Kent and Christine Visit

Kent and Christine are in town this weekend (for Renegade), and a bunch of folks were meeting up for dinner tonight. I showed up a bit early at Papajin, and was told that the reservations were for 9PM. So… I walked down the street to Filter where I grabbed a cup of coffee, and just hung out.

I sat near the window, just sort of watching the world go by. I didn’t have a pencil on me (dammit), so I ended up sifting through my notebook some, reading over old notes and just thinking about poem ideas, possible Flash projects, that sort of thing.

It was quite nice, actually. Most of the time, I’m working on something or busy with this and that. It’s been a long time since I’ve just not done anything. Just sitting with a cup of coffee, and my mind wandering. It was incredibly refreshing. I need to do this more often.


Around 9, I walked down to Papajin and met up with Kent and Christine, Gretchen, Dave, Lisa, and Ileana and Charles. Got caught up a bit on folks I haven’t seen in a while, and heard a ton of funny stories from Venice Beach (think Hulk Hogan in roller skates, think Dennis Hopper reeking of marijuana and almost hitting Kent with his Pontiac).

Gretchen, it turns out, has been doing a lot of freelance writing lately, and is a contributor to Centerstage Chicago (among other publications). Centerstage always struck me as this large, automated site full of ads – but as it turns out, there are quite a number of reviews and guides and whatnot. Gretchen says they’re in the midst of a site redesign, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Looking at the site some more – there does seem to be good content there. But for some reason (it’s the sparse navigation, the choice of icons), the whole site seems like one big advertisement. The content simply doesn’t come through, despite the fact that there are a ton of writers. Hopefully, the content will break through come the redesign.

One of the topics that came up tonight was the hot dog eating contest (the one sponsored by Nathan’s in New York). Somehow we got talking about this, and I threw out all the weird facts that I know of this event. I saw a documentary on the Food Network a few years back, and the whole thing is just fascinating. The dipping of buns in water and squishing them, as a means to rid the bread of air; the “Belt of Fat” theory. I could go on and on (I was really into this subject when I was in grad school).

It’s always fun when we get together at Papajin. Good eats (we did a sort of family-style thing, with lots of plates going around).


This was Gretchen’s fortune, which cracked me up to no end. Of course, I had to take a picture of it.

Her words: Even if it’s true, who wants THIS as a fortune?


After dinner, we headed over to Danny’s for some drinks. Earlier in the night, I got a call from Liz and Steph asking if I wanted to hang out some. Sadly, I had to turn them down. But lo and behold, who do I see sitting right near the entrance of Danny’s but the girls!

I snuck in behind them and waited until they noticed. They were both pretty surprised to see me, and I got a kiss on each cheek from the two of them. I gotta tell you – I felt like a rockstar right then and there.

Steph was showing off her new tattoo (a design made by Liz), right at the base of her neck. In retrospect, I should have taken a picture of it… but I think it’s good that I didn’t. I’ll have to grab a shot of it once it’s fully healed.

Danny’s was pretty crowded, but we all ended up hanging out near the back some. I talked a bit more with Ileana and Charles (who I met for the first time tonight), and got into this huge discussion about heavy metal with Charles. I had my Headbanger’s Ball t-shirt on, and I swear… every time I wear that guy, somebody invariably comes up to me and tells me how much they love the shirt. Not a minute after Charles and I began talking metal, this other dude comes up and mentions the shirt.

In addition to waxing nostalgic about hair metal bands, of course I mention my whole Queensrÿche/Mindcrime experience from earlier this year. Fun, fun stuff – talking with Charles was a blast. Mentioning all these bands I used to listen to was embarassingly fun, as we both confessed to bands that we loved as kids.

One of these days, I’m going to post some Yngwie Malmsteen on here. Just because.

Around 1AM, we all called it a night and parted ways. I had meant to attend the fair earlier today, but it was overcast and raining some… and decided tomorrow would be my day. Since tomorrow was technically a work day for Kent and Christine, it was an early night.

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