Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy and all of that

I've been thinking all night, what would Jared do? We had this same thing weeks ago with the "what would Janice do?" How would they deal with their own tragedies? I can't speak to what Janice would say, but I know Jared would tell me to get fucked and not worry about what he would do and I should do whatever I want to. And I guess that is what Jared would do... And probably Janice, at least in spirit. Shitty pun. Too soon. Ya, probably.

I missed my brother a lot tonight, but I was comforted by the (somewhat) unexpected attendance of Nate and Hope, and the baby Carmela. The little Mellow Yellow is the only small ape that I like at this point, and I gotta admit that I kinda like her (I'd lay down in traffic for that little worm...)

Holy shit, the Doctors have given me heart worms...

You know, this holiday sucked a lot in a lot of ways; but if it was going to suck, I can't imagine better people to have a sad holiday with. Thanks all. Seriously. I don't hold it together without you. Thanks for everything.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Jared left us last night for what I hope is a land of natural beauty, where he can hike, bike, swim, play music, surf, and laugh with Jen and others who've gone before him. My heart is broken - Jared was an awesome and loving son, and a good friend to me, to Devin, & to half the world, it seems. He loved life, he loved people, he loved family, and he especially loved Lynsey - life will never be the same without him. It was a priviledge to be his Mom, and know his friends, and to have shared 29 years of his life with him.
Thank you to all for loving him, and loving us - it's been a terrible and an awesome time, we couldn't survive this loss without your love & support.


We plan to have an informal memorial for the family, probably between Thanksgiving & Christmas. Next Summer we plan to have a large party to celebrate Jared's life and loves, here in the yard, with a band. We'll let everyone know as plans develop."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Jared passed peacefully this evening. Today, as every day, he was surrounded by those who loved him.

Words cannot express how much I loved him, and how much I will miss him.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and holding.

Take care, Greg"
"Jared rested quietly as many friends and family came to sit with him and remember the ways their lives have been touched by knowing and loving him.

It's been wonderful to see everyone during these last weeks and it's been a window into Jared's life I might otherwise not have seen. Stories told, a gentle touch on his arm, a quiet tear, a whispered word in his ear - the tender gestures of love, respect and sadness that often only show themselves during a time such as this.

I have deeply appreciated this time with Jared and those who love him.

Take care, Greg"

Friday, November 13, 2009

"This is the hardest thing I've ever had to write. Jared's struggles will soon be over - he's not expected to live through the weekend. Greg & I are very proud of the young man he became, and feel honored to have known him for 29 years, and to have been so close to him and so much a part of his life, as parents, and then as friends. It's been an awesome thing to see the deep relationships he's formed with so many. It's been awesome to see him and Devin be such close brothers and friends, and so close to both of us and our spouses, when so many families are torn apart. He loved life, & lived it with gusto. And he loved people, and wanted them to gather together - what an honor for us to be loved and supported by all of you, and to see the caliber of people he gathered around himself. Life is just unfair. We love Jared with all our hearts, and we know he knows that, and knows how much you all loved him, and how proud we all are of him. It's hard to let him go, but unfair to try to keep him here. He's fought a difficult battle, and it's been against him all the way. I hope he'll be able to relax now, and enjoy his next journey, free of the hurts from this world. I envision him taking the boat to the Summer Country - green lands, snowy mountains, and blue oceans that go on forever, surfing and hiking and laughing and playing music (& probably drinking beers). Many thanks for all your love & support."

It wasn't signed, but I'm assuming from what I've heard that this is from Chris.

I don't know what to say or feel.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Jared has been off all sedatives and pain meds since 7am, but he stopped responding to Neuro tests a couple days ago. His eyes are open, but fixed. His pupils sometimes dialate, sometimes not - depends on the time, I guess, and sometimes he blinks a little bit. He apparently feels no pain, and isn't fighting the breathing machine. Today he has a fever - about 101, despite being on antibiotics. They decided against the surgery to clear his lungs - it's too risky, especially with him in this condition - but his stats are ok for now, without it. Very, very bleak. They've spoken to us about Organ donation, and turning off the machines. They say the liklihood of a good outcome - 'good' in this case, meaning waking up, and having some semblance of "normalcy" - is unlikely in the extreme. I talked to Greg & we agreed that Jared wouldn't want that, but he would want a chance, for as long as there IS a chance - and we're not ready to make those kinds of decisions yet. There are too many cases where the "lost cause" patient has ended up recovering for us to give up this soon. We're all really down - as my neice put it, we've tied a big 'ole knot on the end of our rope, and we're just trying to hold on until Jared's ultimate fate declares itself. There is still hope, but these are very dark days...

This is the last update from Jared's Care Page. Chris is Jared's mom. We should know more early tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Ugh, I think I've finally got the swine flu...

And, my laptop needs a breathalizer. Or the very least the blog needs one.

And Our Heart Breaks

I met with on old friend tonight. I met with her really for the same reason that I've met with a couple of friends recently, which is to say that I needed someone to lean on. I'll spare you the dramatics and cut to the quick, I'm really depressed I have been intermittently looking for someone or something. I'm really uncomfortable with emotionally vulnerability, so it's been kinda awkward. Yea. What does Jen say? Blah blah blah? Is that it? Whatever that awkward turtle is, insert it forcefully here.

I get drunk and cry by myself. I listen to music or write words that no one ever sees and weep. I don't know how to console Scott or Katy. I don't know the words or the motions. I look at the people I love who are grieving and I've got nothing. My heart goes out, it aches, with the hope that our embrace will be comforting. But it never is. So I sit and observe their pain and they sit and observe mine and in our quiet moments we listen to songs and cry. And, frankly, it sucks.

I wish I could be more articulate than that.

The only thing that I can say is that I can't remember a time when I felt more alone.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I probably need to stop writing in any sort of public forum after work and a few cocktails. I'm going concisely explain what's going on and what I am looking at going forward.

As I think I made clear in the previous post (even if it was the only thing...)that I bluffed my way into my job. I was not qualified. Period. Since getting the keys, I've worked diligently to feel qualified and I feel like I'm finally there.

What I also tried to articulate in the last post was that in the process of pitching my business proposal, I offered what I believed to be a conservatively optimistic estimate of sales figures. The numbers that I worked with were from the Monsoon Room after it had been open a year and well established. While the expenses are about what I thought, the sales have been significantly less. This has led the owner's to become impatient. How impatient? I don't know. I don't know if I'm too up in my head or if I'm seeing some ominous signs for my future at the bar.

Jared was hit by a drunk driver. This bears repeating. Another friend we think was drugged at the bar. Try as we might, drunk driving and date rape are situations that we can't avoid. And, quite the contrary, we facilitate or abet this kind of behavior in the sale of alcohol. It is, as I mentioned, an occupational hazard. I think these are hazards we all strive to avoid, but after doing our due diligence, we avoid looking at the obvious: We send strangers, friends, and family away with maybe one too many drinks virtually every night.

I've mentioned many times how much I work. I knew going in that it was going to be something that required most of my attention, but I really had no idea what I was in for. I don't do anything else. All of my creativity and mental energy goes into the bar. If I'm not working on new product or trying to find more efficient ways to get things done, then I am negotiating personalities or state/local bureaucracies. I get home or have a free day, I am out of gas. I sit on the couch and watch television. Not only is my life passing me by, I'm doing very little with that I am experiencing. Too much of it is lost to a drunken haze in the middle of the night.

Finally, if you're reading this then you probably know me pretty well. You know that I wrestled with how to best apply my resources to make my community, if not the world, a better place. I vacillated between going back to school and opening a bar/restaurant for quite sometime before the 1022 fell in my lap. I justified it in a number of ways, not the least of which was that having a spot for people to come together and enjoy each other's company while enjoying unique cocktails would be a good thing for Tacoma and Hilltop. I still believe that this is the case. I still believe that 1022 in it's current incarnation is good for the neighborhood. I am truly proud of not only the space and my staff, but also of the cocktails and culture of drinking that we promote.

Now that caveats are dispensed with, a 600 sq. ft. craft cocktail lounge in Hilltop (or probably anywhere) is not the lever with which I will move the world. What is this lever? I don't know. I have serious doubts about it involving children. Regardless of whether or not that is where I end up, I need to go back to school. I need to take math classes, a few science classes, then go from there. It has been my intention for a while to go back to school to initially study chemistry, which would dovetail nicely with what I do now if I chose to stay in the field or would lead nicely into an environmental science degree.

I suspect things are going to change very soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

If I only could make a deal with god...

Well, here I am again. Nine months ago I was given the keys to 1022 and I gave a long, drunken, rambling account of how that came to be. Now I sit here in the middle of the night ready to give another drunken, rambling account, but this time it's in the shadow of the gallows, so to speak.

To make 1022 happen, I pitched an idea to the owners. In addition to the idea, they asked about numbers. They were clear and articulate that they have invested enough in projects that only break even, that they are ready to make money. And, yes, they have money. Enough to invest in projects...

So, I was pretty sure the project could make money. A little bit, at least. I had crunched the numbers and I thought...What I thought was really pretty irrelevant. Let's look at some facts for a moment, just for review:
- I "ran" the Moo for almost a year, but I really didn't do more than negotiate personalities, make sure the doors opened (and closed) everyday, and placed liquor orders from pre-existing par sheets.
- I wrote recipes and collaborated on a menu or two.
- I was reliable, worked busy shifts, and built up a clientele.

What I really did was be a lead bartender. I didn't do a whole lot more than that. Not because I didn't want to, but because that's all that she gave me for whatever reason. I realistically probably wasn't ready for more than that.

Fast-forward a year or so and I'm standing in front of the owner's of the building and the soon-to-be owners of the 1022 space and I'm bluffing, shucking, and jiving. I'm never dishonest, but I speak with more confidence about everything than is justified; I'm barely a bartender having worked very little high volume and a bit of "craft," if that's what you call what we did at the Moo. I present the numbers from the slower months when the Moo was up-and-going and present them as what we can do. I'd thought I'd factored in the Great Recession with my operating costs, I didn't figure that less people would show up...So, obviously they were into it, they gave me keys and money and here we are.

And here we are. And where we are is that I've felt that shadow of me bluffing myself into a position that I never had any right to be in. I didn't know enough about booze or service or the logistics of running a business to be given the keys to a place. Looking back in it now, it seems laughable. At that point in January, I knew as much about renovating, construction, and the daily grind of running a bar as I knew about elephant proctology. I didn't know how to work a power tool when I agreed to remake the place, much less a number of tools. I didn't know how to manage people, labor (hours worked plus about 20% on top to the government), liquor costs, where to source product, how to deal with vendors, what to do when...You get the idea. I had no idea. The most prominent signifier that I had no idea was that I was clueless about the extent of my ignorance. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have had the balls to bluff. I would've probably still tried (because I'm that kinda guy), but I would've shot my own dick off. It would have failed. Completely.

And now today I find myself staring down the barrel of that grand bluff to make 1022 happen. I told the owners that it could make money quickly. It hasn't. We break even every month. It's a bit disconcerting how close the numbers come. Since we've opened the bar has paid for itself and that's it. We cover operating costs and whatever arises, but no more. We paid for the patio, we pay for whatever, but at the end of the day, it breaks even. It's uncanny...and it's also not good enough. They, the owners, love the bar and are proud of it. They respect the work I've put in to make it happen. At the end of the day, they count beans and 1022 has none. This leaves me, after spending 7 months working an average of 60 hours a week, looking over my shoulder. Breaking even in a brutal economy in a fickle market isn't good enough, the bar needs to make money. If it doesn't, I think I'll either be lop-offed at the head or cut off at the knees. Either way it's an unfortunate truth that leaves me less invested than I was yesterday.

I feel like I should have a picture of my Bitburger and glass of Strega for this last disclosure, but right now I'm far too lazy and tired to get out my camera. Janice's death and Jared's (what do I call it? Devastating injury? Catastrophic? Accident?)...injury has me putting things in perspective. And let's do that for a moment. I designed and orchestrate a great bar. In any market, it's a pretty amazing bar. It does craft and it does homey, neighborhood flavor. It is both elegant and comfortable. It is something that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. And, at the end of the day, it's a bar in a working class neighborhood. We serve booze to people and make them feel good. We create a space where people can come together and in the best of all possible worlds they have a human moment. But, we also have over-service and drunk drivers as an occupational hazard – and for those keeping score, Jared was hit by a drunk driver.

And now I am digressing a fair bit, but I have to wonder about levers and fulcrums. Is this my best place to stand? Is this my best lever? Is this my best fulcrum? Is this the best application of the gifts and privilege afforded to me? To create a place where people come together where the outcome is intoxication and the occasional drunk driving? The occasional date rape? Not to be too melodramatic, but these are the realistic stakes that we work with every night.

I think I've answered my own questions.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For Giggles

This is pretty fun. Cheered me up when I was stressing about the empty bar last night. Nice to know that old, educated white men aren't really being impacted by the "recession."

Insomnia lost the battle last night as I was finally able to sleep through the night. The price was that I also slept till noon.

Two Things

So, I guess it's fuck you insomnia. Ya, this shit sucks, eyes burn and now I'm totally exhausted; but whatever, tonight I sleep like the dead.

And this:

Is this a soundcheck? Where is everybody? It's still fun...

Undead, undead, undead.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I've had only a few good nights sleep in the last few weeks, one of which involved a sleeping pill. I have no problem falling asleep, but I wake up after a couple of hours and then toss and turn for the rest of the night. For those of you not intimately familiar with insomnia, it leads to a certain fraying around the edges, an exhausted, pale view of the world. Suffice it to say, this sucks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ref. 71 and The Culture War

MSNBC is on in the background as I, bleary-eyed and exhausted, peruse the election results from last night. Well, Ref. 71 seems to have done well, but upon closer look there are troubling results. It seems to me that liberal urban centers foisting upon rural conservative communities moral decisions that are central to the culture war (no longer a debate...) eventually might come back to haunt us. This isn't to say that I don't think gays should have rights, ladies should be able to get abortions, or whatever. My only point is that it is not difficult to imagine a scenario where unemployment continues to rise and the sprawling strip malls that that wend through suburbs out to the sparsely populated rural areas becomes desolate, with businesses abandoned and boarded up, and haunted by angry, disaffected people. How will these people feel then when things like Ref. 71 are passed?

Maybe I am worrying too much. Maybe those who oppose "everything-but-marriage" should be not only dragged to water, but forced to drink. Maybe social change is affected by legislating something that people find reprehensible. I've been reading The Man in the High Castle after having read Plot Against America and I think that it's pervaded my thinking a bit. I've also been thinking a lot about a couple of influential books, Love They Neighbor and War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. I worry that this country is inherently unstable due to a very large cultural divide. There is historical precedent for people scapegoating and villifying minorities when the societies are under duress. Will this happen here? I don't know. I do know that a trip into east Pierce County reveals a world distinctly different from the Tacoma's isolated city center. Likewise a trip south into Lakewood will do the same.

The echo chamber is reverberating with the meme that right is on the verge of a civil war between the Palin/Beck factions and the more centrist conservatives. I encourage everyone to spend a few minutes watching Glen Beck. I think it's important to understand under whose sway large swaths of this country have fallen. I think it's also important to understand the message they are carrying. I concur with Chomsky that these people - the disenfranchised that have found a voice with Palin/Beck - should be taken seriously. I don't know what that means, but I suspect it doesn't mean dismissing them as uneducated country bumpkins.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our Friend

I keep trying to be strong, to quip appropriately and to express the appropriate moments of gravity. I keep thinking (I know...), what would Jared do? I'll be honest, I don't have the strength to be funny or to talk about Janice or to do anything. I can barely work and I feel utterly lost. Because, I can't help but think about her right now. And, frankly, it doesn't help. So, I'm lost. Drunk and crying alone in the middle of the night completely helpless and just...well, sobbing, listening to sad songs and crying. I am a utter, fucking mess. Everything I do everyday doesn't mean anything anymore. So, I get drunk and cry. I guess that's it.

Except, change is coming...