Sunday, May 10, 2020

Working Fast Food Does Not Agree With Me, Part 1

I was scrolling through my Facebook a few minutes ago, and came across a post from one of George Takei's websites about "the moment you knew you were done with your job" or something like that. And I started to write out one of my own such experiences, but then I realized that I was writing a fucking essay when all they needed was a paragraph or two. So I figured I'll just post my favorite rage-quit stories here. And they all seem to revolve around fast-food joints. I'll try to keep it as anonymous as I can without sacrificing the story.
I worked at a fast-food place when I was in my 20's, and I was working the grill during dinner rush alongside the store's lead manager and some new kid that was maybe a foot shorter than me and several years younger than me. Out of nowhere, completely unprovoked, kid starts telling me he's gonna kick my ass. Loudly. With the manager standing right next to us. Manger looks at me, and he's just as confused as I am. He knows I didn't say anything to set the kid off because HE'S STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Manager tells me to go take a ten while he deals with the kid.

The break room is in the store's basement, and there's a long stairway down to it with light switches at both ends. I sit down in the break room, trying to figure out what was that I could've done to set the kid off, and all of the sudden the lights go out. Somebody must've hit the switch at the top of the stairs by accident. I get up and turn the lights back on, but by the time I get back to my seat the lights go out again, and I hear a giggle from up the stairwell. Little fella was just messing with me. I call out that if the lights go out again, I'll take care of the kid myself. I don't even make it back to my seat and the lights go out again.

Okay, little guy is screwing with me and the manager has not taken care of the little twerp like he told me he would. Yeah, there's a lack of institutional control here, and I'm done with it. I change into my street clothes and head up the stairs. I see little fella doing the job I'd been doing, standing next to the manager at the grill and giggling like a schoolgirl. I walk up behind the kid and throw him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and casually tell the manager that he failed to take care of little fella's problem, and that I'd handle it myself now - and that I was quitting.

I walked out the back door of the restaurant with kid over my shoulder, through the drive-thru traffic and across the parking lot, and I threw the twerp in the dumpster, telling him if I ever saw him again he'd go in the compactor instead. About a week later I was telling my mother the story - she worked at the local high school as a secretary to the guidance counselors - and she already knew who the kid was. I hadn't even mentioned the kid's name to her up until that point, but she knew him from his record at school Turns out that little fella was a kinda-sorta special-ed student who literally could not control his own behavior from one minute to the next and was supposedly not allowed to work because of it. Kid lied about his age, saying he was eighteen when he was only sixteen - State Law says you can't work around a grill if you're under eighteen - and he didn't mention his behavioral disorder on his application.

And believe it or not, I did run across the little peckerwood again a few months later, but I'll spare you the details.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

I'm Done

I'm done with music. It seems that nobody in this shithole town wants to work with me. I guess I'm too demanding. Too much of an asshole. How dare I expect people to practice on a regular basis? What fresh insolence of me to presume that musicians would want to write and perform songs on a regular basis! How arrogant of me to want to play gigs on a regular basis in more than one town!

What-fucking-ever.

The bands that have any sort of ambition don't need me. And all the other wannabes and poseurs in this fucking town are perfectly happy to dink about and play pretend rock star in front of their WAGs and a handful of alcoholics. And everyone closer to my own age is burnt out. No time for balls-out rock. Weak, wimpy folk music pays. Flatulent white-boy blues is approved. Inoffensive background noise for senior citizens is appropriate.

What-fucking-ever.

So I'm done. Joy doesn't want me to sell my gear, but came to the realization that she can't stop me from doing it. Part of me doesn't want to do it either, but sometimes it feels like an anchor around my neck. I'm going to be fifty soon. I have a sick wife. I'm up to my eyeballs in debt. And I have no outlet left for my anger and frustration. So why bother keeping things around that I'll probably never use again? So if you're looking for a well-used but well-cared for drum kit with a full rack, a mess of cymbals, the gear needed to convert acoustic drums into electronic triggers, and all the cases and bags to keep that gear safe? You know how to get hold of me.

I don't need it any more.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

And The Special-Needs Band Played On

I had a nice conversation the other night with a friend of mine. He's a bartender and server at some of PA's local bars and restaurants, and he'd stopped in at the Safeway I was working in to pick up some groceries after closing time. He told me something rather illuminating about the special-needs band I used to be a part of:

"They were always a joke band."

In retrospect, I should have known that from the beginning. But I tried anyway. And inevitably the Menstrual Clot and Fuckboy lashed out at having an actual professional musician in their band, someone who actually wanted them to be more than just a joke. And they finally river-danced on my last nerve after months of stalling, delaying, and one tired excuse after another to avoid any sort of progress. Those two deserve each other. They can go pretend to be rock stars in their manbaby-cave all they want, or until the Fire Marshal shuts them down once and for all.

I know that over the years I haven't had the best of luck with local bands. And sometimes I think that the problem, the thread that ties all those failures together, is the one I look at when I look in the mirror. After nearly twenty years of playing in working professional bands, perhaps I asked too much of the locals. That said, I only expected them to be capable of maintaining a minimum standard of professionalism, and to be true to their words. And the special-needs band failed miserably at that. There are some good bands up here, to be sure - guys like The Bangers and Jack Havoc. But they have no need or want for my services, nor would I want to disrupt the chemistry those bands have.

I know that when it comes to music, I can come off at times as arrogant. Sorry, not sorry. It's an arrogance born out of time and accomplishment - raise your hand if you've played in front of a crowd of over forty thousand people - and not simple ego run amok. I don't think I'm God's Gift to anything. My friends list on Facebook contains more than one drummer that can blow my doors off any day of the week without breaking a sweat. But the talent I do have, and the willingness to put in the work, they've gotten me the opportunity to go a lot of places, and do a lot of things. And I've got the physical and psychological scars to prove it. To be honest and sure, it's apples-and-oranges different from bands playing their own music in front of crowds that size instead of someone else's. But to quote Kosta (Gus) Portokalos, Michael Constantine's character from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, we're all fruit. The essential thing is that I know what I want, and how to get to that goal. And the truth is, I'm done with trying to conquer the world. I'm too old for that shit. Playing the occasional gig in Bremerton or the Seattle Metro is as far as I choose to push it. And that's what kills me about the special-needs band. With me back-stopping them, they were good enough to do it - joke band or otherwise. But the Menstrual Clot and Fuckboy blew it, and blew it hard. The band's guitarist, however, had nothing to do with my departure, and I wish him nothing but the best of luck. Considering that he's a cancer survivor, he needs all the good wishes and luck he can get.

I'm done with joke bands. I don't want - I demand to be taken seriously.

But I'm also reaching the point where I may be done with bands altogether. I know that while I feel that I have something left to contribute to the world, I am getting too old to rock and roll. The Undisputed Champion Time is taking its toll on me, both physically and psychologically. So I need to get while the gettin's good. So I'm taking the first steps in starting a band that's truly my own: Gentlemen, Destroy. I've reached out to a local bassist, who like me is on the outside looking in, and while he admits that he has a lot on his plate these days, he wants another bite of the apple. The guitarist of his last band has approached me about his own plans, but I've yet to speak to him about mine. I have a few other guitarists I'm considering inviting into the fold. But since The Undisputed Champion Time will inevitably win in the end, I'm giving this project an expiration date. If I can't have something tangible - a lineup, a rehearsal schedule, gigs - by the end of this year, that's it. I'm done. Walk away, just walk away. I'll be fifty in six months. I have a sick wife. I have a job that is effectively full-time. I have a cute but psychotic dog. I have a life. And life demands your full attention and them some. But I still want to rock. I want to shout. I want to have fun while I'm still capable of doing it. And if you aren't willing to put the work in to make your dreams come true no matter how small and specific they are, why even bother?

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Vain Attempt At Maturity, Part Three

I think I've found my groove for booze. I like my hard sodas - my stepdaughter calls them "bitch beers" - and I've found a mixed drink I can tolerate. That said, it's times like this that I still kinda-sorta wish I was still on the road playing with either Powerlight or Steppen Stonz. Why, you ask? Taxes. That's why.

Y'see, when Washington voters approved a measure to allow the privatization of liquor sales, ending the long tradition of State Liquor Stores - which in reality were really no more than mom-and-pop bodegas selling liquor under State license - it did so because of a massive advertising campaign that was basically paid for by the founder and CEO of Costco that convinced the voters that it was a good thing. However, the initiative voters approved added on a whole new layer of taxation to alcoholic beverages. Driving back and forth to Reno like I used to would've allowed me to buy liquor there, or in a liquor store in California before heading home. It's technically illegal to do that - buy liquor in another state and bring it into the state - but it's a rule that's all but impossible to enforce. But the bottle of el cheapo Caliber Citrus Vodka that costs $4.65 at the Walmart in Sequim still has an actual cost north of eight bucks due to WSLCB taxes on top of sales tax. It sucks, but I can deal with it.

So what's my drink of choice? It's a shot or two of said vodka over ice, thoroughly diluted by about half a liter of Sodastream lemon-lime soda, then topped off with some cranberry juice. Joy found these glasses at the local dollar store that are actually vases. They'll hold about a liter of liquid, so that's pretty much fine with me. As it stands, lemon-lime with cranberry juice has pretty much been my jam the last few months regardless of what I augment it with. And with my Sodastream, I don't have to wait for the holidays - I'll make it whenever I damn well want to. And the citrus vodka adds a nice lemony tang on top of the soda and juice, so I can enjoy it nice and easy after a long night at work, or a long night taking care of Joy and Daisy.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Antisocial Media

Just got thrown in Facebook jail again. Some whiny little Trumpanzee bitch didn't like that I compared his (alleged) political philosophy to devolution, and while I'm appealing the whiny little bitch, I'm doing so from the proverbial time-out corner. And it's my third time there. The next time, I'm out for a month. Beyond that, I might even get the permanent banhammer from Fuckerberg. And at this point in time, I don't even fucking care if I do get the boot.

It just sickens me that I get called every name in the book by subhuman Trumpanzee trolls, and they get to walk away without punishment despite my reporting them for being vile and hateful bigots, but stand up to these knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers and it's time out for you, you bad man. Death threats? I get them. I know they don't amount to a hill of shit, so I call the Keyboard Commandos out – I think “Commode-os” might be a better term – and dare them to come get me, because I know that they're bullies. I'm pretty sure that I've been doxxed once or twice as well – I just smile and say “walk it like you talk it and come get me, bitch”. They never show up. Why? Because they're trying to bully me into silence, and every bully is just a coward that acts tough to hide their cowardice. Cowards never show up.

But I'm getting tired of it. I think it's time to just stop dealing with the pond scum. Time to just stop following news sites. Time to stop following anything other than my friends and closest interests – music, certain sports, and so on. Or maybe it's just time to get off social media altogether. When I found out that Fuckerberg hired a known right-wing news site to be the allegedly impartial judges of what is and isn't “fake news”, I think that was a sign for me to consider moving on.

I remember trying to talk my dad into joining Fuckerberg's cesspool, and he told me in so many words that he'd managed to live this long without it, why bother wasting the rest of his life with it? That, and he didn't want to have to talk to his sisters any more than absolutely necessary.


I think he may have been on to something.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Why Does The Democratic Party Deserve To Get Shit On After Losing America To Evil

This is from an exchange on Facebook this morning, after someone had earlier questioned my political awareness. And for the record, it isn't the person I wrote this post in response to: And the reason they do is because they deny the reality that is staring them in the face. Let me share my experience from the 2008 Presidential Caucus I mentioned previously.

My caucus consisted of two very distinct groups. There was the Obama group - who, while of various ages, were predominantly younger than myself (I'm 48), reasonably gender-balanced and of many different and/or mixed ethnic backgrounds. Meanwhile, the Clinton group was almost exclusively white, female, and beyond child-bearing age, save for one Southeast Asian couple that, judging by the look on the husband's face as his wife harangued him in their native tongue, was THIS close to either divorce or murder-suicide. Oh, and the Obama group dwarfed the Clinton group, and Obama won my precinct 31-7 on its way to winning the state via tie-breaking superdelegates.

In the wake of the caucus, the Nevada Democratic Party leadership whined to excess about how unfair the rules suddenly were - rules they'd created. The main whiners were Jill Derby and Dina Titus, Clinton dead-enders to the last. Despite gaming the system to benefit their preferred candidate, the system worked as it should and the correct candidate won.

Now repeat that on a national scale. Burned by the outsider campaign, the Clintonistas quietly set to work entrenching themselves even further into positions of power to further their goal of getting "their" candidate into office instead of the best candidate. Eight years later, Bernie Sanders is the outsider with a young, multicultural grassroots campaign that is energizing a nation like..... waitaminute - does this sound familiar to you? And we all know what happened. The DNC treated the Sanders campaign like trash and did everything they could to derail him, and in the end they only succeeded by the barest of margins.

Now I know what you're probably thinking - you're thinking "Oh, Joe's a Berniebro who's all butthurt that his guy didn't win the nomination and probably voted for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson". No, I'm not. I'm a Democrat. I voted for the Democratic candidate. He WAS the better candidate, but then again a dead jellyfish would've been a better candidate against a cocaine-fueled twitter-addict manbaby with a tiny flaccid orange penis. But Clinton won the nomination, and enough butthurt did exist out there, so all Putin had to do was just.... roil up the butthurt enough to get the Berniebros to either sit out the election or vote third-party in protest. And the cocaine-fueled twitter-addicted manbaby with the tiny flaccid orange penis won because there was just enough butthurt on the left to win otherwise traditionally liberal states by razor-thin margins - in total, about 70,000 votes over the handful of states that fell to the Murkan Xtian Republicanist scum.

Bernie Sanders would have beaten orange micropenis. How do I know this? When the Deseret News of Salt Lake City released polls that showed as such last summer. Think about it for a minute. Utah - DEAD RED UTAH supporting a Democratic candidate? That should've told the DNC everything they needed to know, but instead of doing the right thing, they doubled down on Clinton even though they knew all along that the Murkan Xtian Republicanist sheeple have been conditioned by decades of hate-talk to vote against anything with the name Clinton attached to it. And now we have a cocaine-fueled, twitter-addicted manbaby with a tiny flaccid orange penis running us into the ground on behalf of his master Putin.

For the record, I don't hate Mrs. Clinton. Not at all. I think she would have been a fine President, and in no way am I smearing her as either a candidate or as a person. Instead, I am criticizing the machine built in her name for failing to see that she wasn't the best candidate available. And on top of that, I am criticizing the people that were duped by Putin's false-news machine to either vote against her, or not vote at all. I know those people very well - conversations went like this:

THEM: We can't let (orange micropenis) win the election!
ME: So you'll vote for Clinton, then?
THEM: I'll never vote for her!
ME: Why not?
THEM: Because she's a dirty rotten cheater! And her emails! I wanna vote for Bernie Sanders!
ME: He didn't win the nomination. And didn't you hear her talk about her emails for eleven hours in front of a hostile Congressional panel?
THEM: That's not fair! I'll vote for him as a write-in candidate!
ME: Didn't you see him on TV yesterday saying "pretty-please vote for Clinton"?
THEM: They're paying him to say that! They're paying him to say that!
ME: So you're just gonna lay back and let (orange micropenis) fuck us all blind then, right?
THEM: No way! We can't let (orange micropenis) win the election!
ME: Didn't we just go over this, y'know, like thirty seconds ago?

Let's just say that I know from experience that you can give yourself a concussion from facepalming yourself.

That's why they get flack, Jesse. Because they killed the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg. Because they lacked the intestinal fortitude to make the right decision for America.
I should also point out that the Corporate (center-right) Democrats are continuing to shit on Progressives, and further alienate them from the party, which will only strengthen Putin's grip on America through his Murkan Xtian Republicanist proxies.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Vain Attempt At Maturity, Part Two

Who knew that you could fuck up apple cider?

I won't name the brand, but while I was at work the other night at the Safeway above downtown Port Angeles, my boss and I noticed a small floor display of "hard" ciders for sale. A four-pack of various flavors in little five-ounce cans for a buck. We figured that it was worth the try on a couple of fronts - not only could they be drunk, but I also figured that they'd be good for cooking bratwursts. Of course we only noticed this at about four in the morning - the sale of alcoholic beverages in Washington State is not allowed between two and six in the morning - so we figured that we'd have to come back the next night to buy some. But since Joy had a doctor appointment during the day, I tasked her with buying a few of these four-packs.

She wound up buying five of them, and we've chose to sacrifice one for taste testing. And to be quite honest, it tastes more like ass than cider. Honestly, I don't think that the taste of alcohol is something that I'll ever be able to stomach fully, and I'm totally okay with that. But there are ways to tone down that ass. Y'see, we have a Sodastream machine at home, and while it's primarily used to make soft drinks - Joy likes Cola and Root Beer while I like making my own version of Mountain Dew Livewire, spiking their "Fountain Mist" syrup with Orange Soda syrup - you can also just make plain soda water with it for other purposes. Like making vodka-and-cranberry with soda. She'd bought some Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Concentrate in twelve-ounce cans some time ago, and we just didn't have much use for it until now. I took advantage of that by adding a little of the concentrate and soda water to one of the little cans of hard cider, then poured that over ice into one of the Coca-Cola tumblers we got from our cruise last year. It took a bit more of that concentrate than I'd expected to make that ass taste go away for the most part. And Joy loved it when I let her have a sip. I think the recipe was like this:

- Five ounces hard cider

- Two tablespoons cranberry juice concentrate

- Eight to ten ounces of water.

Stir and pour over ice.

Not that bad, though it could use a tad more of the concentrate. And since it's about three-thirty in the morning as I type this, I can assure you that I'm not going anywhere or doing anything. The pajamas are on, I'm watching Queensland Reds playing Melbourne Rebels in some feisty Super Rugby action Down Under - the ESPN app on Xbox One is fucking awesome - and I think I'll go light that damned pilot light so I can have hot water for washing the dishes in about half an hour. Welcome to the weekend on the graveyard shift, my friends.