August 7 1998, Friday
or the evening, Kim had made big plans to go out with Spunky Lisa and any of a number of potential Spunky Lisa suitors (Matt Rogers among them). Indeed, tonight's drama and potential for excitement seemed rooted in the possibilities and problems that come when several boys all end up at a bar with the one girl they all want. Some boy ends up winning and the others, well, they lose.
Kim has been very good to me since my arrival. She has been keeping to a very domestic, traditional female role, cooking me food, fetching me beers, and doing everything else the avererage American man fantasizes his dream woman would do for him if only she existed. I offer to help her, but she won't hear of it.
Tonight she cooked up some sort of chicken-nacho concoction, which she served with red wine, the kind that comes in a corked bottle (not a three litre jug). We expected Matt Rogers to come by around 7:00pm, but the evening was so romantic we couldn't help ourselves. The music was loud and we weren't paying much attention when he began knocking on the door. I looked out the window during a break in the action and saw him sunning himself on the hood of his car.
n my suggestion, Matt had brought over his Pentium computer. He'd been unsuccessful installing the new dumpster-dived motherboard and needed help. I love doing this sort of thing, so I quickly put the motherboard in, along with the 166 MHz Pentium processor he'd bought today (for something like $60 - a little steep if you ask me). I provided all sorts of helpful tips and pointers as I tinkered away, since I've had lots of experience. Much of the know-how in this field is strictly hands-on. For example, I know for a fact that IDE and floppy connectors can be put in backwards without causing damage, but I've never read that anywhere.
But then I did something really stupid. I tried to figure out which pins in an unmarked header where the reset pins by randomly shorting out combinations of pins. This worked once before on this same motherboard, and I thought it would be okay to do it again. It wasn't okay. The moment I shorted out the powersupply's 5 volt and ground line, there was a blue spark and that was it, the motherboard refused to boot from then on. It was really depressing, especially given the fact that we'd had the thing running nearly perfectly only a few minutes before.
I had an idea that could perhaps get the board running anyway by jumpering around a possible blown trace somewhere in the many layers of the board. So I ran a wire from 5 volts to where it should have been on the header. It was a pretty desperate measure, and no, it didn't work.
So, after all that, I had the humiliating task of putting Matt's old motherboard back into his machine. I installed the 166 MHz Pentium in its processor socket even though the board goes no faster than 100 MHz. It's better than the way it was: 75 MHz.
n the midst of all these headaches and heartbreaks, Spunky Lisa showed up fresh from Shabbat with her friend (and suitor) Ben. Ben is a well-preserved 37 year old radical vegan atheist rabbi currently married to a transexual woman who doesn't want to have a penis installed. No, I'm not making this up. One of the many cool things about Judaism is that there's no special conflict between being one of its religious leaders and also being an atheist. As Ben himself put it, "After the Holocaust, who can believe in God?"
Ben the Atheist Rabbi (left) engaged in an animated political-philosophical discussion with Matt Rogers (right) in Kim's apartment.
We had a long rambly chaotic discussion of all sorts of things. Most of the time, Matt and the Rabbi talked ascetic philosophy with each other while Kim and Lisa had an entirely different (more gossipy) conversation. I was mostly the spectator, contributing a few little humourous one-liners in between sips of vino. Kim was rather stoned by this point.
punky Lisa changed into one of Kim's dresses and we all headed out, Lisa driving us in her car. Our destination: the Blind Pig, a bar that features a big music stage and a relatively cheap pitchers of good beer. Nirvana played there once.
We soon found ourselves clustered around a little table drinking an incredibly good local Michigan summer microbrew called Oberon. The bands (and we stayed for two of them) played extremely loud so of course we couldn't understand what we were saying to each other.
Most of the customers around us and standing solidly in front of the stage were vaguely alternative in appearance, though no one was flamboyantly so.
The first band looked like they might be ska (they had button-up shirts and ties but otherwise were mostly just late-90s hipsters) They opened with a cover of a ska-ish Pixies song "...hope everything is al-right." It's never a good idea for a band that does original music to open with a cover, so I sort of lost interest in them after that. Besides, they seemed always on the verge of launching from polished post-grunge into something much less appealing: whiteboy funk.
The next band wasn't anything too great either, but it was the band we'd come to see. Sadly, I have subsequently forgotten their name. The band was headed up by a tall guy with long wavy blond hair, like a rejuvenated Robert Plant. He and his bandmates wore leather pants and did rockstar moves as they performed. I kept thinking as I looked at them singing and playing their neo-classic rock that here is a vestige of 80s glam, done shamelessly for the entertainment of a happy crowd that appeared to be listening to them without irony. It wasn't obnoxious glam, nothing like you see in old Cinderella or even Bon Jovi videotapes. It was an understated glam, the sort you'd expect in an age when glam itself is ridiculed. It was underground glam if you will, being kept alive in a land where glam rock values, big hair and tight pants are given more respect than elsewhere in the country. This was, after all, the place that nurtured and sustained Ted Nugent and Bob Seeger, and it doesn't easily forget the glory days of rock and roll. If glam rock should ever come back into vogue, my guess is that Detroit will be its epicenter.
Another of Lisa's suitors, a sort of quieter, Jewish, musically-talented version of John Arnold, showed up. His name was Josh, and he sat some distance away. Kim introduced him to me, but I was in sort of a fog, so I don't remember much. I do remember that he supposedly reads these musings, but since I don't intend to insult him, this shouldn't be a problem. Anyway, the story I'd heard about Josh was that some weeks back he'd been interested in Kim, but since she now considers herself to be my monogamous lover, she pointed him in the direction of Spunky Lisa, saying something to the effect that "if you like me, you'll love Lisa." That was all well and good, except there's been a run on Lisa of late, with suitors ranging as widely as Matt Rogers the unemployed conceptual multi-media artist and Ben the Atheist Rabbi. When it rains, it pours. Lucky for Josh, though, it seems Lisa has decided he's the one, at least until he moves to New York in a couple weeks. She disappeared for long periods and the rest of us wondered where she might have gone. Kim and I had decided it was best not to tell Matt about the competition he faced, so he was far more puzzled than we were. Lisa is, by the way, every bit as spunky as I imagined. Kim says she once jumped up on stage and kissed Perry Farrell on the lips.
On a urination excursion, I found my way into the basement. Down there is an entirely different bar, a place called the Eight Ball. Chris Pranger had told me about the place, saying it was a real dive and not an especially good place to pick up chicks, but that it sure had some happening pool tables. It didn't look too much like a dive to me, and there were plenty of alterna-chicks around, but maybe this night was an exceptional one. I found Matt Rogers and Spunky Lisa in one of the Eight Ball's booths having a heart to heart, which I interrupted just because I could. They both seemed relieved.
We all found our way to another nearby bar, "The Cavern Club," an amazing piece of architecture made to look like catacombs by way of Smithsonian Institution display. I was too drunk to dance to the blues band that played, so I mostly sat on a couch smoking an extremely long Carlton cigarette I'd found. I fell asleep a few times, but I also got a chance to talk to that charismatic black guy who sings for that metallic band I saw at the WCBN benefit, The Cult Heroes.
ventually Matt had the opportunity to get his heart ruthlessly ripped from his chest. He went off in search of Spunky Lisa and found her sitting at a table with Josh, evidently holding his hand. He couldn't believe his eyes, and ran back to ask Kim if things were really as bad as they appeared. It hadn't been a good day for Matt. First I blew up a motherboard, then the girl of his dreams got snatched from his clutches.
Still, Matt's getting to mingle with a new scene and meet new people. His luck can't help but improve. Kim and I feel very bad for him, of course. We'd like to find him a girlfriend.
isa drove us all back home and then returned to the cavern-like bar to rejoin Josh. Matt came into Kim's apartment to get his computer and stuff, being very apologetic the whole time, acting like he was imposing terribly, like Kim and I needed to have sex immediately. I jokingly played along and said that I didn't know if I could hold out that long. I suppose I was being really rather cruel given the heartbreak and woe Matt had just suffered.
Truth be known, I was way too drunk to fuck.
one year ago
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