain, Kipling, Eliot, Lewis - stay because what use is a library without them?

I dream of a time when I have room to line the walls with books. A time when I do not have to stack them in double layers, hiding titles. When it would be practical to keep them alphabetically instead of wherever they fit. That day is not today. But every box I tote out of here helps.

Hey, want a book?


3:34 am is a good time to call it a day.

I've met with a fellow student about the TCC Literary Magazine's layout. I have played D'n'D with friends. I have eaten a little venison. I have rewatched True Romance. I have enjoyed a short hailstorm from the comfort of my living room.

I've put together two rounds for this week's trivia. I have fed the cat to prevent her from killing me. I've touched base with my mom. I've touched base with friends. I have looked for ice cream trucks for sale on craigslist.

I've used up my Sunday and I think it's time to go to bed.


7:51 and it's still raining.

Has been all day.

A few years ago, North Florida went through a nasty summer drought. Every day I would wake up and check the weather station while I got ready for work. Every day it showed me seven days of grinning, taunting cartoon suns. All the plants died. Even the live oaks, with their deep, behemoth roots, drooped.

That's just not right for this part of the world. Florida is a swamp, a rain forest. They called it the Sunshine State to attract tourists, but a better name would be the Mildew State. The whole ecology depends on on just staying damp all the time. Turns out, so do I.

I started to get depressed. And I am not prone to depression. All those clear blue skies began to weigh on me. I fantasized about storms, about standing out in my yard and letting big, fat raindrops beat on me.  Every read the Ray Bradbury story All Summer in a Day? That opposite of that.

Eventually, frowning clouds showed up on the weather channel and we got some rain, thank god. I don't think I've complained about rain since then, though.


12:04 and trivia is over.

At least until tomorrow, when I do it all over again at Corner Pocket. I've been running bar trivia nights for almost 2 and a half years now. I have to say, as a side job it sure beats digging ditches. Right now, though, my Monday night crowd is slowly fading away. Are they tired? Bored? Some come on another night now, at another time. Some just disappeared.

I have to come up with more of a crowd. If there's no competition, what fun is it? I should promote a little heavier, come up with fun new rounds. Somewhere there is an untapped crowd, and I need to entice them down to answer unimportant questions and drink more than they should on Monday.


At 8:14, I am putting on boots.

When I was young - five? - I would drag the toes of my sneakers on the ground. I liked the sound, I think. It wore through them quickly, and my mom hated it. "I'm going to make you wear steel toed boots," she would threaten. Yeah.

Don't throw me in that brier patch.

They take some getting used to, heavy boots. Takes some practice to steer them. They swing your foot a little further and widen your stride. Not for nothing, the fairy tale trope of seven-league boots.

I get mine at the flea market. It takes a few shows, some jumping up and down on a concrete floor, to break down the last guy's wear patterns and imprint my own.

2:30 in the morning is a good time.

Oh, look, this is still a thing.

I should be working on a logo I'm doing, but the middle of the night is a good time to take a little break. I'm half watching an Irish film called The Snapper. Colm Meaney has large, Irish ears.

I'm supposed to go to the flea market in the morning. I need a new pair of jeans, and they didn't have my size last week. Hudson Falcons are playing in town tonight, and who doesn't like to look their best at a show?