Holiday Party Jams

Shoot back to my Christmas Spirit Jam too and Happy Holidays!

I hate Christmas this year.  I didn’t always hate Christmas and I suspect I will not forever hate it, but right now, I am Scrooge. It’s not a misanthropic thing so much as a reaction to where I think I should be in life right now and the fact that the holidays seem to make mourning my father a thousand times more difficult. The latter reason also propels my mother to handle it by going ape-shit on the Christmas decorations and buying a very expensive tree which was three feet to big for the palatial home to handle.

But, please keep reading, I am not going to continue the negativity.

I miss my old man who also always hated the season because his father passed away in an extremely traumatic way during the holidays several decades ago. I also know the old man would not want me to wallow in sadness and he would be cracking jokes as best he could. Luckily for the case of being positive, because I bartend and because I know so many people locally, I have gone to several holiday parties and had some pretty hilarious experiences  I am slowly feeling festive and I invite you to learn why.

No, I also have never heard “Aqualung” at a holiday party and it is actually in reference to a generally but slightly creepy DJ at the banquet hall where I tend bar.  You will notice a theme of non-seasonal musical choices here although do not fret; there will be choice cuts along the way like my boy Derek Trucks doing “Greensleeves” which I know is kind of a Christmas song right? Anyway, I digress as usual and am missing the point of this paragraph which is to say the creepy DJ is only creepy in that he is quite a bit older than the most of us at the banquet center and is always hitting on girls that could easily be his daughters and who also are not interested. Gotta hand it to him for trying.

He played this song many times at the holiday party for a local car dealership. Those ones are interesting because you have everyone from the secretary to the owner to the salesmen attending so it really makes for a strange mix of people who usually do not hang out socially. I made a million white Russians, as well as cheap vodka tonics by the score while the tips got higher and the peeps got drunker. Afterwards, for the first time ever, I decided to go out with some of my fellow employees to a Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer before last call. I’m not prejudiced against the people I work with, I just live farther away than most of them and often have other plans for after work. And, I tried to just go to Wendy’s and get a cheeseburger because I was starving, but it was closed so I really had no choice because I was famished. Open late, my ass.

When I got to Wild Wings, the creepy DJ was there and bought all ten of us a drink which was very nice of him. He also got some appetizers which I attacked with gusto as I had been denied my artery clogging two dollar Junior Bacon and Cheese minutes earlier. I’m sure the tall IPA and artichoke dip I sucked down weren’t great for me either, but again I stray from the point. The DJ, while everyone is talking to each other loudly, leans over and points at this bartender named Kathy and whispers “Is she single?”

What I heard was “is she cool” like does she smoke pot a la Dazed and Confused to which I replied “Yeah, I think she’s cool man”. When he used the restroom, Kathy left saying he kept hitting on her and all I could think of was “Slowride” by Foghat. I appreciate the free drink and I respect the enthusiasm of a DJ to hit on a girl so much younger and out of his reach. Happy holidays and good luck to you sir!

The next two parties I’d like to talk about are ones I attended. My dive bar had it’s company party the night after my trip to Wild Wings and I ended up getting out early because some idiot executive had hired a science experiment exhibition crew instead of a band, DJ, or even a magician. Granted, the science shit was cool but this group, also a car dealership, was mostly mechanics who just wanted the free vittles and the possibility of winning a raffle or impressing someone higher up with their witty conversation. So I got to the bar before ten with a green Santa hat on and I soon had a Wild Turkey on the rocks in hand and was shooting pool with my lead singer‘s father, a local pro. I was feeling good.

Then the shit hit the fan and it had to do with my lead singer and two separate crazy woman. The first approached me and asked me if I was seeing anybody and because this girl has a serious local reputation and I was not attracted to her, I quickly suggested she should seek the attention of another related friend who I knew liked her. She then decided to rip into my lead singer for taking some friend of hers home three weeks before who also used to date her brother.  He had told me about it and that nothing had happened and I related this information to the girl. Yeah, it barely made sense to me too and neither did the next incident two minutes later outside when one of the local bartenders and known hellion starts literally yelling at the lead singer because he didn’t call her father back in relation to some logging job.

As with the girl before, I jumped to the defense of my boy saying “You know it’s the freakin holidays, can’t we all just have a good time?” This was met with a scowl and a few beautiful moments of silence before she just started swearing again. Unfortunately  the drawback of smalltown-living is everyone is in everyone else’s shit out of lack of stimulation. This was turning into a very not jolly holiday so we did what we would normally do when things got weird at the bar which is take the back door when the two crazy girls went to pee. The holidays seem to rile other people up too.

I don’t like this song but it’s an apt choice here and is on the jukebox at the dive bar far more than anyone should have to withstand. Maybe finding a new bar or even not going to bars anymore is a choice for the new year?

For my last holiday party that is worth mentioning, I was invited for the second year to a very swanky restaurant’s holiday party, located down on a peninsula in a very popular coastal town where two former presidents are sometimes in attendance. I had a great time last year except I abused the privilege of the very nice open bar and drank all of the high end bourbons from Maker’s Mark to Booker’s, each one more potent than the next. Needless to say, I don’t remember much and this year I intended to network which really means talk to as many women as possible and invite them all to come see our band on New Year’s Eve. I was pretty successful at this without being obnoxious, at least in my humble opinion.

The downstairs bar of this place had a little dock where people smoked cigarettes and a vicious wind came off the water. I was demonstrating  the type of dancing I’d maybe do at a music festival to some younger folks and set my whiskey on a metal table. Like two minutes later, it slid right off the table and bounced off the ground, not shattering but certainly emptying. It had frozen up around the bottom and become a serious hazard and spilled all my whiskey.

Luckily, a very pretty girl offered to make me a margarita shot which is an offer I took up. It seems some dishwasher was dancing up on her on the pumping dance floor upstairs and she wanted to know if I’d help deflect. In my altered state of mind, I assumed she wanted me so I said I’d meet her up there post haste. The very young DJ played this song numerous times. Catchy once, annoying more than that.

The dancing with my tequila girl was not to be. I had attended the party with the head bartender and her husband, the General from my dive bar days, as well as another bartender whom we picked up on the way. This other bartender was three years younger than me and owned her own house paid for by tending bar. She also rode horses. I have a thing for equestrians and I know it’s a little weird so we don’t have to get into it too much. Needless to say, I was instantly attracted to her but she seemed to be more concerned with slamming Bud Light and talking to the elderly patrons who also came to the party. I went up from my shot to find the General and tell him we had to stay a while longer so I could dance when I saw my horse girl falling off the front porch of the bar. She apparently cannot handle her booze at all and we had to quickly leave. So much for Christmas love.

Is there a theme here? I think, at heart, everyone wants to be happy for Christmas and we can find that through relationships with other people, whether ones we have or ones we’d like to create. I know a big part of my own disillusionment with the holidays is that it will largely just be my mom and I this year and would probably be better if I had a significant other whom I really liked or maybe even a family as this is really what the holidays are about.

I was talking to an old dishwasher soon before I spilled my whiskey about finding love in the modern age and he said “You know man, you probably got so many women who like you and you don’t even know it.” He looked vaguely like Jerry Garcia so I took his advice to heart. If you got loved ones, tell them you love them and if you don’t, I firmly believe you will find them if you are supposed to.

O,k so one more song and it is in fact Christmas flavored but it made me laugh so hard that I can’t not include it. UH HUH! Happy Holidays!

I fixed my record player!

After months of doing nothing about it and occasionally asking the lead singer in my band for help, I fixed the receiver part of my turn table so I can again spin records. I missed it so much that I listened to records all morning while cleaning up the house and making breakfast instead of writing this very blog post that I started Sunday morning. My iPod is long broken, my cd collection is a mess and the PA in my jam room is not hooked up so the vinyl set up is my only way to let loose with the tunes besides a couple ancient radios. Vinyl is the best way to listen to music and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until the first few chords of the song below rang out in my living room at a high volume.

It wasn’t that I was lazy in attempting to fix my record player, I just have little confidence in my ability to fix anything. This is a silly notion since I am not a complete idiot and gain practical knowledge with my increasing years, Somehow, one of the two speaker wires in my left speaker had gotten wrapped up around a metal piece in the middle of where you hook the two wires. It must have been shorting out the whole system whenever I turned it on which is why it would play music for an instant then cut out. I rewound the wire, it fired right up and am proud. This song always pleases, although I’ve shared it before. It really enhanced my bacon cooking yesterday morning. I don’t know where I got it. It’s case is all messed up but it plays well so i assume it was a yard sale. I didn’t touch this record for years and now have it in heavy rotation.

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Religious songs for the non Religious

I would not consider myself a religious person. I am certainly not an atheist or agnostic or any kind of Satanist, I just sort of meandered through my Lutheran upbringing. I ambled through years of Sunday school and somehow also got confirmed, much to the happiness of my elderly mid-western Lutheran grandmother, although I always felt like I was just going through the motions. It’s not that I didn’t believe in what I was doing, I just never felt strongly about any of it and my main goal was to appease my grandmother and parents. This is not a good basis for strong faith.

Recently, I was walking my dog on a freezing cold Sunday morning when I heard the Avett Brother ‘s song “Me and God” on a gospel station I had flipped to because I was rocking my old FM radio since my iPod has no juice in it. I was having a rough morning, contemplating my love life, my hangover, and my general grip on existence in this long cold winter.  It was sunny despite the cold and the rays of light picked up the billions of tiny ice crystals on the grass of the field and I just thought “there has gotta be  a God”.

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