Friday, May 30, 2008

Get Down with the Getdown

I’m hoping this weekend doesn’t get spoiled by the weather; but when you live in Pennsylvania, that’s almost like pleading to the Reaper. Nothing you say or do is going to change the outcome.

Today’s my mother’s birthday, so I’m doing the whole “best-son-ever” bit and taking her out to dinner. Afterwards I’ll probably hit the bar with Haze and our friend “Gay Hulk.” [He’s not actually gay; but after a few days in the sun he’s pink, muscle-bound, and irritable. Hence… “You wouldn’t like me when I’m sassy!”] This plan is hardly cemented, though, so I could end up just saving myself for tomorrow.

What’s tomorrow, you ask? Only the 4th Annual Round Hill Park Picnic, a boozefest held by my friend K-Man at a large public park in sunny Elizabeth, PA. Cold beer, tons of food, beer pong, flip cup, and lots of cute girls usually means good times for all. Two years ago our boy Tony got so drunk at the picnic that, later that night at Todd’s by the Bridge, he leaned back and yanked two large rails out of the bar while falling backwards through the kitchen door. Last year, K-Man was hammered to the point where—in broad daylight—he began urinating on a tree that stood in the middle of the park, not hidden in the woods (where everyone else tends to do it). I hope to avoid both of those ends tomorrow, but I’ll settle for 1 of 2.

Not to mention: Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which is definitely going to add to my intake, no matter how it turns out. The Pens should tie up the series tomorrow; and if they play like they did on Wednesday, they will tie it up. And then the city of Detroit can collectively suck a fat one. Cheers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making it All Better

Well, this past weekend didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped. Zach’s poker game got cancelled by his girlfriend, so no easy money. The Penguins forgot that you need to score goals to win hockey games. And Sunday I suffered through one of the worst nights of beer pong that I have ever had the distinct embarrassment of being involved in. Luckily there was plenty of alcohol to wash away my sorrow in each case.

Friday I decided to stay in, and put down several glasses of whiskey to ease my itching check-raising hand; Sunday night I drank enough beer to almost make me forget that I was even losing my beer pong games (I think at one point I was laughingly taunting my opponents like DeNiro in “Raging Bull”). Saturday I was at Sports Rock, enduring the Pens’ sudden impotence like a jilted lover, telling myself over and over, “It’s not my fault, it's not my fault.” Around the same time that they were packing it in—sometime early in the third period—I discovered that bottles of Miller Lite cost $4.25, but mixed drinks cost $4.75. Emotional scarring (from watching my team squeal like a pig) coupled with some simple economics meant I was suddenly double fisting bourbon & cokes. Then a random stranger, probably equally unnerved by the hockey game, gave me a free bottle of Hoegaarden (he had ordered it for someone who had abruptly left), which was about to come in handy.

Of the 16 or 17 people in our party, just over half were large, drunk males (such as myself), some of whom posses a special ability to get kicked out of places (such as myself). So of course, the smart money was on the 5’2” blonde sorority girl amongst us to be the one to “m-f” the bartender while flipping him off with both hands, prompting him to call in two bouncers and three city cops to escort us to the door. Here’s where experience pays off: measuring the amount of time I had left in that particular establishment for the night, and comparing it to the amount of time it was going to take to trek to the next watering hole, I discreetly slipped the bottle of Hoegaarden into my pocket, and then made a show of chugging my bourbon & coke. Once we were outside and the cops had walked off, I pulled the bottle out and calmly sipped as we headed up the street. One of the girls turned to say something, did a doubletake, and said, “Where’d you get that?”

“Come on—I thought you knew me?”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Booze or Lose

Memorial Day weekend.

See, I bet when you read that, in your head it sounded like this: “Meh-more-ee-uhl Day Wee-kehnd,” didn’t it? Every time I read it, though, all I hear is, “three successive days of blacking out.”

This weekend will consist of the following:

  1. a poker game at Zach’s (read: “free money")
  2. Game 1 of the Penguins and Red Wings (read: “hammered and obnoxious by 9 pm”)
  3. celebration of Alex’s birthday (read: “short skirts and long bar tabs”)
  4. celebration of Haze’s birthday (read: “short skirts and a long night in jail”)
  5. a cookout at Baby Joey’s (read: “Olympic beer pong trials”)

Last weekend was T.C.’s birthday, and I think I celebrated it harder than he did. About 15 of us spent the night at the White Eagle, a lowkey—i.e. dive—bar in the South Side. And, apparently, I drank enough shots to bend space-time continuum; we seemed to jump from 10 pm Friday night to 2 am Saturday morning. I’ve been waiting for someone to send me a picture of me getting into a DeLorean.

I can only expect more of the same ahead. Salud. And “Go Pens!”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

God Bless the Hookup

Any barfly worth his salt-lined shot glass knows the value of having friends on the other side of the bar. Sometimes it’s a close buddy; other times it’s just someone who recognizes you as a regular, and has enough kindness in his or her heart to ease the strain that drinking puts on your wallet. The latter relationship typically begins with the topic that I covered in December—being friendly with your bartenders and servers. If you’re lucky, it can become a valuable assist in your weekly games of “Let’s make everything blurry.”

I have had many such associations and friendships over the years, with varying results.
  • In the summer before my senior year of college, my boy Chris and I were regulars at a Duquesne University bar called Pizza Milano’s. We became friends with two of the bartenders there, who regularly did right by us with the tab. And this, more than likely, is what led to each of them being fired by the summer’s end. Oops.
  • A friend and I went to a place in the South Side one Wednesday night in 2002 to play some pool and drink some beer. But we quickly became more interested in the goddess tending bar—“HHM” [due to the fact that she’s still working there today, I’m doing some strict censorship here to keep from snitching]. Some small talk soon proved that she was as down-to-earth and intelligent as she was beautiful (it sounds mushy, true; but I know better than to get on her bad side). She rapidly became a good friend of mine, and remains one to this day. And her generosity when it came to hooking us up was legendary. It was always fun to walk in with someone who was not initiated to the ways of HHM. First, if my drinking companion was a guy, I’d chuckle at his jaw yo-yoing when he first laid eyes on her (yeah, she’s fine). Then, I’d order a round of beers and a round of shots, never even reaching for my wallet; HHM would serve all of them with a smile and a quick word, and then hurry off to another customer. When the person with me finally realized that no money had changed hands, a look of “this changes everything I’ve ever known” would come across his or her face. Sometimes, when she felt like she was being watched by management or other customers, HHM would take a $20 and come back with a $10, a $5, and five $1s. I’d propose to her if I felt I was in any way worthy of being married to her.
  • “J.,” another friend, has worked at several bars and clubs in the area over the past six years. The last time that some of us tried to count them, the total came to about 7 or 8. And it’s very possible that we were forgetting one or two others. And at each place that he has slung drinks across a counter, we have experienced a special discount rate. Last year, we had a birthday party for T.C. at the club where J. was working at the time. We’ve estimated that the number of people on our tab was in the low 20s; and, that over $800 of alcohol was put down (and this is by no means an exaggeration; in addition to the numerous rounds of shots, each of us was ordering our drinks two at a time, due to the packed conditions at the bar). When he handed the bill to T.C.’s wife at closing time, though, the grand total was $200. J.’s popularity has since landed him a job managing a pub in town; this means he’s not behind the bar though, and his days as a hookup artist are over. A little success is a dangerous thing.
  • Ashhad introduced me to a bartender at a place in my neighborhood last summer. “C.” is cut from HHM’s mold: down-to-earth, fun to talk with, and more than happy to hook you up if he knows you. I doubt he looks as good as she does in a tank top and short-shorts, but I won’t hold that against him. There’s nothing like ordering a couple of rounds of drinks and shots for yourself, your wingman, and two cute girls at a pseudo-swanky bar, and knowing that your credit card’s not going to take 1/10th the hit that it normally would.
  • A few years ago, a friend of mine began bartending at a big country-western nightclub in the city. I’ve only been in there once, but he managed to hit me with two or three rounds of shots and a multitude of beers without asking for a cent. I was brain dead by the time I walked out, which is pretty much a prerequisite for being in a country-western nightclub.
  • My all-time favorite hookup was at a club that has been one of the most popular in the city over the past 4 years. At its height, I had no less than five hookups in this one establishment: (1.) The girl working the door was a friend’s ex, and she never made me or anyone in my party pay the cover charge; (2.) Sean, Nick’s cousin who took a beer beating at Brewski Fest, was working there as a barback; (3.) his girlfriend, who went to high school with T.C.’s wife, was a bartender; (4.) I was introduced to “J-Dizzy,” a cool chick that bartended at the club, by Haze, who had met her at some point during his own adventures; (5.) and along with J-Dizzy’s friendship came that of her boyfriend, who was almost always hanging out at her bar, and who always insisted on feeding us shots of Patron, etc. Walking through this club was the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like a rock star. I have still spent quite a bit of money there over the years, but I’d probably be living under a bridge right now if I hadn’t had the ferocious hookup circumstances.
Time to be out—it’s happy hour. Salud.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I -heart- Calico Jack's

This one could get me into trouble.

It really shouldn’t—I did nothing wrong. I merely documented the evening; in part for the later fun of reliving it with friends for years to come, and in part for reporting it here for all of you. But sometimes when you’re dating someone, they don’t necessarily see things with the same logical eye that you do. There’s a certain level of jealousy that can taint their viewpoint. And that’s not to say that I have never been infected with the disease of jealousy; but, to trigger the symptoms in me, it takes a little more than learning that someone I’m dating watched an amateur strip tease. Some years ago, a girl I was dating had a threesome with her male friend and one of his close female friends, and the only part that really pissed me off was that I never got the pictures from it that I was promised. But I digress.

Saturday we celebrated the birthing day of my friend Stan (or “Mr. L-R-G,” as he prefers to call himself on MySpace). We did it up at Calico Jack’s with a $10 all-u-can-drink happy hour from 8-10 pm, followed by further gratuitous boozing. My brain was soon awash in cheap bourbon and Coronas.

Around 10, LRG called my attention to a girl in a fluorescent blue dress walking past. “I guarantee you,” he said, “later on she’ll be on top of the bar getting naked; she does it every week.” I had witnessed this type of behavior the last time I visited C-Jack’s. Flesh displays take place every weekend, and have become something of local lore. Scanning through the pictures on the club’s website, you find plenty of examples. It makes you wonder sometimes if these girls realize that their pictures are getting put on the internet. Someone’s going to walk into a job interview and get a big surprise one day.

Around 1am, the party started. LRG’s prediction came true, as Blue Dress made her way onto the bar and began giving the people what they wanted. She started demurely (for drunken clubbing standards), showing glimpses of her black panties from underneath the blue cloth that stopped high on her thighs. Soon she was pulling the dress up to her chest, shaking her booty for the cheering spectators. Girls dancing alongside her took the cue, and began exposing their panties for the crowd’s approval, too. One girl wearing jeans was getting a spanking from those closest to the bar, and when she finally pulled down her pants, red skin glowed through black lace. A few feet down the bar, a girl lay on her back while others climbed on top of her and went to town. Is it still closeted lesbianism if it’s acted out in front of hundreds of strangers at a nightclub?

All the while, Toe, LRG, Zach, and I cheered and snapped photos with the rest of the slobbering throng (the pictures below are all authentic, and are among the 30+ that I took...and no, that's not my hand approaching for a spank). And we each spoke the same undeniable thought: “I hope I never have a daughter.”

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Festival that is Brewski

It’s over, and I feel like a kid on December 26th. I’m already looking towards next year, and the chance to relive the joy, the anticipation, the laughter, the food,…the beer. The glorious, glorious beer.

I arrived around 3:45 pm, with a 30-pack of Miller Lite in hand. While I was waiting for the doors of the packed lobby elevator to close, T.C.’s sister and her boyfriend appeared. I said, “Don’t let them on, they’re trouble.” They laughed as the doors closed, and a guy standing next to me said, “I’m not going to argue with a guy holding a case of Miller Lite.”

Rocky (my friend who I was splitting the hotel room with) and I got settled in, and then I had to run a parking voucher out to my car. Rocky had brought a cooler, but he left it in T.C.'s car; I tasked him, therefore, with retrieving and filling it with ice and cans from the 30-pack while I was out. [In the parking lot, I ran into Shan and her girl Alex, who each were carrying enough luggage for a two week furlough.] When I got to the room (with Toe and LRG, who I had collected along the way back from the parking lot), I was greeted by Rocky’s rare display of ingenuity: too lethargic to walk out to the car to get his cooler, he realized that the small waste bin was laced with a fresh garbage bag—so he filled it with ice and beer. It has been said that necessity breeds invention; for the beer drinker, though, it’s often laziness that does it.

Armed with our trash can cooler, we joined several others in some pregaming while watching the NFL draft in LRG and Toe’s room. Nick showed up with a cooler (a real one) filled with bottles of Sam Adams, Michelob, Miller Lite, Yuengling, and Guinness Stout. His cousin, Sean, brought bottles of Jameson and Bailey’s, which meant there were going to be some Irish Car Bomb attacks. Add LRG and Toe’s handle of Captain Mo’ to the equation, and you have a formula for a black out. Or, as we W&J alums like to call it, “a Saturday afternoon.”

The event, on a whole, was fantastic. A lot of good beers (Sam Adams Boston Lager, Labatt Honey, New Castle Brown Ale, Atwater Vanilla Java Porter, Franziskaner Heffe, and Pilsner Urquell were favorites), a lot of great food, and a lot of cute booth girls—Hi L-…wait, I never did get her name; “tall blonde wearing the tight white t-shirt”? Several of the girls in our 21-member army, including Shannon and Dr. Kelly, made the mistake of skipping dinner and going straight into the beer hall. How did they make this mistake, you might ask? They simply got into the wrong line. Apparently, the line leading to the two large banquet tables covered in food seemed less like the dinner line than the one leading towards the stairs. I forget sometimes that my friends, despite being cultured graduates of an academically-renowned college, are still, at their core, blondes.

Nick managed to taste each of the 67 brews, and he drug Sean—a rookie—along for it. Halfway through Sean had a look on his face similar to that of a female lead in a horror flick who has just realized that someone drugged her drink. Eyes half-open and glazed, he swayed slightly, and seemed to be trying to mouth the word “No.” But there was no help coming. Nick was in his happy drunk mode, which is comparable to a small child’s demeanor at Disneyland.

After Brewski Fest ended at 11 p.m., we headed over to the Matterhorn, a large bar in the resort, where we continued the assault on our livers. Eventually someone bought a round of Jager Bombs, and that was the one that sunk me. My memory begins slowly fading from that point on, until total blackness at around midnight. I jolted awake around 6:30 a.m., lying facedown, fully-clothed, on top of my bedcovers. Apparently, I had a text message convo with Dr. Kelly somewhere after midnight about pizza and its importance in the grand scheme of things; amazingly, she was the one speaking in defense of pizza.

At breakfast the next morning, one of the first questions tossed across the table by one of our disheveled, groggy crew was, “When do tickets go on sale for next year’s Brewski Fest?”

Not soon enough.