Monday, December 31, 2007

My Whiskey-onsin Trip

As I've mentioned before, I lived in Wisconsin for five years and took plenty of crap for it from my peoples. There wasn't much to defend, but the boozing scene is unmatched. After all, Wisconsin is the only state in the country where your first DUI isn't a crime - it's just a traffic ticket - and with the permission of the bartender and a parent, any child can drink a beer in any pub in the state. Seriously.

So when I rolled up Thursday in a rental car to do a one-night hit-and-run visit, I knew I was in for it, especially since my boy Raccoon was going to be my road dog, and he's a bartender and fellow lush.

I meet him up for dinner at a supper club with a couple of folks, and down my first Cap'n'coke, which almost brought a tear to my eye. A highball glass loaded with alcohol, and when I handed the bartender a $5 bill, she brought me back $2.75. Compare that to the $10.75 I paid for a double Cap'n'coke in a plastic cup at the "lounge" down the road from my place in Tampa in a frigging strip mall.

After dinner, the mission began. We had to swing by a strip club - the Paradise Club - to see my buddy who works as the doorman. Rac wasn't high on this idea, but I promised him it'd be one round and gone, and there was a solid chance it'd be free. Yet, 15 seconds after we walk in, two feet inside the door, a young lady in some lovely red lingerie who provided me with one of the three best carnal evenings I've ever had spotted me and sashayed over with a huge "We haven't had sex since April and that's a problem" smile on her face.

The "one round and out" plan was on life support.

We take a seat at the bar and I buy a round of Cap'n'cokes as I'm catching up with the manager, the bartender, other folks I know. And Rac is ready to murder me because a dancer came straight over and started prattling in his ear, then made him listen to the voicemail her 13-year-old daughter left asking her to bring home some maxi pads.

I'm waiting for my ladyfriend to come off stage, so we roll dice for the next round. I don't know how common this is, but at most Wisconsin bars, you can play dice against the bartender for drinks. You win, yours is free; they win, you owe him/her a drink and still have to pay for yours. This alone makes drinking in Wisconsin the shizzle. Rac wins and gets a shot of Patron, buys me another drink and all of a sudden the night is taking off.

Three drinks and a shot apiece later (and a promise of a phone call from my flassback), we roll to the next spot, Flagstone, where there's a bartender Rac used to bone. Cute brunette pothead. The cop cars out front made us pause, but I'd promised her I'd come by to say hi, so we pressed on.

Apparently, we'd missed a barfight by a couple minutes. Just our luck.

Homegirl hooks us up with a pair of pints of ice and Captain - the Coke mix must have run out ... or not - and now we're getting somewhere. We slam those and move along to downtown Appleton and a great beer bar, Dr. Jekyll's. This is the kind of place that has beers so exotic and microbrewed that some sell for $20 a bottle. We meet up with a couple of females Rac knows since I'd whiffed on two connections I was supposed to make and the flassback was starting to sound iffy.

This is where ish got serious. Ron, the owner/bartender of Jekyll's, is mad cool and kept thangs movin'. Then my boy D-Rok comes through and it really pops off. Patron shots, straight rum, Jack and coke, Heinekens, vodka and cran, Bacardi and coke ... the beer started flowing like wine, yo. I hit the jukebox and put in WORK: Prince, Beastie Boys, Outkast, Kid Rock, Snoop and God knows what else.

We bounce from there across the street to Jim's Place, a classic bar spot with tons of woodwork, high ceilings and ... games? Oh yes.

Drunk foosball is pretty much unmatched for pure entertainment value, especially when you get to stand right there and make fun of your boy for not only losing to a girl, but getting shut out. Guys, a bit of advice: Don't play bar games when you're trying to impress a girl unless you're halfway decent at them. Losing isn't bad, but embarrassment is.

Ah, bar close. That leads me and Rac back to one of the girls' condo, where we passed out at about 4 am. You will get no details out of me beyond that, although I will say that I'm an ill wingman and I got this text from the condo owner the next day: "On a scale of 1 to 10, you're a 45." Corny as that is, I'll have to take her word for it, cuz I don't remember much of anything beyond last call.

However, said girl had to be at work the next day. So at 7:45 a.m., we find ourselves stumbling to his Saab. Rac says "What now?" And I say one of the stupidest things I can remember saying: "Third-shift bar?"

Appleton is a manufacturing town, and it has a few bars that open at dawn to serve the third-shift factory workers as they get off shift. So at 8:06 a.m., this photo of our breakfast was taken:

Yessir, that's two Captain and Cokes - bloody Marys are for punks. We end up drinking for another three hours, at which point I think I passed out on the bar for a moment.

That encompasses the first 20 hours of my 40 hours or so in Wisconsin (a snowstorm kept me there for another night, which was spent doing some more drinking, although in a more domestic environment). I miss nights - and mornings - like that. Drinking just seems to be more fun when it's cold out than when it's warm. If someone wants to prove me wrong, gimme a holla when you're in Tampa.

Now, I'm off to shift it into high gear for New Year's. The rum bottle is half empty, which means I'm warmed up. The best to you and your peoples, and may God bless you all in 2008. Salud.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

To the Bride and Groom

Weddings are to drinkers what Friday nights are to high school football—game time. And when the groom is one of my friends, it’s like a state championship game in central Texas. This weekend featured just such an event. My boy Nick, who I mentioned in the Benitos story, married his fiancee Holly yesterday. And, god bless them, they made sure that none of us could see straight as it was happening.

Things got kick-started on Friday night with the rehearsal dinner. My fellow groomsmen and I were the first people to make it from the church to the restaurant, and we had been seated for all of five seconds when we placed our drink orders with the waitress. I had a gin & tonic in front of me before the grandparents were seated. Magnificent. My friend Finn’s wife had a dirty martini in her hand at the same time. I wasn’t kidding when I told him that he married up.

After dinner, most of the groomsmen and Nick headed over to his brother-in-law’s house, where we were staying for the night. We changed into casual clothes and prepared for a night on the town in McKeesport (yeah, back at it again) with beers and a shot of Crown Royal XR, which Nick had saved especially for this weekend. The stuff tastes like liquid gold. $150 well-spent, my friend.

Then we were off to Todd’s By the Bridge, which is my favorite watering hole in The Port. Hot shot girls, hotter bartenders (hi Lauren), and a young, diverse crowd (see “thugs in attendance”). And of course, pool tables. I think Nick’s idea of the perfect bar would be one where the pool tables themselves serve you the drinks. I was quickly recruited as his teammate, and though I wanted to protest—I could feel my drunk—I decided to man-up. This was Nick’s weekend, and if he wanted me to do a lap around the place in nothing but my Timbs I would have (hi Lauren). Our first opponents were of the “young and diverse” sort, and one was the scariest type of thug: a big fat white guy. I laugh when white people tense up around black guys, especially those on the thuggish side of things. For my money, the big fat white guy in the crew is always the most dangerous. Dave Chappelle said it best: “there's no telling what kind of crazy shit they've done to get them black dudes respect.”

One of his buddies was a skinnier white guy, with tattoos all over his arms and neck, and a t-shirt that said “No Snitching.” He didn’t really talk much, and didn’t play pool. He just sat at a table near where we were playing and stared at the girls on the dance floor. But even with all of that, I had a hard time finding him threatening, because he bared a striking resemblance to Freddy Prinze, Jr. It was kind of like seeing a dog dressed up in a Halloween costume. I sent TJ a text message about this, and he responded “Please punch him.” Yeah, I’m the jaded one.

We ran through the competition, winning 4 or 5 games straight. Around 1 am, Nick decided to call an audible: he wanted to go to Beamers.

Beamers, in a previous life, was another McKeesport restaurant/bar that some of my friends and I would hit up for cold alcoholic beverages. On a couple of occasions, my friend K-man’s rock band played there. Business, however, must not have been that great for them, because about two years ago they decided to change the format. It is now a strip club. And I cannot, for the life of me, understand how they are making any more money than they did in that previous life.

To say that the dancers were “subpar” is being polite. And since I’m an asshole, I’ll tell you that they were flat-out disappointing. A couple of them were cute, but still kind of average. And one was, well…let me put it this way: have you ever been to a strip club and prayed to yourself that a dancer didn’t take her clothes off? Neither had I before Friday. Chubby, pasty, unattractive, and missing teeth. And the ones that she did have were black. She spotted Brandon, one of the bride’s brothers, and I sitting at the bar, and made a beeline towards us. She got one word out before I blatantly turned around, got up, and walked away. I could feel the daggers that Brandon was staring as they lodged into my departing back. But I didn’t turn around. Sometimes it’s every man for himself.

It turns out that I know the shot girl at Beamers (her cousin is one of my best friends from high school; and even though she was by far the hottest female in that establishment, I breathed a deep sigh of relief when she said she was just a shot girl). She said that one of the dancers was new, and had been caught providing some fellaish in the private dance room earlier that night. I remembered seeing the dancer arguing with the manager, and I suddenly wished I’d listened to her side of the story. I can only hope it contained the reply “Well if I DON’T give the customers head, how are we ever going to get repeat business?”

The night then concluded with a stop at McDonalds. We ordered three sacks of food (not an embellishment) and feasted at Brandon’s. Now I can’t see a Mickey D’s sign without getting nauseous.

The nine of us each had our own “Supersize Me” moment of clarity the next morning. This meant that none of us could manage to eat anything before the ceremony. So when we climbed into the limousine bus that was stocked with champagne, beer, bourbon, and vodka, the communion wafer in each of our stomachs was left all alone to fight off the impending doom. I contemplated this as I chugged down an I.C. Light “hand grenade.” Ten minutes later I was right back to where I’d left off the night before. Forty-five minutes and a stop for six-packs and chips later, we arrived at the reception hall. That was, quite possibly, the hardest I have ever had to concentrate on not tripping. Escorting my assigned bridesmaid to the wedding party’s table felt roughly like walking a fishing line tightrope. To celebrate my triumphant arrival at the table, I told the waitress “Beam & Coke, and a Miller Lite.”

The rest of the night was, literally, a blur. I know I had about 6 or 7 deep, philosophical, meaningful conversations at that reception, but I have no idea what was said. What I remember are more Beam & Cokes, cigars, shots of Wild Turkey, and darkness. And a dance floor full of white women doing the Superman (if I could go back in time, I would videotape that). At the hotel we set up beer pong in my room. I awoke this morning to the smell of stale beer and a keg sitting in my hallway. I was actually more surprised that it wasn’t sitting next to my bed, with the tap spout in my mouth. Oh well. I guess that can wait until the night of my own wedding (hi Lauren).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Have A Confession: I Drank Champagne

I'm back home in Chicago with my family for the holidays, which is quite refreshing, because I'd forgotten what snow, visibly exhaling breath and my brother and sister arguing profanely about stupid crap look like.

Anyhow, Christmas morning I'm helping my mom and her husband get the house ready for guests, and my youngest sister is the first person over. I was really looking forward to seeing her; her husband's in Iraq (SEMPER FI, DEVIL DOG) and I knew she needed some cheering up. So I give her a big hug, help her carry gifts in from the car and generally act big brother-ish.

Which she rewards by stabbing me in the back.

Not literally. But she opens the fridge and asks, "Where's the beer?" A perfectly natural question from a South Side girl. Unfortunately, she then spotted the bottle of champagne WAAAAAAYYYY in the back. "Hey, can we open the champagne?"

I turn to my mom with a look of desperation, a pair of pleading puppy-dog eyes that say, "Please say no, please say no, pleasesaynopleasesaynopleasesaynopleasesaynopleasesayno..." I didn't bring any booze because there are a couple of members in my family who stopped drinking for serious reasons, and I didn't want to be the dumbass guzzling liquor in front of them all day. But somehow I know I'm gonna get roped into drinking the bubbly if my sister cracks it open.

Alas, my own mother ruthlessly says, "Sure, why not?" Sometimes I wonder if she really loves me.

I firmly believe there are only three occasions on which champagne should be quaffed: weddings, New Year's and if you're out with your boss and he/she insists everyone have some. Actually, that last reason goes for just about anything; if he/she wants you to do a shot of Drano, man up.

But this is none of those occasions, which makes this a girly-man drink. My sister shoves a glass into my hand, and gets two more for our folks. Then she has the nerve to turn to me and ask if I want orange juice.

Yes, she actually offered me a mimosa. In her defense, she's a chef, so this fancy-schmancy crap is kind of her day-in day-out mode, but what the hell? A mimosa?

I manage to fight off that offer politely but I'm starting to jones for some rum or vodka, anything to restore my self-image. We clink glasses, offer our season's greetings and everyone takes a sip.

Then it hits me, a way to set things right, both in my head and in the universe. After all, a guy who proudly drinks liquor can't be caught sipping champizzle in his mom's kitchen. That just ain't right. You're messing with karma there, and Lord knows I've done that enough.

So I grin at my sister, raise my glass, and say, "Bottoms up." And chug the whole thing.

Now, I'm not saying this is the alcoholic equivalent of killing off a rocks glass full of whiskey or shotgunning a can of beer. However, chugging drinks in polite company isn't considered, well, polite, and chugging champagne - the elegant beverage for the bourgeoisie, made to be sipped and savored - is just out and out gauche. Ask me if I care.

My sister punches me in the shoulder, my mom sarcastically says, "Oh, that's nice" and my stepdad chuckles. And I belch.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Making Friends

As I sip on my first beer of the day, I am finally beginning to feel the holiday spirit creep into me. Don’t get me wrong—the gifts, Christmas cookies, and egg nog were all nice. But cookies and egg nog will lead to extra laps around the track next month. And presents just haven’t meant as much as they had before I turned 12. At that seasoned age, Christmas presents no longer meant toys, and therefore they rapidly made the transition from being things I wanted to things I needed. When I was 10, I wanted that new G.I. Joe fighter jet. When I turned 12, I needed a new sweater. And there’s just not as much excitement in getting something that has a set use in its future. (I have a theory that this same rule also explains the difference between getting a new girlfriend and getting a new wife, but research is still being conducted on that.)

But now things have settled down a bit; my phone has stopped buzzing with phone calls and text messages from friends and distant family saying “Merry Christmas”; the relatives are still 3 hours or so away from getting here for dinner; and I find myself in front of the computer with a cold beer and internet poker at my disposal. I think that’s a lost verse of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” But I digress.

Being in this holiday spirit, I feel I should bestow upon you, the reader, a special “On the Rocks” gift. And, being that I don’t receive a paycheck for writing this blog, I decided that a gift that doesn’t cost anything would be fitting. So I am giving you the gift of sage advice: Make friends with your bartenders and waitresses.

Sure, I know most of you already understand the importance of this. I would hope that a large number of our readers are veteran field generals of the bar scene. People who recognize the need to treat your servers well. Still, every season has a new crop of rookies and less-experienced players who are in need of some preparation and guidance. And that is the demographic I am speaking to with this time-tested truth.

My friends and I seemed to grasp this concept very early in our bar-going careers. I have sometimes likened us to the Edmonton Oiler hockey teams of the 80s that had so many players that were so good at a very young age. When we stepped into a nightspot, the fans knew they were about to get a great show.

Tipping well is a big part of this process. One of the earliest tricks we learned was that if you take care of the bartender, he or she is going to take care of you. We would show up for dollar drinks, get places at the bar, and be sure to add an extra dollar or two for the tip on each of the first couple of rounds. Before you knew what hit you, your rum and coke became rum and co. I have seen bartenders literally just splash coke into a cup full of liquor. They say real men don’t cry, but there is an exception to every rule.

Sunday night three of my good friends and I stepped out for a few beers, and I realized just how ingrained this idea of making friends with our servers had become. Twenty minutes after arriving at a local Irish pub/restaurant, we were being moved from the bar to “The General’s Room,” a private room with a big-screen Plasma on the wall and plush seats. Our waitress often sat down to b.s. with us, kept our beers topped off, and even served us after they called “last call” at 10. All of this with very little effort on our part, aside from friendly words and smiles. We went to a bar down the street next, and by the end of the night the female bartender there was cracking jokes with us, joining us at our seating area to chat and make sure our glasses were full. I stumbled into my apartment well-lit that night, and I’d only spent a grand total of about $35.

So there it is, my gift to you—Merry Christmas. Use it well during this holiday season (you can thank me later). Salud.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Best Intentions ...

I managed to cut out of work a bit early on Friday, which is a gift and a curse. Yes, it gets me out into the Tampa sunshine sooner, but if I head home to my spot in the north burbs at rush hour, I'm going to spend at least 60 minutes enjoying that sunshine in traffic.

So instead, I rolled down the street to my regular spot. It looks like a neighborhood bar - in fact, I thought it was one when I first walked in there a few months ago - but it does indeed feature topless women, a stage with a pole and screened-off couches. To quote my illustrious blogmate, don't judge me.

I stopped in at about 4:30 to say hi to the owner, a beautiful woman who's sort of adopted me as part of the club family. I was gonna have a drink and wait out rush hour a bit, then head home and lay low for the weekend to prepare for my trip to Chicago on Monday.

Ha. Ha. Ha. As usual, whenever I intend to do something brief and normal in a club, all hell breaks loose.

The club was way fuller than it should have been at that time; I had trouble finding a parking spot. All the stools at the bar are full. The owner, Rusty, is bartending and this cat Jody's DJing. I know some of the girls on sight, but none are friends of mine.

I walk over to say what's up to Jody, cuz I haven't seen him in a while, and a regular, a cat named Virgil, also walks over. (Quick sidenote about Virgil: I've heard he punches somebody in the face once a week just for the hell of it. He's one of those guys who's always having fun right up until he's trying to stab someone for God knows what reason.)

Virgil's obviously upset. I ask what's going on, and find out a longtime regular with deep pockets died the day before. Heart attack, out of the blue. I didn't know the guy, but apparently everyone else did. So this was kind of his Irish wake. The strip club twist is that they did a barwide toast for him and then two girls twisted up on each other like a DNA helix onstage to Johnny Cash.

Rusty's obviously too emotionally torn up to function. So we stash her in the back office. Virgil volunteers to bartend, but he's plastered, God bless him. So Jody takes over. Which leaves an empty DJ booth and ... me.

As that great philosopher MC Eiht says, ain't nothin' to it but to do it.

Jody gives me a quick rundown - this chick likes classic rock, this chick likes R&B, etc. - and leaves me to it. They've got a digital booth, and I've played songs back there before, plus I DJ'd house parties and bars back in college, so I'm not intimidated by the music. However, the microphone looked like a freaking shotgun pointed at my head.

Emboldened by a couple of CAPTAIN and cokes, if you feel me, I dive in. And two hours later, I'm still doing it.

Methinks "strip club DJ" is not going on my resume anytime soon, but I did a passable job, to the point to where one of the girls even offered to tip me out. (Strippers generally tip the DJ at the end of their shifts for exhorting the clientele to spend money on them.)

Meanwhile, Rusty has ordered Jody to give me whatever I want from behind the bar. Jody apparently interpreted this as "send TJ a Jager bomb or Patron shot every time a song ends." I text Defi at some point and said "I'm DJing a strip club," and to his credit, he reacted much the same way as he would have if I'd said, "The sky is blue." The man is jaded.

After a couple hours, Rusty has pulled herself back together and is back behind the bar. Jody once again mans his battle station, but asks me to see if there's anything I can help Rusty with. Naturally, there is - one person working a bar on a Friday night is never enough. So now I'm fetching ice, restocking coolers, etc., all the while drinking everything that's put in front of my face. After a while, I just stopped asking what it was.

About 8 pm, Rusty departs and instructs the night bartender, a friend of mine, that I am to be taken care of to my heart's content. Christmas came early, baby. However, something a bit more interesting popped up (read as: blond, cute, slippery morals) and in my intoxicated state led me astray. Damn my libido.

So what did I learn from all this? Probably nothing, because it'll more than likely happen again, if the last decade of my adult life is any indication. But I can now say that I've told a room full of men to "get the fuck up and get out your wallets" and they did it. I'm sure that's something I'll tell my grandkids.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Night at Benitos

Fifteen and a half hours. This hangover has definitely been one of my longest. Gatorade, soup, sleep, aspirin, and Season 1 of “The Wire” have been my teammates on this record-setting day.

Yesterday’s celibations (no, I didn’t spell that wrong) were rough. My friend, Tony, invited me to a party that people he works with were throwing at a bar called Benitos in McKeesport. For those of you who have never been to Pittsburgh and its greater metropolitan area, I’m not sure how better to describe McKeesport than to say that Pittsburghers look at “The Port” the same way that you probably look at Pittsburgh. Yeah—good times.

But I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in McKeesport (don’t judge me), and have many friends from there, including my roommate in college. And I know quite a few of Tony’s coworkers, since they are typically people our age who enjoy a good beer or fifteen. And, more often than not, they are female. And attractive. To summarize: a party full of young, friendly, attractive, drunk girls in a bar. Whatever madness I may enact, there’s always a method.

I stopped by Tony’s place around 7. His dad is in town for the holiday, so the three of us sat down and had a beer while discussing the world at large, as well as the college and pro football seasons. His dad preached about the might of the SEC (he holds a middle management position at the University of South Carolina), a common character flaw among people living in the Southeast. As Tony and I were about to leave, Tony gave his dad a quick lesson on how to work the cable’s On-Demand features. We then left with a Marilyn Manson video on the screen. It really doesn’t take much to amuse us sometimes, and a middle-aged man's frantic attempts to remove the hardcore Goth-rock soundblasting from a big-screen TV is more than enough to do it.

We get to Benitos, and it suddenly dawns on me that we are well behind in the intoxication arms race. Most of the party-goers had been there since their shift ended at 5, and it was now approaching 8. You could have poked some of these people in the arm with a pin and they wouldn’t have felt it. Tony must have surmised our handicap earlier than I had, because as soon as we got over to the bar he ordered two beers and two shots of Jaeger, saying “We gotta catch up, right?” There’s a reason why we’re friends.

Benitos is, by no means, a young person’s bar. The average age of a typical patron is probably around 43. But it’s cheap ($2.50 for a domestic bottle); it tends to have cool female bartenders; it has a restaurant section where a party buffet could be set up; it has a small, 15 X 15 dance floor; and it has a deejay. This means that fate had put together 40+ drunken 20somethings and another 30+ drunken 40somethings in a pot, and stirred it up with top-40 dance music.

As I stood and talked with some friends, one of the bartenders walked past and went into the storage room in the back. She smiled at me as she passed, and I jokingly asked if she needed any help. She enthusiastically said “Sure!” Damn it. That’s what I get for asking. Next thing you know, I’m carrying out two cases of beer to the bar. Madness. But I did get a free bottle out of it. Method. I have no problem with physical labor if it in any way benefits my alcoholic dependence.

Later, I was sitting in a booth with some other people, catching up on the night’s early highlights. It turns out that a friend of mine, K-Man, got into it with some guy with a ponytail, for making a sexual comment to K-Man’s girlfriend as they walked past him. I pointed to a guy with a ponytail and asked “him?” “No,” they replied, “the other one.” Yes, that’s right folks: two men over the age of 40 with long ponytails standing at the same bar. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to McKeesport.

My boy Nick eventually met up with us. He quickly got in line for the pool table, which is his thing. Nick has provided me with countless stories throughout our friendship, and a significant portion of these involve games of 8-ball. I, being a few shots and several beers into the night, declined his offer to be his partner on the table. I had already drank myself past thinking I would be of any help to him as a player. I had not, however, ruled out myself as a coach. And for the next hour or two, I often stopped by to offer my grand expertise and wisdom on difficult shots that he faced. A true friend, I am. I didn’t even let my faltering balance deter me, as I leaned to assess angles and almost fell under the table.

By now the dance floor was packed with the drunken, non-rhythmic stumbling of the masses. Let me state, for the record, that I am not a dancer. At 6’6”, 260 lbs, graceful coordination of movement is not on my list of talents. And three sheets to the wind as I may have been, I was still well-enough aware of my shortcomings to remain a spectator. This claim, however, cannot be made by one special lady at the bar.

She was in her early 30s, though her attire led one of my friends to place her in her 40s, before he saw her face in the light. Tight blue jeans, knee-high winter boots, and a tight white long-sleeved top that was just short enough to display her large tramp stamp. When a country song would come on, she would lose herself in the music, writhing back and forth, dropping her butt all the way down to the floor, her bleached-blonde hair swaying in the air. I managed to get a short video of her performance on my phone, and I may post it here some day in the near future. As great as it is—god I love modern technology—it still does not do her justice. She brought a lot of joy into the lives of total strangers last night. Judging by her choice of body adornment and inebriated state, I’m sure she brought even more joy into the life of a lucky man or two later in the night, also.

I couldn’t make it through the night without doing something outrageously embarrassing of my own, though. I’m not going to go into intense detail regarding it; but, suffices to say, a drunken text message may not be the best way to tell a girl that you like her more than just in a friends-with-their-clothes-on way. Okay, most of the time there is a method.

Just one more thing to deal with today while curled up in a ball on my couch, ignoring my responsibilities and the promises I had made to others. It’s been a painful day, but this glass of gin & lime juice is taking the edge off.

Hey, quitters never win.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Land Of Cheap Drinks And Easy DUIs

I spent five years living in Appleton, Wisconsin. Yeah, I didn't know where it was til I got there, either.

Anyhow, the one thing I can absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend about the place is the drinking. It's a city of about 80,000 people, and it has something like 125 licensed drinking establishments. There are about 30 bars - not restaurants with bars in them, although there are those as well - just in the eight-block "downtown" main drag.

Just right there, you pretty much have your choice from traditional Irish bars to pool halls to dance clubs to McBars to island-themed bars to martini bars to hole-in-the-wall dives to wine bars. But that's not even the best part.

The best part is that the booze is ridiculously cheap. I actually think it's in the state Constitution: "Alcohol shall remain plentiful and available to all, regardless of wallet fatness." I'm not kidding, you can get a pint of Captain and Coke - one of my standby drinks - for $2.50 at quite a few places. And trust me, you can taste the rum.

At a place called The Checkered Flag on the north side, there's an hour every Friday night when men drink free, beers and rail drinks. Seriously.

Anyhow, all of this is my way of saying I'm heading back for a night next week, and going from a place where a double Capncoke in a plastic cup goes for $10.75 to a place where you can get obliterated for $20 or less is the sweetest gift I'll get this year. I'll try and keep you posted.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Get My Back On This

Everybody knows there are man rules, those unspoken codes of conduct that any man worth his testicles must follow. Many of them, not coincidentally, are related to alcohol, its purchase, consumption and other assorted issues that arise when imbibing.

One of these is, if you go to a bar as a patron, you have to have at least one drink.

I don't mean like a house minimum. I mean a self-respect minimum. If you intentionally and willingly chose to enter a house of booze, you have to have at least one drink (or beer, for those of you who swill that vileness). It's common courtesy toward the establishment and just makes good sense.

However, as we all know, there are exceptions to every rule. I'm volunteering one now to the aforementioned law.

If you enter a bar and, unbeknownst to you, there are three or more women with which you are or were romantically and/or physically involved, you can bail as soon as humanly possible. I say the number's three because two you should be able to handle if you're the kind of guy who dates enough women that two happen to be in the same bar at the same time. Three is pushing it.

This happened to me last night at a regular hangout with a representative each from the three major groups: Former Ladyfriends, Current Ladyfriends and Soon-To-Be Ladyfriends. I gulped a glass of water and broke the fuggout. Thoughts?

Classic Drinking Story

I can only hope to come close to possessing this type of mastery of storytelling and story-living.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Welcome, Inebriation Enthusiasts

Ironically, I was directly involved with the heroin addict story in Tj's intro. (Don't judge me.)

Welcome to a house of worship for man's best friend and women's best advice columnist: alcohol. Now who's up on rounds?

The new digs

I think I could find myself at home here. Defi's prolly gonna be the guy who talks more about the volume drinking; he's a frigging machine. A big machine.

Me, I just find myself in bizarre situations when alcohol is present. I don't mean bizarre like "someone vomited all over themselves" bizarre, but bizarre like "getting lost in an unfamiliar metropolitan city and being escorted back to my hotel by a congenial heroin addict chick who I then saw twice more randomly the same weekend" bizarre. And that's not even the third-best story from that weekend.

Welcome to our blog, which will be renamed shortly if I have anything to say about it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I applaud her

It's that time of the year for company Christmas parties.