I just woke up from my night out with “Brother” Richard Haynes, Director of Atheists Nexus. It could have been wilder, but alas I had to drive home 2 hours from L.A. so I needed to stop myself at two beers in order to be sober enough to make the trek. But I could tell from the wild look in his eyes, that if I was willing to follow him to the depths of drunkenness, he would have been a willing partner. Already I was nursing a hang over from the night before; I put away four tall margaritas in about the space of two hours at the local Irish pub near my house Friday night. I woke up in severe pain Saturday morning at 6am, but with some coffee and Advil, I made my way to L.A. for an atheist leadership workshop in the morning, then to meet Richard that night.
We started the evening off at Cafe Brazil in Culver City with a few glasses of Sangria and a polite dinner with my friends from Atheists United. The flank steak was good and fried plantains were a treat. (Behold, the atheist’s wet dream! as Ray Comfort might say) Bobbie, the AU president was a little pissed that it seemed that the restaurant has no idea what the words "private room" meant, since the place they set up for us was simply in the main room, but if we did have a private room, we would have missed all the fantastic Brazilian bikini dancing that was playing on large screens on both ends of the restaurant. I’m sure there is some traditional name for it, but it was dark-skinned beauties shaking their shapely asses in skimpy bikinis. Fantastic. I couldn’t keep my eyes off it. It was mesmerizing and again, displayed quite prominently in the restaurant.
I could tell Richard was a partier, but dinner was polite. We started talking about the Atheist Nexus Live Music Party coming up at the AAI convention and I offered up my services as a sound guy, so I guess I’ll have a hand in that. After dinner we made our way to the Daily Pint in Santa Monica. Bobbie picked it out of the Zagat Guide as a nice place to meet. The place was a total dive, but I like dives so I felt right at home. Richard had promoted a “Pub-paloza” to everyone on Atheists Nexus, so we planted ourselves at the back and looked for people who looked like atheists. (We never found anyone until we were about ready to go, sad)
With a beer in my hand and Richard armed with a martini, we had a great time, talking shit about whatever and whomever. ATTENTION prominent people in the atheist movement, if you 1) drink and 2) hang out with Richard Haynes while doing so…nothing that happens is safe! Richard also has a knack for eliciting people’s most private information so they spill the beans and then have those beans scooped up by Richard and refried in lard and served as delicious hilarious burritos. Our female drinking companion and Richard’s assigned driver, the lovely Kari, was an endless source of entertainment in that regard.
I got to hear some incredible stories of Richard’s youth growing up evangelical and some pretty shocking stuff that went on in his church. I won’t recount any of it, because they are his stories to tell, but I’ll just let you know that if you buy him a martini, the return is worth the investment. Profane and vulgar with a charming Georgia accent as only a former Christian minister turned atheist could be.
The drinking came too soon to an end because of my own limitations but Richard suggested we go to Pinks, an L.A. landmark hotdog stand on the corner of Melrose and La Brea. That sounded like a great idea so with the help of some nice locals who had a Blackberry, we found our way to Pinks and I was stunned by what must have been one hundred and fifty people standing in line. I’m not even kidding. So we got in line and waited for two hours for the hot dogs. Granted they were good hot dogs, but two hours in line? It was worth it. Pinks came highly recommended to Richard, and I’ve never been so you know, once just to say I’ve been there. I got the Chili cheese dog with kraut (yes, I like kraut) and a Polish pastrami dog with Swiss cheese. I couldn’t make with through the two dogs and I can put away food like nobody’s business. The food was pretty good. Richard got a similar order plus onion rings. Both of us quit about half way through. We staggered back to the car stuffed with chili, pastrami and orange soda. I drove him back to the place he was staying (Kari abandoned us in the Pink’s line about an hour and a half in.)
Anyways, for those of you who are considering coming to the AAI Convention in Burbank, October 2-4, I have one word….COME. It’s going to be a blast. If you stay at the hotel, there won’t need to be any, “I can only have two beers because I have to drive home.” excuses. Richard and I will be presenting talks back to back in the development track on Friday October 2, so come see our talks and buy us cocktails!