Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BET awards

When I heard the BET awards were going to be in the Atlanta Civic Center, I immediately thought of the door leading from my apartment complex to their back parking lot. I knew the roads would be blocked off, but I doubted they would notice a tiny door in the back corner of the lot. The second thing I thought of was how a few years ago a mini-riot broke out at the BET awards, so, I was excited.

The parking lot has a little alcove in back that is outlined by the fence that surrounds our apartment building. The fence has a door in it that would go unnoticed by a cursory glance over the area if you didn’t already know it was there. The door requires a key to get in and out of, so the only people that use it are our neighbors.

We sat around Saturday afternoon wondering if the red carpet would be in the back or front. Of course, it was in the front so we didn’t get to see the ridiculousness of that. I periodically walked back there to see if there was anything going on. All I saw was a parking lot filled with police, security guards, and RVs.

7:30 rolled around and we decided to just walk out there and see what was happening. We were sure the event had started but didn’t really know what to expect. While walking back we spoke with a neighbor that said the awards would be over at 8:00. This surprised me but then I remembered that Snoop and Ludacris had a party to throw at Club Esso. They had shit to do.

Ted, my dog Alameda, and I walked through the gate and along the fence that had been set up in the middle of the parking lot. The dog wasn’t too fond of the walk. Too many noises. The parking lot had some action towards the building but the lot was near vacant, besides a few random security guards bumbling around. We walked up to what we figured led to the stage/backstage area and camped out.

A line of SUVs pulled up to the curb next to us with their doors open, eagerly awaiting some sort of hip-hop artist. Some people milled about, a few walked out of the building and hopped in cars but we had no idea who they were.

“Holy shit,” Ted said. “Here comes Ice Cube.”

A few seconds later, Ice Cube appeared like the sun through broken clouds after a hurricane. Seeing famous people in person is a little weird. Not because they are so great and worthy of a huge amount of adoration, but because they look SO much like themselves. Like, almost a little too much like themselves to the point where they seem like a caricature.

“Hey Cube, say hi to my dog!” I said over the bustle of his posse.

Without breaking stride he glanced over and said, “What’s up dog?” After taking a few more steps he felt the need to elaborate. “I was talking to the dog,” he said with a laugh.

As he hopped into his SUV we looked at each other as if to say, “Holy shit. That was the crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube from the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes."

We stood around joking about Are We There Yet 3 before Ted said, “Well, there’s Missy Elliot.”

I turned my head and saw her hop into one of the SUVs behind us.

“Huh, good thing it’s not raining,” I said.

“Yeah she can't stand that shit,” replied Ted. Another minute passes and he says, “Hey, here comes Snoop.”

Sure enough, I look to my left and see a group of about seven people with Snoop in the middle. He was wearing an all black outfit with the words “Amerikaz Most Wanted” written on the back. His hair hung long around his black sunglasses even though the sun had sunk beneath the horizon an hour before.

“Hey Snoop, pet my dog!” I yelled.

He slowed his roll and glanced over, simply laughing to himself as he continued walking towards the RVs.

We figured we couldn’t do much better than Snoop and Ice Cube so we just walked back home, calling and texting everyone we thought would enjoy the story as much as we did.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Neighborhood bar.

O’Terrill’s is a bar down the street from our apartment complex. From the outside it looks like a low key place that would most likely be inhabited by alcoholics in their mid-forties, women wearing Looney Tunes shirts, and extra greasy bar food to wash down your beer. We had talked of making this bar our “Cheers,” but haven’t actually made it there before last night.

We walked in and sat at the bar on one of the many open barstools. Saturday night at ten o’clock and the bar is near empty. This is a good sign.

After ordering our drinks and making the usual conversation with the bartender, we get introduced to Rufus. Rufus is the owner of O’Terrill’s. His last name is Terrill, but his bar is called “O’Terrill’s.” Why the extra O? “Rufus’s middle name starts with an “O” and Rufus's bride's middle name starts with an “O." So there you have it: O’Terrill’s!” states the bar’s website.

The first thing he tells us about is the Bumbot, which sat seven feet behind us. Turns out, Rufus worked for the Department of Defense and built weapons. Now that he owns a bar, he still finds time for engineering experiments. “Google it, it’s one of the top five most evil robots of all time,” he told us. Turns out, he wasn’t lying.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Difference Makers - BumBot
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMichael Moore

Bumbot is a PG version of the robot that protects his house. We’ve all seen the kid’s toys that are little dogs, take a few steps, bark a few whimpy yelps, and then do a backflip. Right? Well, he has one that has a gun for a nose. Once it does a backflip, it shoots you. This is what protects his house, or so he tells us.

He then went into the story of how he came to Atlanta forty years ago. He grew up in Florida in the Everglades where his family poached alligators. They would take out about twelve every night, skin the stomachs, and leave the carcass where it was. When his Dad got caught, the judge realized that if he sentenced him to prison (he was facing twenty years) the state would have to support Rufus and his two siblings. The solution? The family was kicked out of the state and can’t go back. Or so he tells us.

We asked him how he felt about the location of his bar, which is located a few blocks east of Peachtree, a popular bar street. Piedmont, the street O’Terrill’s is located on, is much less happenin’. Across the street from the bar is Renaissance Park. The park is nice but it’s the large population of homeless people that live there that make it an undesirable neighbor for a bar.

“The location sucks. But at least it’s good for bum fishing,” he tells us.

“Yeah, okay. Bum fishing…”

“Seriously, you want to see my rig?”

“Of course we do.”

Rufus leads us to the patio where we see what looks to be a barber chair. Once we get close enough we realize it’s actually a deep-sea fishing chair. Resting on the railing in front of the chair is a large fishing pole. At the end of the line is a lure covered in electrical tape with a one dollar bill scotch taped to the end.

“You see, it takes them about thirty seconds to get the tape off, so you got about a thirty second fight every time,” he tells me after he makes me sit in the chair.

“Do you actually go deep-sea fishing?” Ted asked.

“Yeah, for bums,” replied Rufus. “I’d much rather fish for people. They’re smarter. It’s more fun.”

I’m not sure how much of these stories should be believed, but I’ll just tell myself they are all true. The Bumbot was proved true, so maybe he really is a fugitive gator-poacher that builds robots in his spare time. Either way, we’ll be making sure all the bartenders there know our names by the end of the month.