Archive for December, 2006

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Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Bars Is Now In Paperback!

December 27, 2006

official-degenerate-cover.jpg 

Okay then,

I had some issues with the original cafe press site, so here’s a second shop address:

http://www.cafepress.com/tomfoolery4

I’ll also throw a permanent link down on the right hand sidebar for this site for future reference and quick click ordering.  Again, this book is an experiment, and if it works, I’ll churn out some other books on the Cafe Press.  If it doesn’t work, no more cheap books, which means I have to take either the traditional publishing route or the print on demand route, which costs you and me more money than it should.  ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ is locked in, but anything else is up in the air.  The fate of my books rests in your hands, folks. 

In the span of a week, I converted ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’ into a 5×8 honest to god Perfect Bound paperback!  It’s up on the site right now, so order the new book at an eminently reasonable $13.25 and order in bulk!  That week also gave me the chance to throw in one more bar review on King’s Court and Crocodile Bar’s Christmas Parties last week, and while we’re on the topic, that review is in THIS WEEK’S issue of Night Life.  I thought I missed deadline, but apparently my editor squeeked that one in at the last minute, so it’s on stands right now. 

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Monday Update: Merry Christmas!/Night Life update/Chippewa Blues

December 26, 2006

While I have no new ‘Big Words’ print column in Night Life this week (and although this essay was on my YourHub.com site), I’m including my serious column from last week about Chippewa.  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and if you want to see some of my holiday pics, click on over to the YourHub site.  Here’s the address again:

 http://buffalo.yourhub.com/~tomwaters

There’s not much else to report.  I’ve been posting pretty consistently, so if you feel like you missed something, just scroll down.  Seeya next Monday,

Tom Waters

Big Words I Know By Heart Week 6: Chippewa Blues

The Chippewa Club District in downtown Buffalo has turned into a war zone. Seven years ago, when I was much younger, I used to go every weekend without a care in the world. At the worst, you might see two guys two drunk to fight flailing on top of each other at three in the morning while you were dumping an Italian sausage sandwich all over your jacket or munching on a cold piece of LaNova pizza before making the trek home. Now Chippewa has the distinct privilege of entertaining any number of crimes and misdemeanors from muggings, shootings, drug dealing and known gang activity. I had a friend who opened a club less than a year ago and sold it at a loss because the environment wasn’t conducive to running a profitable business. The police do what they can for the weekend shooting gallery, but Chippewa is only a small piece of the rest of the mess they have to clean up with one man patrol cars, little to no pay raises and the club owners’ reluctance to call in a crime in progress for fear that their business will go down from bad publicity. Something tells me it’s going to get a whole lot better before it gets worse.

The drug trade in this town is like the 800 pound pink elephant in the room. No one wants to acknowledge it and yes, it’s in everyone’s back yard. It’s tough to discourage in the club world because the chain of command travels all the way up and down the pipe line. Its no surprise then that rival gangs from the East and West side of Buffalo flock to the club scene like a lightning rod. At some point it becomes a turf war, and that’s where the guns come in. Rich, pampered suburban kids buy club drugs or coke downtown and the grittier element of the city will follow. These same spoiled frat boys and hop heads end up mixing it up in the clubs or on the streets over stupid, petty things. Someone looks at their girl the wrong way. Somebody bumps into somebody else. The entire chain of events is preposterous.

There’s also a small cult of kids who get their kicks beating the shit out of club goers on the way to or the way home from the bars and taverns on the weekends. They’re drunk, they’re tired, and they’re an easy target. I left my wallet behind at a bar on Main St. that’s no longer there seven years ago and some scam artist contacted my house. These days it wouldn’t have ended as easily as it did. There are a lot of short and long cons going up and down the West and East side. There is a whole new breed of animal in the city, and its preying on the weak and the gullible and the rich. If a plan isn’t formulated and if something isn’t done to spearhead this madness, the body count just might get a lot worse.

Any Buffalo Police officer will tell you that the drugs come from the West Side and the money comes from the East Side. That’s the way it’s always been in this town. So when is it going to stop? There isn’t much of a neighborhood community in the Entertainment District because the area is fortunate enough to be booming with a multitude of great bars, theaters and shops. At the rate things are going, there will be nothing left downtown but deserted storefronts and gang warfare. The West Side will continue to spread out like a cancer and devour one of our best resources. Old Buffalo thinks that it’s a racial thing, and that certain minorities destroy everything they touch. I beg to differ. Every color in the pot is pitching in to this time bomb from the bottom to the top.

Ignoring the problem will make it worse. Lowering the hours of operation will only take money away from the businesses. And publicizing the problem will discourage people like me from going downtown for anything. It’s bad enough that the parking situation is a revolution in the short con. You can’t park and get into a club without dropping ten or fifteen bucks and most people have to pay for a babysitter. How willing are we to drive a half an hour or forty five minutes from all of our boroughs in order to throw ourselves into harm’s way? I’m just about done clubbing downtown. Unless there’s a review or an anniversary party, I won’t bother. I’m in a relationship, I no longer need to impress anyone, and Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs are not suffering for great bars and restaurants. This is a real shame, though, as I there are a multitude of great techno clubs, rock and roll bars, Irish pubs and corner bars. I miss it, but I’m a big fan of keeping my money and my life.

I’ve always been fascinated by how Elmwood Avenue businesses and activities run like a Swiss Clock compared to Chippewa and Delaware. If they’ve got problems on Elmwood, you certainly don’t hear about them. Amherst near Bailey and Hertel is turning into a sizable cavity, but what are they doing on Elmwood that isn’t being applied anywhere else in the city? That just might be the key to solving this problem. Or maybe a small state of martial law should be applied. Police officers on horseback from ten at night until four in the morning from Friday through Sunday backed by city funds. Buffalo PD works their ass off and they’re grossly underpaid. Throw some money their way for a change. What the hell do I know, though? I’m just a guy who’s got nothing to do with the drug trade who travels with a designated driver when he drinks and refuses to go drinking on Chippewa St. There are a lot more like me, and our numbers are growing with every alarmist news story, stabbing and fatality on or near Chippewa during normal business hours. Change up the play, Buffalo, or we’re not going to have a club district left.

Drink local,

Tom ‘re-sheltered’ Waters

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Chasing Deadline on ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’

December 24, 2006

This really is the worst possible time of the year to get any extra work done on anything, and here I am going over the layout and page setup for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ one final and exhausting time to make sure everything is perfect in time for my January 1st deadline with publisher Trafford.  I cannot fucking stand editing, layout and the like.  I was an editor in high school and I have no desire to be an editor ever again.  Trafford assures me that if I have the manuscript to them by the beginning of January that the book will be ready in time for my self imposed launch on April Fool’s Day.  Not only that, but my editor at Night Life, Ed Honeck, has been dragging his heels on the foreword when I told him over a YEAR ago that I needed the intro by the first of the year.  If it was up to me, I wouldn’t promote the book at all, but this one needs a major splash to catapault momentum lasting enough that it spills over into ‘Slapstick & Superego’ next year in ’08.  Between constructing ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ and going over ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ again, I don’t even want to look at another book layout for at least six months.  All of these things tie up my time on the computer, invade my free time and cut into time that could be spent writing.  It’s frustrating, but necessary.  I really can’t wait until I get scooped up by a legitimate publishing house so that a) I don’t have to pay for production costs and b)I don’t ever have to worry about layout, copy editing and publicity ever again.  I’m getting too old for this shit.  Hopefully, with the year and a half lead time I have for ‘Slapstick’, I can attempt to send multiple copies of the manuscript out to prospective publishers…

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Cheap Degenerate in limbo for one final, fantastic overhaul!

December 23, 2006

So this started as a whim, but I’ve spent the last week converting ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’ into a perfect-bound, 5×8 honest to god paperback!  The manuscript has been tweaked to 100 pages, the price has been readjusted due to production to $13.25 (which is still dirt cheap), and all I have left is the spine art and the back cover photo and text and we’ve got our first Waters portable bar edition on our hands!  I like the idea of a portable paperback since the material is timely and when people buy it they can take it to the bars with them!  The final edition of the book should be done by the first week of January, so strap on your ordering shoes!

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No Big Words Print Column Next Week…

December 22, 2006

Since I was waiting on reader mail that never arrived and sent a column in at the eleventh hour (Thursday) to Night Life, there will be no Big Words print column next Monday.  The next column will appear on Monday, January 1st.  For updates in the mean time or pictures on my upcoming King’s Court/Crocodile Bar review, visit my sister site at http://buffalo.yourhub.com/~tomwaters .  I just loaded the site up with a plethora of new pics.  Sorry for the break in print but you should be ashamed of yourselves for not emailing with comments!!!

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ArtVoice Update: Last Week’s Bookmarks/Cutting Room Floor Bookmark/Ripley Interview in Limbo

December 21, 2006

     I have no goddamned idea why the Ripley interview hasn’t run yet, but I know that ‘In The Margins’ is a cramped section as is and perhaps they had more pressing seasonal articles to run.  We were both told that it would run last week or this week and still nothing, so I give up on looking for it at this point.  It’s looking like it might get stuck in development hell and I put the time in on the interview two months ago, so who knows…

     In the meantime, here are the two bookmarks that ran last week (‘Lost Girls’ and ‘Hellblazer: Empathy Is The Enemy’ along with the graphic novel review they didn’t run (Justice: Book One).  I’m going out to do two bar reviews in one night tonight for Night Life so I’ll leave it at that.  And as far as ‘Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’, if you haven’t purchased it yet from the site, hold off for a week; I’m converting it into a 5×8 paperback for portable purposes.  And YourHub contacted me today about a SECOND lunch to discuss things, so keep your fingers crossed for me.  Great things could be on the horizon.  Seeya,

Tom Waters

It’s been too long since Alex Ross committed to a full project in the field of comics thanks to the runaway success of his career as an artist. Justice: Book 1 (DC, $19.99) with Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite marks his triumphant return to form in a genre he’s a natural at. For what’s conceived as a twelve part hardcover series, one can’t help but feel that he’s feeding off of the introspective and humanizing work that writer Rags Morales accomplished with Brad Meltzer and Michael Bair in Identity Crisis (DC, $24.99, 2006), and while the first volume is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s still imitation. Hopefully the lofty ambitions of a twelve book story arc will transcend it’s humble and unoriginal origins. Justice not only turns the tables on Good Versus Evil, it flips the table over as DC’s greatest Super Villains conspire to cure all the world’s ills in a plot to discredit, dismember and destroy their superheroic counterparts, The Justice League Of America. Ross’ artwork has evolved to the point where his menagerie of characters no longer look like they’re 45, which is a bonus. At $19.99 for a slim hardcover, it’s a small investment for any avid collector or DC super freak. As a longtime Joker fanatic, I hope that the clown prince of evil makes more than a passing cameo in the volumes to come. While nowhere near as flawless and crafty as Kingdom Come (DC, 1997), it still towers over the heart bleeding banality of The World’s Greatest Superheroes (2005).

It’s impossible to dispute the crossover phenomenon that Lost Girls (Top Shelf Productions, $75.00) by Alan Moore and (Moore’s former wife) Melinda Gebbie has become. Well into it’s second printing, the three volume coffee table meditation on fantasy and erotica makes a powerful statement about the enduring force of physical and psychological love in all of it’s forms. The books cover a chance meeting at a hotel in France during the 20th century between Wendy from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice In Wonderland and Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. Moore plots out a brilliant interpretation of each mythos as it applies to puberty and sexual discovery and interlaces each woman’s anecdote with lurid and powerful pornography illustrated by Gebbie. It was a risky project but it paid off in spades, transcending mediums above and beyond just comic reader appeal. Moore is the greatest living comic writer of our time and it’s a shame that his graphic novels have been so poorly adapted on the silver screen. The odds of Lost Girls becoming a popcorn action movie are slim to nil, which I’m grateful for. His gift and his curse is that his stories are perfect on the printed page only. The pacing is a bit sluggish at times over the course of the three volumes and coldly cerebral at other times but the message is timeless: make love, not war, baby. This series is guaranteed to skyrocket in value so scoop it up if you can find it while it’s still on shelves.

‘It was so tangible I could taste it, like biting into an electrified fence.’ This is how crime fiction author Denise Mina voices a peripheral character’s recollection of a dying infant along with Leonardo Manco’s stark and realistic artwork in John Constantine, Hellblazer: Empathy Is The Enemy (DC/Vertigo, $14.99). The British Magus has never been fleshed out by a female writer, and the results are indisputable. The series is a lightning rod for the finest talents in and out of the comic world and Mina is no exception. A good writer will focus on Constantine’s magical leanings, some will ruminate on his binge drinking and smoking, while others still play up his gifts as a con artist and a Great Deceiver. If you only know Constantine from the motion picture, then you don’t know Constantine. At the heart of every great ghost story is a feeling of grief, dread and loss so overpowering that it smothers the reader. Mina knows this and writes it better than anything Stephen King has written in the last twenty years. And I’m no magician, but I know that spells always leave a dark mark on the caster. These two truisms fuel the story, which is gripping, powerful and magnificent. It centers around the hero being lured to Scotland to uncover a elite cult bent on building a structure that infects every living soul on Earth with an empathy that makes the world a better place, effectively destroying a third realm of pain between heaven and hell.

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Monday Update: What’s left to update? Chippewa Night Life/ArtVoice/Gregg Sansone

December 18, 2006

   Week 6 of Night Life magazine is on stands with one hell of a curveball designed to stir up some controversy!  I dropped a serious rant this week about how badly Buffalo needs to address the various problems going on down on Chippewa and the surrounding area.  The owner of the SoHo already lambasted me over the weekend, so I’m expecting some reader mail on this one.  I told him I didn’t do any research on the piece, but after thinking about it, I’ve talked to a great deal of club goers, Buffalo police and bar owners about their experiences down there of late, so I guess I have put in some research time.  My resident graphic designer Pat Cegieski also brushed up the Big Words print logo, so it actually looks the way I wanted it to all along.  If I can rake enough muck from this week, I’ll run a mailbag next week.  You’ve still got until Wednesday to voice your suggestions, concerns, and your two cents to:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

Since Alycia Ripley’s interview didn’t run in ArtVoice last week, I’m expecting it this Thursday.  The essay from last week’s Big Words print column (I Don’t Wanna Go On With ‘What Do You Want On That?’) is appearing in my upcoming collection, If They Can’t Take a Joke, so I won’t be reprinting it here.  Sorry.  If you didn’t pick up the print edition, you’re just going to have to wait.  I believe you should be caught up on everything over the weekend from the previous posts, so I’ll leave you with that.  I’m tooling away on the Gregg Sansone interview tomorrow on my only day off and should be shopping it around by week’s end.  Seeya in the funny papers, Tom Waters

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Cheap Degenerate Cover Overhaul

December 18, 2006

quickcova.jpg

     With many thanks to my talented graphic designer friend Pat Cegielski, the cover for ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ got a touch-up with text for the cafe press site.  I also went back last night and inserted headers, wrote an afterword for the book, and made sure that it looked as professional as it possibly could.  After the changes, the book is now 103 pages and the price is $13.00.  Now what other excuse do you need?  Buy my books!

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A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars

December 17, 2006

After goofing off with the Cafe Press site all weekend, I decided to try an experiment for you guys.  I compiled and published my own book on the site.  Its EXCLUSIVE to Cafe Press, I’m ONLY going to be selling it on Cafe Press, and it’s $13.00, making it the cheapest collection I’ve ever released.  Its called ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’, and I compiled the last two years worth of bar reviews into one portable, 103 page book.  I’m going to be tracking the title closely to see how viable the site is as a saleable option, so if you’re interested in the book, by all means click over there and buy yourself a copy!  Click here to go directly to the book info and ordering information:

 http://www.cafepress.com/tomwaters.95259803

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Tom Waters’ Merch is Up and Running!

December 15, 2006

tom-waters-wall-clock.jpgwomens-tom-waters-t-shirt.jpgtom-waters-mens-shirt.jpg

I just started a shop up on Cafe Press with hats, buttons, t shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and more!  The permanent link is on the web site here listed under blog roll, but click here if you want to check it out:

http://www.cafepress.com/tomwaters

Supplies are limited and the t shirts and mugs are going fast, so amaze, disgust and impress your friends by wearing, drinking and carrying the Official Tom Waters’ products!

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rejection in one of it’s many unpleasant forms

December 15, 2006

As promised in the biweekly newsletter (if you’re not a subscriber, feel free to drop an email to bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com with the subject heading ‘subscribe’, here’s a poem from the upcoming Breathing Room collection.  I’m also posting a new essay up on YourHub.com, so follow the leader and pop over there when you get a chance as well!

rejection in one of it’s many unpleasant forms

we regret to

inform you

that your submission

does not fit our

needs at this

time.

we wish you

the best of

luck in

placing your work

elsewhere.

your needs?

i have needs

too.

i need more

money

to fritter away

on foolish things.

i need publishing

credits

to feed my hungry

ego.

i need frequent

reassurances

that my work

is valued

and entertaining.

i wish you

the best of luck

in placing your

head

in your ass.

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Madamoisselle’s-10, Rick’s Tally Ho-0

December 14, 2006

So here’s how my evening went yesterday.  My editor at Night Life told me that Rick’s Tally Ho was having a X-Mas party.  I told him that I was planning on going to Madamoisselle’s to take part in their holiday cheer, but that I would stop over to Rick’s afterwards.  We had a fantastic time at Madam’s and I got to meet a local radio personality who shall remain nameless.  We had a few drinks, owner Mark Whipple was kind enough to buy me a double of Johnny Walker Black, and fun was had by all.  Then we went to Rick’s…

     In five years of writing bar and exotic club reviews, we’ve never done one on Rick’s Tally Ho.  I said hello to the doorman and after speaking with Rick himself on the phone earlier, I was planning on asking him if he wanted me to mention any of their promotions or specials (which is standard).  I came into the place looking to do my best to make them look good.  Lindsay and I bellied up to the bar and I got a double of Jamison and a bottle of Blue Light.  Rick came over after I’d taken down about four pages worth of stream of consciousness notes for the review and told me that my editor ‘had better call me because he’s going to lose the account’.  That was how I could help him out, as a simple messenger boy.  In six years of freelancing locally and nationally, I’ve never been so insulted in my life.  I stewed with that for a little while, finished my drink and left.  The bouncer told me he was looking forward to the review and I told him that it wasn’t going to happen, and that I wasn’t my editor’s little bitch boy.  He wanted to smooth things out, but what’s done is done.  No wonder Rick’s gets so much bad press; if their owner new anything about self promotion or free promotion, he would know that writers and editors are two different breeds, and that you don’t treat reviewers like ‘the help’.  How fucking dare you, Rick.  That would be like telling Jeff Simon at The Buffalo News that they flubbed the ad for Talladega Nights, or telling Jeff Miers that his typesetting work on the paper was sub par.  As God is my witness, I am never setting foot in that place again (I encourage all of you to do the same) and I have no intention of ever writing anything nice about them for as long as I live.  Lindsay and I spent the rest of the time that I was intending on spending at Rick’s back at Madamoisselle’s and we had a blast.  For yet another week, I am off the review docket.  My editor understood.  After going out of my way to fit them in, Rick blew it.  This is one of the reasons why I’m slowly bowing out of the bar and club review business.  Too many clowns spoil the broth.   

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crass menagerie with a mind of its’ own, breathing room bellows out

December 13, 2006

     Despite my sincere feeling that I deserve a rest from the book writing business, my creativity seems to feel otherwise, and I’m almost ten pages into the book 6, with a working title of ‘Crass Menagerie’.  The essays are a bit shorter in the tooth than what I finished ‘Slapstick’ with, but I think I’m trying to get a handle on the overall theme and content of the collection, which, like ‘Slapstick’ will be essays and nothing but.  With almost a three year lead time, I’ve got plenty of time to make a big book with nothing but quality content. 

     As far as ‘Breathing Room’ goes, celebrated local poet Carrie Spadter will be getting together with me tomorrow to throw in her two cents on the project.  She’ll be editing the book for me and hopefully writing the introduction, and there’s no prose writer in existence that I respect more.  She was choice number one for the project, and I’m really honored and happy that she accepted the job.  If all goes well, I should have three hundred pages of prose that she can take a butcher’s knife to towards the end of 2007 in time for a spring ’08 launch simultaneously with ‘Slapstick’ or the untitled Buffalo anthology project with Alycia Ripley, whichever comes first.  God knows that there is no market whatsoever for poetry anymore, but I think fans of my other work might enjoy it more than they think.  This poetry is light years different in terms of style and content than anything I’ve written in the past, peppered with humor, inspiration, and a degree of naked confession I’ve never shown before.  Whatever the case, it should be interesting to see how the book evolves over the next year for me at the very least. 

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Week 5 on Stands, Week 4 Right Here!

December 11, 2006

     The newest issue of Night Life is out today with a brand new Big Words column that’s a classic from ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ entitled ‘I Don’t Wanna Go On With ‘What Did You Want On That?’ about the aggravation of drive throughs.  They were kind enough to list the web site address and the mailbag address this week, so hopefully we’ll ring up some hits here.  Don’t forget that I’ll be running a reader mail column the last week of every month in Night Life, so send all responses and criticisms about the columns to:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com  

Since I specifically wrote ‘Interesting Locales For Mistletoe’ for the Big Words column, I’m reprinting it right here for your reading enjoyment in the event that you couldn’t get the print edition.

     Also, keep your eyes peeled for this week’s ArtVoice as it will be featuring my interview with author Alycia Ripley and possibly more.  I’ll be running that interview in its entirety with photos right here next Thursday.

     And if you haven’t gotten a chance yet, you really are missing out if you haven’t visited my YourHub site.  I’ve been padding the site liberally with stories, event listings and pictures.  It’s a lot more local and the focus is less on the writing and publishing than it is about friends, family and community.  I’ll be posting based on the site traffic, so visit often and rate even more often.  The direct link to my ‘Big Buffalo I Know By Heart’ site on YourHub is:

 http://buffalo.yourhub.com/~tomwaters

SEEYA!

Tom Waters

Interesting Locales For Mistletoe

This is it. The pre-holiday season is upon us. The next month is going to be a living, breathing, weight gaining, hair-pulling, ulcer-inducing, anxiety riddled gauntlet of pain for adults. Traffic gets five times worse, old women hold up post office lines, psychotic soccer moms with crispy short hair dos bark out orders in every department store, and we open our Sunday papers to find a small bible full of coupons, circulars and sales offers. This is gonna suck. The Christmas season really sucks once you’re a grown man. You don’t get toys anymore, there are in-laws or near in-laws to contend with, and holiday related activities chew up any time you might have had to sit on your ass on days off watching television or flipping through comic books on the toilet with a fresh cigarette and a small silo of strong coffee. Well, maybe that last part was just me.

I know that the weight I lost from this last flu bug is going to come right back to roost. If it isn’t Thanksgiving, it’ll be Christmas. And if it isn’t Christmas, it’ll be the cavalcade of drinks that go along with that week after Christmas leading in to New Year’s. The end of November through the end of January is a busy, drunken time. Getting obliterated is almost a prerequisite for making it clear on through to February, and by then, we all have staggering credit card bills and astonishing weight scale results. I might as well buy a few pairs of loose fitting pants now because I’m sure as hell not going to get any under my Christmas tree. I’m at an age now where I get a check in the mail or knick knacks. I can’t stand knick knacks. Buy me a bottle of scotch or a Bukowski book, don’t give me knick knacks. My girlfriend and I get tandem gifts, too, which are nice and practical and all, but, well, I want toys!

I shouldn’t complain. Her family doesn’t need to buy me anything. We’re not legally together in that way (a fact that never escapes any gathering which I even taunt and encourage on occasion), so any gesture is nice. I’m happy with the plate of pepperoni and cheese that they stock and serve especially for me. And her mom makes phenomenal home made stuffing for the Thanksgiving bird. This goes a long way with me. Plus they bring the reserve bottle of whiskey out from under the cupboard in the event that I want to enjoy one to eighteen cocktails during the all day family blowouts that her family is fond of throwing. It’s a culture shock, I suppose. After I moved out, I used to go to my parents for family get togethers, tear open the gifts, inhale my food, nap, and then leave. With them it’s an all day escapade. We show up at two in the afternoon and get home at eight. It’s a good thing that my parents fly south for the window and that my big brother and I only see each other two or three times a year because if I had to do the double family get together, someone would end up getting shot or beaten over the head with a manger scene.

I’m horrible about buying gifts, too. Forget that. Leave it to the housewives to chew each other’s throats out over scarves and epileptic Elmo’s, I’d rather give my money to ‘the wife’ and let her pick the stuff out. I don’t know from people, and I’m not good at figuring out what they want. I’m good at buying things for me, though. Maybe I should charge a small fee to my friends and family to pick out gifts for myself that they could give to me. I wonder if there’s a market for that? Anyhow, the aforementioned big brother and I have a wonderful arrangement where we don’t buy each other anything. We call each other on the phone on Christmas Day, exchange token pleasantries and go on with our day. We’re both cold, calculating corporate whores, so it’s a mutual respect that we share for each other. It’s not that I don’t love my big brother, because I do. It’s just that he has his Holiday Gauntlet to run, as do I. So I’ve only got ‘the old bag’ to worry about for presents. This year I believe I’ll stick a sprig of mistletoe into my belly button. Kidding.

And New Year’s is always a fiasco. The sad thing is that the Millenium was the best, craziest, drunkest New Year I will ever have and I realize that. It would be impossible to top that day. I went to one girlfriend’s, went to my parents’ house, went to another girlfriends, spent some time with her in her car outside of her parents’ house, and then left her to get f-ed up twenty ways to Sunday at my buddy’s house with all of our friends at his apartment out in Cheektowaga. I spent the next New Year’s with an exotic dancer at her apartment with a bottle of Goldschlager and a whip (a story that sounds more exciting than it was), which was pretty cool, too, but those days are long behind me. My current girlfriend and I threw a big bash at our apartment last year that was fun, but anticlimactic. There was a chocolate fountain and three or four bottles of champagne, strawberries, good whiskey, and thirty or forty of our closest friends. It gets old. You don’t want to drive to a party because you know there are going to be eight thousand cops just waiting to haul your ass in, you don’t want to go to the bars because it’s amateur night and people are going to be acting like total jackasses and you know there are also going to be eight thousand cops just waiting to haul your ass in, but you don’t want to stay at home alone like a seventy five year old couple that gets up the hour before Dick Clark’s ball drops just to have a small plastic glass of champagne and then go back to bed. It’s a real pickle. I think we might do the mature, apartment renting, Woody-Allen-esque thing this year and have two or three couples over for smart cocktails and engaging conversation. Than after midnight I’ll parade around the house with a champagne bottle up my ass. Maybe not.

I love turkey, I love whiskey, and I love checks in the mail, but can’t we fast forward and drop the madness for one year? I’ll be happy when it’s February and I’m looking at the bottom line on my filed tax return statement and we really start getting walloped with snow. Snow is Christmas enough for me. It sucks to drive in, but there’s something people down south rarely (if ever get). Waking up in the morning with a cigarette, scratching myself and looking out the window at a perfect, silent patch of freshly fallen snow. That, and watching ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ on DVD on Christmas Day for the eighteen millionth time. I never said I wasn’t festive, I just prefer to be festive without moving, talking, or spending time with anyone else. Does that make me a grinch?

Getting a colonoscopy to find last year’s cork,

Tom ‘Kwanza’ Waters

Questions, thoughts, criticisms and comments? Drop us a note online at ‘bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com’ For more rants, reviews, interviews and other nonsense, visit ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ online at www.tomwaters.blogspot.com.

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‘deja misconstrued’ on The Sidewalk’s End e-zine

December 8, 2006

I was noodling around yesterday doing a search and ran across either a very old or a very new print online of my essay ‘deja misconstrued’ (from Zany Hijinx), which argues that the death of original thought isn’t as dead as scholars would have us believe.  I read it once for one of the Just Buffalo open readings and the UB students lining the back of the room ate it up.  Check it out at:

http://www.wtse.net/misconstrued.html

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web link courtesy of the reach-around

December 8, 2006

I’m going to set a precedent here for those of you who are kind enough to provide links to my sites.  I need all the traffic I can get here and on ‘Big Buffalo’, so if you post a link in one of your blog sidebars (ideally) or recommend me on one of your blog or web posts (secondary), I will be more than happy to do the same. 

     Tony Langdon out of Rochester was nice enough to reference the Pharoah’s review on his web site with some glowing comments, so do me a favor and visit his site if you have the chance.  It’s chock full of Langdony goodness!:

www.tonylangdon.blogspot.com

He peppers his blog with ipod rotations, beer pong minutes and alcohol feuled craziness!  The man can party me under the table and into a ditch, so he deserves his due props.  Thanks for the free plug, Tony!

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Call For Writing Submissions!

December 8, 2006

Call For Writing Submissions!

    Buffalo Authors Alycia Ripley and Tom Waters will be considering any and all submissions of flash fiction and nonfiction (2,000 word max) as well as poetry (10 page max) for inclusion in an upcoming not-for-profit anthology about present day Buffalo.  Submissions will be considered in (as well as) outside of Buffalo, and the material must be topical to modern day Buffalo life, landmarks or Buffalonians in general.  All entries must be cut and pasted into the body of an email and sent simultaneously to ‘bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com’ and ‘alyciaripley@hotmail.com’ with the type of submission in the subject heading (ex: ‘flash fiction submission’).  In addition, please include name, address, email address and published works you would like listed after your name in the completed anthology.  The finished book will be published in the Spring of 2008 and all royalties will go towards the betterment and continued success of the Just Buffalo Literary Center.  Submission period will run from January 1st-July1st and accepted authors will be notified via email.  In addition, any and all parties interested in contributing their time or capital towards publishing, producing and marketing the book are also welcome to email or query. 

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Rest in Pieces, Blogger!

December 7, 2006

After weeks of trying to post with failures and glitches to the left and right of me, I decided to dismantle the original Big Words web site on blogger and set up shop here for the writing info and on the new YourHub site for local flavor, dish, and multiple pics.  I assure you that I’ll be staying here and on YourHub indefinitely, so please visit and post as many comments as you like.  I’ve spent the last two days layering the YourHub site and once the content is cherry, I will most likely do our regular Monday updates here and new and different updates on YourHub on Wednesdays.  The cross pollination traffic has been phenomenal so far, and my first post over there racked up fifty hits in the first day!  This is big news for a blog site, so this could open a lot of doors for me locally and nationally.  Rot in hell, blogger!  You’re outdated, you suck, and I will no longer be wasting my time and energy on your outdated engine.  Long live wordpress and YourHub!

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Week 4 on Stands, Buffalo.com update/Exclusive Ying’s Wings/Buffalo Brewpub Review Right Here!

December 4, 2006

Delightful…

     The first day of big snowfall in over two months and it’s amateur night on the roads driving home from work.  If you can’t drive 30 miles an hour on the expressway, then you deserve to be dragged out of your car, shot in the head and strung up from a street light overlooking the 33, you pathetic pussies.  It’s only snow.  Buck it up and drive like a person!

     Anyways, this is the second week that Night Life hasn’t published the Big Words official site address along with the mail bag address, so I’m COUNTING on everyone who visits here to spread the word.  Tell a friend, tell a stranger, write it on a bathroom wall, do some fucking thing this week and get me some traffic and comments!  For your edification, here are the addresses again:

www.tomfoolery4.wordpress.com

the mail bag address:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

     The column and the site cannot exist in a vacuum, and I would love to see some INTERACTION!  You contribute, I contribute, and then everyone has a piece of chocolate cake. 

     The new Night Life magazine is on stands today with a fluffy little column about surviving the holidays called ‘Interesting Locales For Mistletoe’.  Go grab it.  Since I wrote it specifically for the print column, I’ll run the reprint here next Monday.  Since last week’s article, ‘Spare The Rod And Find A Hot Poker’ is going into the next book, you won’t be seeing it here, so if you missed the print edition, tough luck. 

     I’ll be meeting with Deanna Russo this Wednesday to discuss the nitty gritty on the new Buffalo.com blog project, which I’m very excited about.  This will give me a big chance to reach a larger audience of Buffalo News subscribers and web surfers on a daily basis and in doing so, I can shill some books!

     Night Life canned my review on Ying’s Wings presumably because I ditched the bar and wrote the second half of my critique at The Buffalo Brew Pub.  I had nothing against Ying’s, it’s just that none of our friends showed up and I wasn’t ‘feeling it’ there for one of the biggest singles nights of the year.  Since it won’t be running in print, you get to read it here and here alone!  Enjoy!

Liver Lies Bleeding In My Hands: Ying’s Wings & The Buffalo Brewpub on Thanksgiving Eve

It’s the day before Thanksgiving (yet another Wednesday) and we picked Ying’s Wings & Things on Transit and French after hearing a lot of good things from numerous club people out on the circuit. That, and I’m a huge fan of Lana and Hund (the core of the group Black Widow), who happen to be playing tonight. Along with New Year’s Eve, this is one of the biggest bar nights out of the year. Lindsay and I pop in at 8 o’clock and the bar is already full. There’s not one free spot along the rail, and people are already riled up from the Sabres/Maple Leafs game playing on all four of the televisions in the bar.

This is my first time here and the establishment is really well put together. We saddle up to the bar and I order a pitcher of Blue Light, a double of Maker’s Mark and an iced tea for my DD. As always, I have no intention of driving around crocked out of my gourd and it’s just safer for everyone involved if Lindsay drives me home, not to mention the fact that West Seneca’s finest will be out in full force just looking to nail a big white whale like me or anyone else for that matter. I’m far too old to be driving under the influence anymore, and everyone has to grow up some time and either get a sidekick who can stop at two drinks or grab a cab. The bill for our drinks comes to an astonishing $10.50! Prices like that for that many drinks in a bar are unheard of, so I tip well, astonished at the alcoholic value!

We grab a booth and Lindsay gets half a ham sub for three bucks. The Sabres are running away with the game and it’s 4-2. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but if it’s on in a bar, I love watching the games for some reason. I grab a smoke, then Lindsay grabs a smoke. We rotate so we can keep a claim on our seats. A really hot brunette walks out with her mediocre blonde friend for a smoke. I’m no longer single, but this doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the scenery. ’Space Oddity’ pops in over the speakers and I’m lifting off to the bottom of my whiskey glass.

After waiting an hour and a half for my friends to show up to no avail (you all suck!), we decide to see my old buddy Gregg Sansone perform at The Buffalo Brewpub in Clarence. There’s something about Thanksgiving Eve that makes you want to feel closer to home, and I grew up in Clarence, so the Brewpub is a logical next step. Although it would have been great to catch Black Widow at Ying’s, we saw them a week prior at Desiderio’s and they brought the house down with their ’80s sensibilities, their bold choice of strong female vocals for covers, and their million dollar live production values. I felt like a loser without any of my friends around at Ying’s, so we left. It was a nice place, though, and I plan on revisiting the bar down the road.

The Brewpub is packed to the rafters, and w have to drive around for ten minutes to find a spot in the Monroe Muffler parking lot kitty corner to Brewpub’s. It is literally wall to wall, and we make our way to the back to say hi to Gregg, who’s covering ’Higher Love’ by Steve Winwood. For my benefit, he leads into ’Honky Cat’, because I’m such a huge Elton John fan. This is one of the things I worship about Gregg’s act; he has the ability to channel ’70s Elton vocals, and it’s spot on. Lindsay and I elbow our way to the bar and I grab a pitcher of Buffalo Lager, a double of Maker’s Mark and a Cosmo for Lindsay. She tells me that they made a mean Cosmo, an accolade not every bar earns. Brendan, one of the bartenders who’s been there since time immemorial, delivers our drinks.

Gregg goes off on a superb free form jazz composition and then dedicates ’Across The Universe’ from the Beatles to his stunningly gorgeous girlfriend Lisa. Curtis shows up and does a Vodka and Cranberry. Gregg takes a break and we commence to mingle. I schmooze with Lisa and company and then I buy a pitcher of beer for Chris on the sly. Chris is Gregg’s assistant while he recovers from some vicious back surgery. He’s also underage, so I have to watch the bartenders and then slip it over to him on the rail. We’ve all had a few before we were 21 and the kid looks a bit wound up, so I don’t feel bad about providing alcohol for a minor. I order another double of Maker’s Mark for myself and end up giving him back four dollars out of a twenty, which sucks. I’m totally tapped out, and feeling bad about his change, I promise to grab the next pitcher the next time I see him.

Curtis craps out, Gregg goes back on, and I’m halfway through the Buffalo lager. The Sabres game is over so the crowd starts really getting into his performance. He keeps giving me props over the mic, which embarrasses me to no end. The bar is filled with beautiful single women. A smoking brunette with glasses and pigtails. You just can’t lose with pigtails. An Asian girl with a flawless face and luxurious hair. And a bevy of beautiful blondes. There ought to be a law. Gregg plays ‘Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding’ and I’ve degenerated to a state where I’m singing along with every song. There’s not one tune on his set list that I disagree with, and I’m glad we stopped out for a second spot. After ‘Love Lies Bleeding’, he segways flawlessly into a Stevie Wonder song which I’m embarrassed to say that I forget the name of. I want to say ‘I Wish Those Days Would Come Back Once More’ but I know that’s wrong. After his second set, we all grab a smoke in the back and I chat it up with Lisa, who’s working some sort of boob-tastic Elvira vibe with a nose ring and china doll black hair. Hot. Maybe I’m in heat or maybe it’s just the evening but there are a lot of amazing girls out and about in the Buffalo area. Lindsay’s no exception, and I’m a lucky boy when we get home.

I hate to admit that there’s an ulterior motive to my playing up Black Widow and Gregg Sansone. I’m exceedingly pleased to announce that both will be performing at my book launch at Desiderio’s on Broadway and Bowen on April Fool’s Day in ‘07. For more information on either band, feel free to visit www.blackwidowband.com or www.greggsansone.com for more information, upcoming dates and so forth. We had a great night at both places. Ying’s Wings & Things is located on the corner of Transit and French in West Seneca and The Buffalo Brewpub is located on Main and Transit in Clarence.

More marinated than my turkey,

Tom ‘giblet’ Waters

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if they can’t take a joke cover (final)

December 4, 2006

cover-test_25.jpg

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Slapstick Complete!

December 3, 2006

Much to my complete exhaustion and elation, Slapstick & Superego is now 100% complete at a modest 154 pages of nothing but rants and essays!  It’s slightly smaller than my average collections, but it felt done, and I’m tremendously proud of the work as a whole.  After resting today, I plan on going to work on Book 6, which I’ve decided to call Crass Menagerie unless something else strikes me as clever in the two years that I have to play with until I need another completed manuscript.  The beautiful thing about Slapstick & Superego is that I don’t need it out for another year and a half, so this gives me a great deal of time to ship multiple copies of the manuscript out to prospective and established publishing houses in the hopes that it will get published traditionally.  All you have to do now is hold your breath for a year and a half.  This book took me less time to write than any other collection to date, and I can’t gush enough about it.  It’s going to be a force to be reckoned with, I can assure you of that.  Five months left until If They Can’t Take a Joke and eighteen for Slapstick & Superego.  Synchronize your watches…

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T-Minus 17 pages on SlapStick & Superego, 113 pages in to Breathing Room

December 1, 2006

     I just completed another monster about books called ‘Literati’.  Clocking in at 7 pages, I’ve only got 17 pages left until Slapstick & Superego is complete (in theory).  My average essay length for the last five years has hovered right around three pages, and now that the structure for the next book has changed, they’re billowing out.  It’s a little scary to think that I’ve written over 100 pages in three months.  I don’t even know how that happened.  People ask me how in the hell I can’t write a book and I always tell them that it’s one essay at a time, like setting up bricks sequentially to build a house.  I’ve never written this much in my life, nor have I ever looked at a body of work and not found filler, stillborn prose and pieces that I regret.  This is the best book I’ve written so far, and I’m very proud of it.  It’s a shame you won’t be seeing the bulk of it until 2008.  Maybe I’ll keep going beyond 150 pages, but I’ve always felt that essay collections get boring once you hit the 230 page mark.  While If They Can’t Take A Joke is damned good, Slapstick is ten times better than anything I’ve done.  Maybe that’s just the Spielberg Syndrome talking.  It’s almost scary to think about how quickly this book came together.  I had thirty pages this fall after coming out of ten month block and as of today I’m looking at 133.  Maybe I’ve finally grown into my britches as a writer.

     As for Breathing Room, my poetry project, it’ll be a long time before you see that unless I decide to focus on writing poetry for a few months after completion on Slapstick.  My plan is to write 300 pages of prose or more and have a respected poet and friend take a wrecking ball to it, cutting out a minimum of 70 pages.  I can’t stand tiny poetry collections, and there’s something cool about a big, sprawling poetry collection.  We’ll see how it goes.  Perhaps I’ll work on getting more of that published once the promotional junket from If They Can’t Take A Joke ends some time over the summer. 

-This kind of productivity is a bit scary for me…

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pat bateman dressed down

December 1, 2006

     As promised, here’s the bonus essay for my darlings on the bi-monthly newsletter list by the same name as this site.  If you’re not on the list and you’d like to be, drop me a line at:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

     I’m very disturbed about having the site moved but I have to say that wordpress is much more user friendly.  If I can get off my ass, I’ll do my best in the coming weeks to post more pictures and audio from recent events, appearances and promotions.  In the mean time, here’s ‘Pat Bateman Dressed Down’, a sartorial meditation on my complete and utter lack of style.  If you’re here, please go out of your way to tell a few friends to visit and kindly leave a comment post if and when you have the time.  I give a lot of material away for free and your two cents makes it all worthwhile.  Have a wonderful weekend,

                                                                                               Tom Waters

Pat Bateman Dressed Down

I hate to break this to you, but clothes have nothing to do with making the man. It’s got more to do with a coital omelet your parents prepared somewhere in the vicinity of nine months before your birth than what you drape and zipper over your body in the morning. My fashion sense has become deplorable. Einstein with his four or five identical suits had more flair and panache than I do. For god’s sakes, Bobcat Goldthwait with his straw cowboy hat and awful, kitschy t-shirts has more flair and panache than I do. I just don’t care anymore. It’s not a part of my life that I invest any time, thought or money into at all. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got no one to impress and nothing to prove. Eighty percent of my wardrobe consists of shirts and pants I bought during back to school trips with my mom’s credit card when I was in high school and half of that should be thrown out or donated to Good Will for the tax write-off. The other twenty percent are a sad, strange amalgam of free vendor t-shirts I’ve gotten from work and the occasional poorly informed purchase I’ve gotten over the years. I could really stand to buy more underwear, but I guess that’s a guy thing.

I have four pairs of boxer shorts that I’m very attached to and I’ll end up wearing those until they biodegrade off of my body or someone buys me more, whichever comes first. I stopped wearing tighty whities two or three years ago at a girlfriend’s insistence that they weren’t sexy (she was right) and never looked back. There’s a freedom and a looseness to boxers that the constriction of briefs can’t top. The only downside is that boxers are medically proven to make you more fertile, but I get around that by bashing my genitals with a nutcracker once a morning just in case. I went through a brief (no pun whatsoever intended) transitional phase where I wore boxer briefs but that ended when the two or three pairs I owned degenerated into the fabric equivalent of swiss cheese. I was walking around in tattered, hole-ridden stripes, clinging to the dream that they were serviceable pieces of underwear. Guys really are awful when it comes to underwear. We’re too lazy to buy new pairs and too old for our mommies to buy them as gifts. It’s ironic that when you’re old enough to appreciate getting socks and underwear for Christmas, you no longer get them.

If I can avoid wearing socks, I do. I can’t stand them. I’m a textbook scorpio, and I don’t like anything constricting around my extremities, those being my wrists or my ankles. Unless I’m getting paid at work or the snow is so high that it tumbles into my shoes, I don’t wear socks. When I have to wear them, I stick with Gold Toe brand socks. They’re soft, short, and semi-comfortable. And that is not a product placement. Gold Toe did not pay me to approve or endorse their product. Okay, I’m lying. This essay is brought to you by the surprising comfort and stability of Gold Toe socks! Buy them for the big, stupid gold patch at the end of your toes, keep them for the maneuverability. My feet need some space to breath, which makes my shoes and sneakers stink to high heaven. I have one pair of black Converse All Stars, one pair of tan casual shoes, one pair of black work shoes I bought from Pay Less, and one really weathered pair of ’smoking shoes’. My last pair of Converse All Stars lasted five years, which was three years longer than they should have. They really stunk. Depending on my diet, my shoes can really smell in the summer, and baking soda only delays the stench for a brief time. One year during a sleepover at a friend’s house, my friend’s parents snuck out into the living room while we were sleeping and went on a guerrilla mission to put foot powder into my sneakers. That’s how bad the odors my feet throw off can get. My feet are sweaty, smelly and hideous. I have taken to using a pummis stone on them in the bath tub, though.

I wear my black work shoes until the same front spot in the treads tears, wears down, or springs a hole and then I walk across the plaza during work and buy a new pair for twenty bucks. The last pair split down the middle on the bottom before I noticed that they were no longer serviceable. I used to spend sixty dollars and up on work shoes but they lasted three months at best, so I started getting Frankenstein monster kicks from Pay Less. They look like black clog shoes for a science experiment, but they’re comfortable. Are you noticing a theme here? Guys only care about comfort and affordability. The smoking shoes got started when I lived at home and had to go outside every time I wanted to have a cigarette. Now I’m in the habit of keeping my old casual shoes so I can slip them on to take out the garbage or go outside for brief periods to grab something from my car or sit outside and have a smoke. ’Nuff said about that.

I never used to wear jeans but at some point I flip-flopped on the issue. I wore more corduroys in high school than jeans and then during college my friend Lindsay told me I had a great ass for a guy so I wore them more often. Now they’re like a uniform on my days off. I usually keep two pairs on deck and the right knee always tears, wears out, or rips in dramatic fashion when I ’take a knee’ to grab something on the ground. I still have three pairs of black, whitewashed, button fly Guess jeans that I bought from my friend Scotty for ten bucks. When was the last time anybody mentioned Guess jeans, eh? The same friend Lindsay still makes fun of them for being ‘tapered’, whatever the hell that means. Jeans are all purpose. They’re good for heavy work indoors or out (neither of which I ever engage in), they come in handy in a pinch when you want to make a quick errand run and you’d rather not be naked, and it’s easy to wear the same pair five times in a week without noticing. I even wear jean shorts in the summer. Five minutes after I get home from work, I throw a pair of jeans on. My neighbors in the apartment building must think it’s all I own because that’s all they see me shambling around in, and they wouldn’t be too far off for thinking that.

The other end of my day off uniform are my black vendor t-shirts. I have a full row of free black t-shirts I’ve gotten from the film and video game industry over the years. I’ve got four really comfortable Namco shirts: two ‘Dead To Rights’ shirts and two ‘Kill Switch’ shirts. I stopped playing those games five years ago, but the replayability on the shirts just keeps on trucking. Capcom makes some really nice shirts, too, so I have an entire line of Resident Evil shirts with artistic smears of blood, leering zombies and bleeding dogs that I wear out in public. I still have three ’Mission Impossible’ t-shirts from the first movie with the Apple logo on the front and an ’Expect The Impossible’ tag line. I’m a walking advertisement in tackiness.

Half the clothes in my closet don’t even fit me any more, and I’m hanging on to them and keeping the dream alive in desperate attempt to convince myself that I might be a 32 waist or a large shirt at some point again in my life. I’ve got button down shirts that weren’t in style when I bought them, missing buttons with holes in the front pockets that I can’t bear to get rid of. It’s probably a psychological issue at this juncture. Or pure laziness. I have six sweaters even though I hate wearing sweaters (too staticky), and I went through a short sweater vest phase that I abandoned for short sleeve shirts. I embrace the short sleeve! Short sleeve button downs are great for throwing over a t-shirt to conceal girth, they’re good for work because they don’t get in the way, and on the odd occasion when I wear long sleeve button down shirts, I roll them up to the elbow anyway.

I’ve got four coats. Three of them should be in a garbage can and the other one is a lime green barn coat that’s good for the spring but I won’t wear it because it looks like a sail on my body. I feel like David Byrne in the ’Stop Making Sense’ Big Suit with that goddamned coat. The other coat is a black leather jacket I bought on sale after Christmas in 1997. That was nine years ago. The inside pocket is corroded to the point that it’s a loose flap on the inside of the coat and the zipper broke off on the front of it two years ago. The leather has hardened into a rigid, non-malleable starchy affair that won’t move without a sledgehammer or a rolling pin. My winter coat is a charcoal trench that my big brother handed down to me five years ago. All the pockets are shot, but it’s an expensive coat even if it is old and I look damned good wearing it as long as I keep my arms flat to my sides. The arms are too short for my gawky height, so if I move them so much as a millimeter half of my forearms pop out and I look like a fat guy in a little coat, to coin a Chris Farley phrase. I have one suit coat that I save for weddings and formal occasions. I guess that’s one thing I would like to buy is a three piece suit. At my age, I believe I should have one by now.

Hats are the only articles of clothing that I put any thought or time into. I have a lot of hats by any standard, and most of them are baseball caps. I’m proud of my hats. I’ve got a batman logo hat, a Jack Astor’s hat that was given to me during one of my book promotion stop offs, a Hennessey’s Irish Pub hat that I talked the bartender into giving me that I cherish since the bar closed down and it remains my favorite pub of all time, an N-Gage hat that I got for free at work (with an ‘anytime, anywhere’ tag line), a Don’s Atomic Comics hat with the atom bomb logo on the front, and a handful of other caps and fedoras. Since I sometimes go eight to ten weeks between hair cuts, they come in handy on days off when I don’t feel like slopping gel into my hair so that I don’t look like a mad scientist when I leave the house.

While I’m on the subject of clothing, Tommy Hilfiger and his entire clothing line can take a flying fuck off a short pier. The same goes for Baby Phat, P Diddy and all the other celebrity-turned-fashion-designers-for-young-white punks-who-listen-to-urban-gangster-rap-and-think-they’re-thug-because-they-spend-hundreds-of-dollars-on-clothing-designed-to-take-their-money-because-they-have-no brains-and-no-core-identity. White kids who listen to gangster rap need a back handed pimp slap in the face. You’re not fooling anyone and you’re not Eminem, so give it up and dress like a person. Wife Beater white t-shirts are not acceptable for wear in public and they don’t make your pale, bony girl arms look any bigger, you sad Vanilla Ice wannabe. You’re not black, you’re not from the street, so stop trying. I’ve got nothing against the culture, but don’t try to be something you’re not.

And I can’t stand sweat pants. Sweat pants are outlawed in my home, and I’ve banned my girlfriend from wearing them around me. Women think sweat pants are ’fun’ to wear around the house because they can relax in them and they’re ’cozy’. Sweat pants are not attractive and they’re not acceptable to go grocery shopping in, ladies. I explained to my girlfriend that when a women starts wearing sweat pants, it’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s a sign that she’s given up on looking attractive and pretty soon their ass grows into the sweat pants and before you know it, they’re not wearing makeup in public anymore. Maybe that’s sexist, but deal with it. I’ve been in a relationship for two years and I still groom once or twice a day and make a hollow attempt to keep my weight down, so the least she can do is keep the sweat pants in the drawer. Sexy sweat pants aren’t allowed either. Even if the ass is embossed with ’Juicy’ or some other rubbish, they’re still sweat pants and unless you’re Carmen Electra or a high school lacrosse team, you don’t look hot wearing them.

When you get older (unless you’re a rock star, a fashion model, or a talk show host), the latest styles and trends don’t matter to guys. When I read GQ or Esquire, I either skip the fashion spreads altogether or glimpse briefly and think ‘Look at that frigging nancy boy in his tweed vest!’ and skip to the next article. I’ve got more important things to spend my money on than new clothes and more important things to think about than how my ensemble with reflect who I am. If you can’t look past the person and find out who they are, then you’re not worth knowing. My ‘Kill Switch’ shirt still has a five year Renessaince to enjoy before it disintegrates along with my latest round of boxer shorts.

Black is the new black,

Tom ‘dungaree’ Waters

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