Friday, May 28, 2010

Books of Revelation

You know you’ve successfully shaved years off your life with the carving knife known as alcohol when you’re too tired (not too hungover, mind you; not too broke or too embarrassed; no—too tired) to go out the following night.

Friday I went out with the intention of blowing off a little steam. By the time my head hit the pillow that night, I’d sounded off like an old locomotive pulling a train full of boiling teapots. Pakistanimal and I joined Mitch Canada and Jay Swag at their Mt. Washington residence to pregame, along with Swag’s new *wink* friend *wink*, “Faze”. Faze, ironically, isn’t fazed by much; she’s the type of girl to tell you exactly what’s on her mind. Basically, she’s one of the guys…but with much better and prettier parts than an actual guy. When a rendezvous with Swag a few Saturdays ago led to her showing up at her mom’s house on Mother’s Day with a hickey on her neck, she insisted that Swag tell all of his friends so that he could suffer our verbal wrath—as punishment for the similar series of jokes she was inspiring in her family members. [Note: As a result, TJ, Dupa, and I are still debating Swag’s new official nickname within the crew; my two suggestions were “Twilight” and “Scarlet Necker” (ironic, considering what you’ll read shortly).]

From Mt. Washington we moved to The Basement at Charlie Murdoch’s in the South Side, where we met up with our buddy Ruby and his friend “Small Shake”. Rapid rounds of drinks and shots meant that things quickly got blurry for me in the basement of that former church; before I knew it, we were in Carson City Saloon. Here, Small Shake was feeling protected by being in the presence of three guys of considerable size, and therefore decided to push her own brand of shock comedy. As a particular group of guys and gals passed by us at the bar, she announced, “That’s right—I’m taking all THREE dicks tonight!” [Note: She did not take any dicks that night—to the best of our collective knowledge.]

Pak and I soon left Ruby and Shake at CC Saloon (I’m not sure where Canada, Swag, and Faze had gone; we were separated from them shortly after leaving Charlie Murdoch’s), and headed to Station Square to find Dupa, Shan, Entertainer, and Dr. Kelly. We found 3 of the 4 at Zen (Dr. Kelly had a…house call…to make); but, shortly after arriving, I knew I wouldn’t be there for long. I was having a bad case of “ex-on-the-mind,” and quickly exited. I went straight for the long climb up Mt. Washington; however, in my drunken state, I decided to mislead Pak as to my whereabouts. Unfortunately for him, this led to my boy sitting by himself on a couch at Zen, well after Dupa and the others had departed, waiting for me to appear from my hiding spot. Meanwhile, I was stumbling my way back to Jay Swag and Mitch Canada’s house. I’m starting to realize that our friendship is just one big tennis match of insolent acts; each weekend seems to end with one of us saying to the other, “You’re a dick of a friend.”

When I arrived at my destination, my hosts were getting out of a cab—with a pizza. Timing is everything. The four of us traded tales and vanquished 3/4s of the pie, and then retired to our respective fall-down spots for the night.

I awoke Saturday morning to my cell phone screaming at me (yes, it felt familiar). I reached around the immediate vicinity, but found nothing but a mattress, a sheet, and a carpeted floor. No phone. I stood up, and was confronted with a new question: “Where the hell am I?” (…shut up) Again, I checked the mattress and box frame located on the floor in the middle of the room. No phone. I looked on the floor and saw my shoes next to the box springs. I reached inside of each shoe. No phone. I looked at the bookshelf on the far wall, which was fully-stocked—except for the top ledge. On this highest shelf sat my phone…and one of my socks. I looked around, incredulous that my socks, of all of the previous night’s participants, had been the ones that had failed to find each other by sunrise. After several surreal seconds of searching, I spotted my missing footwear sitting on the floor near the door, on the other side of the room. Via Twitter:

8:31 AM May 22nd: My sock is on the shelf, my pants are on the floor...where am I?

I sat down on the edge of the bed and collected myself. By now, the end of the night had started to come back to me, and I realized that I was at Swag & Canada’s. I casually glanced to my right, and saw something peculiar tucked away at the bottom left corner of the bookshelf (right).

Yes, you’re seeing that correctly: a set of Twilight books.

I went downstairs and sat on a chair in the living room, as I fired off the picture to TJ and Dupa. Swag and Faze came downstairs, and I immediately questioned my friend about the crimes against literature that I had just found on “your bookshelf.” He quickly countered, “Hey, hey—that’s not our bookshelf; it’s Mitch’s bookshelf! I don’t read.” He added that when he had first found out some time ago that Canada had read Twilight, his reaction was, “I don’t think I want to live with you anymore.”

I told them about my sock mystery, which led to the following exchange:

Faze: “See, he takes his socks off. He’s normal.”
Me: [to Swag] “You don’t like taking your socks off?”
Swag: “No.”
Me: “Why?”
Swag: “I don’t know. Just don’t like it.”
Me: “You leave them on during sex, too?”
Faze: “Yes, he does!”

Before I left for home, Faze managed to produce one last bombshell. With the conversation hovering around things of a sexual nature, she followed a brief moment of contemplation with a sudden outburst of genuine revelation. “You know,” she said to Swag, “truth be told, your dick’s a lot bigger than I expected it to be.”

I think she’s going to fit in with the crew just fine.

Method Acting

When you're preparing to shoot a movie in which you play an NFL quarterback, you hit the gym and the practice field. When you're preparing to shoot a champagne commercial in which you play yourself, you get drunk.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Wanna Be Sedated

Or, in the words of the illustrious TD, "I want to be like this guy on Sunday!!!"

The annual Memorial Day cookout at her and Baby Joey's should be splendiferous. Salud.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Tell You Have a Drinking Problem

This guy gives white trash—and alcoholics—a bad name.

Although, that being said... Wouldn't it seem logical that a "babies for beer" program could be created, using official adoption agencies? I mean, there are plenty of people out there who want kids but can't have them, for various health reasons. And if someone is demented enough to trade their baby for a couple of 40s...well, would you really consider that person fit to parent in the first place? I think this is an idea worth exploring.

(And with more guys like this drinking themselves to death in the gutter, there's more room at the bar for respectable sots like myself to stumble around harmlessly. Just saying...)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It appears that I’ve hit another lull in my drunken exploit chest-thumpingchronicling, and I really can’t offer up a legitimate excuse for it. I’d like to blame it on the heavy increase in work that has been heaped upon me at the office as of late. But since last December I’ve had a shiny new Dell—complete with all of the MS Office bells and whistles—sitting in my apartment, and that instantly negates the “lack of free time in front of a computer” defense. I could tell you that the slow down has been a result of a concerted effort to scale back my drinking and carousing, but…well I’m sure you would find that only slightly more believable than Ben Roethlisberger wearing a purity ring.

In reality, tons of drunken days and nights have come and gone this year without the slightest mention on the page thus far. Even renowned drinkers’ holidays like New Years Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, the Pirates’ Home Opener, and Brewski Festival have eluded narration in 2010. What can I say? I’m a slacker.

To try to get myself back into the swing of things, I’m going to give a few quick stories from some of my social dealings in recent months (ahh, bullet point formatting; my crutch-away-from home...).

Pirates’ Home Opener
  • The entire event was one prolonged, blissful blur. About midway through the day, I found myself in that interesting state known to drinkers as “half blacked out”. It really is an interesting phenomena that only true drinkers can appreciate; if you’ve never spent a random morning trying to weave together the previous day or night’s storyline from various pieces of memory that are separated by chunks of complete blackness, each about 15 to 45 minutes in length, then no words on a computer screen are going to do it justice. My recollection of the day goes from tailgating to McFadden's, to walking into the T station downtown with Steph, to boarding the Incline, to eating calamari at Redbeard’s, to sitting in Steph’s living room watching “Zombieland”. All of which covers several miles of Pittsburgh real estate, spanning from the North Shore to downtown to Station Square to Mount Washington.
    If scientists ever determine the exact amount of drunk you have to get for you to be “half blacked out”, television producers could create one hell of a reality-TV game show. Picture a camera crew following around a sloshed, unknowing contestant; then, in the studio the following day, the hungover person has to correctly deduce what in the fizzuck happened to him or her.
    Player: “Bob, I’m going to say I vomited behind the McDonalds, then went inside; ordered seven Happy Meals—and a shake; drunk-texted that girl at work I have a crush on; and then fell asleep in the backseat of my buddy’s car.”
    Host: “And that’s your final answer?”
    Player: *nods while wincing, and then takes a swig of Gatorade*
    Host: “Okay—judges, let’s see the tape!”
  • After the movie, I had recovered quite nicely. It was only about 8 pm or so, and I decided to resume my inebriation. The boys had all convened at Redbeard’s, and beckoned me to join. It’s about a ten minute walk to there from Steph’s house, and as I finally rounded the corner onto the street where the bar sits, I saw a minivan taxicab parked up ahead. Outside of it stood Jay Swag, Pakistanimal, and MG, who were loading Dupa into the back. He had, it appeared, reached his limit a little earlier than expected. They had almost closed the sliding side door on him when, giggling, he hopped out and ran around the back of the van, and then climbed into the front passenger seat—even though he was the only one taking the cab.
  • One of the bartenders at Redbeard’s was Asian-American. Pakistanimal—who had long ago that day throttled past “civilized drinker,” and was now barreling along at a very dickish mach-3-drunk—decided that the best way to endear himself to this gent was to address him as “Jackie Chan.” Want to guess how well that one went over? Approximately ten minutes after I’d gotten to the bar, Pak was being shown the door.
  • Earlier in the day, while hanging out at the large tailgate party thrown by Steph’s company, I met a woman who used to work for the same corporation that employs Dupa…and The Ex. While exchanging small talk, I mentioned to her that my ex-girlfriend also works for said corporation.
    Her: “Oh really? Who?”
    Me: “[The Ex’s real name].”
    Her: “Oh—she’s crazy!”
    Me: *choking on my beer*
    Her: “But I guess that’s why she’s your EX-girlfriend!”

Brewski Fest Eve
  • The night before the grandest of beer drinking days found Dupa, our boy “The Entertainer”, Shannon, Dr. Kelly, her friend “Fist of Fury” (FoF), and I drinking ourselves silly in Johnstown, where Dr. Kelly is a surgical resident. Johnstown surely wasn’t prepared for the party that Dupa, Entertainer, and I bring, and we quickly made an impression on Dr.’s boss, an attending doctor who was seated at the bar near us. After about 20 minutes of our typical unfiltered social commentary, the attending got up and walked clear around to the other side of the bar, trying to find a seat as far away from us as he could.
  • All of us were sufficiently hammered by the time the bar closed, and we retired to Dr. Kelly’s house. As soon as we arrived, the three girls all ran upstairs to put on t-shirts and sweats. Standing in the kitchen, we guys decided to make ourselves more comfortable as well. So when FoF, Shan, and Dr. came back downstairs, they found all three of us guys just as we had been before—minus our pants. Dupa cooked up frozen pizza rolls, I mixed myself a Gatorade & vodka, and Entertainer air-guitared to 80s music, all in our polo shirts and boxers.

Rocky’s Bachelor Party
  • My buddy Rocky will be kissing his freedom away blushing bride at the altar soon, and last weekend roughly 30 of us gathered at Wheeling Island for his last hurrah. Fairly early in the night, one of Rocky’s friends found himself up $500+ from the blackjack table. He decided, in true gambler spirit, to place a $500 chip on “red” at the roulette table. Our crowd of drunken Pennsylvanians watched with baited breath as the little white ball spun around and around, finally landing on…red. A roar went up like Wheeling’s never seen before. The brave soul collected his two $500 chips and went straight to the cage, and then to the bar to buy a round of tequila shots.
  • Rocky’s fiancĂ©e, beautiful and virtuous, has only one flaw: her utter distaste for anything stripper-related. Therefore, unlike Gaelic Gangsta’s stag party at Wheeling Island last year, there would be no shaming of the groom-to-be at the hand of Godfathers’ maniacal exotic dancers. I don’t think Rocky was even allowed to look in the club’s direction from across the casino’s parking lot. The rest of us, however, had no doubt that we’d be visiting at some point. The plan, therefore, was to get the bachelor as stupid-drunk as we could early in the night, so that we could put him to bed and then head over for a dance or two. But around 12:30, it became clear that Rocky—true to his namesake—wasn’t going down without a fight. No matter how many shots and cocktails we poured into him, he wouldn’t fall.
    Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Rocky’s cousin, a police officer, formulated a new plan: members of our party were to peel off inconspicuously two at a time and head for Godfathers. As we stood talking and laughing a short while later, and with Rocky up at the bar, “Po-Po” looked at Dupa and I and ordered, “Alright, you two—go.” We looked at each other, shrugged, and walked off through the casino towards the doors. About five minutes after we arrived at the club and got seats at the bar, two more people arrived from our group. And then two more. And then two more. Eventually about 16 to 18 of us were enjoying performances by West Virginia’s best. I’m not sure if Rocky ever figured out where half of his party had gone. Hell, I can’t be sure he even figured out that we had gone.
  • I recently became a part of the Twitter craze (right at the cutting edge of that trend, I know), and decided to do my best to give play-by-play to the bachelor party’s proceedings. The following is a portrait of 18 hours of madness:
    6:00 PM May 15th: “On my way to Rocky's bachelor party on the Island.”
    8:43 PM May 15th: “Dinner buffet: conquered.”
    9:52 PM May 15th: “Dog races and vodka gimlets.”
    11:18 PM May 15th: “Middle-aged white man on stage singing ‘My Prerogative’.”
    11:35 PM May 15th: “If you were up $500 on the night, would you throw it all on red on the roulette table? Our buddy did. Tequila shots all around.”
    12:43 AM May 16th: “Shots and gimlets flying. This is starting to feel like Savannah.”
    1:21 AM May 16th: “Strip club. No bachelor. Weird? Not for our crew.”
    7:52 AM May 16th: “5 hours of poker followed by getting locked out of a hotel room. Feels pretty standard by now.”
    11:18 AM May 16th: “At Perkins in Wheeling, and looking at our waitress...I think I see where Tiger was coming from.”
    12:23 PM May 16th: “Bachelor party was successful. Quote of the weekend: ‘You go home, tell her you love her, touch her where she pees, and it's all good.’”

That’s all for now. I need a bottle of Gatorade and some sunlight. But I promise to have more soon. Salud.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brews & Notes

The lull around here's been upsetting, I know. All I can say is...blame it on TJ. I don't know why. But I'll be damned if I'm going to take the fall.

I'm going to do my best to step things up again. In the meanwhile, I wanted to drop some knowledge of sorts on you. I heard there's this new thing called "social media" and thought a few crotchety old lushes like us might give it a whirl. So be sure to keep up with Crooked Straight on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter (@crkstr_Defi). Show us love, give us feedback, recommend drinks or bars, send naked pictures if you're female and under 50,...You know, whatever comes to mind.

Big things are coming to Crooked Straight this summer, so keep your eyes glued to these pages. Salud.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Know the Barchetypes

When it comes to drinking, I like to consider myself to be rather erudite (or as it would be put in my old neighborhood, "I know my shit"). I've drunk many a beer, wine, and spirit, in many a setting. But if there is one thing that has limited me in improving my knowledgebase, it's money. Or, to be more specific: a distinct desire to not be thrown out into the street with my few meager possessions. Tossing back drinks with abandon at watering holes requires a healthy amount of burnable funds. Strangely, though, it seems the more I hang out at bars and indulge in alcohol, the less money I seem to have. Weird.

I’d like to think, though, that with more financial backing, I could expand my range of bars beyond the confines of city, state, and national borders. I could add to my booze resume a breadth of knowledge only gained with time spent in foreign lands full of exotic women and untested waters. I could drink with matadors after running with the bulls in Pamplona. I could sip fine single malts poured fresh from one hundred year old casks in Scotland. I could…get paid to do all of these things and then write about them. (*looking at The Hero* No? Nothing? *sigh*)

One man, however, does have this exclusive life of which I dream. He calls himself, “The Imbiber”. And if his life didn’t already sound wet-dream-on-a-summer-night-good, then let me add this one last detail: his employer is none other the legendary Hugh Hefner.

Life just isn’t fair.

Perhaps one day I’ll realize my true calling, and find myself sipping a rum drink on a beach in Thailand on the company dime, while chatting up one of my company's dimes. But in the meanwhile, I’ll have to settle for living vicariously through The Imbiber. And that includes this read, an interesting study on the ten genres of pouring arenas that exist in this cruel, cruel little blue and green ball of ours. Grab yourself a drink and get your learn on.