Maybe Try Going Up Less Drunk

It’s odd to have a travel blog when you’re not traveling. My process when moving to a new city or acclimating to a new lifestyle has consistently been messy, and moving here has been no exception to that rule. As many of you know, moderation truly isn’t my thing.

I’ve repetitively made my rounds to bars and night clubs and comedy shows and more bars, and it’s been a crazy week. Like most of my weeks, I suppose. For the sake of updating you, though, I’ve now done a total of four open mics since landing here. My understanding is that I will have to do more like 5-10 a week to be truly “committed to the craft.”

After the show Friday, the primary note I got was to just keep plugging away. Repetition, repetition, repetition. The secondary note I got was, “Maybe try going up less drunk.” I think both are decent pieces of advice. It’s hard to remember which pieces of which jokes struck the audience when remembering the evening as a whole is a bit challenging.

For me, one week is an impressively short time for the pendulum to have hit an apex, and begin its swing back in the other direction. I find that each critique and each bombing (the comedy kind, not the terrorist kind) only encourages me to push myself harder, work on my material more, and get out there to try it again.

Last night went better. I felt more nervous on stage, or at least I think I did. In any case, I remember feeling more nervous this time. Another thing I remembered was all of my lines, and I think that’s a start in the right direction. As for the direction of this blog, I think it will begin to take on more of a “repository for stories” role for me. I may not be doing anything worth sharing in this moment, as working on oneself tends to be less entertaining, but dammit I’ve done some pretty ridiculous shit in the past that should be written down somewhere.

Pulling from my past will also allow for a little more consistency with the pacing of my posts, so this too will develop into a sustainable practice. Or maybe this is all just masturbatory for me, in which case enjoy the show!

Here Comes the Bride – Me!

I have wonderful news! After four days of not having a functioning shower, I finally made the leap and spent $17 to use the showers at a gay bathhouse about three miles from my apartment. I considered a gym, but this was cheaper and I was too hungover to even pretend to want to exercise. While I was there, I met the man of my dreams and we’re going to elope this weekend!

Alright, I’m pretty sure that’s enough characters to get me through the preview on Facebook. I was going to make a joke about how I’m getting “married to comedy,” but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it (except for that sentence).

Anyway, I started my new job on Monday and I love my new coworkers, but being in another animal hospital definitely made it obvious just how much I love and miss my old coworkers. Y’all are wonderful, and I sincerely appreciate the support I feel you telepathically sending my way, and I’m choosing to ignore the anger at my absence that goes along with it.

I also went to my first open mic in Chicago, as I couldn’t reasonably say, “I had my first day of work” without having done both new jobs I came here to do. It went alright. I wouldn’t say it was a great audience (I’m not basing that on my experience – literally every comic that went up made note of it), but I was still able to pull some laughs out of them. I also abandoned my written material about half way through just for the sake of ranting a little. I think sticking to what I intended on saying is probably a better way to go from now on.

I look forward to more bombing and more honing of my craft, but more than that I look forward to meeting more Chicagoans. They have largely been ceaselessly kind and willing to placate me in my antics. Sleep isn’t that important, right?

 

Live Bugs and Too Much Beer

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If you were to say, “Yesterday was too much!” you would not be wrong. I woke up particularly early yesterday because I was scheduled to sign a lease for my new apartment at 10am, but I needed to deliver an assortment of live bugs to a friend of a friend before a certain time, and I wasn’t sure how long the apartmenting would take. I made it to Petsmart right when they opened, but apparently there’s a shortage of mealworms in the Chicago area. I called a nearby Petco, they said they had them, and apparently the staff at Petco likes to lie to people because they definitely did not have them when I got there. 20 crickets, 50 night crawlers and a bottle of freeze-dried mealworms would have to do.

Brief aside: I got a new apartment. It’s a third story (4th if you count the bottom floor) walk up in a very nice neighborhood in the northern portion of the city. Nothing makes you feel like you have a lot of stuff like having to haul all of it up 43 steep and winding stairs. The electricity wasn’t on, though, and won’t be until tomorrow, so I write to you from another hotel where I’ve consumed vastly too much room service food to combat yesterday’s hangover.

Back to yesterday. In exchange for the bug delivery (which I discovered was for a performer who was to eat them in front of an audience), I was given two VIP wristbands to the Lagunitas Beer Circus, which allowed me access and as much free beer as I wanted. I made friends with a couple ladies in the face painting line, and we went to their apartment for more drinking. After they switched into evening attire, we went to one of their friend’s houses. Shortly after arriving, the ladies followed the friend into a separate room, and one of the roommates asked me nicely to leave. I wasn’t given a reason, just told it was time for me to go. Now, I know I can be noisy sometimes, but I still feel like that was a dick move on their part, and I look forward to whatever opportunities going forward I get to shit talk them (like this blog for example).

I hailed a cab and moved on to the next place, which unbeknownst to me was smack in the middle of a street fair called Market Days in Chicago. It’s like a gay pride block party, complete with music and dancing and food and an overabundance of alcohol. I stayed there until they started moving the party into the surrounding bars, then I found a karaoke place close to my house to wind down the last couple hours of the evening/morning.

I ordered halal pizza to be delivered to me, and waited in the passenger seat of my car for it to arrive because I had had enough of those stairs, but according to the 4 missed calls on my phone and the lack of pizza remnants in my car/home, I’m guessing I fell asleep before it arrived. It is now 8pm, and I just now got up the energy to put my fingers on a keyboard. Good game, Chicago.

Karaoke and Hooters To-Go

Originally I had intended to avoid posting this evening, but here we are – seven drinks later and all of the sudden my opinions seem worth sharing again.

My plan was to stay in my room and keep to myself this evening, but one quick look at Google maps and what was nearby to my Red Roof Inn (the power was out when I woke up this morning, by the way), and I found a karaoke sports bar and a Hooters within a three-minute walk. So duh, that’s what I went for.

As it turns out, the bar was hosting a boggle tournament, a glow-in-the-dark volleyball tournament on an indoor, sand-filled court, and karaoke. What a lovely little slice of heaven. I only sang once, but let me tell you, Pedro really disgraced a Disney song in a way that I didn’t think was possible, and for that – I commend him.

Given my proximity to a Hooters and my feeling that I could reasonably gain ten pounds without any of the locals noticing, I decided to stop there on my way back to my room. The staff of the Hooters in LA is different from the one here – not better or worse, just different. Clearly there’s a delineation in focus during the hiring process – “hooters” take a back seat to a lady’s back seat in LA, but not here.

Anyway, I chose to get the wings to go. I don’t feel a strong need to stare at women who are upset with me for staring at them while I eat my junk food. I choose to experience my shame one way at a time, so I powered down my beer and dragged my fried hunks of chicken bits back to my hotel room to eat them in pantsless contentment.

Tomorrow will be better than this. I promise.

Warren Buffet’s Empty Seat

11631.jpegI arrived in Omaha last night with just enough time to get myself in an Uber to the closest (best rated on Yelp) steakhouse before it closed. My Uber driver – an older Filipino gentleman with a wife and four kids – was aware of the place and was excited for me. He informed me that my destination was one of Warren Buffet’s favorite places to eat, so clearly I was making a good choice.

When I got there I chose to sit at the bar. I ordered a dirty martini and started talking with the delightfully drunk woman sitting nearby. I found out that she was a waitress there, and when I told her what my Uber driver said, her response was, “Bullshit! I’ve been working here 15 years and I’ve never seen him here. Not once.” I could tell we were going to get along. I ordered my food and a beer, and chatted with her and her companion, another off-work waitress there who had a degree in theoretical math. Both agreed that had they the money, they would eat at this restaurant every day, which is a high compliment from waitstaff.

The steak finally came, and I ordered a whiskey to accompany it. I ordered a T-bone that they marinated in whiskey for 15 minutes prior to cooking it. It was medium raw (the only way quality steak should be ordered), and the first half was so tender it felt like I was eating the meat equivalent of butter. The second half demanded to be accompanied by a glass of red wine, selected and poured by the mathematician. I could not have asked for a better experience at a steak house.

At the recommendation of the ladies, I went to their favorite bar that was fairly close by. It started with an I, and I couldn’t remember the name then, and I don’t remember the name now, but it was a fun spot. I drunkenly demanded that a group of people read my blog right then and there, and they were nice enough to oblige, but only after I beatboxed with one of them. So of course I did. Then as they were getting up to leave, I forced them to listen to a reading of one the posts, which they said they preferred, as my voice “lends something to it.” Anyway, that may mean I have to do a podcast or something at some point. The bar closed down, and after a failed attempt to find an after hours club, I turned in for the night.

The photo accompanying this post happens to be relevant in that it shows the end results of my meal from last night, but also in that it says “DROVE” – which is the past tense for drive, in case you weren’t already aware. I am in Chicago. Or at least a suburb just outside of it. I got here a little early and will be apartment hunting tomorrow. I have decided to continue writing because I enjoy this process, and because people seem to find it some degree of entertaining, so you can look forward to more of this.

Uneventful Nudity and Farmland

I always expect my time with nudists to be a little crazier than it ends up being. Largely, it’s a group of retirees who either live on the ranch, or have been there for the past couple months. Many are wearing crosses around their necks, and I had to describe what polyamory was to the young naked woman next to me in the hot tub this morning.

I woke up to silence around 8am, used their workout space, baked cinnamon rolls in the communal kitchen (the extras went to the ranch staff), and made an ass of myself to a nice gentleman who was on his way to the dentist. he introduced himself, I went to shake his hand, then he lifted up the sleeve of his robe to show that he was paralyzed on the right side. I don’t know if it was that or the fact that his robe was open, but I was thrown, reached out, and shook the limp hand. He said, “I’m still working on that one – try this one,” as he extended his left hand for a proper handshake. I said it was nice to meet him, and I made some lame excuse to walk away from my embarrassment.

It’s good that I did though, because it started to drizzle, so I needed to take my tent down quickly. I got it down and into the car just before it started raining heavily. Luckily though, my clothes didn’t soak through because I wasn’t wearing any. I hung out in the hot tub until the rain stopped, then got on the road.

Presently I’m in the middle of a very long stretch of farmland, using voice to text to write to you from my driver seat – where I have been for the last four hours, and where I will be for the next four. Woe be unto Omaha, whose bars will bear the brunt of my restlessness.

Let Your Mind (and other parts) Run Free

I went into last night not sure what to do about the rest of my trip. Las Vegas had strippered me out of the vast majority of what I had intended to spend while traveling, but I still wanted to make the trip memorable, and entertaining. Do I just go straight to Chicago? I’ve got plenty of experience being poor in just one city. Do I soldier on through each planned waypoint in the face of my poverty? I couldn’t decide.

With all that on my mind, I had forgotten (on purpose) to write down which campsite I was occupying on my registration card. Honestly, I didn’t think anyone would check, but I’m glad the attendant did, because in our overly-long-you-clearly-don’t-have-many-people-to-talk-to-and-neither-do-I conversation, he mentioned that there was a hot spring not too far off. He warned me that it could be fairly “hippie-dippy,” I pointed out the “The Dude Abides,” shirt I was wearing, and assured him I’d be fine.

This morning, I started walking more or less right when I woke up, having learned a heat-related lesson from the Grand Canyon. Audiobook of choice for today: Theft By Finding by David Sedaris. After walking for two hours and some change, I was about to turn around when I saw a hat bobbing in the distance. I yelled out, “Hey, do you know where the hot springs are?”

After a moment of confusion, she finally spotted me and told me they were right below us. After convincing their dog, Dixie, that I was not a danger to her family, the male of the younger couple pointed out exactly where I could climb down, and which hot spring was the warmest. Ya know, my initial assumption was that they were a parents/children grouping, but they just as easily could have been swingers with a large age gap.

I made my way down the hill, then made sure that Dixie and the swingers had left, then cracked open a beer and disrobed (pictures upon request). While standing there in the glory of nature I thought, you know what’s cheap? Nudist resorts are cheap! With a new sense of purpose, I put my clothes back on, and headed for my vehicle. I caught up with and passed the swingers, but having confused and startled the older woman for a second time, I chose not to ask any clarifying questions as to the nature of their relationship.

I write to you from a resort just south of Denver, my tent set up, and my clothes in my car. Next stop: another spot recommended to me by the older couple (they’re all older couples) near Kansas City. More to come!