Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Pre-Party

Tomorrow evening Bill and I are hosting a Halloween party; more specifically, our Helloween Bash. We made up invitations and posted them at Café Calatrava so the crowd will be primarily comprised of serving and kitchen staff from the museum, but hopefully there will be a smattering of "outsiders".

I laid out the text for the invite, promising "crocodile apple bobbin'", "big hairy spider kissin'" and "drinking gamez". To further highlight the whole stick your face in a tub of water filled with apples and a juvenile crocodile, Bill showcased his flair as an illustrator with a wonderful rendering of a croc in a wooden barrel with an apple perched on its snout. He pasted his art into the body of my layout and, voila, invite created.

Monday we were both off of work so we spent the day running errands to prepare for the festivities. [Actually the day began with a spider show for 5-year-olds in the classroom of the son of two of our museum friends, chef/kitchen manager Nick and his wife (and part-time bartender/server) Amy, but that kindergarten foray is a whole 'nother story]. We had a blast getting completely carried away in the liquor store, and also hit dollar shops, etc. for decorations. Bill bought an amazing selection of local beers with a strong showing for the delicious Lakefront Pumpkin Lager and I bought the booze to craft some awesome pumpkin martinis and chocolate martinis. That evening we sampled everything and the following night our friend Gary, who makes his own Kahlua, stopped by again and brought us a bottle so we made up some Autumn Russians. (If you're familiar with a White Russian, add pumpkin liquer). The past couple of evenings have been spent cleaning and decorating. I've also programmed a 100 song soundtrack for the evening. Tomorrow night let the games begin.

Not much else is new... I continue to work on creating the online version of my Arachnoculture magazine. Next week I should launch the "Costa Rica issue". Next week is election day and I am not voting. I feel bad about that, but it is impossible. Since I have chosen to live like a vicarious vagabond and have bounced from state to state, I am a bit behind on little formalities like getting a proper driver's license, much less registering to vote. I still have a Tennessee driver's license and my best bet would have been to try to absentee vote in TN, but I procrastinated and now cannot cast my vote. I am so apolitical that I don't even like to bring this up, but I certainly wish I could cast a vote against the Republifucks, if not for the whiny Libs. In the end, since I live in my own little cosmos and pay absolutely no attention to... well... anything else, I wouldn't have actually made an educated vote, but my apolitical self certainly is very left-leaning and I wouldn't vote for a Republican at gunpoint.

Now that I've brought up politics I guess I'll close with some song lyrics that focus on the ignorance of just one US policy. Enjoy.

Excerpts from "Prison Song" by System Of A Down
lyrics by Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian

They're trying to build a prison
They're trying to build a prison
For you and me to live in
Another prison system
Another prison system
For you and me to live in

Minor drug offenders fill your prisons
You don't even flinch
All our taxes paying for your wars
Against the new non-rich

All research and successful drug policy show
that treatment should be increased,
and law enforcement decreased,
while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences.

Utilizing drugs to pay for secret wars around the world,
Drugs are now your global policy, now you police the globe.

Drug money is used to rig elections,
and train brutal corporate sponsored dictators around the world.

They're trying to build a prison
They're trying to build a prison
For you and me to live in
Another prison system
Another prison system
For you and me to live in

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Fashion Show, The Superwedding

Friday and Saturday evenings. Two events. Glamor and elegance. I bartended both nights and the adrenaline was pumping afterward so that I couldn't sleep until 5 am either night.

Friday was a runway fashion show that they sold 700 or so tickets to. We had two bars on opposite sides of Windhover Hall and there was a frenzy without lull as we mixed and poured non-stop all night long. It was a beautiful crowd with gorgeous women en force. It was a complete blast with all movement energized by the DJ and lights.

Saturday night was an extravagant wedding for 225. The linens alone must have cost a fortune. The flowers were worth more than everything I own combined. The band was a 10-piece with strings and horns, plus four lead singers. Dinner service was white glove and synchronized. Food was catered by an outside company that does most of the events that the museum doesn't do in-house. Our museum staff, myself and four others, provided beverage service from two bars. Brandy old-fashioneds with olives seemed to be the family drink and we served loads of other standards, but I made plenty of cosmo and lemon-drop martinis, as well as an awesome Godiva white chocolate martini. Afterward I had my own Rusty Nail and then hit an Irish pub with two of my coworkers for a beer and a shot of Jameson's as a nightcap. That still didn't mellow me and when I finally got home I was awake for hours.

Our guilt, our blame,
I've been far too sympathetic.
Our blood, our fault.
I've been far too sympathetic.

I am not innocent.
You are not innocent.
Noone is innocent.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Return, Revisited

Half way through October and this is my first post of the month. I will herein randomly ramble.

I've never seen so many neck tattoos in my life. Yesterday was a grueling day of people watching, forced upon me by a trip to the DMV and two, count 'em two, trips to the Milwaukee Tow Lot. And the observation of the huddled masses that has stuck with me most is the whole gruesome neck ink thing. Oh, there were plenty of bad tattoos on other parts of the body, but when I see the prevalence of neck tattoos I can't help but wonder what these people were thinking. Twenty, thirty, forty years from now there are actually going to be senior citizens with tattoos on their necks. Not to mention grandmothers and grandfathers with giant holes in their distended ear lobes, but that's a whole 'nother rant. I have two tattoos, but they are on my calf and ankle where they can easily be hidden by long trousers as the situation dictates. When your neck and hands and even head and face are decorated you have made a whole different commitment to your personal aesthetic.

My Jeep was towed. I thought it was stolen, as I couldn't imagine how it could be towed from the curb in front of the house. Turns out Milwaukee is a tad militant about towing vehicles with a few unpaid parking tickets. And here's the kicker, I never even saw one single parking ticket on my SUV and was oblivious to my transgression. A nighttime parking permit is required on all streets of Milwaukee. We live in a residential neighborhood without driveways so all parking is on the street. It took 2.5 months to accumulate four unseen parking tickets, which is crime so heinous that my Jeep was yanked from the curb and deposited in the care of the city. I had the pleasure of calling the tow lot to find out if I vehicle was there, and sharing some unpleasantness with a rude and sarcastic civil servant. She was just the first of several similarly gruff individuals I would interact with throughout the day. Fortunately, Bill's bike was in the shed. He often takes it to work, but I was able to borrow it to pedal the 25 blocks to the tow lot. It was the first time I had been on a bike in many years and I was glad the lot was within striking distance. After waiting for an hour I was told that they wouldn't release the Jeep to me because the title I had was signed over to me, but never registered in my name. I never registered it in Washington after I bought it because I knew I would leave the state and I didn't want to have to pay for title transfer and plates in WA only to have to do it all over again elsewhere. So... I jumped back on the bike and pedaled all the way home where I called the DMV. I then rode the bike a couple of miles the other direction and waited an hour again for the opportunity to experience the charm of the sour woman who I dealt with at the DMV. There was further hassle due to the way the title was signed over and, short story long, I finally got $261 worth of license plate and title and began the double-trek all the way back to the tow lot where they discovered the VIN number had an error. But they released it to me anyway at the bargain price of a hundred bucks, sold me the requisite nighttime parking permit that would have circumvented the entire horror, and I was on my way. So now the vehicle is legal, but is stuck at the curb because it needs brake work and those funds went up in the flames throughout the day.

But the bike ride was fun, providing both exercise and an environmentally sound way to transport my carcass. As I mentioned in the previous blog, I want a bike. And now I have one. Coincidentally, my dad was visiting yesterday evening. I regaled him with the above story with even more excruciating detail and he told me if he had known I would ride a bike he would have loaned me his. So this morning he made a return trip to bring me the bike and I now have alternate transportation. So the brake-challenged gas guzzler can sit... weather permitting, of course.

What else is new...?...? Well, I have been working to get the online e-zine version of my ARACHNOCULTURE magazine going, and continue to work on it today. I am first creating the web version of the seventh issue, which was dedicated to my 2006 trip to Costa Rica. I will eventually get the six previous issues online also, but probably not until after I create a brand new 8th issue. Keep your eye on my Exotic Fauna website, especially the ARACHOCULTURE page.

I'm excited to report that I will again be joining Andrew Smith on a tarantula expedition. I was unable to join him on last year's field trip to the Pacific coast of Mexico, and won't join him this year for his return to Mexico either. But, in 2009, about 13 months or so from now, I will again be part of the team as we travel to Africa to search for tarantulas and other critters in Sierra Leone!

All the best, MJ