Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mom vs. The Backrest

As I mentioned before, my mom and I work at the same place, and worked together previously at another company. I handled many things there, including all the computers. This was, well, a long time ago. Modems were slow and phone charges were expensive. We had people who did field work for us around the country. One of the things that these representatives did was meet arriving foreign student groups at international airports and get them to the next gate. (This was well before 9/11, so it was far easier for our reps to meet the kids.) I had designed a database program to help track the students and their host families, along with travel information. A few times a year, the reps would send their laptops back to the office for me to work on–update the database, do some general system work, etc.

Now, while my mom had a computer on her desk, it was a mysterious object. She simply had no idea (nor any desire to learn) how to use it. I tried. I continue to try to this day. It’s . . . excruciating at times. She’s an intelligent woman, so that’s not the problem. I believe she has convinced herself that computers are too complicated and that she’ll never learn how to use one, so she simply doesn’t make a true effort. This has been going on for more than 20 years. (And people wonder where I get my stubborn streak from!)

Something my mom did (and, yes, continues to) do, though, is order things from catalogs. Gadgets (nothing too techy, of course), books, movies, CDs, shoes, what have you. One thing she’s always trying to do is find things that will help her back. She’s had a bad back on and off for a very long time. To a point where she’s been forced to lay in bed for days due to the pain. Various lumbar supports and other back-stress-relieving items have come and gone over the years. Typically, she has them delivered to the office and then has me come and install the gadget du jour. Because she somehow assumes I have lots and lots of time to do such things. At one point I explained how I really didn’t have time to help her with each thingy that showed up at the office. So she began a relatively vain attempt to figure out the installations on her own. And then I’d get a call to come and help after she gave up.

On one particular occasion, a box arrived at the office and she eagerly opened it to get at the latest back thingamajig she’d ordered. But, as usual, I got a call on the intercom an hour later. “Kev, can you come down and take a look at this thing I got for my back? I don’t know if I’m using it right, and it’s not very comfortable.” Down the stairs I went, over to the adjacent building, and back to her office. “See? I don’t know how it’s supposed to go. There were no instructions. I don’t know if it goes behind me or if I’m supposed to sit on it. And if it goes behind me, does it go vertical or horizontal?”

I looked at the item and knew exactly what was wrong. “Mom, can I see the box it came in, please?”

“Sure, it’s right there. Why?”

“Because I want to look at the label. Yeah, just as I thought. See this? It’s not from a backrest company.”

“But I haven’t ordered anything else!”

“You’re not the only person who receives packages here, Mom. It was addressed to me.”

“Why would you order a backrest? Are you having back problems?”

“Mom, it’s not a backrest. You’ve been sitting on a laptop computer wrapped in bubble wrap!”

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An Angry Person

On the Book of Faces, I was told I’m angry because I make and vehemently defend a lot of political/social posts. First, I’m going to explain why that opinion is wrong. And then I’ll explain why it’s right.

It’s wrong because, as most anyone who meets me can tell you, I am almost always easy going, friendly, happy, and loving. In fact, I am almost hippie-like in my belief in the importance of love and peace. Elvis Costello had it right: what is so funny about peace, love, and understanding? If people were more open and loving with each other, I believe that we’d elevate our society. I want love and acceptance to overcome hatred and aggression, and I don’t see why that can’t be the case. I know it sounds corny, but if you think about it, it only makes sense that the world would be a better place if we’d all just let go of hate–even if it’s just a little bit–and love that much more.

But, yes, I am angry. I’m angry at people who promote hate. I’m angry at those who hide their bigotry behind a smile and a pulpit. I’m angry at those who would bully others, whether it be on a personal level or from a place of political power. I’m angry at those who would push others down so that they can feel better about themselves. I’m angry at those who would deny rights to others–rights that they, themselves, enjoy. I’m angry at those who feel they have the right to tell others who they may love and how they may love. I’m angry at those who hold disdain and contempt for the disenfranchised and less-fortunate. I’m angry at those who blind themselves to the misfortunes and miseries of others while lining their own pockets.

I articulate this anger and outrage against injustices I see. I feel compelled to point these things out, to say, “Hey! Look at this! There’s a problem here! PAY ATTENTION!” Because so many people find it all-too-easy to look away and ignore the hurt, pain, and social injustices that assail us every day. I can see how one could simply say I need to grow a thicker skin and learn not to care. The thing of it is, I think I already have! I just don’t know how I could possibly cut myself off completely from the rest of humanity. I love too much, care too much, and empathize far too much to be able to ignore such things completely.

Concert Review: Adam Ant at 4th & B, San Diego, 2012-09-15

The Adam Ant show at 4th & B was truly excellent. While, no, he didn’t jump as high as he might have some 30 years ago, he nonetheless had great energy and an excellent band backing him up. I will admit, I did miss Marco Pirroni on guitar now and then (I think Marco is one of the most influential and underrated guitar players of the last several decades–his use of feedback alone was innovative and I can hear it in so many recordings from so many other artists to follow).

All told, Adam played for nearly two hours, featuring music from all eras of his career. The highlights for me were the many B-side songs, such as “Beat My Guest”, “Red Scab”, and “Fall In” to name a few. Now I must come clean about my bias, here: I became a fan shortly after the “Kings of the Wild Frontier” album came out. This strongly influenced my enjoyment of  his set list as it was heavily peppered with songs from “Kings”. He performed approximately half of the songs from that album, several from “Dirk Wears White Socks” and two-to-three each from “Prince Charming”, “Friend or Foe”, and “Vive Le Rock”.
 
As to Adam himself, I very much enjoyed the fact that his look has returned to the pirate of old–high boots, gold-trimmed jacket, scarves, and trinkets. Let’s face it, Johnny Depp owes the entire Captain Jack Sparrow look to Adam, so it’s only fitting that Adam should reclaim it now. And as someone said to me that night, very few musicians can pull off wearing a T-shirt with their own face on it. Adam did, without seeming either self-aggrandizing or showing any sort of conscious self-parody.
 
By the end of the show I was drenched in sweat from jumping up and down, hoarse from singing along at the top of my lungs, and grinning from ear-to-ear due to sheer enjoyment of the evening. Welcome back, Adam. It’s been a long time and you’ve been missed.

A Gentleman In A White Dress, or, Three Nights Of Fun

More Doorman Diaries!

MAY 8, 2010

12:32 am: Large group of approximately 7 females walking from Adams to Bourbon Street, laughing loudly between El Zarape and Small Bar, but quiet down just before they reach me. Simultaneously, a group of 3 males depart Bourbon Street and are very loud wile standing in the street looking for a cab.

12:35 am: 4 females in front of Bourbon Street, laughing loudly.

12:53 am: Saw a male who had exited Bourbon Street urinating behind a car. He tried to enter Small Bar, but I simply blocked his path and shook my head. He then staggered back to Bourbon Street, obviously intoxicated–and they let him in. However, I told the Lei Lounge doorman what I saw and he ran over just as the guy was going inside. The Bourbon Street bouncers stopped him and sent his whole group away.

1:02 am: Large loud group in front of Bourbon Street, laughing, yelling, and clapping.

1:30 am: 4 males depart Bourbon Street toward El Zarape. 3 walking, 1 riding piggy-back, too drunk to walk.

1:31 am: Group outside Bourbon Street. Lots of yelling. (“LORENZO!”)

1:32 am: Male ran out of Small Bar and asked where he could “take a piss” as the line inside was too long. I directed him to Lei Lounge. They kindly let him use their restroom even though they had already called last call.

MAY 13, 2010

1:00 am: Group at corner table/booth and group at long table closest to exit in Small Bar are throwing coasters at each other. Also singing VERY loud, drowning out street noise.

1:03 am: A loud group exits Bourbon Street but quickly disperses.

1:36 am: Group of 4 males and 1 female exit Bourbon Street, crossing toward Madison. Female is yelling at the top of her lungs.

MAY 15, 2010

10:55 pm: Bourbon Street has some sort of “Carnival Night” going on, with popcorn, cotton candy, a bubble machine, and alcoholic Sno-Cones. That said, it’s been fairly quiet so far. Why do I think this is going to change?

11:47 pm: Denied entry to 2 males who have been here a few times in the past. One had an expired ID and the other was just a bit too intoxicated.

12:28 am: Fight out in street in front of Bourbon Street. Might have been 2 different females trying to get a cab. Bourbon Street security broke it up, but there was a lot of yelling.

12:40 am: Car with loud (no?) muffler set off the alarm of a truck parked across from El Zarape.

1:05 am: Just noticed that what I first thought was a bus parked down across from The Lancers is actually a lunch truck, open for business.

1:07 am: Group of approximately 12 outside Bourbon Street. Lots of piercing whistles and yelling.

1:10 am: 3 males dressed for the drag queen contest at Bourbon Street, walking past El Zarape toward the direction of Small Bar and Bourbon Street are SCREAMING. I quietly and politely asked them to respect the neighbors. They loudly and rudely refused.

1:40 am: A gentleman in a white dress and up-do wig is standing in the middle of the street with a bunch of balloons, yelling “BITCH!” at each passing car.

1:50 am: From amongst the huge crowd from Bourbon Street making scads of noise outside, a Small Bar customer came up to the gate and made an extremely loud and piercing whistle, trying to get his friends to hurry up for the bus. I did get him to stop, but he’d obviously already made a huge noise.

A Night On Park Boulevard: April 29 & May 6, 2010

Here I start a new category on my blog. It’s notes from the time I worked as a doorman at Small Bar on Park Boulevard. The bar was relatively new at that time, and a few complaints (mostly about noise) had been lodged. So the owners began having the guys at the door keep notes as to goings on, especially after 10pm when the San Diego noise curfew takes effect, mostly to show that Small Bar was not the source of the problem. For a visual, facing the street from Small Bar, Lei Lounge is directly to the right, Bourbon Street is just past Lei Lounge–to the left is the issue. There are several apartments above the businesses between Small Bar and El Zarape. It’s a relatively short stretch, probably about the same distance as the front of Bourbon Street and Lei Lounge combined. But the problem is that it is residential . . . and just beyond it is a business that stays open until after the bars have closed: El Zarape taco shop. I got my hands on a couple of the old notebooks. Enjoy the transcripts.

APRIL 29

8:20 pm: Turned away a male for intoxication. He insisted he was not on anything, but motor skills were impaired & speech slurred at times.

10:05 pm: Loud group of approximately 6 males and 1 female outside Lei Lounge yelling and laughing loudly.

10:45 pm: 2 males ran across the street from El Zarape to a truck, yelling loudly.

11:35 pm: 3 females exited Bourbon Street toward El Zarape, passing Small Bar. They started shrieking and poking each others’ breasts.

11:55 pm: Group of 7 standing in front of Lei Lounge door, talking. Not too loud, but going on for several minutes.

11:56 pm: For the last 2 or 3 hours, the group at the window table inside Small Bar has been very loud. Then again, they have been trying to hold a conversation over the music.

12:28 am: Group of 7 from Bourbon Street heading toward El Zarape–they became loud just after passing Small Bar.

1:00 am: Group at window table is still audibly loud from outside, even though the music was turned down half an hour ago. Dan asked them to keep it down a bit. We’ll see…

MAY 6

10:37 pm: A male got out of an SUV in between Small Bar and El Zarape . . . with a megaphone. He turned it on and started yelling through it to the bouncers at Bourbon Street. I approached him, pointed out that he is in a residential zone, and asked him to turn off the speaker. He apologized and complied.

10:43 pm: Group of 4 females in front of Lei Lounge, talking and laughing loudly. Asked them to keep it down. They apologized, but did not quiet down very much.

11:07 pm: Lei Lounge doors are still open and music is blaring.

11:10 pm: 5 patrons exit Lei Lounge, heading past Small Bar toward El Zarape, talking and laughing loudly. I asked them to keep voices down as it’s  a residential area. They complied.

11:57 pm: A group of 6 males walking to Bourbon Street from the direction of El Zarape were talking and laughing loudly as they approached Small Bar. When they passed I politely asked them to keep their voices down. They refused.

12:10 am: Just learned from a patron that Bourbon Street is having a wet underwear contest tonight. Great.

12:14 am: 1 male and 2 females in front of Bourbon Street yelling and otherwise conducting themselves in a loud manner. They started walking in the direction of El Zarape. As they passed Small Bar I said, “Hey folks, just so you know this is a residential area, so–” and they cut me off with “we don’t care!” They continued making copious amounts of noise as they headed past El Zarape and toward Adams Avenue.

12:31 am: There is a fair amount of yelling and screaming audible from inside Bourbon Street right now. I’ll guess that the wet underwear has something to do with this.

12:33 am: 2 males ran out of Bourbon Street, shrieking at the tops of their lungs. One ran straight down the center of Park Boulevard, the other paralleled him on the far sidewalk as they headed toward Adams.

1:15 am: 3 males ran from Bourbon Street toward Adams, yelling and shouting at each other. I was unable to say anything to them. After passing Small Bar, they ran into the street.

1:45 am: Group in front of Bourbon Street, singing and shouting. They head to El Zarape, but do not quiet down at my request.

1:46 am: 4 from the above group head back past Small Bar–my request for them to keep their voices down is again ignored.