Musings

Building a Door in a Blue State

I’ve always been a little left of center, even politically.

all-over-the-spectrum

I’m a college educated, blue collar, fortysomething, cis-gendered white male. My political leanings could end up . . . pretty much anywhere on the spectrum.

When the election “season” started, I was all over the map. At first, I was convinced I would vote red this year. I liked what Rand Paul had to say, and then he petered out early. I liked what Ben Carson had to say . . . and then he fell asleep at the wheel. And then the red right went hard right, and I retreated to the sweet blue bosom of the Democratic Party.

Bernie Sanders emerged out of nowhere and courted the Dems like an old-timey bard. I fell in line with a lot of them. Hillary Clinton just didn’t speak to me. (And, no, not just because she was a woman.) When the primaries rolled around, I felt “the Bern”. As those young kids were calling it.

Within months, it was clear he wasn’t going to win; the math simply wasn’t there. Sure, there were seedy people in the DNC that kept him from being a serious candidate. But not enough people believed in him. Hillary was their choice, and so . . . she became my choice. The alternative on the other side—the one who did take the Republican crown—was much, much worse.

As more months went by, Old and New Media fed us a steady stream of what we wanted to hear. The “Orange One” was a fascist; “The Pantsuited One” was our only hope. It was hardly even a contest.

Allegations emerged about each candidate. Scandal on top of scandal. It got ugly . . . then uglier . . . and then unbearable.

Then came the week of the general election.

voting

I voted the Monday prior to Election Day.

Filled out my ballot and dropped it off at the nearest poll station. (In Oregon, we can do that. Yay, mail-in ballots!) All that I could do now was watch and wait.

On Tuesday, November 8th . . . I sat in the living room with my mother, my niece, and my stepdad. The results started coming in.

election

It was grim.

By 6PM, it was clear that everyone—and I do mean, everyone—had read this wrong.

I retreated to the safety of my tea and my tea blogger group. It was my hobby and my solace.

aged-oolong

But even that didn’t help.

By 8PM, I bid my farewells to them and returned to watching the news. Hoping the whole time that there’d be a last-minute shred of hope. By 10PM, the Rust Belt states fell to the reds. It was over.

I didn’t sleep well that night, managing maybe three hours total. Not three hours straight, however. Thoughts of world wars, post-apocalypses, and even suicide danced maniacally through my head.

The next day at work, I looked shell-shocked. Like many Americans, I existed in a daze. I felt just as I did on 9/11—vulnerable, hopeless.

me-pissed

Half of my coworkers had voted for the Orange One. None of them made eye-contact with me. They knew.

After work, I took my rage out on social media. I un-friended every Trump supporter I knew. Including family members. My own brother, too. If they supported him . . . then they were irreversibly flawed, in my mind. Throughout the night, I continued to express my anger on every platform.

Around 6PM that night, I received a call from my father. My stepmother had told him I was “in pain”. And we proceeded to talk about what had happened for the next three-or-so hours. We discussed politics, religion, faith, and even nerded out on Biblical apocrypha. (It was an interest of mine.) By the end of the conversation, I had calmed down.

By Thursday, news of protests nationwide reached my ears. Portland, my hometown, made national news for having been among the first to turn into a full-blown riot. Anti-Trump demonstrators vandalized property; one even took a skateboard to the back of the head of a Trump supporter. Both sides clashed.

thunderous-applause

News and false news of hate crimes flooded the trending platforms online. Everyone on every side didn’t corroborate sources. Myself included. And as the chaos continued, all I could think about was . . . calling my brother. Someone whose views differed from my own.

During my work shift, I did so. We talked only briefly. But he wondered if I wanted to come over that night. He needed help installing a door. I said I would help.

I went over after the work day was done. My brother wasn’t home, yet.  His wife was there, though, busy tending to my infant niece. I went in to say, “Hi.” The little one beamed a Gizmo-like smile at me.

(Seriously, she smiles exactly like Gizmo.)

nieces-gizmo-smile

She asked if I could hold her, and even offered me a bottle to keep her distracted. My niece practically fell asleep with the bottle in her mouth. Hardly a care in the world.

niece

Shortly after, my brother came in, and we got to work installing that door. Once complete, we had dinner. Politics was only scantly discussed. No more needed to be said.

Throughout the week, we all put up walls. That same week—with someone I did not see eye-to-eye with—I put up a door. I’m nowhere near accepting of the results of the election, my “wall” is still up . . . but I helped put up a door. That has to count for something, right?

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Monday, November 14th, 2016 Musings 5 Comments

The Sasquan Signature

Back in July, I decided to get out of the house and see a movie – Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, I’d arrived at the theater an hour and a half early. This meant I had far too much time on my hands. Luckily, there was a pseudo-mall nearby with a giant bookstore attached – Powell’s, to be precise.

I went into Powell’s not expecting to buy anything . . . and that was my first mistake. Or at least, so many people have told me. One should always be prepared to buy something; it’s Powell’s. It has that effect. The place is like the cocaine brick of bookstores. But I digress . . .

When I went in, I moseyed to where I was always comfortable – the sci-fi section. From there, I bee-lined to my favorite author’s name – Mike Resnick. I’ve written about him before on this blog; heck, I even interviewed him. Ever since I was a child, I always checked his corridor in the bookstore to see if there was something new. There usually was . . . but nothing prepared me for this.

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Friday, September 25th, 2015 Musings 5 Comments

An Open Letter to Delta Airlines and Bank of America

Dear Delta Airlines and Bank of America,

I’m writing this, now, four hours after an attempt to resolve an issue to explain why. In a public fashion, no less.

On August 6th, 2015, I attempted to purchase a ticket through Delta Airlines. The reason, unfortunately, was a somber one. It was for the funeral of my grandfather, and I very much wanted to go. In order to book the ticket, though, I had to use my Bank of America credit card rather than my debit card. Little did I know, this simple act would set off a chain of events that would frustrate me to the point of wall-punching rage.

I tried twice to book the airline ticket with the credit card, but the website wouldn’t accept the security code I entered. Seething, I bit the bullet and used my debit card, instead. Ticket was purchased, and I thought all was done.

I was wrong.

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Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 Musings 10 Comments

Remembering Nelson . . .

There’s an old saying regarding manners, that if someone offers to buy you dinner, you don’t order the most expensive item on the menu. This often leads to the joke of said patron replying with, “I’ll have the lobster, then.” When I was a young(er) lad, my grandfather took my cousin and I out for dinner at a fancy restaurant. We both ordered burgers, and we were quite perplexed as to why this vexed our grandfather. It wasn’t until years later that it was made clear to us.

The one time we were expected to “order the lobster” . . . we didn’t.

And that’s the sort of person my grandfather – Nelson Francis Norman – was. He wanted the best for his children and grandchildren. He was a gentleman and a scholar. (Seriously, he had the Harvard degree to prove it.)

On Saturday, June 6th, 2015, the Norman family was dealt a tragic blow when the 97-year-old Nelson passed away. I wasn’t there to see it happen, nor was I there to witness his gradual decline. But I was assured by family in the area that he went peacefully.

Luckily, I was able to see him before he passed. In early May, I was down in California for World Tea Expo, and before flying out, my mother and I stopped by to visit with my grandparents. My grandmother was looking well, but my grandfather was quite frail. He was in and out of consciousness, quite depressed, and could barely speak. He did put up quite an effort to converse with me, though.

I may be biased but – as far as family patriarch’s go – he was the best. Of his six children, umpteen grandchildren, and burgeoning number of great-grandchildren, he somehow kept tabs of (and found time for) all of us. He also made sure to keep us updated on family happenings, and his views on world affairs . . . in the form of his Norman niche-famous “Sunday Reports”.

His Sunday Reports were a comforting constant in my life. They didn’t always make sense, but they were always topical. And he sent that group e-mail almost once a week like clockwork, for nearly two decades. I regret admitting that I didn’t read all of them, but I was always assured when those e-mails came. As his health declined, though, so did their frequency. Eventually, he needed someone else to transcribe them altogether.

Several years back, he requested a “guest-Sunday Report” from me about the origins of tea, since he’d heard I’d taken up writing about it. He wanted to inform his loyal readers what tea was all about, at least from my perspective. Alas, I never got around to writing that “report”. One of my many bouts of procrastination.

If I were to do it now, though, I think I could only manage one sentence, “Tea is about people.” And follow it up with, You were one of the best of ‘em, Pappy. Or something equally as schmaltzy.

I have yet to cry. For some reason, I can’t manage a tear. But the sadness is there, deep and burrowing. My biggest regret is that I hadn’t accomplished something truly “great” before he died. No Great American Novel badge of honor to show him. Yet I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t have cared either way, just as long as I – and the rest of the family – were happy.

Next time I see you, Grandpa, I’ll remember to order the lobster.

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Thursday, June 11th, 2015 Musings 7 Comments

Knights in White Sparks

Back in April, my mother and I went to see The Moody Blues.

For men well in their 70s, they put on a great show. And as expected, they ended their surprisingly long set with their most memorable song, “Knights in White Satin”. I still don’t understand it. Sure, I’ve read the lyrics, I assume it’s a love song, but I have no clue what knights or cloth have to do with it. Maybe it has something to do with the death of chivalry?

What’s this have to do with what you (fair reader) are about to digest? Probably nothing; probably everything. But it does – albeit awkwardly – transition to what happened a week later.

Mum and I decided to travel together to Southern California. We determined that the best way for us to get around was to split a rental car while we were down there. She would get it for the first few days to do whatever, and I would have it for my “the business trip” up to Long Beach.

The car we prepaid for was this:

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Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 Musings, Steep Stories 8 Comments

The Road Back

The Road Trip Sextet, Part 6“The Road Back”

For Part 1, go HERE.

For Part 2, go HERE.

For Part 3, go HERE.

For Part 4, go HERE.

For Part 5, go HERE.

The June California trip – for all intents and purposes – was a success. I notched off World Tea Expo, a beach house tea party, hung out with many family members, and (most importantly) spent some quality time with my grandparents. For only a week’s worth of time allotted to this, I accomplished…well…a lot.

There was only one thing left to do – make the road trip back. In more ways than one.

I had one more thing on the docket to do – something that was decided relatively at the last minute. During the road trip, my mother/travel partner informed me that she had a breakfast to attend to with some old high school friends in Oceanside. The location was mere blocks from the street I grew up on.

Mum and I came to a compromise. She could do her breakfast meet-up unimpeded by me, and I would have a quick look-around the old homestead.

I grew up on a long cul de sac off of a busy intersection. As far as neighborhoods go, it was pretty idyllic for a kid growing up in the 80s. One could even picture a brat with a bowl-cut on a bicycle, carrying an alien in the front basket. Turning off on my old street, one thought occurred to me: The place hadn’t changed in the 26 years since I lived there.

All the houses, for the most part, looked the same. Save for new paint jobs, newer cars in driveways, and cleaner sidewalks. Nothing was all that difference. Well, except for one thing.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014 Musings 6 Comments

Moments with My Grandparents

The Road Trip Sextet, Part 5 – “Moments with my Grandparents”

For Part 1, go HERE.

For Part 2, go HERE.

For Part 3, go HERE.

For Part 4, go HERE.

These are my grandparents, Nelson and Dottie. And they are awesome.

Both are well into their 90s and are approaching their 70th wedding anniversary.

This was the primary reason for my road trip in early June. Yes, I had a tea expo to go to. Yes, I had a beach party to attend. But the one reason that tops all of those was to see my grandparents for the first time in four years. Mainly for the stories they tell. And, boy, do they have stories aplenty. For this article, I wanted to highlight a few of them that were imparted just during this one visit. In the form of vignettes.

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Monday, July 21st, 2014 Musings 3 Comments

Missed Opportunities in “Noah”

So, I saw Noah last week…

And I dug the HELL out of it.

There. That’s my review. Now, let’s move on to a more important discussion.

When I first learned that Darren Aronofsky was doing a take on the ol’ Noah’s ark tale, my first impression was, “Meh.” Anytime the director put on his “epic” pants, the results were mixed. (The less spoken about The Fountain, the better.) Noah looked serviceable enough, but the trailer didn’t grab me.

That said, being the ever-hermitic netizen, I took to the Almighty Wiki to read up on it more. And my type-ready fingers stopped dead on their keys when I saw this:

Ray Winstone as Tubal-Cain.

My interest in the movie went from “Meh” to “Must-See” in one sentence. I’ll explain…

Back in my high school “daze”, I went through a big mythology phase. This interest also included apocryphal stories tied to the Bible, particularly those pertaining to the Antediluvian period. Read: Pre-Flood.

Why? Because that oft-glossed-over period was like Conan‘s Hyborian Age. There were angels, demons, monsters, wizards, gluttonous civilizations, and legends. And yet this lost age only took up one chapter in the Bible – Genesis 6, “The Wickedness of Man”.

Parallel to that were the two lineages that were chronicled prior to that chapter – the family trees that sprung from Adam and Eve. Those being, the line of Seth (their last son)…and the line of Cain. The latter genealogy ends with Tubal-Cain.

So fascinated was I with Tubal-Cain, that I even fashioned a novel series idea around him dubbed “Cainsign“. Of course, me being – well – me, nothing ever came of the idea. Then I read the synopsis on Noah, and my two-decades-old fascination with the Antediluvians was rejuvenated.

The cinematic results were fantastically batshit crazy…but I had one nagging gripe. A nitpick, if you will. Aronofsky didn’t go far enough. Allow me to elaborate, starting with the character that drew me to the film.

(1.) Tubal-Cain

The missed opportunity here wasn’t the portrayal of Tubal-Cain as an antagonist, but rather in his motivations. For the most part, while the performance was good, the character was rather one-note. He was a despotic warrior-king of the last vestiges of human civilization. Great, well done. But what else was there to him?

Turns out, there was a lot.

First off, Tubal-Cain’s own father was also named Lamech – just like Noah’s. No, they weren’t the same person, only the same name. However, that could’ve been a point of contention between the two. One among many.

Then there’s Tubal-Cain’s sister. Yes, he had a sister. In Genesis, during the bit where Cain’s descendants are outlined, the list stops dead at Tubal-Cain…and one other – Naamah, his sister. This is the only time where a female relative is mentioned, either in the lines of Seth or Cain. Both lists are strictly patrilineal, save for the mention of wives.

There are four prominent women in Judeo-Christian writings with the name Naamah. The first is Tubal-Cain’s sister, the second is a demon, the third is Solomon’s wife…and the fourth?

Drum-roll, please.

Is Noah’s wife.

Some sources claim that Tubal-Cain’s sister and Noah’s wife are one in the same. If Darren Aronofsky had incorporated this little tidbit, not only would it have been Biblically sound, but it would’ve added further (and more personal) conflict between the characters.

And if he made her a demon, also? Well, that would’ve been triple-sweet.

(Sidenote: Okay, yes. In the film, Noah’s wife is named Naameh – not Naamah. But seriously, it’s Naamah everywhere else I’ve looked.)

(2.) The Antediluvian Age

While this take on the Noah tale did explore the pre-Flood period more effectively than attempts past, a lot of things were left out. I did like that there were hints of what human civilization was like back then, but that’s all they were – hints. Call me greedy, but I wanted more.

At one point in the film, Noah and family come within eyeshot of a human city, but decide to circle around it. It was like the director said, “Nope, not in the budget. Just do a matte painting.”

It was said in the Bible that after Cain was cursed, he (and by proxy, his descendants) founded a great city in the east dubbed Enoch – after his first son. I always imagined that Enoch and Atlantis were one in the same. And the parallels are striking. One city was swallowed by the Flood; the other continent sank.

I was expecting a little more of that in the movie. Or at the very least, a walk-through of one such dilapidated city.

A second sticking point that wasn’t explored was the Antediluvian lifespan. Humans – prior to the Flood – lived an average of 800 years. Noah himself didn’t have children until he was well over a century old. Methuselah – referenced often for his old age – was well over 900, and that would’ve fit rather well with his Yoda-esque portrayal in the movie.

One time in my early-twenties, when I was bored at work, I took the time to do the math surrounding the different lifespans of Adam’s descendants. I figured that Adam died a mere 120-something years before Noah was born. A bit more of that would’ve fit with the movie’s Lord of the Rings-ish tone.

(3.) The Giants

A major gripe some people had about Noah was with the rock monsters. Yes, there were rock monsters. And they were awesome, but they weren’t perfect.

In the movie, the rock giants were fallen angels – specifically, the Grigori (or Watchers) – under the command of Samyaza. They were cursed by “The Creator” for descending from Heaven to assist humankind with its development. That’s the part Darren Aronofsky got wrong. The Biblical origin of those giants is much, much more bizarre.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and also afterward–when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4)

Depending on which version of the Bible one looks at, “Nephilim” and “giants” are used interchangeably. “Sons of God” refers to angels, and “daughters of humans” specifically refers to women from the line of Cain. In short, the giants were angel-human hybrids. They were not the fallen angels themselves. Nor were they interested in helping mankind.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the golem-like depiction of the giants in the movie. I just wish their origin story hadn’t been tampered with. If you’re going to go with a representation of Biblical giants in a Noah story, go big or go home.

Conclusion

I went and saw this with a Christian-leaning group. Two of them were my brother and sister. Both liked the movie, but had reservations with some of the storytelling decisions that were made. I didn’t have quite as many, save for the ones I listed above. My brother summed up my misgivings best.

“It was like Darren Aronofsky was saying, ‘Let’s see if you can do better’,” he mentioned.

No one else has dared a portrayal of the Antediluvian Age like this. It’s a minor miracle that such a project was even greenlit. I almost got the impression that some of Darren Aronofsky’s loftier ambitions for the project were trimmed against his will. Hopefully, this will open storytellers and moviemakers up to further, more adventurous retellings of ancient stories – Biblical or otherwise.

In the meantime, I think I’ll dust off my old Cainsign treatment. Tubal-Cain may require some tweaking. And that Naamah…hoo-boy, she’s a feisty one.

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Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 Musings 13 Comments

Finding Comedy in Car Theft

Finding Comedy in Car Theft

Flashback to an unassuming night in December…literally, six days before Christmas

I actually went to bed at a decent hour that night. My usual bedtime ranged somewhere between midnight and 1AM. Not the most conducive sleep schedule for someone who worked the day shift. Part of my old night owl tendencies shining through, I suppose. Anyway, I was in bed by 11 that night. An hour and a half later, my sister/roommate comes barging in.

“Don’t be mad,” she started off with. Not the best introduction. “But I left the garage door open.”

“So?” I mumbled, rubbing one eye.

She followed up with, “I think our cars were broken into.”

That woke me up right quick.

Slippers donned, fleece draped over my pajama’d form, and we hurried out to the garage. The cars were still intact, that was a relief. No shattered glass lay strewn on the concrete – so far, so good. It wasn’t until I looked in the window of my Ford Focus that my eyes widened.

“What the [expletive deleted]?!” I exclaimed.

“Is it bad?”

The contents of the glove compartment lay on the front seat. Everything that was at the bottom of the back seat was now…everywhere. I didn’t keep a very clean car; that I will admit, but this was beyond my mess. The archive of sheer crap from the past five years now lay in a giant pile in my car. Like a mountain of FAIL .

“Jesus, [name deleted],” I said to my sister, “what the [expletive deleted] were you thinking?!”

She started to sob. “I told you not to be mad.”

If I wasn’t so raging tired, I would’ve felt guilty.

After we both calmed down a bit, we called the police. They informed us that there was a string of robberies in our apartment complex. Odd, considering we actually lived in a nice neighborhood. In fact, we were the poorest people in the area. The culprits were prying garage doors open left and right. We…just happened to let them right in without much effort.

Luckily, there was already an officer at the complex proper – examining the other break-ins – to take our statements. My sister did all of the talking as I anal-retentively sifted through my horde-pile of car garbage.

Sometime in the frenzy, we thought we’d broken the garage door handle. Turns out…I had done it when I was examining it. Oops.

As I finished surveying the craptasticism, a thought occurred to me, Might as well use this opportunity to clean out my car.

And I did. One whole garbage bag full. I found teabeer bottles from ’07, Bollywood movies, checkbooks with decade-old apartment addresses on them, job-hunting paperwork, old Jiffy Lube receipts, church pamphlets, resumes, pens…the list went on.

Do you know what I didn’t find?

Anything missing.

The most valuable items in my car were the factory stereo (nine years out of date) and my Garmin (five years out of date). They were still there. In fact, the Garmin was actually on the floor of my front passenger seat in a leather case, and it hadn’t been tampered with. Even the checkbooks hadn’t been touched.

My sister turned up similar results when she searched her car. Nothing went missing. Not even the can of Rockstar or Bible.

“Someone thought we were too poor to steal from,” we both concluded.

And we laughed.

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 Musings No Comments

Diary of a Hopelessly Egotistical Rabid Manchild-in-Training

WARNING: The following story is going to paint the author (me) as petty, selfish, immature and hypersensitive. And that’s because, well, I am. No one is more fully aware of…uh…myself than…myself. I am a hopelessly egotistical rabid manchild…in training.

But let’s start at the beginning.

In 2011, a friend of mine decided to form a gaming group that would meet on Mondays. Originally, it was tailored as a roleplaying (read: D&D-type stuff) session with the possibility of other games thrown in on the off-days. And for a while, that’s exactly what it was – strictly a roleplaying group.

Earthdawn was the game du jour, and there were around six of us total. That changed, however, when the DM (i.e. Dude-in-Charge-of-Quest) had to bail out on the weekly sessions due to his work schedule. From that point on, it morphed into a board game/card game group.

A quick aside: I suck at games. All games. If it’s an exercise in competition, I will have no aptitude for it. I’m not smart enough, strategically-minded enough, patient enough, or focused enough for them. Videogames, included. Until that year, I was a “casual” gamer at best – a non-entity at worst. Unfortunately, it was the only way I could see this group of friends on a regular basis.

While the roster of participants was a revolving door, there were four regulars besides myself. Sansai was the de facto host – an army veteran and alpha gamer. Then there was NinjaSpecs, whom I’ve mentioned a couple of times – my monotone, hilarious half-Asian drinking buddy. Lastly, there was the married couple – Hubbit (he…uh…looked like a Hobbit and was a husband) and BBC, short for “Big Black C**K”. She was a tiny thing with a sweet disposition…that happened to act like a very well-endowed – and articulate – African American man.

The usual suspects, as far as games were concerned, ranged from Settlers of Catan to all incarnations of FLUXX, and further down the pit to Munchkin land. All of these games were fun, imaginative, inspired much laughter…and brought out the worst in people. The problems with a lot of games geared toward the nerd/geek set are the rules. Most of them encourage backstabbing, even the tame ones.

What does that mean for someone like me? Well, in every group or herd there is – what I like to call – the “weak gazelle”.

They are generally the slowest, feeblest and most gullible member of the group. By design or circumstance, they are also often the butt of a lot of the jokes because of the traits mentioned above. In my group, granted, everyone ribbed on everyone else. But it felt like I absorbed the lion’s share. Then again, I am a hopelessly egotistical rabid manchild-in-training.

Image mooched from The Cheezburger Network

Image mooched from The Cheezburger Network

As years wore on, so did my tolerance of this dynamic. One can only go so long being the foil. Eventually, the group – no matter how well-intentioned – seems like a chore. An activity that was supposed to be fun turns into a task. I started thinking of things I’d rather be doing than gaming.

I got the sense they could detect my drifting as well. Did I think they relegated me to punching bag on purpose? Heck no. They were all fine folks, and they did what was natural. Perhaps because of who/how I was, the environment continued to come across as toxic.

In the last month or two, I bandied words with my sister/roommate about my misgivings toward the gaming group. She thought I should maintain it, so that I’d remain social. I wanted to rebuke her with, “What you do you mean, I’m plenty socia-”

Wait a tick.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed. Not sure when it occurred or how, but I really didn’t have that much of a social life anymore. A mere five years ago, my calendar was always full with this-party or that-gathering. Sometime between ’08 and ’09, it all dried up. Aside from the odd special occasion – weddings, open houses, baby showers et al. – I was alone. My regular hangout crews were family members…and my gaming group.

Maybe my sister had a point.

On a recent Monday, I had to text the gaming group informing them I was bowing out for the night. My work shift didn’t end until 7PM. Even if I did make it to Sansai’s house, I would only be there for two hours. Not enough time, or at least that was my excuse.

I texted Sansai, saying I couldn’t make it.

He replied with this picture.

A bottle of bourbon barrel-aged Belgian quad. That wasn’t just a “nectar-of-the-gods” beer; that was nectar strait from the four teats of the Beer Goddess herself! The picture was sent fifteen minutes before I was off shift.

I texted, “Why are you trying to tempt me?”

“Peer pressure,” he responded.

At 7PM, I sighed. “Just got off work. On my way.”

As I drove, I thought to myself, Maybe I am being too harsh on the group. Perhaps I can keep an open mind – give it a go still.

I was there in ten minutes.

When I came through the door, everyone was well into a game of Dominion. I took a seat and saw the quad bottle in all its majesty. I also saw the contents of said bottle poured into the glasses of Sansai and NinjaSpecs.

“So, is there any left?” I asked. (Well, more like pleaded.)

NinjaSpecs pretended to examine the bottle. “I suppose you could lick the bottom of it.”

My lower lip practically quivered…and I almost wept.

I’d been beer-trolled.

There are some jokes made at my expense that I can take in stride. Tricking me with false information? Easy to do, I’m kinda gullible. Tripping me? Been done before, I can walk it off. Luring me to a game night with a rare f**king beer…and not saving me any? No. Just…no. I have my limits, and they are petty. As we’ve already established, I am a hopelessly egotistical rabid manchild-in-training.

My sadness turned into pure, seething (but quiet) rage. If I didn’t have a smart phone to peruse the Internet on, I would’ve flipped the table. So, I sat there. Silently. Chiming in only with the occasional grunt or word.

Their game of Dominion had finished, and they decided to start another. BBC looked at me and asked, “Shall we deal you in?”

I responded with…

That round ended a half-hour later, and the group agreed on Heroes of Graxia next. BBC asked again, “You want in?”

I responded with…

Somewhere down the line, I also mentioned I had to leave at 9PM. Early work shift the next day and all; it was mostly true. The unspoken kernel of truth was that I wanted out of their quicker than a vegan in a chop-shop.

NinjaSpecs chimed in with, “Are you sure? You don’t want any of this Belgian quad?”

“But that’s yours,” I grumbled. Taking a sip as I said it.

It was glorious, which made me all the angrier.

8:50PM, and I was done. I got up, said my farewells and headed out the door. The air was cold, the ground – wet. I shivered both out of rage and from my complete lack of coat. I drove home with no radio, teeth in a vice-like grit.

That was it. I was done with that group. Or at least, done with the gaming aspect of it. No more weak gazelle, no more foil, and definitely…no more beer-trolling. They could summon another sucker for all I cared. Was it too impulsive a conclusion? Damn right, it was. But what else do you expect from a hopelessly egotistical rabid manchild-in-training?

Ugh, there has to be a way to shorten that – an acronym, perhaps? Let me think.

Hopelessy Egotistical Rabid Manchild-In-Training.

H-E-R-…oh…

I see what I did there.

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Thursday, January 30th, 2014 Beverage Blog, Musings 2 Comments

I work for tea money.

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