Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Joseph Mills... Again.

I'm coming out of "retirement" briefly to post on the latest development of Joseph Mills.  This was in the Athens Banner-Herald today.  Our good friend has had another run in with the law, and this time for lurking in a gated neighborhood. 

If you remember, I posted about this weirdo and now convicted sexual predator multiple times over the years of my employment downtown.   Not surprisingly, he's violated his probation multiple times at this point, has spent almost a year in jail, and he's still out there being a fucking shithead creepster.  There's no telling what girls house he was sitting outside of.  I hope the cops canvassed the neighborhood, because I guarantee you she knows who he is.  

At this point, years and years later, I can admit to everyone that I had a hand in getting this fucktard arrested.  In fact, I was out one evening drinking my sorrows and troubles away back in 2007 and came home fairly late (as in, late enough that the ABH website had been updated with the next days edition) to find a composite drawing of our good friend on the front page.  I immediately recognized him, and the rest is history.  I have no regrets for rolling over on this now convicted sexual offender, and if you've ever read any of the things I've stated in this blog over the years, I don't take kindly to anyone mistreating the ladies.  

Athens-Clarke County:  PUT THIS FUCKING SEXUAL PREDATOR AWAY.  Probation isn't going to do it.  He's not going to change.  He's got all the hallmarks of a dangerous predator quickly heading down a slippery slope, and the scary part is that he's just getting started.  It won't be long until the lurking and stalking and groping and spying and molesting drunk UGA girls downtown turns into rape, and possibly worse.

Do the right thing.  The judge needs to sign the arrest warrant.  The prosecutor needs do his job & lock this kid up for the remainder of his probation, and if possible, much, much longer.  

Be safe out there.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Latest

It's been almost a year, and while I've said I wouldn't post any more, there still appears to be traffic hitting this blog on a daily basis.

I still check my email pretty regularly. While I'm not as up to speed on the latest in downtown Athens anymore, much of my advice still applies. So shoot me an email if you'd like:

Happy drinking, blacking out, puking, and underaged trips to jail. Downtown Athens, Ga lives on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The End

There comes a point in a persons life when they realize that they simply have to move on. I had that realization a few months ago, walking around downtown Athens on a break from working during an early Saturday evening after a home game while the sun slowly sank below the horizon.

The remains of the game were everywhere...empty solo cups on the sidewalks, bars cleaning up from the early afternoon drinking and bringing trash out to the curb, police directing the remaining traffic leaving town, several drunk stragglers making their way home or trying to hail a taxi, and a few brave souls who had decided to stay downtown until the evening picked back up again in the later hours of the night when the students would flock back to the bars and make the most of their Saturday night.

I had to stop and look around. I took it all in. Something wasn't right, and it hadn't been for a long time. I began to realize that I simply was not a part of this town anymore, nor could I ever be again. It was an obvious realization, but one that I should have had years and years ago.

It was all over for me.

I have worked, on and off, in downtown Athens in the bar scene for a long time - going on 8 years at this point. I've quit and then come back more times than I can count. My most recent foray back into Athens bar employment was several months long and involved me "training" the newer staff. For me, my nightly training regimen usually involved me and another old timer on his way out - much like myself - standing at the bar taking shots and reminiscing about the fun we had years ago when we were in our prime working with our original crew.

Occasionally, I found the motivation to grab a mop or broom to clean, or give a new guy a walk-thru of the bar, or jump into a bar scuffle to help the staff toss an unruly drunk out into the street.

It was fun while it lasted, but also bittersweet. This was a far cry from the past. Our good friends who were with us in the beginning had left. We both longed for the days many years ago when it was all fresh and new while we were still in college and working in a bar was the cool thing to do. We tried to replicate those days by staying at the bar drinking ourselves into oblivion until 5 or 6am, talking about the wild late-night parties we had years ago. But the future was on the horizon and obvious, and I think a bigger part of us was ready to shed the past, and move into the future with a hope for something bigger and better.

Usually, we found ourselves as the only two people in the bar that late most weekend nights. This would make sense, because years and years after everyone else had left, we were still there. I guess our late nights were a reflection of our life choices up to that point.

That particular friend was the sole remaining throwback to my original days working downtown. He's gone now. He moved away to start a new chapter in his life a few weeks ago, and I applaud him for that. Shortly before he left, I decided to do the same and marked my last weekend working at the bar to coincide with his.Truth be told , neither of us spent it doing anything close to working. We just drank, traded old war stories, and then drank some more. A fitting end to nearly a decade of binge drinking, fighting drunks, cleaning bars, and pouring drinks for underaged college students.

I have to move forward now. I've spent too much time looking back at the fun I had and wishing I could replicate it, and not enough time pushing forward and diving headfirst into my new life, a new chapter that is sure to be just as fun and rewarding as my time in Athens was, although in very different ways. Through my years of drunkenness, I managed to finish college. I have a real job at a real company where solutions to problems don't always involve a headlock and lots of shouting. I've worked here for almost a year. It's time to put the drive and dedication into that job - an actual career - as I have in the past with my bar jobs.

I've thought a lot about it all, and also how it will affect this blog. I still have tons of stories to tell, but in the end they're all pretty much the same. I've said everything that I could have.

So, I've decided that this will be my final post as the Athens Door Guy. My drunken stories, my beliefs about the Athens-Clarke County government, and my opinions about stupid, naive, drunk college kids are just as true today as they were the day I posted them on this blog. Hopefully this site will still remain relevant to whatever brand new UGA freshman stumbles across it in the future, skimming for information on downtown Athens and how to get a fake ID or get past the bouncer at the door. The risks of downtown will remain and my warnings are still valid, but the fun things you can do while hammered and wandering the streets of downtown Athens are all still there for anyone.

I will undoubtedly visit Athens again. That is a certainty. I'll show up for a football game and take advantage of some random bars Power Hour, and take too many jager bombs, and stagger down the same puke and skunked-beer smelling downtown streets as I have hundreds & hundreds of times in the past. But I will do so - finally - as a permanently retired bouncer, doorguy, greeter, blogger, bartender, or whatever the hell you want to call me.

And I'm incredibly happy with that.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

It Continues...

A previous comment shot down a few of my solutions as unworkable and too expensive for cab companies to follow.

Lo and behold, this story awaited me.

What's it going to take to make some real changes? The original story that I quoted yesterday touted "stricter background checks" for taxi drivers, yet further down in the story the police claim that legitimate cab drivers haven't been attacking and robbing passengers.

So what the fuck is anyone actually doing? Nothing, as usual.

My previous post suggested tangible solutions for real problems that are facing Athens, the cab companies, and their passengers. A girl was raped Wednesday night. There's a number of other rapes that have happened in previous least that we know about.

What would have happened if cabs were more easily recognizable? If they could only pick people up at designated stops downtown, patrolled by police officers or legitimate security? If each cab was required to have a backward facing camera in operation to show the driver and their passengers?

I think you would find that police would have actual leads to follow for violence that happens in cabs. They would have a picture of the suspect to start their investigation from for things like what happened Wednesday night to that girl.

A few years back, I found an underaged girl on the sidewalk after 2am, drunk and completely unable to take care of herself. As she sat half conscious on the curb on the sidewalk, I rooted through her purse, found her phone and called everyone on her recent call list. She hardly even noticed what I was doing. Her "friends" either didn't pick up the phone, or said they were too drunk to come get her.

I won't even start on everything that was wrong with that situation, but suffice to say, I shooed away several police officers trying to "investigate" - they surely would have taken her to jail for being underaged - and finally hailed a cab down sometime before 3am. Putting her in the cab and making the driver wait while I took a cell phone picture of his license, and then another close up photo his face, I gave him $20 and a promise (or threat, depending on how you look at it) to find him if anything happened to this girl while he drove her home. I left a note in her purse telling her what happened, and got her phone number from her phone as well.

I gave the girl a call the next day to make sure she was ok, and she was. She was terribly embarrassed and didn't remember a thing, but that was alright with me. Our conversation was over quickly, and I never heard from her again.

I'm glad things turned out alright, but the point is this girl left herself vulnerable to anyone. She's lucky that the perfect stranger that happened to come across her was me. When you're completely helpless and downtown and leave yourself to the mercy of a stranger, anything can happen.

I also wish I didn't have to take the steps I did in order to feel halfway comfortable that the cab driver bringing her home wouldn't pull off in a dark parking lot and have his way with her. Even though I had what I needed to find him if something happened, there was no way for me to know the minute-by-minute happenings in that cab. I could only hope for the best.

Which is why I challenge do something about this obvious problem and to bring some actual solutions to the table instead of half-assed newspaper puff-pieces that get printed up to make everyone think that something is being done, when actual people are being hurt every single day that no legitimate change is made.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Athens Taxi Dilemma

This is bullshit. All of it should have been in place years ago. Of course a fucking convicted felon shouldn't be driving around strangers, much less drunk teenagers and college kids. A "first in first out" policy shouldn't have to be enacted by the government. The cab drivers should be doing that ridiculousness out of policy and good business practices.

It's the typical dog and pony show that Athens-Clarke County engages in when there's a problem and the government wants to look like it's doing something without actually doing anything.

The real problems are numerous. Cab drivers over-charging and taking advantage of their fares is one. The solution? Require every cab to have a dash-mounted fare system that digitally shows its passengers the running tab to bring them from one location to another. It's harder to screw over your passengers when there's an electronically run fare system in place.

Unruly passengers are a common problem. Consider this story. Did they do it? Did they not? A lengthy and very public investigation that tarnished UGA's football program temporarily (although other players, the former Athletic Director, and mediocre coaching has essentially screwed our program as of now) ended up being unfounded, but could have been avoided had taxi companies had cameras installed in their taxis.

And the most public problem? Girls getting picked up downtown, driven out into the middle of nowhere, and raped under the initial assumption that they were getting into what they thought was a cab. The solution? There are several, in my opinion. The first is more markings on the taxi. A simple magnetic sign on the side and a barely-lit "Taxi" slapped on the top are easy enough for your local white-van rapist to get his hands on. We should require more. More permanent markings. More lit signs. Perhaps even a standard multi color-scheme for all cabs that isn't in line with any Joe-Schmo who owns a big white cargo van and a tendancy to pick up drunk college girls downtown and rape them.

Another solution? Fucking taxi stands. Marked taxi stands around downtown. Throw a police officer or two in the mix and not only will your typical, retarded intoxicated college kid know where to go to get a legitimate taxi, but there will be supervision, accountability, and keep those goddamn giant white taxis out of the middle of Clayton street blocking traffic, keep drunk pedestrians from running in front of moving vehicles, & generally make things safer.

Until the government actually suggests and implements actual solutions for the problems that have been plaguing the taxi system for years, then you're going to have the same problems that we've been having for such a long time. Kids will continue to get ripped off from dishonest cab drivers. Bad shit will happen in cabs to passengers and cabbies alike without some in-cab accountability. I've been in a cab alone before, and had the driver show me his pistol. What the fuck? Who does that?

And worst of all, girls will continue to get raped. How long until one is murdered? Mothers and fathers of college kids will have to get the phone call from the police that their daughter has been taken advantage of. Lives will be forever changed.

So Athens-Clarke County...get up off of your ass and fucking do something about it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Things You Learned Last Weekend, But Should Have Already Known...

1) Don't get out of the cab downtown with your drink. The cops are there. I've seen it a dozen times. Cab drivers don't care that you're finishing off your little girlie concoction in the red solo cup while they drive your drunk asses downtown and charge you astronomically high fares. The cops do, however. That $15 taxi ride just turned into an $85 ride with the brand new open container citation that the cop just wrote you.

2) Don't scream in the doormans face. Please, please, please. If I've said this once, I've said this a hundred fucking times. I'm sure power hour was fun and you're thrilled to see your friends, but my hearing is just as sensitive as it was earlier this afternoon. Oh, whoops. Not anymore.

3) Don't grope random girls in a bar and then act like you're the victim when asked to leave by the staff. Making a scene on the way out like pounding on the walls or calling me "bro" doesn't help you save face. It only makes you look even more pathetic than you are. I win.

4) Don't steal the tip jar. What are you thinking when you try to grab the money out of this? You're just like a tiny see something you want and you simply can't resist the urge to try to take it for yourself. Unfortunately, we're there to stop you...and bring you to a closed off location out back where no one can hear you scream.

5) Don't....stiff the bartender, throw up in the bathroom or on the bartop, break anything in the bar, write on the walls, try to steal booze or anything that isn't nailed down, have sex anywhere in the bar, try to pass back ID's, try to get into fights with anyone, or generally try to do anything that isn't socially acceptable in any other public place. Seriously. Are you guys fucking 12?

6) Don't fight the Bouncer. We're not the police. We don't (usually) have guns or weapons. This is good for you. But we also never took an oath to uphold the law and the constitution. So conversely, we have no trouble knocking your front teeth out, choking you unconscious, and throwing you face down on the sidewalk with your pants down right in front of that hot girl you were trying to impress only moments before. This is embarrassing for you. Also, things aren't over for you quite yet. Officer Friendly is standing right outside to take it from there, and usually his attention is on your drunk ass, and not my violent tendencies. Thus your encounter with them begins...

7) Don't fight the police. This seems like a no-brainer, but I'm continually surprised at how many kids get a few drinks in them and then consider this an option. A handful of kids went to jail last night simply because they couldn't think logically enough to not fight on the sidewalk with each other and then the cops when they wandered over to investigate. There's a lot of them and they have radios to call more of their friends over and multiple tools they can use to inflict pain on you. And then when they're done kicking your ass, they get to throw you in a room and lock you up there until they feel like letting you out. Have fun explaining this to your parents the next day when you need to get bailed out.

8) Don't drive home drunk. Fine. You've made it home safely the other 50 times. Why not give it another shot? Taxis are overrated anyway, with all the rapin' and all going on these days. Well all it takes is once to get pulled over and now you're looking at roughly $10,000 in bonds, attorneys fees, court costs, fines, DUI school tuition payments, monthly probation fees, taxi money (since you'll have no license) multiple court appearances, and a permanent black mark on your record for life. Congratulations. This little money-making scheme has been raking in the county extra cash for years now, so if you want to fund your local road project or help to supplement a few government salaries to insure the downtown bike police are fully staffed every weekend, then take a few extra shots before you leave the bar and then go for a joyride down East Campus Road. Make sure to ignore the speed limit and those annoying white and yellow lines on the road trying to tell you how to drive.

9) Don't ring the victory bell. Also known as the Chapel Bell. Besides of the obvious implications this presents - i.e. UGA isn't exactly winning much of anything right now - it's beyond annoying and it goes on fucking forever. And at 2:30am, I can't think of a better way to scream PLEASE ARREST ME than this. And trust me, I can hear that shit all the fucking way across downtown. Not to mention usually the only people cutting through campus are the kids heading to the dorms, which equals underaged drinkers which equals a night in jail. You might as well send up a fucking signal flare to all bored police officers in the area.

10) Don't stay downtown past 2am or so. Fine, maybe grab a bite to eat before you head home, but there's nothing worse than getting off of work at 4 or 5am and then heading to (I hate to admit) The Grill and finding a table full of fucked up kids yelling and screaming there as well. My parents taught me nothing good happens when you stay out past midnight, so one can only imagine what ridiculousness happens past 2am in downtown Athens. Personally, I can tell you absolutely nothing good happens.

So please shut the fuck up so I can eat my grill muffin in peace.

The Dick

I wrote this one about 2 1/2 years ago. I can't remember exactly what or who this was about, but I saved the draft at about 4am, and I rarely wrote immediately after work so I must have been pissed.

Sometimes when we work and we're dealing with a shithead, we want to hurt him. We want to rear back and hit him in the face as hard as we can and then throw him on the ground and jump up and down on their stupid little fucking sarcastic head. After we finish with that, we want to point and laugh and ask him how funny it is that we just punched him and stomped on his head. We want to ask him why he isn't laughing anymore and why he won't answer us.

But we'll know why. It's because he's face down, bleeding and unconscious.

But we can't do that. Most of the time, we can brush off the bullshit comments that we get. We get those comments hour after hour, night after night; & as I outline on here, post after post.

But occasionally some of them really get my blood boiling. I mean, really boiling. Sometimes we have to noticeably hold ourselves back from hurting someone because of their attitude. I've sent many a doorman inside because he was so pissed off.

We're an angry bunch, admittedly.

And so I ran into one of those guys recently. Tonight, actually.

After our encounter, I looked at our videotapes from earlier in the evening before our encounter, and saw him antagonizing nearly every random guy that he came across, simply pushing the barrier to see how far he could go. Hitting on girls that were obviously with guys, mocking the guys after they got annoyed with him hitting on their girlfriends, and just generally being a dick to every stranger within arms reach of him.

When we kicked him out, he mocked us from the start. He mocked us from the back of the bar all the way out to the front door. He mocked us from the sidewalk. He mocked us every time we walked out. But his mocking wasn't the usual mocking. He got under all of our skin, and we found ourselves trying to plan a way to tempt him into physically challenging us so we could justify beating him to a pulp. Sadly, we never went through with our evil plan.

He was one of those guys that you would see and think, wow...somebody really needs to kick his ass. I wish I could have obliged, but being the level-headed, neutral party that I'm paid to be nightly, I couldn't. I wanted to. I could have. But I didn't.

Son of a bitch.

A Look Back

I've been having more than my fair share of trouble coming up with something to write lately, so I've gone through some old entries I never posted for public consumption and decided to post a few. More to come. This one is from August of 2007...

There's a fairly common belief that the best bouncers use their mouths and brains more than they use their muscles. I've heard it a million times. It's even in this documentary that I recently watched called "Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope" which documents big city bouncers in mega clubs from around the country, primarily from New York City.

The odd thing is that most of the bouncers in this documentary were big dudes and loved to fight. There were plenty of fights shown throughout the DVD. On a similar note, most door guys and bouncers in bars and clubs are bigger than average. Much bigger, actually.

So armed with this little tidbit of information, a reasonable person might ask...if the best bouncers can talk their way out of a fight, then whats the purpose for hiring a big guy to work the door? Might as well hire a bunch of 140 pound guys to work the door and floor who can run their mouths like a motherfucker, right?

The simple answer is that most people who attract the attention of the bar staff and are on the receiving end of this so-called talent of "talking someone out the door" in order to avoid a fight are normally the ones who end up deserving to get the dog shit kicked out of them on the way out. They're intoxicated and they're not rational in the least, and people who are intoxicated and aren't rational don't tend to listen to any logical explanation as to why they're being ejected. So an alternative method of ejecting a drunk customer is employed. Namely, dragging them out kicking and screaming.

Granted, talking works...sometimes. I've talked many a customer out without having ever laid a hand on him. The drawback to this, however, is that it's very time consuming and I have to bite my tongue and grit my teeth throughout our encounter. Giving them more time gives them the opportunity to rile themselves up and, on occasion, find the guts to take a swing. Drunk people can't stay on subject, they want to argue and throw around insults, and occasionally want to challenge me to a fight, but often lack the testicular fortitude to make the first move.

So I say that it's bullshit. The best bouncers know how to talk, be nice and use words and kindness to their advantage, but also have the ability to force an unwilling customer out the door should the need arise.

But they're not all like that. Most bouncers can only do one or the other well. Unfortunately, it's usually the one that involves choking the shit out of some poor drunk kid. And I can't blame them in the least. A lot of drunk kids around here deserve to have the wrath of a bar employee let loose on them while being forced out the door, screaming for their mommy and daddy.

Oh, and of course screaming for their lawyer, too because they're all going to sue this place, get it shut down, and get me fired.

I always love that one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

R.I.P. Top Dawg

Top Dawg is no more. I hope no one can honestly say they're surprised. That spot has been a disaster since it was renovated a few years back and turned into a nightclub.

Too many liquor license violations had the authorities coming by last weekend to post a nice little notice on their door that they had been shut down. Word on the street is that they've had 4 violations. It could be less, or it could be more. Who really cares?

This place is a great example of awful management. If you let every damn person in the world inside, and don't train your staff to spot fake ID's, then your life as a bar will be very short.

Word has it that the place has been available for purchase for quite some time, but surprisingly after Clarke County shut it down, the price dropped dramatically. That tells me they probably knew it was coming. But going along with what I already suspect about that place, they promptly sent out an email last week which was forwarded to me blaming the government and everyone else for Top Dawg's demise.

Here it is, in all its un-edited glory:

Angila Ocker Harvey September 11 at 11:21pm Reply
Keep an eye out for our next move, we're done with Clarke County though, so it'll be somewhere close enough to come to our big events. We are going to miss you all so much, you truley made TOP DAWG the Top Dawg in the ATH, madd love and respect to all those who supported us. Athens isn't ready for us yet so we'll have to take another rout but we'll see ya'll at the TOP for sure!!!! You see any of us TOP DAWGS on the street holla at us we're real and what you saw and got was real so as the saying goes REAL recognize REAL and fuck the madd hatters I mean HATERSSSSSSS!!!!!

Message for the County Government and all the closeminded fools in Athens:
((((((((EQUALITY for all, it's already happened so get with it or get out of our way)))))))

---------------------------You aint seen the last of us-----------------------------

Truly, an example of a successful business where the owners and management take responsibility for the ups and downs of the downtown Athens bar business they have chosen to be in. I was under the impression they were shut down against their will, however, the email seems to indicate that Top Dawg was done with them.

Based on their email, I guess that they didn't like their downstairs neighbor very much. I happen to like the guy who owns that place. He's been around for a long time, and has worked at nearly every bar downtown, it seems.

So to Top Dawg, I say this: Look who's open and look who isn't. Take your shitty inbred thug party out to Oconee County and drink your moonshine in an empty, shit-filled cow field somewhere, far away from the likes of the rest of us. Nobody wants that shit in Athens, as you can see.

Obviously, I can't say I give two shits about them being gone. The only negative thing that means is that there are 300 plus more thugs roaming around downtown without a place to go that will eventually find themselves face to face with me at some point, wanting to go inside.

Fucking awesome.