Posts Tagged ‘Richmond’

I was pretty stoked the other day when I saw on Facebook that The National  had booked Of Monsters and Men to play November 26th.  I mentioned recently that Florence + The Machine is one of the bands that I most want to see perform live right now; Of Monsters and Men was another one.  I’m so in love with their song “Little Talks” — the music, the vocals, the lyrics.  The lead singer’s got a beautiful voice that’s similar to Bjork but without trying too hard to be weird.  The other singer looks like a gnome.  I love that they have someone who plays accordian and people who play horns.  It’s just a total package of awesome.  Here’s a video of them performing it live:

Anyway, I went ahead and bought two tickets.  I don’t know who I’ll be taking with me yet but I’ve got time to hopefully find someone. 



Anyway… then this past Monday I get an email newsletter from the local rock station telling me about this big promotion they’re giving away called The Ultimate Ticket.  You and a friend get to go to Voodoo Experience featuring Green Day, Jack White, AWOLNATION, Silversun Pickups and MORE in New Orleans October 26th-28th.  As if a trip to New Orleans wasn’t sweet enough, but when I checked out Voodoo Experience  there’s like a zillion bands playing.

And if that wasn’t enough, the winner also gets tickets to every show at The National for a year– in the sweet VIP section!  I suspect that might make for pretty good date bait, eh?

Anyway, it sounded so good I set up alarms on my phone all week to make sure I turned on the radio and listened for my shot to win.  And Monday I heard the call-out, dialed and dialed and dialed… and I won on the first day!  No, I didn’t actually win The Ultimate Ticket– I qualified to win.  Once each day last week they qualified a person to be entered into a drawing to win The Ultimate Ticket.  The promotion is being sponsored by a local car company, and you can drop your name into a hat there at the car dealership, and I think they’re drawing some names from there to add to the mix.  I’m not sure how many people will ultimately qualify– I’m guessing it will be somewhere between 10 and 20 people — but then those people get some sort of prize (we’ll be getting a call this week to tell us what the prize is), and we get to go to “a big shindig” the radio station is holding, and they’ll pick the grand prize winner there.  I figure I’ve got a 5-10% chance of winning the big prize, which is much better odds than winning the lotto, right?

So… I’ve got two tickets to a “big shindig” held by the local rock station to go to, tickets to Of Monsters and Men, and the possibility of tickets to a big music festival in New Orleans… and no dates for any of ’em– yet.  Not a bad problem to have I suppose, though the trick is to find someone willing to both go out with a 45 year old man and also want to go see a new rock show and go to a rock station party?  If I’m lucky enough to win the trip to New Orleans it’ll be nice to have the problem of finding someone to go with me there 🙂

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If you’ve been following my blog for at least a couple months you know that I’ve been on a quest to expand my social horizons.  Being married for 14 years and then recently divorced has left me in a gigantic social void that I’ve been attempting to crawl out of by going out and joining new social groups and hosting a party recently.

About  a month ago I wrote a post lamenting that I didn’t have a woman in my life who would go with me to events like the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ festival (…She’d Like Bourbon and BBQ), and was kinda down that I couldn’t even rustle up a friend or two to go with me to what sounded like an awesome event.  A few of you urged me in the comments to go solo because… well, where better place to find a woman who loves bourbon and BBQ than at a bourbon and BBQ festival?  It was a compelling argument… but ultimately the logistics involved and the meager funds available at the time had me choose plan B– bourbon and homemade BBQ at home.  I vow that next year, if I’m still single and still can’t rustle up any friends to go, I’ll go even if I have to fly solo!

Speaking of flying solo, I am going out tomorrow night to see Neko Case perform at The National, a really cool venue in downtown Richmond to see live music.  In my 20s, going to see live music was something I loved doing and did quite frequently, and would even go alone if the band was someone I really wanted to see and no one else was interested.  The National is an old movie theater that’s been refurbished as a live venue and I’ve heard it’s a really cool place to see bands play, so I’m really looking forward to finally checking it out.


Here’s a description of the place from a recent write-up:

The National opened for the first time in 1923 and was the place to go for silent movies, vaudeville acts, and musical acts.  The venue stayed open until 1983, when the last film shown was Hercules, starring Lou Ferrigno.  A cult classic now?  Of course.  Then?  A far cry from Orson Welles and Basil Rathbone.  There was talk of demolishing the site, when in 1986 Richmond’s historical organization saved The National from becoming no more.

Now The National is open, and careful renovation has restored the original friezes of capering nymphs, and even an uncovered nursery mural – used in the original building’s nursery – a service provided in the 1920’s to patrons.  There are cushy balcony seats (with cup holders!), and nice VIP boxes off to the side (but those are reserved for VIP sponsors of the club).  The first floor is all open standing area, although certain acts ask that seating be provided there as well.  In that case, the management sets up folding chairs, but you can still stand off to the side or in the mezzanine area.

There are three downstairs bar, one upstairs bar (not including the VIP bar), and The National serves food…

I’m super-stoked to see Neko Case.  I first came across her when I stumbled across her album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.  Each track I sampled was so gorgeous and haunting that I impulsively downloaded the entire album on iTunes and didn’t regret it one bit.  Every time my iPod randomly shuffles up one of her songs I just lose myself in the mood she creates in each song.

the lovely and talented Neko Case

Seeing her live is going to be an especially nice treat because she’s a gorgeous redhead and old like me.  Below is a link to my favorite song of hers:

After falling for her solo work, I discovered that she also performs occasionally with The New Pornographers, and loved the songs where she was the lead singer.  My favorite is this one:

I dig the harder edge and energy, but I doubt she’ll be performing any of these for her solo show.

Are any of you fans of Neko Case?  Have you seen her live?  Do you ever go see live music solo?

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Years ago I lived in a really cool apartment building in the Fan with my fiance.  Along with my full-time job, I also worked a part-time job, and as I got to know some new hires at the part-time job I realized one of them had just moved into the same apartment building I lived in.  I asked her what she thought about the place, and she said she really liked it and liked the neighbors she’d met so far.  We chatted about a couple neighbors we both knew, then I asked if she’d met Joanna, who lived next door to me on the second floor.  Joanna was a sweet girl, short, with dark hair and a little bit kookie.  My fiance & I had nicknamed her Mrs. Kravitz (“Abner!!”) because she had a habit of peeking into our windows from the fire escape stairs and starting up conversations if she saw one of us.  When I described Joanna to my coworker, recognition dawned in her eyes.  “Oh yes, me and some friends met her and her boyfriend the other night.”

“Boyfriend?” I was confused.  “Joanna doesn’t have a boyfriend.”

“Well, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just some random date.  They were very, VERY friendly with each other and certainly acted like they knew each other very well.”

Hm, that just didn’t sound right.  Joanna’s love life was a topic she often brought up when she came by the apartment, and she’d recently popped by just the past weekend and there was currently no guy in her life.

I decided to clarify.  “You sure it was the 2nd floor, and she was short, with dark hair?”

She nodded.  “Yeah, we were hanging out on the 2nd floor deck last weekend, and she and her boyfriend came out of their apartment onto the deck, they were pretty drunk and they were listening to old records.  It was funny because they started playing ABBA songs and they knew all the words, though to be fair we were singing along too.  A little later they all of a sudden started making out and then went back inside and I think they started going at it right there on the living room floor where we could hear them.”  She laughed.

Wait a minute.  Joanna lived behind us, in the back of the apartment building and didn’t have an entrance to the deck from her apartment.  Then it began to click.  Me & my fiance lived in the front apartment and we had an entrance to the deck from our apartment.  And just last weekend me & my fiance had fixed a kickass meal and drank several bottles of wine while we listened to old records.  One of which may have indeed been The Best of ABBA.  My fuzzy memory seemed to recall talking to some people out on the deck, but there was no light and it was quite dark so I didn’t remember their faces.

And… my fiance could also be described as short, dark hair, and kookie…

And lastly, I remember how the evening had concluded…

My face flushed a bright red.  My coworker looked at me funny.  “What?” she asked.  I didn’t know what to say.

“Nothing, nevermind.”

“Oh come on, don’t leave me hanging!”

It was inevitable that she’d figure it out eventually, with us being neighbors and all.  I suppose it was best to just get the embarassment out of the way now.

“That wasn’t Joanna that you met last weekend.  That was my fiance… and me.”

“What?  Oh…” it was her turn to flush red.  “Oh.  I see,” she arched her eyebrow at me and chuckled as we went back to work.  I think my blush lasted a full hour.

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It’s been quite the momentous week for me.  It started improbably enough last week after getting off from my part-time job super-stressed out and grumpy.  I’d worked all day at my full-time job, went in to my part-time job working at the local college campus, and had to deal with clueless rude teenagers for four hours.  I either needed some stiff drinks or some comfort food, and since I had to get back up early in the morning to go to work, I elected for food.  Some friends had recently raved about a place called Cookout, which used to be a Bullets burger joint up on Broad Street, and apparently they have insanely good food for insanely reasonable prices and stay open insane hours of the day and night.

Fastfood Nirvana

So I get there 11:30 on a Tuesday night and it was packed with people, choking the double drive-through and waiting in the walk-up line.  I decide to go up to the window to order, and as I was waiting someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I worked for the college (pretty much an ice-breaker question since I was in uniform).  She introduced herself and said she worked at the hospital and we mentioned names of people we knew that worked with the other.  Small world!  Anyway, she gave off this incredibly friendly, positive and smart vibe and was totally adorable, and after a little conversation I got her cell number to text her my number and name so we could be Facebook friends.

Now, for those new to my blog, a quick overview of where I am right now in my life socially—I’m recently divorced after being married for 12 years, I’ve got two kids and three jobs.  Even though I’ve been living a “bachelor life” for 18 months, I have practically no social time—I’m always either working, sleeping, or I am with my kids for visits.  I’m taking steps to change that—recently my ex moved into another house, I moved back in to our old house, and hopefully in the next couple months I’m going to get the placed fixed up so I can get a roommate.  That will let me cut back on the part-time hours I work and actually be available for social outings, having friends over to the house, and things like that.

What I found nice about my new Facebook friend is the possibility of expanding my social circles, which has been pretty static for a long, long time.  I mean, it’s possible I might not ever see her again, but then again maybe she’ll come to my housewarming party and bring some friends, or maybe she’ll invite me out to something she has going on out of the blue.  Who knows who I might get to meet through her down the road?  It’s just kinda nice to have that possibility open up out of nowhere.

So the next day I was in a great mood… and the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011 hits, with the epicenter here in Virginia roughly 30 miles from where I work.  The ground moves, windows are loudly rattling, and I’m suddenly very aware of two floors of steel and concrete above my head.  I nab my cell phone and keys and make a beeline to the exit, and stand around with my coworkers in the parking lot, mildly freaked out by such a strong earthquake here in a state not at all known for earthquakes.  The last one we felt was 8 years ago that was considerably milder than that one, and that one was the first earthquake I’d ever felt here in Virginia.  No damage done, and life goes back to normal.

As the week moves on, I’m looking forward to Friday because it’s the birthday for one of my co-workers at my part-time job, and we’ve made plans to go out for drinks afterwards to celebrate her birthday, along with several other co-workers.  Now, I’ve tried to tag along for social outings with some of my coworkers ever since my ex and I split up, but just about all of them are considerably younger than me and I guess they don’t really see me as someone willing to go out and get down.  This time around though I manage to get in on the plot and am totally stoked when we get off at 11pm and all of us head over to Mulligans.  Turns out it’s karaoke night.

Uh oh…

All of my coworkers are excited about karaoke.  Another one of my coworkers who was off that night has already been at Mulligans for an hour or two and is ahead of us on the drinks, and on the singing.  He’s having a ball and getting everyone into the groove, being our de facto host, with his lovely and sweet girlfriend as hostess.

I’m a torn about the karaoke.  I have always had a pretty good case of stage fright and a long history of being bashful and shy.  I also love to sing and I’m not terrible at it.  In fact, right out of high school I was lead singer in a rock band for about a year and had a great time, in part due to the large amounts of alcohol I had to drink to beat back the stage fright and shyness.

I order a couple highballs — bourbon and ginger ale — and quickly drink them down.

There’s a book at the table that has a list of all the available songs and I quickly turn to the Rs to find R.E.M., my old standby.  There’s nothing from them in the book—what??  I flip through some more, trying to find other songs I used to sing in the band back in the day and don’t have very much luck.

Meanwhile our hostess is giving me requests.  She tells me she’s got some favorite songs that her boyfriend never sings for her, and asks me to sing them.  Fat Bottom Girls by Queen.  Yikes—Freddy Mecury is probably overly ambitious for my vocal range.  Maggie May by Rod Stewart.  Hm, I could probably pull that off.  Add It Up by Violent Femmes.

Now that is a fucking cool ass song!  Do I have the balls to get up and sing it?

Why yes, I had this on vinyl...

I order a couple more bourbons…

All my other co-workers including birthday girl have been up there and sung at least once.  I’m looking through the book some more, trying to hunt down something a bit safer, something I know I can nail.  My hostess is back at my elbow, giving me a super-serious look.  “You’re running out of time!  You need to get on the list.  Now!”

She’s gorgeous and young.  She’s got tattoos and a killer smile.  She wants me to sing her a song.

I scribble my selection on a slip of paper.  “What did you pick?” she asks me.  “It’s a surprise,” I say.  I drop the selection in the box, and go get one more drink.  Before I’m done my name is called.

Shit!  I run up on stage.  There’s a tinge of stage fright poking around the edges, but the bourbon’s provided enough liquid courage so that excitement is mostly what I feel.  Can I do it?  Can I sound at least okay?

Daaaaaay… after day….. I will waaaaaalk… and I will play

But the daaaaaay… after today….. I will stop and I will start

 Why can’t I get just one kiss?  Why can’t I get just one kiss?

There may be some things that I wouldn’t miss

But I look at your pants and I need a kiss

Violent Femmes– the crowd goes nuts.  Host and hostess and my coworkers are there cheering me on.  I think I’m getting the pitch right and trying to make sure I’m projecting but this is just such a damn fun song and I’m drunk and the music is awesome and I just roll with it.

I stumble a bit on the Oh, ma-mama, mama-mo-ma-mum parts but I recover nicely and the audience doesn’t seem to notice.  And then it’s over and I get the applause and the hugs and the back slaps and people telling me I sounded great.  Flush with praise and excitement, I scribble down another selection and give it to the guy, but about 10 minutes later it’s last call and they shut down the karaoke.

Well, shoot.  I get a large glass of water.  My evening is over already…

Or is it?  Most of my coworkers roll out quickly, but I’m talking with my host and hostess as we leave and some friends of theirs invite them to an apartment to continue the good times.  I’m surprised when the invitation is extended to me!  2:30 in the morning with a hurricane coming and I’m contemplating going to a Fan party?

I miss The Fan...

“Sure!” I say, and hop in the car with host and hostess.  Why the fuck not?  One advantage of being single, huh?

Going into the Fan apartment I’m flushed with memories of good times.  I lived in this area for a decade and went to many Fan parties back before marriage and kids.  Hardwood floors, tall ceilings, sparsely furnished with essentials—comfy furniture, TV, stereo, books, bed.  My empty hand is quickly filled with a beer and we talk about music and books and life and love.  We soon move out onto the back porch, and I’m grooving on the familiar small Fan yard, and the strong breeze, the air smells like the ocean as Irene’s long reach begins to gently lash at the trees.  Everyone is super-friendly and warm, lots of hugs and holding hands and welcoming body language… I love ‘em and they love me too, and my worries over being looked at as the weird single old-guy appear to be unfounded.  I kinda want this moment to last forever…

Coolest. Houses. Ever.

Finally, it’s time to call it night.  Host and hostess take me back to my car and I fire it up.  The clock tells me it’s after 4:30 in the morning.  Yowza!  I drive home in the quiet darkness, buzzing off love and warmth and good vibrations.  I get to the house, jump on Facebook to update my status…

…crawl into bed as the sky begins to lighten and the wind and rain pick up.  Irene approaches.  I think about how much fun that was, and the new people I met, and hope that perhaps my social circles widened just a little bit more and I’ll get to do this again.

So, had any interesting or unusual things happen to you recently, natural-disaster-related or no?  Share in the comments!

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[Another post ported over from Livejournal, originally written a couple years ago, seemed to fit my blog’s theme pretty well 🙂 ]

There’s been a distinct and depressing lack of eye-candy in my life of late.

My first real job out of college was working full-time as a dispatcher for the campus police (incidentally, it’s what I did part-time while attending). Lots of eye candy to chew on between the students, the cute and perky security guards that checked in with us, and several cute and perky fellow dispatchers.

I left that job to work for Circuit City. The corporate offices of the retail giant had a plethora of cute and perky, with the addition of a smaller but not insignificant quantity of more seasoned management level women who oozed confidence and ambition, raising their C&Pness to downright sexiness. Riding in the elevators there was pure sensoral bliss with a luscious mix of perfume combining with the pleasant visuals. One lady I miss seeing in particular was Sasha, a woman my age who managed a dozen or so visual artists and who dripped Mediterranean sultriness with every swaying step. A bit aloof but always out and about in the halls or in meetings, she was the perfect eye-candy and often had the added bonus of trailing several hot visual artists in her venusean wake.

Economic woes nailed Circuit City hard some years back and I got caught up in a mass of layoffs. I ended up at my current employer, making more money and being much more satisfied with my work than I ever was at Circuit City (where I always felt underappreciated and underutilized). Still, after I got over my anger at being axed from Circuit City, I found myself missing working there.

Well, not really missing the work. Missing the eye candy.

See, the company I work for now is a manufacturing company. Where Circuit City was chock full of female friendly Advertising, Graphic Design and Marketing jobs, my current employer is chock full of engineers. Engineers who delight in making, testing and analyzing blenders, toasters, irons, coffee makers… not exactly sexy work. So nearly all my co-workers are guys. That’s not to say there aren’t some attractive women around, but they are outnumbered by orders of magnitude.  Passing in the hall, sitting in all the cubes, attending all the meetings are male engineers. Upstairs is our Marketing division and there *are* several very attractive ladies who work up there, but our jobs don’t have us crossing paths much and I guess we work different hours because I almost never pass them in the halls coming on or leaving work.

Sigh. My visual sweet tooth has been severely neglected.

Thank god for Billie Jean.

Fridays I will sometimes treat myself to lunch out. Just me and a good book and some tasty meal. One day I’d grown tired of most of the restaurants around here, so I ended up driving down Broad Street some distance to Nick’s Roman Terrace. Nick’s is a great Greek/Italian joint that I have ordered take-out from before. They’ve got awesome rolls and their pasta dishes are tasty and generous. Combine with reasonable prices and you got a winner.

One day I strolled in the place for a sit-down and this lovely young woman comes up, flashed a pretty smile and led me to my seat. She ends up being my waitress too, and her pleasant disposition combined with good looks and fine service had me leaving an hour later with a smile on my face.

Not surprisingly, the next Friday I found myself heading back up to Nick’s. Sure enough, my waitress was there again and I got seated at her table. Week 3 she recognizes me and greets me with “Hi Hon. How are you? Unsweetened tea, right?”

Sigh. You had me with “Hon.”

Somewhere along the line I catch her name, Billie Jean. How interesting– I’d always found the name a bit stodgy despite Michael Jackson’s attempt at sexifying the name back in the day. But this little lady turned that name into a velvet roll of the tongue.

After several months of Friday lunches with Billie Jean, I was totally smitten.

Suffer me the privilege of recounting the whys and wherefores of Billie Jean’s allure…

First and foremost, she had that aura of approachability and down to earth-iness that makes it easy to strike up a conversation with her. Blessed with a great smile, and a voice that’s slightly deep and with a tinge of some sort of accent that’s impossible for me to place– like she’s the daughter of at least one immigrant. Perhaps she’s related to the Greeks that run the place?  She had smooth milky-white skin and auburn hair she wore in a bun but looked to be long enough to come past her shoulders. She wore a tiny diamond nose ring and a had medium-sized tattoo on her lower back (right at that sexy spot where the narrow waist yields ground to the luxurious slope of the butt) which gives her that art-girl aura that I find drop-dead sexy. She was tall, somewhere between 5′ 10″ and 6′, with a graceful neck and long shapely legs. She’s got wide hips, a shapely ample butt and a slight “potbelly.”

Remember in Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis’ girlfriend talks about wishing she had a potbelly? Billy Jean has one that she typically reveals (along with that sexy back tattoo) with short shirts that tend to ride up a bit when she hurries from table to table. It’s not a large belly, but rather than the chiseled six-pack abs or even convex stomach that many models and celebrity women seem to sport, hers is pleasantly rounded and smooth, offering up her adorable belly button on a plush pale pillow.

Her breasts sit high and proud and luscious; the last I saw her she was wearing a white shirt see-though enough that I could tell she wore one of those broad-cloth bras that bosomy women wear to keep their goods in check. She’s got a woman’s body, someone whom you could imagine wrestling with, rolling around and having good time with without worrying about breaking in half. Most of the “sexy” women offered up by Hollywood today look like sickly little girls with boobs that look large simply because they’re perched atop too-thin bodies with boy-hips. How can you find someone sexy who looks fragile? Fuck the waif look– gimme Marilyn Monroe curves!

Ah, Billie Jean– your boyfriend is a lucky man. I assume you must have one since if no one is enjoying that body physically and interacting with your lovely personality longer than a lunch then that’s a real tragedy. I have to hope the world isn’t that cruel.

Thank you for bringing regular Eye Candy back into my life. You are a full-flavored pleasure.

Got any fun eye-candy stories to share?  Let me know in the comments!

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