Thursday, December 25, 2008

Behind The Scenes Of 'On The Rocks'

I'm not going to keep apologizing for my prolonged absences from the blog - after all, I chastised a friend about that only three months ago (you know who you are) - mostly because I just moved my happy ass to Pittsburgh, aka Defi's 'Hood. Thus, the apocalypse should be hitting mankind sometime in early spring.

While I searched for a new base of operations, my road dog Defi was kind enough to provide a couch for me, and I'm proud to report that, after his new flatscreen TV, the most valuable thing in his crib are the contents of his liquor cabinet. Please believe, our affection for alcohol is not a fabrication.

Since we were both relatively broke for the last month - me from the move and him from loading up for Christmas - we spent plenty of time in front of the aforementioned flatscreen. This gem occurred about a week ago, and I wanted to give the OTR faithful a look at how we do things, even when we're lowkey.

SCENE: Defi sits on the couch with a vodka/cran. TJ sits on the love seat with a Captain/coke. Both are facing the TV.

TJ: Yo, you wanna throw in the "Superbad" DVD you just bought?

Defi: Yeah, that's cool.

TJ: *sits on his ass waiting for Defi to follow through on his idea*

Defi: You're an asshole. *gets up, unwraps DVD, places it in the Playstation 2 and presses play on the remote*

Defi and TJ: *plow through more than a few glasses of booze while quoting half the dialogue five seconds before it plays and laughing hilariously*

(Yes, we think that's a good time. Screw you.)

The DVD ends. We're at a loss for what to do next. Defi picks up the DVR remote and says, "F*** it." He plays back "Dazed and Confused," a personal favorite of ours that we quote to each other endlessly even though we had never watched it together.

Two minutes into the movie:

Defi: "'Dazed and Confused' drinking game. Take a drink every time Mitch touches his face."
TJ, immediately: "Done and done."

(If you've never seen "Dazed and Confused" - well, first slap yourself. It's a mid-90s flick set in 1976 on the last day of school, and follows a group of teenagers in small-town Texas. It features a cast full of names you'd recognize before they became names, but one of those names you will not recognize is Wiley Wiggins, who plays the protagonist of the movie, a newly minted freshman hanging out with the high-schoolers. Unfortunately, it was Wiggins' first role ever, and it shows, because he can't act to save his life. Whenever he needs to show consternation, confusion, reluctance - pretty much any emotion - he grabs the bridge of his nose. This happens approximately 4,000 times in the movie.)

Mitch doesn't appear much early on, so we eased into our challenge. As things went on, we started emptying our glasses quickly. In preparation for what we knew would be a brutal run - Mitch grabs his nose about eight times in 45 seconds, and I'm not exaggerating - I tell Defi to pause the movie so I can reload.

Defi: *picks up PS2 remote and clicks pause*

TJ: *watches and waits for Defi to realize we're watching a DVR'd movie*

Defi: *keeps clicking pause on the PS2 remote*

TJ, from five feet away: "Dog, it's on the DVR."

Defi: *keeps clicking pause on the PS2 remote*

TJ, a little louder: "Dog, it's on the DVR."

Defi: *stops clicking, looks at the remote, points it at TV and starts clicking again*

TJ, a little louder: "Defi, the movie's on the DVR."

Defi: *stops clicking, shakes remote, curses and starts clicking again*


Defi: *stops, processes this information, then hangs head in shame*

TJ: *falls over couch while laughing so hard he sounds like he's choking*

Defi: "F*** you."

Love you, man. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Night in Charlottesville, Part III -- The Crackhouse of Horrors

[Part I and Part II of the saga.]

I was sound asleep on the living room floor when a knock at the door woke me at around 8:30 am. When I opened the door, BBB was standing there with his trademark big goofy grin.

Me: “Where the f**k have you been?”
BBB: *giggling* “I’ll tell you later.”

He promptly found himself a spot on the floor and passed out. A few hours later, the six of us went out to brunch at a nearby buffet. I think the manager on duty might’ve cursed under his breath when he saw our large persons walk in, some of us still drunk from the night before. It being early on a Sunday afternoon, there were lots of families, some fresh from church, seated near our table. Between our boozy stench and uncensored conversations, I’m sure we earned the eatery a few bad reviews that day. Once we were all situated, BBB filled us in on his epic night.

…As he watched Butters grow smaller in the distance, he started to realize that he was in a bit of a tight spot. His “saviors” were all complete strangers, and he had no idea where they were headed. They eventually stopped at a house, where one or two other people were waiting for them. Everyone sat down around a dining room table, and he got to know his new friends. They all seemed to be nice folks, offering him something to drink and/or eat. They even offered him…a hit of their crack pipe.

Yes folks, that’s right: BBB had been rescued by crackheads.

One of the two women from the car pulled out a pipe, a lighter, and some rocks. She lit up, took a few puffs, and passed it BBB’s way.

BBB: “No thanks—I’m trying to quit.”

The gentleman who had been driving the getaway car explained to BBB that he didn’t smoke the stuff either—he just sold it. Drunk as he was, BBB had enough sense to understand his situation. Crack dealing is a violent trade, and to succeed at it you have to be a violent person. And, on top of that, the drug often turns those who smoke it into merciless scavengers, who will steal the shoes off your feet if they think they can make a dollar selling them. BBB was now surrounded by a dealer or two, and a few addicts. As he told us the following afternoon, “I thought to myself, ‘I canNOT fall asleep before any of these motherf****rs do!’”

He stopped drinking, determined to outlast everyone else in the house. He was about to find that tougher than planned, however. One of the women was about 5’2” on her feet, but 5’10" when lying on her side. She had walked off to a back room for a short while, and now returned wearing nothing but a t-shirt. Briefly looking around the room, she announced, “Mmmm…I need to get my cl** licked!”

Her eyes had come to a stop on BBB’s as the statement finished. I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see the look of sheer terror on his face in that moment. (Esq: “So what happened after you finished banging her?”) Despite his vow to stay awake, BBB’s best available defensive tactic was to dive on the floor, and announce, “I’m sleeping!” He, of course, only pretended to doze off, keeping himself vigilant of anyone attempting to harm him while he was lying prone.

Everyone in the house eventually went to bed themselves. BBB then took the opportunity to look around. He tiptoed into the kitchen and opened the fridge, finding an entire Papa John’s pizza. He opened the box and started feasting, and then continued to investigate the room. The sun had begun to rise; he saw a telephone, and then shortly after that found a phonebook. He looked up the number of a cab company, but where could he tell them to pick him up? He had no idea what the house’s address was. He polished off the pizza while quietly searching around the kitchen and surrounding rooms for an envelope, magazine, or anything that might have an address on it. He finally found one, and called the cab company. The cab came, and he stealthily made his way outside without anyone in the house waking up. I sometimes have wondered if the crackheads awoke the next day thinking that BBB had only been a hallucination.

Once in the taxi, though, he had a new problem: he didn’t know Esq’s address. He knew that the apartment was near the UVA campus, but had no other navigation point but the Hardee’s next door. The driver, unfortunately, wasn’t familiar with that particular landmark. The small amount of experience BBB had with Charlottesville’s roadways had been at night, and he had been merely a passenger—a heavily intoxicated one, at that. They drove around the greater Charlottesville area for 45 minutes until BBB found something he recognized—that grand ol’ yellow star high up in the air. For the third time in less than 24 hours, Hardee’s had brought a lost adventurer to Esq’s front door.

As BBB and I wearily traveled back home later that day, my phone rang. It was Chief, who was riding in Butters’ car, up ahead of us on the highway. After a quick question about our route, he paused.

Chief: “So…has [BBB] finally admitted to f***ing that fat broad yet?”
Me: “No, but he might as well. Obviously when WE tell the story to everyone back home, that’s how that part of his night’s going to end.”
Chief: “Sssuuuuurrrrrrrre he didn’t.”

Friday, December 19, 2008

One Night in Charlottesville, Part II

[We pick up the story where we last left our inebriated protagonists, just after Esq rang the bell at the end of Part I]

Next up was a small diner down the street. We all saddled up to the counter, ordering ourselves burgers with the works. Midway through his meal Chief stumbled off to the restroom, innocently leaving his food unguarded—with six other large, drunk, hungry guys around. Alcohol has a way of making people naïve. Esq and BBB, who were sitting on either side of Chief’s seat, quickly split up his burger and fries, and an empty plate awaited him when he returned from his break. In disgust he cursed at them and headed out the door. Several people from our group followed him—without paying for their meals. I, somehow, wasn’t one of the scofflaws. By the time I had finished paying and hurried after my brethren, I found Motown a half block away with his shirt off, standing face-to-face with a scrawny random kid (SRK).

Walking up the street after Chief, Motown had bumped into SRK, who was with his girlfriend and another scrawny guy. Words were exchanged, Motown took off his shirt (standard prefight protocol for natives of his hometown Monessen, PA) and the faceoff had ensued. BBB, in his grinning, happy-drunk stage, pushed past Motown and got in front of SRK. Then, with one of his big, meaty hands, he palmed SRK’s face and lightly pushed him backwards. Some of you, out there in the blogosphere, may think of this as an aggressive act; however, if you research drunken fat guy behavioral patterns, you’ll find that this is a common deed of diplomacy amongst the species, meant to dissuade hostile activity.

BBB’s tactic had its desired effect, as the jolt seemed to help remind SRK that he and his friend were outnumbered threefold by guys quite larger than either of them. He backed down, and we convinced BBB and Motown to head down the block. When we got to the corner, however, we heard the ever-familiar “WHOOP-WHOOP.” Two police cruisers rushed onto the scene, which sent everyone scattering. Most of my crew instinctively ran for cover—it had been our friends, after all, who had incited just about every last part of the altercation. But after they jumped out of their cars, the cops chased down…SRK and his friend. SRK himself was tackled on the steps of a nearby building, and the officer kept a knee in his back as he cuffed his wrists together. Watching the scene, SRK’s girlfriend sobbed to Baby Joey, “It’s his 19th birthday, and now he’s going to jail!” Joey, in response, was cold as ice:

Baby Joey [calmly]: “Oh well—shouldn’t have been drinking.”

We collected ourselves at Esq’s Jeep in the parking garage, and quickly realized we were without BBB. Butters gave us the scoop: When the police showed up, he and BBB were standing on the corner. A group of strangers—a guy and two girls—were getting into a car, and offered to take BBB and Butters out of there. BBB hopped into the backseat, expecting to turn and see Butters getting in behind him. Instead he saw Butters still standing on the sidewalk, staring at him as the door closed and the car sped off.

At the time, BBB didn’t own a cell phone. So, to recap: he’s in a car full of strangers, in a town in Virginia where he’s never been before, not sure where the car is going, with no way to contact his boys. And his fun was just beginning. But more on that later.

Mrs. Motown, knowing when to call it a night, took her boyfriend home. Esq decided to take Butters, Joey, Chief, and I over to the UVA campus. Things were surprisingly quiet though, and we only spent about 15 or so minutes talking to a couple of his friends outside of a frat house. The excursion was fruitless, aside from Esq accidentally stepping off the porch and rolling his ankle. He crumpled to the ground, giving the impression to a casual observer that he had been taken down by sniper fire. To this day we joke about the other four of us running over to him and carrying him to the car like soldiers removing a wounded comrade from the battlefield.

It was around 2 a.m.; we’d lost two (Motown & the Missus), had one M.I.A. (BBB), and one man wounded (Esq), and we’d retreated to our base (Esq’s apartment). War is hell.

And it wasn’t over yet. Esq and Baby Joey each went to bed, but Butters, Chief, and I had one good mission left in us. Being single young men in the prime of our lives, and knowing that there was a large state college full of nubile ladies less than a mile away, we decided to take action. Esq lived with his girlfriend, Dr. Kelly (though she was out of town that night); and, this being mid-February, there was an opened box of chocolates sitting on the kitchen counter that he had given to her for Valentine’s Day. In the refrigerator, we found a half-empty box of wine (a Dr. Kelly favorite). Armed with these two items, we piled into Butters’ car, and we headed out on a wool hunt.

What happened over the course of the next two hours—in fact, even what happened from 20 minutes before this—is forever washed from my personal recollection by alcohol and sleep. Butters is the only one of us to fully remember that voyage (lucky for us, then, that he was the one driving). I, on the other hand, woke up around 4 a.m. with my head against the window, riding shotgun down the freeway towards the Hardee’s star. We had stalked around the UVA campus, looking for women to entice with our wine and chocolates. Our search came up short, though. At one point (I’m told), we stopped at a light and I yelled out to an individual walking down the street, “SHOW ME YOUR SQUIRREL!”

Butters: “Dude, that’s a guy.”

Not long thereafter I fell asleep, only shortly after Chief did the same in the backseat. Butters was then left alone to navigate his way through the Virginia blackness back to Esq’s. He of course got lost, and I awoke just as our journey through Charlottesville and its surrounding towns and wilderness was coming to an end. When we walked back into Esq’s and all fell down for the night (morning) on the couches and floor, BBB was still nowhere to be found.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Night in Charlottesville, Part I

There are hundreds—if not thousands—of drinking stories involving my friends and me. But few hold a place as dear in our hearts as the tale of a night in Charlottesville, VA in February 2002. It is frequently repeated and discussed whenever more than two of the seven key players are gathered together; especially when we’re assembled because one of those individuals is getting married. The contrast between “drunken idiot yelling/ shoving/ eating/ hunting/ slamming/ disappearing/ escaping/ etc...” and “mature man marrying” is too sharp not to inspire awe and retellings of the great adventure.

The trip arose from very basic origins: Esq was in his first year of law school at the University of Virginia, and wanted his boys to come hang out for a night on the town. Nearing Charlottesville, BlahBlahBlah and I wondered which highway exit we were supposed to take to get to Esq’s apartment. That question was answered, however, when a towering, glowing Hardee's star appeared over the trees that lined an upcoming exit ramp. Any Washington & Jefferson grad (pre Class of ’06) worth his salt has taken an intoxicated 3 a.m. trip to the Hardee's drive-thru, and subsequently inhaled the greasiest—and most satisfying—patties of ground meat to ever get adorned with bacon, cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and buns. When we took the exit and found Esq’s apartment building to be a parking lot away from the giant star that had guided us, it just felt…right.

The five of us—Chief, Baby Joey, Butters, BBB, and I—knocked on Esq’s door, and were greeted by the man himself, who was holding an open 30 pack of Milwaukee’s Best (Beast) Light. We were each handed a cold can as we filed past him. Court was in session.

Our buddy Motown and his wife (“Mrs. Motown,” though at the time she was still just his girlfriend) arrived a short while later, having driven from their home in a nearby Virginia town where Motown worked as a corrections officer at a prison. His new career path was hilarious to those of us who knew Motown. A generally jovial guy, he was ever so quick to settle disputes with his fists and muscles, which are as big as his near constant grin. Hours after I first met Motown, back in college, I watched him dish out a thorough beatdown to a guy behind a dorm building. Motown wasn’t a student at W&J, but his best friend was, as was a Phi Si with whom he had beefed the previous summer. Motown had decided, therefore, to kill two birds with one stone by visiting his buddy and taking care of his unfinished business all in the same night. His best friend (who is also a friend of mine) and I, along with 3 or 4 others, stood guard to be sure the fight stayed one-on-one (Phi Sis typically preferred 20-vs.-1 odds than to shoot a fair one). For approximately three minutes, Motown manhandled his opponent, delivering punches, body slams, and a few rib kicks—before we finally stepped in and pulled him off the poor sap—with childlike enthusiasm, grinning and playfully talking trash. As his friend walked the beaten guy back to the Phi Si house, I joined the others in laughingly congratulating Motown, all while thinking to myself, “Thank god he’s on my side.”

The eight of us at Esq’s apartment spent the next few hours trading stories, playing games, and annihilating the better part of four Beast 30 packs. I believe the final tally as we were leaving for the bars was around 96 cans of beer that had been sent to their final resting place. That’s 12 beers per person. Yessir. And now it was time to unleash ourselves upon Charlottesville.

Our first stop was a large, crowded sports bar [I cannot remember the name, but if one of my friends does, I will update the blog later]. As we reached the door and the bouncer who was checking IDs, Chief suddenly realized that he had left behind his driver’s license…in Pittsburgh. He explained this to the doorman, who was far from sympathetic. Motown, thinking fast, stepped forward and flashed his corrections officer badge. “Don’t worry,” he assured the bouncer, “I’ll keep an eye on him.” It was nothing short of ironic to see one of my friends taken into a bar by a badge.

As we filed up the steps into the bar, Chief began a “Hear we go, Steelers” chant—the same nauseating, slack-jawed chorus typically heard in and around Heinz Field in the fall. Only we were in central Virginia. In February. For Yinzers, logic is rarely an option.

Despite his conspicuous introduction to Charlottesville’s nightlife, Chief was far from being our biggest problem child. Not long after getting ourselves drinks, BBB decided he was going to try out the pool tables. But when he walked over to a busy table and placed a dollar bill down on the railing, one of the guys playing on the table informed him that this bar had a different policy regarding their billiards tables. Instead of them being pay-per-play, bar patrons had to put down a credit card and “rent” a table for a set amount of time. Unfortunately, BBB had long ago drunk himself past the point of comprehending this adjustment to his plan to secure a pool table. Seeing a confused look on his face, the other guy picked up BBB’s dollar and handed it back to him, while trying to explain the rules once again. BBB looked at him, and then slammed his dollar bill back down on the railing. The guy once again picked up the bill and handed it back to BBB, who once again slammed it down on the table. Negotiations were at an impasse.

All of this caught the attention of a bouncer, who pulled BBB over to where the rest of us were located. The owner and another bouncer came over as well, and I found myself standing between them and my boys, playing “Sober Representative” for BBB. The owner wanted to remove him (and probably the rest of us as well), but I did my best to reason with him. It didn’t help, of course, that while I talked to him Chief stood behind me calling one of the bouncers “Flava Flav.” Shouts of “Hey Flav, where’s your giant clock?” bellowed from over my right shoulder while I tried to convince the bar owner that my other friend wasn’t too drunk to be in the establishment. ‘Tis my life.

Somehow, I managed to persuade the owner that I could control BBB. As he began to relent, however, I glanced past him to the pool table where all of the fun had started. I had not realized it, but BBB had snuck away from the fray, and was back at the table. Giggling yet methodic, he lined the pool table's railing with empty beer bottles from around the bar. My mouth-agape gaze finally cued the owner to turn around, and after seeing BBB’s work, he glared back at me with anger. I’m not sure he even needed to say the words “get out” for us to know that our visit to his bar had ended.

We walked down the street to a smaller, less-populated bar. We got ourselves beers, and things were going swimmingly…for about five minutes. Chief had reached his rambunctious stage of heavy drinking—known amongst our circle of friends as “Chief Drunk”—and decided that some of the random people near him were in need of some playful shoves. The bartender, seeing a crew made up mostly of large gentlemen (Butters, at about 6’0” 230lbs was the smallest male in our group), decided to nip things in the proverbial bud. My drunk had finally caught up with me, so Esq took over all negotiation duties. The bartender made Esq see the wisdom in our leaving; but, law student that he was, my friend decided to reach a compromise. Behind the bar was a large bell (I’m not sure why it was there; maybe it’s just a Virginia thing?), and Esq said he needed to ring it in exchange for us cutting our stay short. The bartender conceded, and the bar was quickly filled with the piercing clanging of Esq’s parting gift. Finished with the bell, and grinning from ear to ear, he turned to the rest of us and said, “Okay, let’s go!”

Happy Birthday, On the Rocks

Has it already been a year? 366 (it's a leap year, folks...duh) short days ago, a slice of boozer heaven was delivered to the world with a subtle yet joyful burbling reminiscent of vodka being poured over ice.

TJ and I have brought you cherished tales and embarrassing instances, conquests and moments of defeat; lap dances won and crazy strippers doing their crazy stripper thing. Brewski Fests, bachelor parties, and vacation adventures. Penis-drawn-on-the-face shamings, heartbreak, hangovers, and weddings. We've given you all of the crazy, blurry-visioned happenings that we call our everyday lives, and we thank you for taking time out of your days to read and laugh with (at) us.

Here's to another year of proving that alcohol isn't a crutch, it's a wheelchair. A motorized, turbo-charged one. Salud.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Silver Anniversary of Legal Boozing

Happy 21st Amendment Day. On this day in 1933, the U.S. officially ended Prohibition. Now if only we can do something about those pesky laws against prostitution and bigamy.

It’s a stroke of beautiful luck that this 75th anniversary falls on a Friday. I had already planned to be out throwing them back for a friend’s birthday. Now I have two reasons to celebrate. And I’m more than a little jealous of my friend; having December 5th as your birthday gives you a boozing birthright. I guess it makes sense, therefore, that she’s one of the few exceptions to the lesson from my previous blog. A W&J girl through-and-through, she can drink most men under the table. I’ve been witness to her skill on more than one occasion. I’ve even been the subject of it—I literally once passed out under her dining room table. And there’s nothing saying that act won’t be repeated tonight. Happy birthday, Abbie.

And happy birthday to you too, 21st Amendment. A toast, from On the Rocks: Here’s to 75 years of it being legal to “tap” that a**.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Friends Don't Let (Female) Friends Drink

Booze and chicks don’t mix.

I know you may read that and immediately disagree. And in some ways, even I disagree with it. Let’s be honest—almost every straight guy who has talked to a girl for five solid minutes has inevitably thought, “Man I could go for a drink right now.” But, at my wise old age of 29, I’m coming to find that combining these two natural elements can lead to a chemical explosion the likes of which are typically only seen in backwoods distilleries.

Maybe the statement should be refined, though. Lots of booze and chicks that can’t hold their liquor don’t mix. Unfortunately, the vast majority of female drinkers are lightweights. Sure, she may be Little Mac, valiantly duking it out with a bottle bigger than her, darting back and forth as the fists of vodka flying at her face become bigger with each round. But before long, the punches are going to land. And the aftermath is going to be an ugly, tear-drenched mess.

Case-in-point: Saturday I attended NGF’s birthday celebration. Keeping in mind my life lesson about birthday parties, she celebrated by inviting us to pregame at her place and then catch a cab to Dolce for bottle service in the VIP section. For those of you keeping score at home: “booze appetizer + booze main course + a party full of girls = uh oh.”

The night started off well enough. Nate, my boy “Dupa” [the need for an A.K.A. will be understood soon enough], and I pounded away at cans of Miller Lite while the ladies all worked their way through bottles of vodka and wine. We played drinking games for a couple of hours to pass time until the taxi arrived. NGF—despite the protests of everyone else—insisted on playing while drinking from her “Birthday Girl” goblet that contained some random vodka concoction. At last year’s celebration, NGF was nearly booted for being too drunk only moments after she entered Buckhead. We were all weary of seeing a repeat performance. It was only 8:30 pm, and she was asking, “IS IT MY TURN?!?” moments after taking a turn, and endlessly quoting “Borat.” Nate had the look of a man who knew there was a rough road ahead.

The limocab dropped us off at Dolce around 9:45. The visit was my first, and quite likely my last. To say the place is pretentious is an understatement; asking $10 for a Long Island Iced Tea in Pittsburgh is downright pompous. I appreciate her friends setting up the party, and allowing me to be a part of it, but I highly suggest that they (and all of you) find a better use for hard-earned dollars than this overblown exaggeration of a nightclub.

We were soon joined by more of NGF’s friends, as well as T.C. and his wife. The birthday girl wobbled around joyfully hugging her friends and jumping into their laps. Her friends seemed nice, for the most part, though some of them never really spoke to either Dupa or me. We hardly cared, though, only taking notice of them when they would occasionally shake their bottoms to the watered down hip-hop that was being pumped out from speakers. I also eventually bumped into Breitling, which was no big surprise—he is among the few people I know who can actually afford to waste money on a place like Dolce.

The three or four bottles of vodka and rum that had been ordered for our table were dispensed of in fairly rapid fashion, as were my comprehension and vision. Hello, rolling blackouts. I don’t really remember leaving, or the trip back to NGF’s, though I do vaguely remember standing in her apartment as I sloppily devoured the leftover hors d'oeuvres that had been prepared for the pregame party. I hazily remember Dupa casually saying, “I’m gonna take my pants off”; but I don’t recall trying to tempt her engaged roommate into a makeout session, which NGF told me about on Sunday. (Apparently her roommate’s fiancé now wants me dead. *shrug* Personally, I think he should thank me. If I did test her drunken faithfulness, then she obviously passed, because nothing happened between us. Why be mad at a guy for giving you renewed confidence in your bride-to-be?)

Dupa undid his belt, pulled down his pants and underwear, and laid facedown on the living room floor. It was hilarious, innocent fun, and Nate and I laughed. NGF, not so much. Alcohol + estrogen = KABOOM. She flipped, screaming at all of us, even threatening to call the police about the situation. (Can you picture that conversation with the 9-1-1 operator? “Hello? I need the police! There’s a naked man on my floor and everyone's laughing! Yes, he’s breathing. No, no blood. Of course I know him—we’ve been drinking together all night! *click* Hello? Hello??”) I walked out of the apartment chuckling almost as hard at her irrational anger as the image of a blacked-out and naked-from-the-waist-down Dupa starfished on the living room floor.

Earlier this morning I was talking with Dupa on instant messenger, and the subject of Saturday night came up.

D.E.F.I. (10:32:14 AM): [NGF] said she threatened to call the cops on
Dupa (10:34:52 AM): ha thats news to me, for being naked?
D.E.F.I. (10:34:58 AM): yeah
Dupa (10:35:07 AM): who she gonna call the sexy police? cuz thats what that was

Friday, November 21, 2008

Con-text Clues

Last night I was driving home from dinner at my mother’s house, when I got a text at a little past 9. TJ had been at “The Club” for most of the night, and by now the Captain & Cokes had begun to take hold of him. I’m sure it hadn’t taken this long into the night for him to see naked flesh; but his message said, quite succinctly, “TITTIES.”

I’ve been drinking (professionally—I just can’t, in good conscience, consider my St. Ides Special Brew days as anything more than training in the minors) since around the start of my freshman year in college. I’ve been text messaging since about a year after that. So, by now, both are second nature to my friends and me. Each can be dangerous on its own, which means combining them is simply inviting tragedy. But, as is usually the case in life, along the road to tragedy you’ll pass an awful lot of comedy.
    From a few nights ago…
    Hollywood: “operation foreigner is in effect…im looking for someone exotic looking”
    Me: “Lots of asian dudes in Oakland. That’s probably your best bet.”
    Hollywood: “bitch”

    Hollywood: “holy hoes down nakama
    Me: “I’m guessing they’re not all that holy.”
    Hollywood: “affirmative”

I can’t say for sure just how his night ended, but I can say this: his MySpace status the following day spoke of a hangover, but nothing of meeting a future-Mrs. Hollywood-with-an-accent.

Granted, I was sober during those exchanges. But I have done plenty of damage from the other side of the fence. The following are messages sent during a weeklong business trip in March ’07.
    Tuesday morning…
    Me (to TJ): “Let's recap last night: san-diego-women's-rm woman has a gorgeous les daughter with even hotter gfs; her engagement is failing; and she wants me badly”
    Me (to TJ): “Note: the mother is the one with the failing engagement who wants me. I actually told her that her daughter sounds like a porn fantasy...and she agreed.”

    Early Tuesday evening…
    Me (to TJ): “I'm playing poker against hot chicks from Cali and computer geeks. I own this place.”

    Later that night…
    Me: “You don't know the party i'm at right now.”
    TJ: “Explain.”
    Me: “Picture a high school house party. In a huge house in Texas. Only, instead of teenagers, it's 80+ software engineers. From all around the world.”
    TJ: “So geekfest 2007?”
    Me: “That's half of it. But there's also cute foreign chicks. Brazilians even.”
    TJ: “Here's the part where I hate you.”

    Later still, I sent a quote from L-Boogie
    Me (to TJ): “My son will be president of the United States. And yes, he will get head; and he'll admit to it.”

    The following morning…
    Me (to TJ): “So I got a number from a girl last night who has a bf, and I now have a little asian cutie from san diego on it. And I won a cowboy hat.”

    Thursday morning, discussing my plans for celebrating my birthday upon returning home…
    Me (to Shannon): “Thanks hon. Nothing concrete. I believe compromising my judgment, vision, and ability to walk in a straight line will be involved, though.”

    Friday afternoon, in the cab home from the airport, talking about events of the previous night…
    Me (to my project manager at work): “Not the first time, and probably not the last time, that I drink alcohol from a woman's cleavage. Talk to you on Monday.”

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes the best (although it’s occasionally the most painful) part of my morning-after is scrolling through my text messages to see what I sent. Irritated cursing, paranoid accusations, sloppy come-ons…it all reminds you of the ramblings of a blind man who has been handcuffed to a mechanical bull for five hours.

At his request, last year I kept a record of all of the texts between TJ and me during his birthday weekend (he was in Appleton, WI). The following highlights from that weekend, if nothing else, serve to show why “On the Rocks” was an inevitable necessity.
    Early Friday night…
    TJ: Is it too early for patron? No, no its not.
    Me: Don't forget to get some pictures of titties. Makes every birthday that much more special.
    TJ: I dont do pictures, son. Lawyers advice. Reduces the chances of conviction.
    Me: No man's ever been convicted of getting birthday boob.
    TJ: I just did a shot called chocolate cake. Wtf is going on.
    Me: You're becoming a woman, that's what. I had that shot once, but the chick had to promise head first.
    TJ: Well, it was free. And i just killed six stuffed potato skins. Oh, its gonna be bad night.
    Me: You're going for "sloppy bitch" drunk, aren't you?
    TJ: Man... I already lost feeling in my extremities.

    TJ: If i bone dea [Sage], its like both our presents.
    Me: lol@her waking up with the star of david on her ass tomorrow. Tell her she owes ME a damn gift. She's two weeks late on it already.
    TJ: At the club. Safe. On familiar ground.
    Me: Good boy. Now do a shot of beam.
    TJ: I hate you.
    Me: That's your thirst talking.
    TJ: Jody lookin yum.
    Me: A picture's worth a thousand drunk texts.
    TJ: I got no flash on the celly. ill see what i can do. Why do you sound sober?
    Me: Smoking Aces on dvd tues. I WILL be copping.
    TJ: DRINK U P***Y

    Even later…
    TJ: Ok, im signing off. I got four shots sitting between eight titties. If i die, keep keepin on, man.
    Me: Stand and fight, man. Stop talking like a dead man.
    TJ: HOLY F**K
    Me: Welcome to the land of the dead.
    TJ: Tijies and tequika niga
    Me: Strength and honor.
    Me: The measure is the a.m. hours.

    TJ: Fifth hour of drinking. I'm a dead man.
    Me: *steps out onto the battlefield* let's do this
    TJ: If i die tonight, u can be a pallbearer.
    Me: Your lightweight ass would only need two of them.
    TJ: Lightweight my ass. I been on the battlefield for six hours now. Also, i want yall to cripwalk with my casket.
    TJ: 4 f*****g dancers? For MY bday? F**K THAT
    Me: You're drunk and seeing double. There's only 2.

    TJ: Way to tell im drunk. Im jammin to rob zombie.
    Me: Way to tell i'm with white girls: we're listening to bow wow.
    TJ: Eeny meeny miney mo, usin game to catch a ho.
    Me: Chubbly chick loving me.
    TJ: Roflz, U bangin a chubbly would be the best bday gift.
    Me: "that's what friends are forrr"
    TJ: Ok. Theres a world class psycho stripper here. Shes also a 9.5. And my bac has to be 0.25 at this point.
    TJ: Hmmm ... Puking rally?
    Me: That's my dog.

    Even later…
    TJ: Restaurant owner kust gavd ne free certificates.
    Me: You're not a man until you hit double digits.
    TJ: Doble di4ts on hos or drinks? Cvz I done already killed a bottle of cap.

    The final two messages of the night, sent at well-past 4 a.m.…
    TJ: Pun2tuatin for the evening. In the emergency room with a broke hand and fat lip. F***k.
    TJ: F*****g doctors.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me?

It took 29½ years, but I’ve finally come to the realization that birthday parties are not for the birthday boy or girl; they are for his or her friends. (This is similar to weddings not being for the bride and groom—I think we can all agree that they are definitely not for the groom—but instead really only serving as a big drunken soirée for their guests.) Maybe I’m wrong; maybe this is only how it is for my friends and me. But it seems that when convening at a bar or club to celebrate someone’s date of birth, everyone except for the man or woman of honor has a blast and comes away with some crazy tales. The most basic of explanations is that if you have 20 people, it’s a 19-on-1 brawl; unless you’re the Bruce Lee of BAC, you’re just not going to survive. Witness my most recent birthday, which I chronicled on this page last April. But despite my night ending brutally, everyone else who was there has told me how much fun they had (for example: Hollywood made out with a 40 year old cougar at the bar while her 22 year old son watched with a disappointed look). The person celebrating the birthday is usually so wiped out that he or she doesn’t get the opportunity to party as hard as everyone else. Drinking is irony sometimes.

This new wisdom came to me Saturday morning, after a Friday night spent commemorating TD’s birthday in The ‘Side. The 28th anniversary of TD coming into being was actually October 22nd; however, colds (first hers, then Baby Joey’s) helped to push back any revelry until November 14th. The recuperated couple joined Zach and I in pregaming at my apartment that night, throwing back Ketel One, Belvedere, and Crown Royal for about an hour. We ended that session by downing a round of Jager Bombs, and then strolled up the street to William Penn Tavern to meet up with her friends from work, Ashhad, and others. More shots and drinks were passed around in every direction, especially TD’s; but it seemed like Joey, Zach, and I were sprinting out ahead of the 5’5” 10 lb birthday girl on the road to Blackoutville. My theory: This particular highway is a pretty steep decline, and our greater masses brought about a higher rate of acceleration.

At least it kind of sounds intelligent, right?

Though I can barely remember this portion of the evening, talking to Ashhad and Zach the next day confirmed that the three of us ended the night at Doc’s Place. Ashhad ordered six rum & Cokes—two for each of us—and handed them out. Instead of sipping my two drinks, though, I picked up a random glass that had been left on the bar and began to chug an unknown concoction. Both of my boys tried to talk sense into me, but to no avail. Who were they to tell me not to drink free booze, anyways?

That moment of personal brilliance surely contributed to the scene that I awoke to the next morning. Coming to, I saw my nightstand and bedroom wall in front of me. Well, I made it back to my bed. Next, the standard “Do I still have my cellphone” check. I looked behind me, and saw the back of Baby Joey’s bald head. Hmm, I wasn’t expecting that.

I jumped out of bed to get a better assessment of the situation. Joey, still clothed, was tucked under the blanket on the other side of the bed. Scratching my head, I walked out into my hallway. On the floor of my bathroom sat one of my spare blankets, neatly folded. I shuffled down the hall to the living room. Zach was passed out on my couch. His jeans were on the floor next to his bottle of Crown. The dress shirt that Joey had worn the previous night was on the floor by the TV stand. What wasn’t anywhere in sight was the birthday girl herself. Resigned to letting Joey have the bed and kicking his ass for it later, I grabbed the blanket from the bathroom and laid on the loveseat. I shot off a text message to Lady Friend, who was out of town: “Babe, you won’t believe the morning I’m having. I woke up in the Twilight Zone.”

Ten or so minutes later, Joey emerged from my room.

Joey: “How did I end up in the bed?”
Me: “You tell me!”

To the best of our collective knowledge, he had passed out on the couch upon returning to the apartment. At some point in the night, probably after coming out of the bathroom, he had been disoriented, thought he was back at his own house, and climbed into bed.

During a phone call to his MIA girlfriend later in the morning, Joey found out that she had slept in the front seat of their car; she then drove home around 5 a.m. When he asked her, “Can you come pick me up?” TD gave him a terse, “I guess so.” After hanging up, Joey said, “I think it’s safe to say we got into a fight last night.”

Zach: "You don't remember?"
Joey: "Nope!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fuzzy Math

About a month ago, I had a friend visit from out of town. This friend shall remain unnamed, but we will call her Lush, mostly because she is not.

Lush and I had never gone drinking together, but we were looking forward to it. I, obviously, have a fondness for the fermented beverage, and she's from the party town of Vegas, where she has had adventures that surpass anything you've read here. At least in star power. (Defi, when are we gonna get NBA players to costar in one of our stories?)

Anyhow, I was operating under the assumption that Lush is indeed a lush, and thus would match me drink for drink and inspire some adventures that involve NBA players - and their groupies. Alas, I overestimated Lush's drinking capacity.

(She says she never said she was a heavy drinker. I counter that she's always got a story about some time when she was absolutely hammered. We'll call it a draw.)

Lush and I end up at Sloppy Joe's, a beachside bar and restaurant in Treasure Island, on the Gulf coast. It's one of my favorite spots because it's laidback, there's always room to sit outside and watching the sun set while sipping a mojito is pretty tough to top for enjoying life. I've taken dates there, my moms ... hell, I've even gone drinking there solo. Big surprise, I know.

Anyhow, we grab a couple stools at the outside portion of the bar, which was fairly empty. I order a mojito, but the bar was out of fresh mint, which should be illegal. I settle for a Captain and coke while Lush peruses the menu. A middle-aged couple, obviously vacationing, was sitting to our left, and the woman was drinking a "sloppy-sized margarita." Lush decides she wants one of those, only she gets the top-shelf version, with Patron and Grand Marnier. I dub it the Megarita.

The middle-aged woman was maybe an eighth of the way into her drink when Lush got hers. As the afternoon progresses, we end up chatting with the couple - visiting from Ohio - and they turn out to be pretty cool. However, after a while, the woman notices she's killed her drink while Lush is perhaps a quarter of the way through hers. She immediately starts giving Lush a hard time. I, of course, encourage this, since I'm on my second or third drink at that point.

Lush tries to play it off, saying it's her first drink, she's Asian, yada yada yada. The woman gets gangster with it and orders another, then tells Lush she'll probably finish that one before Lush gets through with hers. This lights a fire under Lush, who manages to finish it as the woman hits the halfway mark on her second drink.

However, Lush is already talking about getting a buzz, and how she's got a lot of hard booze in her drink. My skepticism was palpable as I started in on my fifth drink. So she orders a second Megarita, but as she does, she tries to mount a defense of her weak drinking while Middle-Aged Lady and I relentlessly tease her.

"Hey," Lush says to the bartender, "this is a really strong drink, right?" The bartender tries to give her an answer that won't piss her off, but it's obvious he doesn't think she's drinking a mindbender. "OK, but wait," she says. "I've had more to drink than him, right?" She points at me.

The bartender, who came on shift after we'd arrived, says he doesn't know the answer to that question because he doesn't know how many drinks I've had.

"So how much alcohol is in my drink?" she says, ignoring the warning signs of impending ownage. "About four ounces," he says. "And how many are in his?" Lush presses on. "At least two ounces ... maybe two and a half," the bartender replies.

"Ha!" she says, turning to me as I briefly wonder if small animals standing on asphalt ever really comprehend what that rapidly approaching car bumper portends or if they live in blissful ignorance until the thud. "My drink has more alcohol than yours does."

I look at Lush for a moment, wondering just how evil I am. I decide I am not that evil, at least that day.

"Sweetheart ... I've had more than four of these. Do the math."

As realization dawns on her, accompanied by giggles from Ohio people and the bartender, I give myself a mental pat on the back for taking it easy on her. After all, it was only our first time drinking together. She'll learn.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vankoover State of Mind

I find it hard to have sympathy for people whose jobs call for them to travel the globe at a fairly frequent pace. For one, I’ve enjoyed travelling since I was a child. My family—both immediate and expanded—has been spread around the lower 48 for much of my life, and as a result I have been a part of countless snack cart services, interstate rest stops, scenic coastal train routes, and uncomfortable Greyhound seats. So being on the road doesn’t bother me. But beyond that, jobs that call for a lot of travel often take you to big, exciting places. Locations like New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, London, Miami, etc. When you’re being paid to work in San Diego for a day and then you get to party like a rock star in the Gaslamp District that night, don’t look for me to shed a tear on your behalf.

This is all the more so because, on that rare occasion that I get to travel for my job, I get sent to a glitzy location like Vancouver, WA.

That’s Vancouver, Washington, not Vancouver, British Columbia. Hanging out with TJ, Zach, Ashhad, and others last weekend at Shady Grove, they teased me that I was going to a bootleg Vancouver, even suggesting that it was spelled “Vankoover.” I hate all of them.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure it’s a great city to live in and raise children (if you’re into that kind of thing). It’s clean, the people are friendly, and it’s close enough to Portland, OR that you can still have some of that big city feel. But when you’re a tourist, it doesn’t really give you anything to brag about to the folks back home.

I flew there for a large company-sponsored workshop, and was primarily confined to my hotel and its immediate area. The opportunities for my own personal debauchery, therefore, were limited. I’m sure I’ve disappointed those coworkers who have enjoyed an up close and personal view of my “On the Rocks”-type antics during past business trips. They were fans of the blog before there was a blog. And that’s not to say that there haven’t been some good boozing tales—it just hasn’t been me in the lead role.
  • Sunday night three female coworkers and I went to a small Italian restaurant for dinner. Midway through our meal, Lady Friend called me. I walked outside and took the call while standing on the sidewalk. A few minutes later a short, chubby older guy came stumbling down the way. I was the only other being around, and he decided to stop and chat. I’m not sure how many of me he was seeing, but he seemed to be conversing with all of us, patiently waiting for his turn to talk—despite the fact that several seconds had gone by since I had finished my last sentence. When I asked if he was ok, he said, “Ahm shahray—Ahm druhk.” He wobbled in a circular motion, perhaps imitating the straw that had been mixing his drinks a few minutes earlier. My little drunken buddy quickly tired of the chitchat, and decided to move on down the road. His feet weren’t quite up to the task, though, and he soon lost his balance and barreled shoulder first into the restaurant window. As luck would have it, my coworkers were seated at that very window, and spun around to see what the booming thud had been. The drunk guy shuffled back from the window, and looked up to see my friend Michele looking out the window at him in sheer confusion. In earnest, he said, “Ahm shahray, baaaybee!”

    When I finished my phone call and returned to my table, one of my coworkers said, “Did you push that guy into the window?!?”
  • On Monday night I came back to the hotel from dinner, and decided to see who among my friends were hanging out at the bar. Finding a few coworkers, I stopped and talked for a few minutes. However, it wasn’t exactly a good ratio of managers / plebes, so I decided to make it an early night and headed back to my room. About ten minutes later, I was seated at my laptop checking e-mails when my room phone rang. I picked it up, and a frat boy voice said, “Dude, you don’t know me, but I was hanging out down here at the bar, and saw you talking to those people. You look just like this guy I went to college with—did you go to school in Massachusetts?” I assured him that I hadn’t, and he said, “Okay man, my bad” and hung up. The next day I talked with the manager from whom the mystery caller had found out my name (a girl at the registration desk told me that he then used my name to have the hotel operator patch him through to my room phone). She said that he was a Jet Blue flight attendant. She didn’t say that she had told the whole story to my project and team managers, who then proceeded to bust my balls over it for the remainder of the trip, insisting that the guy had been a homosexual fan/stalker. There were also insinuations as to the lascivious things I would do for free plane tickets. And while I’m not above degrading behavior for cheap airfare, I can say with 100% certainty that I would only perform them with members of the opposite sex.
  • Tuesday I found myself being hunted by a cougar. Unfortunately, this wasn’t exactly Mrs. Robinson, or even Mrs. Cleary. No, this was a less-than-desirable customer in her late 40s who inexplicably put the hit out on me—during business hours. She started by asking a project manager on my team about my marital status. Later that morning, during a general session, she and a co-conspirator asked one of my female coworker friends for my cellphone number. Thankfully, my friend didn’t give it to her.

    That evening was the traditional Workshop reception. A cash bar stocked with top shelf bottles is always present, and everyone tends to use it as a launching point before hitting bars and clubs afterwards; which means the majority of all the week’s craziness goes down that night. Uh oh. I stood at a table with Michele and some customers, when Co-Conspirator approached. Pulling me aside, she handed me a small piece of cardstock while saying, “This isn’t from me, and this isn’t about business.” Sure enough, it was Cougar’s business card. Michele, a lightweight and in essence my big sister at work, was one rum drink in and ready to go after Cougar in my defense; luckily, she refrained. Being only two gin & tonics into my night, I had the sense to simply stay away from Cougar throughout the rest of the reception. When she moved to one location within the large hotel ballroom, I moved to one on the opposite side. Near the end of the event, Co-Conspirator found me again. “I hope you don’t hate me for delivering that message—I’m just the messenger.” I assured her that I wasn’t mad at her (though I sort of was), but in a flash I saw a way to put it all to an end. I showed her a picture of Lady Friend that I keep on my phone, saying, “I’m not a fool.” Caught off guard, she said, “Wow—no, no you’re not.” That was the last I heard from either Cougar or Co-Conspirator on the subject for the rest of the week.

Now I’m back in the ‘Burgh; I have a blissfully-full glass of E&J and Coke in my hand and a blissfully-empty calendar between now and Thanksgiving Eve. Strength and honor.