Friday, April 17, 2009

"Play Ball!"

[this past Tuesday]
My mother: “Are you still alive?”
Me: “Yesterday was a long one.”
My mother: “The game was actually pretty good.”
Me: “There was a game yesterday?”

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Home Opener; it has become a yearly tradition for my friends and me. And it is quickly growing into one the city’s biggest annual events. I’ve gone to three of them now, and each year the crowds seem larger than those of the year prior.

We were surprised to hear, at around 8 a.m. that Monday morning, that our traditional tailgating location was closed due to construction. While this didn’t spell doom (most of Pittsburgh’s “North Shore” is a series of parking lots surrounding Heinz Field and PNC Park), it did mean that we were not going to be anywhere near our beloved 222 (the “Triple Deuce”), the dive bar that we pile into every year for rounds of cheap shots of Jack and Beam.

On the plus side, however, we had nearly doubled our numbers over last year’s party. The larger number of people and the change in location led to the new logistical headache of trying to coordinate everyone. TJ and a work buddy got to the parking lots around 8:30 a.m., a full two hours before I finally arrived. In between those two points in time were:
  • a stop for me at a grocery store to pick up burger buns and cheese;
  • me sitting in my car in the parking lot outside of Esq’s very upscale apartment building, taking swigs of Johnnie Black Label from my monogrammed hip flask [thank you, baby] as I awaited the arrival of my traveling group;
  • a dozen relayed text messages and phone calls between myself, Dupa, Chief, Baby Joey, and an increasingly agitated TJ.
Dupa met up with TJ while I was en route in a cab, and called to ask if anyone from our crowd was already down there. I told him that our friend Mudd had gotten down there early and set up camp; but, because neither he nor TJ had met Mudd before, I had not tried to coordinate their forced introduction to each other from my remote location. In passing I added, “He’s a large Black man in a cowboy hat.” 45 seconds later I got a text from Dupa: “We found Mudd, we’re at the spot.”

TD, Baby Joey, and I walked into a beauteous scene: our party stretched about five parking spots wide, and was flanked in every direction by others of similar sizes. Music was blasting from one of the SUVs in our section, and a large table next to it was filled to the edges with food, plates, utensils, drinks, and cups. Grills churned out smoke, games of beer pong raged on two tables that had been set up side-by-side, and everyone everywhere was tipping back some form of nectar. It was downright spiritual.

Pakistanimal, who was at another party nearby, stopped by with a friend of his for a little while. When they had left to go back to their party, someone said about the friend, “I don’t like that girl.” I responded, “I don’t hate her, but I don’t really care about her either. I nothing her.”

My boy, “Beard”, was on hand, which meant a bottle of Jim Beam was, too. Beard is a great character: muscle-bound but quiet and easygoing, he maintains a calm and steady presence, no matter the situation—and no matter his style of the moment. Two years ago, he showed up for the Home Opener with a thick Fu Manchu mustache and beard, and when I spotted him he was chewing on a turkey drumstick while wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses in 40 degree weather. This year he wore a wool ascot cap and shades, and had grown his beard into that of a cartoon devil’s, replete with a streak of gray running the length on either side.

He handed me the fifth of Beam, and as I took one long chug from it, I turned back towards TJ and his boy from work. TJ cracked up, and his friend had a look on his face like, “Who are these people?” And if that image wasn’t enough to freak him out, then the sight of Mudd, standing in the bed of his pickup—cowboy hat and all—popping and locking to some random song, had to be the tipping point.

Familiar faces from all around were gathered for the festivities. Tony arrived, as did Stacy and some of her girlfriends. Nate eventually joined us, as did Shock B. (who had slept through much of the morning). CJ made it for a second year in a row, rocking his routine guise of an overcoat, a cigarette, and hilarious sarcasm. We all ate, drank, and took turns knocking each other off the beer pong table. Chief roamed the party wearing a large pirate-like eye patch. I successfully haggled a guy selling Pirate gear down to $10 for a fitted cap marked at $31. Hollywood made an appearance, although he seemed much more reserved than usual—possibly to avoid repeating the embarrassment of some of his recent exploits. Dupa lifted girls into the air—including TD and her sister, who posed on his shoulders simultaneously—with drunken glee. Pakistanimal, having returned from the other party, inhaled a couple cups of Captain & Coke before deciding he wanted to wear a nearby traffic cone as a hat. Mudd bounced around with a special concoction in a large apple juice bottle, making sure everyone took multiple chugs, but refusing to reveal the recipe. As intoxicated as our shenanigans were, however, none were more ill-conceived than those of a certain girl at the party.

About midway through the day, I noticed a new partygoer. I don’t know whose guest she was, and I had never seen her before, not even earlier that day. She was a blonde of average height and well-above average weight. She seemed to be somewhat in denial about her dimensions, as she wore a t-shirt that was a couple of sizes too small. All too often it revealed her ample midsection and back—sprawled across which was a large tribal tramp stamp. An enterprising guy in our group (I don’t know him personally; I think he was part of Mudd’s extended crew) decided to make use of her self-esteem, which was almost as low as her alcoholic tolerance. I glanced over to the opened hatch of the SUV where he was reclined, receiving a…mouth hug…from Miss Stamp. As this was taking place in plain view of our entire party (and anyone else—including cops—walking past through the parking lot), she reneged shortly after beginning, and it seemed like that outrageous story had come to an end.

But this just wouldn’t be an “On the Rocks” party if it did. About ten minutes later the two of them had moved to the SUV’s passenger side door. She danced and grinded on him while he sat facing out of the open door. A couple of minutes later, she was back at work, her head bobbing up and down in his lap. Suddenly it seemed like everyone had a camera in their hand. People snapped action shots from any angle they could find, all while staying discreet enough to prevent Stamp from realizing that she was on Candid Camera. I stationed myself on the other side of Mudd’s pickup truck (which was next to the SUV) and got a couple of pictures, with Recipient looking directly at me and smiling for the camera. Dupa, approaching from a 90 degree angle, managed to get a much more XXX capture. After several minutes, Stamp came up for air, and in doing so noticed someone near the hood snapping photos. She called it a day—as though she had any dignity left to save.

Unlike in past years, the police set a sort of curfew, coming around not long after the game had begun to shoo away any tailgaters remaining in the lots. We packed up and headed across the street to Calico Jack’s. CJack’s almost always has scores of girls dancing on top of their bar. But there was a lack of female patrons doing it on this day, so some of the staff—most of whom wore black short-shorts and revealing Pirate-yellow tank tops—danced on top of the bars to compensate (right).

We partied at CJack’s for a while, and then moved to McFadden’s. My memory takes a sharp down-spike about this time, and since Pakistanimal was with us, I’m guessing shots were to blame. We lost Nate, Tony, and most of the others over time; eventually Pakistanimal, Dupa, and I were dining by ourselves at Hyde Park, toasting glasses of wine. Picturing our slurring, likely loud and inappropriate antics, I keep flashing to the restaurant scene in “Belly” where DMX toasted the slumped body of his soldier LaKid.

When we left the restaurant, Pakistanimal caught a cab home. I know that I walked across the 6th Street Bridge; Dupa swears he was with me, though I remember being alone. But the next thing he remembers after that is waking up naked on the couch in his apartment in the middle of the night, and hurling all over his bathroom, so I don’t know how well I trust his recollection. As for me, I ran into Baby Joey, CJ, and Chief just down the street from the bridge. I hopped into a cab with them, and we went to Primanti Brothers in the Strip District. We bought sandwiches and then went back to Esq’s, where Joey stealthily disappeared into the spare room and passed out under a blanket on the floor—next to a fully-inflated air mattress. After eating for a second time in less than two hours (don’t judge me), I regained some comprehension and headed home, another Home Opener conquered.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

It’s been a little quiet here at On the Rocks this week; but have no fear, inebriation is coming. Saturday will be Toe’s birthday celebration—and you all know how those turn out around here. Last year his birthday party resulted in an energetic lesbian lovefest in Diesel’s VIP section. Not surprisingly, we’ll be back at Diesel again this year, and again we are scheduled to have a table or two in VIP. Girlfriend will be there, and she’s bringing some friends.

“Honey check it,
Tell your friends, to get with my friends,
And we can be friends…

Shit we can do this every weekend…
Aight? Is that aight with you?
Yeah... keep bangin”

I foresee Dupa dancing on a couch wearing stunna shades—and no pants. I foresee Girlfriend (who, at 3:47 pm this afternoon sent me a text message that said, plainly and succinctly, “Car bomb”; god I love that woman) extending her pinkie while downing muchas Coronas. I foresee Chappy bailing on everyone in pursuit of a girl who he won’t score with. I foresee a Farmer’s Special at Tom’s Diner at 2:30 a.m. I foresee…well, basically, more of the lunacy that has taken place at every other birthday outing that I’ve been a part of before [If you doubt me, scroll down to the “Labels” list below. Click on “birthday”…and picture me rollin’.]

Monday, however, will be an even bigger event (and, in my decidedly un-Christian view of life, the real holiday of the week): the Pittsburgh Pirates' Home Opener. I wrote last year about the escapades that the day saw, and I fully expect more of the same this time around. Tony and I talked last night, and it looks like we’ve nearly doubled our number of revelers. We could be pushing the needle towards “epic.”

So enjoy this mild pause in the action, readers. Rest your eyes, because the forecast is calling for a heavy downpour of “lol” across the page next week. Salud.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Brilliant Insanity: B-Day '09 [Saturday]

[The conclusion of the 48 hour booze race...]
  • While I was still fighting through a raging hangover the next afternoon, T.C. called to inform me that the Buffalo boys had already began drinking in the South Side. It was only 2 pm. I showered and shaved, and then rolled out around 5, stopping at a convenience store to pick up a bottle of Gatorade (for hydration recovery) and a can of Monster (for sleep deprivation). I slammed the bottle of Gatorade before I reached the Wendy’s drive-thru for a chicken sandwich (the only food I had eaten to that point in the day) and a milkshake (to coat my stomach prior to that night’s onslaught). I had finished my sandwich and shake by the time I caught up with the guys at 1311 Tavern.
  • The Buffalo boys were crushed. When they stumbled out the door a half hour later, one of them (Pete) ran into the doorframe, bouncing off and onto the sidewalk without even realizing it.
  • Dupa had met up with us a little late, and only had time for one quick drink before we left for the Sheraton in Station Square, where Girlfriend had booked a room. His choice? A pitcher of cherry vodka and Diet Coke. Granted, it was about half the size of a standard beer pitcher, but it was still large enough for him to need T.C. and I to help him kill it before we departed.
  • T.C. walked to the nearby Holiday Inn, where the Buffalo Boys were lodged. Dupa and I took my car over to the Sheraton. In navigating our way over there, we happened to approach an intersection as T.C. crossed it. As we blasted past him, Dupa shouted, “Get out of the way, you Irish fuck!” With both of us nearly in tears from laughter, he looked at me and said, “It’s going to be a good night!”
  • Girlfriend went all-out for the occasion. Not only did she book the room so that she and I had somewhere near the action to crash, but she stocked it with a case of Miller Lite, a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label, and a bottle of Patron. She’s pure wifey material, folks.
  • Unfortunately, to go to any of the guest floors of the Sheraton by elevator, you have to first swipe a room key. This meant that I had to go downstairs and escort anyone coming up to meet us. I first did so with Hurley, and then made a second trip to collect T.C. and the Buffalo boys. The hotel was swarming with girls age 5 through 17 that day, as a large dance competition was being held in the convention hall. Boarding the elevator with T.C. and the boys, we found ourselves sharing it with a girl, about 12 years old, and her chaperone. The chaperone was a heavy woman who appeared to be closer in age to us. As the elevator lifted off, she cracked that her charge was too young for us.
    Me: *blinks* “Ooookkkkkaaayyyy
    We politely laughed at the unnecessary joke. We reached the girls’ floor, and as they parted through us to exit, Chaperone said, “We don’t want any perverts!” We were all stunned and confused for a split second. But before the doors closed, T.C. chirped up, “Yeah—and we don’t want any fat chicks!”
  • At Bar Louie we discovered that for $15 per hour in the private section, you could purchase an all-you-can drink special featuring top shelf alcohol. Bang. 17 of us signed up for two hours of Jack Daniels, Grey Goose, and Ketel One. With tip, the bill for the alcohol came out to about $600 at the end of the special. The waiter said, “You guys drank over $1000 in alcohol tonight—you just made $400 on us.”
  • Pakistanimal spotted a plump woman out on the main floor wearing a blueberry-colored jogging suit. He noted to us that she looked like Violet Beauregarde in the original "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Dupa walked downstairs for a closer look; upon returning to our lounge, he announced, “Oh my g—I just came in my pants!” Laughing, all I could say was, “Dude,” while pointing at my friend Michele, a coworker who was seated with her husband on a couch 3 feet away from him, cracking up. Realizing his level of inappropriateness, Dupa countered, “I immediately regret saying that!”
  • Dupa “found” a pair of white-framed sunglasses on the bar, and rocked them for the rest of the night. The look led to me saying the next day, “You looked like a chubby Scott Storch. You’re ‘Scott Starch’!”
  • Pete and T.C. began an ice cube war, tossing them halfway across the large lounge. Hurley and I, seated near Pete while we ate our dinner, joined on his side. Cubes were raining down on T.C., to our giggling delight. At one point, Pete fired a shot that landed flush against the side of T.C.’s head. Before he could react, a second volley came from Hurley; it hit the small table next to T.C., and then bounced up and smacked him in the face.
  • There were a few bachelorette parties at Bar Louie that night, and one of them soon found their way over to our private lounge. The 20+ guys we had gathered for the party quickly swooped in, chit-chatting and helping the girls achieve their bachelorette party tasks (getting bench-pressed by a guy, getting a lap dance from a guy, etc.). Dupa, in pure heaven, took several pictures with the ladies, including a series in which he picked the bachelorette up into his arms, and then began swinging her around into different positions, as if performing a figure skating routine. Later, as we were leaving, he tried to get a picture while holding up two of the girls—one in each arm. He promptly fell backwards, and the camera flashed as all three lay on the floor of the lounge in pain, embarrassment, and laughter.
  • I had a steady flow of Red Bull and Vodkas coursing through my veins. I routinely double-fisted, occasionally with a third drink warming up “on deck”. As the last minutes of the special ticked away, someone in the party—a saint amongst men—told the waiter to make all drinks doubles.
  • The night was well documented photographically, by both me and Dupa. He recently purchased a new digital camera. It’s waterproof, a fact he displayed by repeatedly dunking it into his drinks. Standing in line for CC Saloon, he accidentally fumbled it. Our gasps were met with the unruffled demeanor of Dupa.
    Dupa: “It’s shockproof, too. See?” *drops camera onto the concrete intentionally*
  • Girlfriend paused to take a picture with the cop standing outside of CC Saloon. She put her hands out, wrists together, and he pretended to put his handcuffs on her.
    Me: “You mind if I borrow those later?”
  • The scene in Carson City was crazy, with approximately 40 – 50 of my friends packed into the area surrounding the main bar, dancing, drinking, and laughing.
  • I was in remarkably good condition, largely because I refused shots all night. After Friday night, the thought of doing a shot made me gag. Pakistanimal bought me a Jager Bomb, which I politely sipped at for about 20 minutes, until Girlfriend grabbed it off me and tossed it back like a pro. A few minutes later Baby Joey alerted me that he would be buying me a shot. He asked what I wanted; “Water.” He wouldn’t agree to that but sensed my plight , so he bought me the girliest drink he could think of: a Redheaded Slut. I did the shot—it’s more or less like drinking Kool Aid—with ease, but I was spotted by Pakistanimal, who thought the embargo was lifted. He bought another Jager Bomb, which I handed to GG.
    GG: “This is yours, I don’t want to do it.” Me: “Look, I can’t do it. So either you do it, or I’m pouring it out.” GG: “Well, in that case…*takes cup and throws it back*
  • Hollywood came to CC Saloon straight from a wedding, and was three sheets to the wind the second he walked through the doors. He wore a jacket, dress shirt, and tie; all three were nearly danced off him by TD, Shock, and Girlfriend. I put on his jacket, which quite-obviously did not fit me, and paraded around the bar. While doing this, though, I missed out on the following action: TD accidentally tripped and fell into a random tall blonde standing near our group; the bitchy Amazon shoved TD backwards before any kind of apology could be made; Hollywood jumped to his friend’s defense, pushing Bitchy. A scuffle ensued, and Hollywood was booted. I escorted him outside, where he proceeded to yell challenges to a guy standing nearby who, though he had been in the bar, had nothing to do with the altercation. I told Hollywood to shut up and clean himself up, noting that his wifebeater (tank top) had gotten ripped during the fight. He was too gone to hear me, though. Releasing a primal growl, he ripped apart the wifebeater and spiked it to the ground in a display worthy of his “Gay Hulk” nickname. After a few more minutes of standing around, he suddenly took off running (in a manner Girlfriend described as “like a duck”), disappearing into the alleyway behind the bar. We later found out that he tracked down the kid he had been yelling at, swung at him, missed, and tackled him to the ground. A cop nearby, who knows Hollywood, pulled him off of the kid and told him to get the fuck out of there. How he got back home safe is a mystery to all of us, including Hollywood himself.
  • Girlfriend negotiated for a minivan taxi, already inhabited by Chappy and two females who I had never met before, to take us back to the Sheraton. The girl sitting in the front seat of the taxi was attractive, and seemed to know both Chappy and the driver. When we reached Station Square, she opened her door to leave. Chappy, in a last-ditch effort, said, “Why don’t you come up to Mt. Washington with me? We’re going to drink some more and hang out.” The girl barely glanced at him, then hugged the cabbie and said, “Ok, bye” before hopping out and trotting off.
Girlfriend and I woke up the next morning, exhausted. She had been the drunker of the two of us at the end of the night, and her head was pounding out its revenge. My ban on shots had worked beautifully, and I was actually able to look at sunlight without wincing.

Who’s the insane one now?

Brilliant Insanity: B-Day '09 [Intro and Friday]

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” What does it mean, then, if you do the same thing and you do achieve different results?

Last year, I hosted a birthday party for over two dozen of my friends in Station Square, and suffered one of the most epic fails of my boozing resume. So this year, I wanted to avoid the entire large-scale event all together. I was weary of gathering together a horde of deviant drinkers who were going to turn me into a barely functioning vegetable by 11 pm. Why go overboard? Heck, why even celebrate the day? Despite what one might glean from some of my stories, I’m not big on being the center of attention (well, not all of the time). Why not just have drinks quietly with a few of my good friends at a bar? I didn’t want a big party because it would be a hassle, and because it would mean scores of people trying to pour shots down my throat (and because I was turning 30).

The forces of the universe, however, conspired against me. Early in March, T.C. and I were contacted by the guys we partied with in San Diego last summer. They wanted to make a weekend trip to Pittsburgh for shits and giggles. The Saturday that was the most accommodating for everyone’s social calendars? March 28th; a.k.a. the day before my birthday. Now we had eight booze hounds travelling from Buffalo, looking for a day of the best our city had to offer them. So much for enjoying a quiet night.

T.C. and I then set about working out a dinner plan where we could accommodate 20+ people. Our first idea, Smoking Joe’s, fell through, so Girlfriend took charge and set up a dinner party in Bar Louie Station Square’s private room, along with drunk limo transportation to Carson City Saloon afterwards. I now had a party consisting of 20 – 50 people (almost as many—if not more—of my friends planned to skip the first half of the night, and meet up with us at CC Saloon), a private room, limos, and multiple locations requiring the logistics management of my girlfriend, T.C., and I. Girlfriend cracked that it was my “MTV Sweet 16 party”. It’s always the ones you love the most who can own you the fiercest.

So much took place that weekend, however, that I feel writing a detailed play-by-play would take at least three blog posts. I will instead try to condense the highlights for your time-killing enjoyment (and this is a long one, so I’ll break it into two parts):
  • Since TJ had to work Saturday night, he set about annihilating me on Friday night. He, “Pakistanimal” (no real need for an alias, but he’s been crying for the past few months that he doesn’t have one, so hopefully he’ll shut up about it now), Dupa, and I hit The ‘Side for a booze smorgasbord. I promptly blacked out before midnight, yet somehow made it home in one piece and without vomiting.
    The best way to describe this shot is to compare it to the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon that is used to kill the sentinels near the end of “The Matrix”. The mixture hits your stomach and explodes, sending out shockwaves that shut down everything in your central nervous system.
  • Pakistanimal ran into a blonde girl he knew from W&J. The last time he had seen her, some years ago, she (1.) mistook him for a friend of ours nicknamed “Black Sean” because…well, his name’s Sean and he’s Black; and (2.) told him the only reason that he (Sean) had made it into law school was because he’s Black. So, on this night, Pakistanimal decided to address this previous encounter. After first snapping a picture with her, he then reminded her of her comments. “First of all, I’m not Sean; and second of all, I’m not Black, I’m Pakistani, you racist!”
    As a tear began its trail down her cheek, she responded, “I’m not a racist—I work for the ACLU!!”

To be continued...