Monday, October 19, 2015

Peach Fuzz Knows how to Party

This weekend was dedicated to the wonders of literacy. With two amazing publishing events scheduled, I set out to fill my brain with wise words. First stop: party at the gay bar for a nudie magazine. Gods I love reading. 

Peach Fuzz, you know you want it!
This great little magazine called Peach Fuzz is photographed, written, and published by former coworkers of my darling wife. They're a couple of local honeys who believe in the celebration of art, sex and (possibly) wrestling the reigns of pornography away from the old, the male, and the perverse. They throw great birthday parties for their beautiful selves every year, and I am never one to say nay to a celebration of sexual empowerment. 

We arrived around 8:30, paid the $5 to the vivacious bouncer and made our way in, past the display rack of back issues, bought a drink I was sure to spill on a magazine if I held both at once, and went out to the dance floor.

Fortunately the band was on. So instead of having to describe all the wild sensations of a drink made with kombucha, whiskey and ginger I followed my wife to the stage.

A disclaimer:

I am a bad dancer. I consider myself to be in the zone if I can manage to get all four limbs moving- not to the beat, just moving. My patented move is a lean to the left followed by a lean to right with maybe a few snaps and fists pumps worked in. That's the pinnacle of my pop moves. Yet, much to the average concert-goers dismay, I still dance when I go to live show. I dance because my darling wife loves to dance. That and she's able to make her laughter seem like its warm-hearted and supportive instead of cruel and at my expense.

The  Avocados rule. See them. 
So anyways, we danced, or Raquel danced I wiggled to keep up. We jigged and bobbed while the Avocados jammed surfer medleys with power chords and a whimsy whammy keyboard that was too cool for school. Too cool for dancing it seemed. I was, and I really don't intend to brag, the third best dancer there. The only people with better moves were my wife and a fella in a green t-shirt who had the moves to make yo mama say what. He gyrated and jumped on and across the dance floor while Raquel and I quietly boogie-woogied on stage left.

The rest of the crowd however, my own lame friends included, did nothing but feign apathy and discuss the merits of smoking cigarettes. Erg. Hipsters. Why care so much about not caring? These poor misguided souls who get all dressed up with their mullets and reverse mullets, their pierced this and tattooed that, their designer shoes from thrift stores, these poor souls do all these silly rebellious anti-actions just to go out to a show and fit in. Jokes on them, if they danced, someone might notice their sweet outfit!

Have they never read the Far Side? Master Larson once said,

“Tis better to stand out than to fit in.”

Somehow, somewhen, these poor souls forget that we are what we do, not what we wear. Clothing became the way of expressing that most worthless yet most desirable of all character traits: being cool. Dancing is the antithesis of cool. And yet, when I'm out there shaking a leg (that is literally one of the only moves I know) and I look around at the crowd of disinterested torn-denim wearing kids who seem just to cool for anything, I detected a hint of… jealousy? Envy at my willingness to embarrass myself in front of them all for the sake of one silly woman?

It can be argued that its easy to go out on a limb and be a fool when you're already married. I won't argue that, but then again I always wonder how these people think us fools and limb-danglers ever managed to get in a relationship in the first place. It wasn't by being cool. I promise you that.  But you know what? I'm OK with not being cool. (not caring about not being cool makes me cool right? Please?)

Any way we boogied and we woogied while the Avocados grinned only at us and thanked only us for being there and asked us if they could keep playing while the crowd generally tried to ignore us. The Avocados played until they didn't, and only then did the crowd press forward.

Sometimes it can be difficult for people to leave their shell. Many of us fear what strangers think, or what friends will say, or what some fool on the internet will write about, but in my experience, there is a great unifying force that causes men and women, blacks, whites, yellows and reds, straights, queers, and those in between to all toss their coolness to the curb with their half-finished cigarettes, crowd in, and just live in the moment.

That force is sex.

I know, right? Sorry, no nips were photographed. 
The bringer of that force this evening were two young women in black negligees, high heels and lingerie dancing and kicking and stripping on stage. Long gone were the clusters and cliques, only the crowd remained. Gay men, straight women, even my lame friends all shoved in close for a chance to see nip.

These ladies were too classy for that though. They pranced around, tossed a scarf that happened to be half their wardrobe to the wind, and, upon realizing their mistake, pickedit up oh-so-slowly. Sometimes they couldn't find their footing and had to crawl across the stage, whipping their long luxurious hair out of the eyes. Hubba. Hubba. Poor things.

They performed for about ten minutes and vanished. We all felt… well, you know the feeling. And if you don't, you either have the patience of a monk or a monkey, and I'm not sure I envy either end of the sexuality spectrum.

The next band began to play, but after watching two beautiful women dance on stage and dancing with an even more beautiful woman in front of it, I had no interest in their surfer psychedlic nonsense. Just to cool for that, you know? So we left, snagged the latest issue of Peach Fuzz on our way out, and headed home.

I gotta hand it to Peach Fuzz. Dem ladies know how to party. Check out their next event. Just make sure you bring your dancing shoes. Those burlesque dancers need some people besides yours truly who can stand up to their sweet moves. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Party World Rastlin'

Party World Rastlin' These three words were enough to drive my neighbors to dress up and leave the house.
And to think, I wasn't even going to go. But after the strangely exhilarating disaster of cursing a bouncer's name, I had to do something to salvage some fun on a Saturday. So I checked the website Tam and Cole had been talking about all week and saw that sure enough, the PWR team had built a time machine to travel to the year 2017 to take on DEEP SLAM the evil wrestling machine. Costumes were encouraged to blend in to the future.

It was our last chance to defeat the machines of the future.

So I did what any man would do, I donned my skin-tight teal pants, made some bracelets out of aluminum foil, and put on some eye make up. Raque,l as always, far surpassed my own costume and between the two of us we convinced Tam to wear—gasp—two guitar straps! Shocker this is. Cole took much less convincing to wear his full-body green suit under his shorts and shirt. We checked each other out and agreed that our biggest concern was that we were so well dressed the wrestlers might challenge us to enter the ring (I wondered quietly how cool it would look if someone party-slammed me and my headwounds burst open).

But it turned out our concerns were founded in fantasy. We weren't the best dressed at the Rassling match, not even close. Inside of the 4th tap brewery there was a man with an aluminum foil mohawk, girls dressed in gold sequins, a biker with a bloody face, glow sticks, strings of light, and armor made of beer boxes. Our costumes placed us firmly in the middle of the pack. If the future-police came, we'd make the cut, barely. Very nice PWR fans, very nice. 
But my visual acuity faded as soon as I stepped inside 4th Tap Co-op. My nostrils were overwhelmed my senses with the sweet earthiness of barley, the acidic tang of hops, and the familiar funk of fermenting yeast. Ah, beer, I love thee so! I reveled in the aroma, marveled in its musk.

After all:

Nothing on this earth smells more dear, 
than the aroma of sweat and men making beer.

I sauntered past the heinous line waiting for, I don't know, wrestling? I followed the red Sola cups backwards until I found those sweet sweet taps dispensing that most bitter of beverages, and realized there was a forty minute line to get a cold drink. Confused I was, oh so confused. Here we were at a brewery, with literally thousands of gallons of delicious beer around us, and we have to wait in this line most foul?

So I did what any sober man would do, and waited, and waited, and waited. And when we finally got to the front of the line, and the bartender declared that we had missed the happy hour by three minutes, and I tried to calmly explain that I had been in line since 7:30, and he shrugged, I tried not to lose my temper. Instead of party-slamming this grown man through a wall, I gave him $8 for two beers, but Dear Readers, I did not tip this man. I did not tip this man not because he refused my request for happy hour, but because instead of taking my $10 bill and placing it in the cash register, he waited for the other bartender to fiddle with an ipad and complete a transaction, then entered his own tom-foolery into an ipad, waited for it to load, complained about the speed of the internet, and finally gave me back my $2.
You guys don't have a separate line for cash?
“All transactions have to go through the ipad.”
One point for the machines. I only hoped those rastlers could score a few points for the humans.

Fear her.
Thirst quenched and waiting endured, I set off for rastlin'. If you havent been to PWR, you really must. The spectators I interviewed had various reasons to go, but one man I talked to really said it best, “I like it because they love it.”
The people that put PWR together are insanely passionate or perhaps passionately insane.  I watched in heartbroken dismay as Body-Bag and his sister/lover Pink-Eye wrestled each other because Body-Bag had become a robot and Pink-Eye was still fighting for humankind. He would have had her beat, but she brought out their baby and melted his robotic heart. All seemed well in the world of Party Rastlin', until the nefarious DEEP SLAM came on stage and slammed them both for their insolence. Great, huh? And that's not even mentioning the sweet slams! 
Wrestlers and wrestlers we watched. We saw a man wrestle four versions of himself from alternate timelines. There was a robot version, an American version, a cool version, and a female version. All versions donned the same signature goatee and uniform, even the lady. They were identical except a cybernetic implant here, some red white and blue there. Incredible! Great times, until my beer grew dry.
Again I braved the beerline, and again I was confronted with an agonizing wait while they entered every transaction into their ipad.
Having to drink this way is not healthy, because instead of simply grabbing a beer a man must stow himself to drink. I felt, after waiting a half hour at a brewery, I must get two beers, or else I might as well just get back in line. And the thing is the beers were worth it. 4th Tap Co-op makes an amazing IPA. Solid malt with effervescent flavors of grapefruit that tickled the palette just so. 7% ain't too shabby either, unless you get two of them because you waited for thirty minutes and drink them both a bit too quickly.
Thus, I had to leave and didn't get to see what happened to the robot overlords.
Perhaps I am to blame, but I think taking full responsibility is terribly mature, so I prefer to share the guilt with all the waiting, and the delicious beers, and those damn ipads.
And sure, I was sad I didn't see the match, but you know, I already knew the outcome.
The machines won.
The machines won because I had to wait thirty minutes for a goddamn beer at a goddamn brewery. I had to wait because a grown man had to fiddle with an ipad instead of just counting my money like a gentlemen.
Beer is worth more than any free app, fools.
Technology is great. Its convenient and you're reading all this because of it, but there must be a line drawn in the sand. I draw my line at beer. An ipad has no place in beer drinking, and if that's the system to be used, then I think we need to stand up, don our eye make up, and slam those techno-files back to the future where they belong.

I would prefer to return to the stone ages, because there's sure to be plenty of rastlin', and at least I'll be buzzed.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ditch the Ditch the Fest

Saturday Morning and Austin seemed limitless. No, I didn't have tickets to ACL, and no, I didn't have tickets to the OU game in Dallas, but in a town like Austin there's always something to do. This weekend it was to be Ditch the Fest-Fest and Party World Rastlin' in the evening. A day of excitement, a day of adventure, or so I thought.
I loaded my darling wife's derriere onto my motorcycle and away we went. Ditch The Fest here we come! A few years ago we went to the first fest with fine friends of ours. We didn't really know Mitch and Robyn at the time, but after three hours of fierce dance moves and a few bottles of Mitch's homebrew, we were the fastest of friends. All this factored into my expectations. Hopes were high. All the better to be crushed.
We parked in the middle of deserted downtown Austin (take all the music lovers and Texas Longhorns fanatics out of Austin and there's hardly enough people left to fill Whole Foods) and headed to the Empire Control Room. Hipster Bouncer at the door, teal tiny brimmed hat, shirt from a band too cool for me to have ever heard of, pants that would fit spider man.
“Hey” he said, by way of greeting.
I handed him $10 and began to babble, About the bands, about the weather, about the lack of anyone inside the Empire Control room.
“ID?” he said and I provided it, as did my wife. Enter we did, into this deserted, hot and soulless place, only to be stopped.
“It's $10 each.
Hmmm? I raised my eyebrows. I had been afraid of this. Last weekend it has said $5, but a last minute check on facebook said $10. Now, I hate to be cheap, but then, we all have our flaws.
Ten Dollars...each? It's three in the afternoon!
“It's after two… man”
His mathematical prowess amazed me.
Yeah, but no one's here! And there's not even any music playing! I stammered.
That I wanted to pay five dollars for this empty music-less event didn't even cross my mind.
“Next band goes on in a minute. He just gave the two minute warning.”
The two minute warning? Was the next performance truly so unlistenable the audience had to be warned? No, I told myself, No! It seemed far more likely that this, non-ACL attending, televised sports snubbing snob had been infiltrated by that cultural behemoth that is UT athletics. I pled my case.
Come on dude, it was $5 last weekend, there's no one here. I just wanna drink a beer and hang out for a few hours.
“Not my problem… bro.”
I looked to Raquel, she had fire in her eyes. I turned back to the bouncer with a smile.
Man this place sucks! You guys sold out! Just like ACL, raising prices every chance you get, why I remember back in my day when it was free, and you guys had actual music playing, well-I-swear-I-do! Boy howdy, why I used to walk here and dance home! You kids! You kids and your festivals.
I rambled and snorted as we walked off. Happy to have my $10 back and happier still to be driving away from the hip hop artist hyping a crowd of one bouncer. Probably should've stayed, it looked pretty damn exclusive.
Still, I can't stand the rising prices. Next year I might have to start my own alternative music festival. I'll call it “Ditch the 'Ditch-The-Fest-Fest' Festival.” It'll be free! And BYOB, and a CD player, and maybe some of my friends on acoustic mandolin. They're not popular but only because no one gets them man. We'll be clean, and pure, and alternative! Until I can find a way to make money off of it.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Devil, Be Gone!

I had my horns removed.

I didn't want to do it, but my sister in law noticed they'd grown when she was cutting my hair.

"Joe, these have gotten big. I can't comb around them.”

Aw well, they'd had a good run. Two deposits under my scalp, cysts, like my grandfather had been afflicted with.

Gods, will we ever rid ourselves of our ancestors?

So in I went to a skin doctor. I found her office clean, well decorated and inviting. She found 5 warts I didn't know I had. She blasted them all with liquid nitrogen and told me I was a good boy for not squirming too much.

I was just impressed she didn't laugh at my ceremonial loin cloth. Granted, a man shouldn't wear a loin cloth to the doctor's but my horns are on my head! How was I supposed to know she'd want to look at everything else?

Clothes back on and warts frozen she explained to me the intricacies of the procedure. I'd have to come in early and blah, blah blah.

Great Doctor, should I make my wife drive?

“Yes I suppose so.”

Fine, so I'll see you next week.

She nodded, clearly thinking I'd absorbed more than I had.

A week later the doctor came in to mark up my cranium. She went to town with a purple sharpy on my left horn. It's the bigger cyst of the two, 2.5 cm at its widest. I'd already tried to talk her into removing the pair, I mean, if I can't have two devil's horns why have one? And its not like the other one was getting any smaller. She'd explained that insurance companies don't like to see doctors going all willy-nilly getting these things removed. They're not dangerous, these cysts, so insurance companies will not pay for their removal unless they become painful or start to leak foul smelling fluid. There's plenty of reasons to abolish insurance companies, let 'the necesity of  foul smelling fluid' by added to that list.

But it was OK, I had a plan to lose the set.

“Doctor, this other one's really bothering me.”

I'd thought it out perfectly. What does bothering mean? It can mean a lot, maybe painful, or embarrassing, or I just don't like it. I left this to the doctor's discretion, and she, thank the devil, saw the light. She marked up the second horn and I breathed a sigh of relief.

The nurse came in to tape back my hair. Thankfully my doctor's such a pro she didn't have to shave my head. The downside is removing tape from my shaggy scalp but considering that I'll still have said shag, I call this a victory.

The 'hair-tape' aka the next big thing

The nurse got down to injecting my skull with local anesthetic. 4 injections, the first easily the most painful as the others were all dulled by its amazing properties.

What is that stuff and how did someone figure that out? Oh! Here's a werid chemical/derivivative of a poison herb, I know, let's inject it in someone! Whoever that first patient was, I'm thankful. I've been through enough surgeries to really appreciate a good local anesthetic. My nurse seemed to know what she was doing, for after a few minutes she poked my head and asked if I felt it and I had to admit that no, in fact I felt nothing. Curious business, this western medicine.

So injected I was, numb to the skull and ready to be operated on.

All these nasties came out of my head... 
I suppose the first thing she did was make an incision in my scalp, but the first thing I felt was her gently rubbing my scalp in a circle like a massage. Round and round she went, working my hair to the follicle. I relaxed, this felt… good! Until she slipped the scalpel in to pop the little bastard out. That didn't feel so good, even with the painkiller.

She went to the other one and got to massaging, round and round until the cyst's little roots had broken with whatever it was growing from and released me.

Praise Satan! I was free!

Just had to sit through a couple stiches and show up in a week to get them removed.

So all I have to show for my horns is a little bit of blue fishing line, poking out from my skull

I hope I don't miss it when I have to get it removed, but I make no promises.

If you'd like to see a revolting picture of the cyst after it had been removed, please leave me a comment asking for such a horrible sight!