Monday, November 14, 2011

The Garnish of a Cosmopolitan is a Lime

I want to start off this post by plugging an absolutely wonderful non-profit organization that is worthy of your support. Response of Suffolk County is a crisis hot line that offers caring ears to those in need regarding anything from loneliness, depression, drug abuse, mental illness, family issues, grief counseling. We all have, in some way, dealt with, or are trying to cope with issues like this. It's great to seek solace from these issues by confiding in friends or family, but some don't have that outlet. Response of Suffolk County a truly great cause and are working hard to have a positive impact on those in need. You can help by texting 109471 to 73774 everyday for the rest of the month and helping them receive a grant from Pepsi to aide their operation. Help is a text away. Seek Response of Suffolk County on facebook or Google for more information.

I had the privilege of getting to know about the organization as I took part in a three-on-three tournament fundraiser for them last week. I was put on to the event by Sean Gallagher and signed up with Roo (like kangaroo) and Jay (like the letter) to take on all comers. We did pretty well, securing the 4 seed and upsetting the 3 seed before losing in the semis. Also, I (along with half the field) came in second place in the free throw shooting contest, just missing claiming a 16 dollar gift certificate to I-don't-remember-where-but-does-it-really-matter-it-is-free. I mention the tournament for the sake of plugging the program and a couple quick anecdotes.

In an homage to Bretton Woods' own, Coop, we chose the team name of "Say Cheese". As I mentioned we did a decent job living up to those lofty expectations, but to an extent it's a little surprising that I made it to the event at all. Obviously, I know where Stony Brook University is, but regarding its layout, I really have next to no idea where anything is. I was naively optimistic when I turned into the section of campus that said "Athletic Complex" My hopes for a smooth arrival were further fortified when I saw another sign for the complex with an arrow pointing towards the left as I entered the campus itself from the main drag. However, as I went to turn left, construction blocked the way of my car. I figured, "okay, if there's a sign here, it can't be too far away" so I made a quick right instead and parked in a lot no more than a few yards from the sign... and set out for a quick walk.

I was following the sign, so I never really got nervous about being lost or anything, but I did get a little concerned when I stopped a girl to confirm I was going the right way and she kind of winced when I mentioned my destination. She said aloud, "Let me think about which way would be quicker." She was debating between the direction I'd come and the direction I was going. Then it was my turn to wince and I resisted the urge to tell her that the godforsaken sign had told me to come that way. She eventually sent me on my way and told me to keep on going the same way I had been. Several, several, several minutes later I did traverse the bulk of that end of campus and make it to the tournament, needing a drink before we'd even shot a basketball. I have since been back to clock the trip and I had walked just under four miles to get to the venue. I curse the heck out of that sign, but by the time I realized that maybe this gym isn't as close as I thought, it was too late to turn back. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day outside.

Say Cheese's first matchup was against a trio of Gallaghers who were just a blast to play against and we had as many laughs as we did buckets that game. We pushed each other to our limits and thankfully we came out with the upper hand, but all six of us were pretty darn wiped after the tight game to 21. In spite of the sweat and hands-on-knees panting being displayed by both teams, no less than two minutes after reporting our score, Kevin and Matt were lined up at the starting line of the indoor track and prepping for a sprint.

Admittedly I had just really met Matt and Danny that day, Kevin and I hadn't a conversation more than a few sentences long since my freshman year of high school, and even Sean, whom I consider a good friend, is someone I don't see as often as I'd like, but I remember thinking distinctly "only a Gallagher would be lining up for a race moments after busting his hump on the basketball courts even though he was hurting." Quite a competitive crew. A special dynamic they have, from an outsider's perspective.

These past couple of weeks, Jay and I have been taking some far out bartending courses after which we'll be "certified" bartenders. This experience has afforded no shortage of memories that will last the better part of our lifetimes, including an older woman disclosing her dominion over the color spectrum and sexual aspirations, me being peer pressured into a pool game with a very drunk Spanish man armed with condoms but not fifty cents, and an instructor who among many other things has made us see fast food in a whole different light. These stories are not really worth blogging about because some of them are not funny for the right reasons and they're all pretty situational and not worth the narrative build up I'd have to give them before getting to the point, so you'll excuse my vagueness here.

I like the job because it's kind of a legal way to sell yourself. Mixing drinks is not necessarily easy when you're learning about ten new ones a night everyday for two weeks, but it's not exactly hard either and you could teach a monkey to do it. Likely a monkey with a drinking problem, but I digress. What makes a bartender good at what he or she does is the way they interact with their patrons and, modesty aside, that's something I feel like I'm darn good at. I'm excited to kind of bring the voice and vision behind this blog beyond the page. To put it much less poetically, I can't wait to provide a service by being myself. I think that's what a lot of people dream of as a profession, and I'm not saying I want to be a bartender for the rest of my life, but I'm really enjoying the aspects of the business so far and I look forward to getting more involved with it. Plus, just think of the inspiration a nightly dose of inebriated people can provide this blog.

In the class, we work with dyed water rather than waste alcohol, but this past weekend Jay and I got the chance to sample the drinks we'd been making for the past week as we made the trip into the city to celebrate Mrs. Taylor's 50th birthday.

Mr. Taylor went to great lengths (even threatening bodily harm to his own son) to set up an absolutely wonderful surprise party for Mrs. Taylor and I was honored to have been a part of it. I don't feel it's my place to tell you the ins and outs of how the surprise was planned specifically, but when she walked into the room and was suddenly face to face with loved ones from all sorts of facets of her life, the emotion in the room and in her face was indescribable. The first thing that crossed my mind was that we all deserve to feel like that. For about thirty seconds, everything that was and is messed up or askew in my life and the world in general just vanished. It was one of the more profound moments of my life in recent memory. To share the love in the room and just to know that there are people in the world who care enough about each other to make something like that happen was incredibly warming. I can't stress enough how eye-opening the experience was.

I realize that was likely was the most hippie-like paragraph in Yesternow history, but sometimes I just have to take the time to embrace that part of me. It was a beautiful, beautiful moment and the reason I'm writing this blog. Not that you need me to tell you this, but cherish love of all kinds when you find it because everything else in life will absolutely grind you to dust.

I had a real Rhapsody missing moment, which I have to say are surprisingly rare. That sounds insensitive and I always miss them all {except Jaci} to an extent, but this was one time where it was really prominent. Hopefully you understand what I mean by that. Kind of like how I'm sure Rhapsody misses me doesn't really think about all that often unless Jaci is talking.

Anyway, Mrs. Taylor entered the party to "It's Raining Men" a song that as a result of Rhapsody will always have a bit of meaning to it for me. While the couple of Lynchburg Lemonades I'd ingested are partially to blame, I got a little pumped to hear the song and kind of looked around to see whom else was digging it and saw no one under 30 returning my enthusiasm. It was kind of a deflating moment, though looking back, I probably would have played it cool too if I were a 22 year-old male who was pleasantly surprised to hear "It's Raining Men". While it's not like a screamed, jumped around, and started dancing or anything, I definitely lost some man-points with my all-too-passionate head bobbing and humming.

Sean Taylor, donning some extra-special spectacles which made him resemble Clark Kent to the T, took some time off from the Daily Planet to share the night with his family. At last Sean Taylor's numerous disappearances are explained. Every time he's made such stealth and spontaneous disappearances he was obviously off to slow a runway train or hurl a meteor into the sun. It's all so obvious in hindsight.

Considering he's the Man of Steel, I should probably take it easy on him, so I want to thank Kal-El personally for inviting me that night. In all seriousness, at one point during the night when the drink samples had already effect, I did call Mr. Taylor Jor-El and laughed for no audience whatsoever. As Jay would say, I think we were both a little too "loose" to have any form of serious discussion about it.

Anyway, after the party, we hit up a few of the Tribecca bars and I took some time to ponder our mortality and nearly ran out of gas as a result, but thanks to everyone's favorite name that I regret to say I can't disclose on this blog, I caught my second wind and drew many a strange stare as Jay, Grebe and I were chanting it as loud as we could over the house music. Works better than any energy drink you can think of, I promise.

I understand that bars are supposed to be dimly lit and full of mood, or what have you, but this last place we went to was straight up dark. It was eerily reminiscent to a Jackson St. basement, and not in a fun nostalgia way either. Other than watching your step, the bar was still pretty solid and "bumping" as the kids are saying these days (I hope). At one point I was chatting with these ladies from Ohio. Since my sister went to school there, I had enough fun facts and knowledge to shoot the breeze some. At one point, unbeknownst to me, one of girls walked away to get a drink and when she came back I introduced myself as if I'd not met her before. She pointed out that we had just met and I muttered a feeble "oh, sorry, it's really dark" but something told me just to get out of there and I said good-bye to everyone and we headed home.

Something tells me I'd better get out of this blog post, too. Hope all is gold, my friends. See you next post. In closing, I forgot to mention the best part of the night: Mr. Stockhausen's beard.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Sean Taylor!

Also, can you tell me why you read this blog/what you like about it and send it to Thanks, it doesn't have to be long.

Song of the Day: The Ascent Of Stan-Ben Folds
Jazz Song of the Day: Pretty Eyes-Horace Silver