Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Wonder If Heaven Got a Hangover

Mobile hangover assistance is nothing new. We've seen a food truck in NYC and a girl in Michigan who needs beer money offer their own services to those enduring bad morning-afters. But neither of these provide true medical solutions for hangovers. What's more, neither of these services are offered in Vegas; and, even if they were, it seems hardly feasible that they'd be able to handle a Vegas hangover. That's a different animal altogether. No, for it, you need something much stronger. Something...clinical. Enter Dr. Jason Bourke and the Hangover Heaven bus.

From CBS News:
"I did two bachelor parties, back-to-back," said Bryan Dalia of Caldwell, N.J., who was in town for a wedding, putting his hand to his forehead as he recalled his marathon afternoon of steins of beer and shots of alcohol the previous day at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas, then gambling, dining and drinking martinis at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort. He remembered "getting a little lost and finding myself on the floor of the Paris" hotel-casino, then "a few more martinis as I gambled my life away."

"How are you doing now?" medical technician Debra Lund asked.

"Better," he replied as he checked his intravenous fluid bag hanging from the bus' ceiling. "My palms aren't sweating anymore. I don't have that, like, cold sweat feeling anymore." "I'm starting to feel great," Dalia said. "This is really very cool."

Dalia was one of the first patients on hand to receive the free treatment for the rollout day of the mobile hangover center. Burke calls his fledgling business a medical practice on wheels, analogous to a physician with an RV offering X-rays, MRIs or mammograms or a blood bank bus in an office parking lot.
The idea of a return to Vegas later this year has been kicked around by my crew and I. I think I'll start setting aside money for my Hangover Heaven fund right now.

TJ with the assist.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grand Opening

I caught the T—Pittsburgh’s light rail system—from Mt. Washington to the North Shore with Jay Swag, Mitch Canada, and a train full of baseball fans at a little after 9 on the morning of the Pirates’ 2012 Home Opener. When a crazy old man pulling a cart loaded with baglady-like possessions sat down by us and started conversing with at Swag about any number of random topics, we all suddenly wished we were a little further along in the day’s drinking. I slid on my sunglasses and looked at the ceiling; in doing so, I snuck a peek at Canada, who had put his head down with his hands over his eyes in the world’s most prolonged and awkward game of peek-a-boo. Swag was left to entertain the ramblings of the vagrant alone. As we passed under the Allegheny River, the man jovially proclaimed that a leak would lead to all of our watery deaths.

In my head:Why in the hell did I leave my flask at home?

After leaving the T station on the North Shore, our first stop was at Tilted Kilt to use the ATM. We each decided to have a beer (Bud Light pounders, for the record), and to catch up with our favorite set of booze-hocking boobs, Mary. And Kilt’s employee dress code suited her particular skillset quite well (see right). While we talked, Swag suddenly focused off in the distance and asked, “Why does the girl with the fantastic rump not have to wear a uniform?” Mary explained that the rump belonged to the manager, and stopped it her as it she came walking past.

After being introduced to the three of us, the manager explained how much she loved Mary: “I told her; I want my boyfriend to impregnate her!”

We finally made it to Mudd’s tailgate party, and started hitting the hooch with workman-like precision. As per usual, we were surrounded by a formidable force of familiar faces: TD, Boy Toy, Dupa, TJ, Sloku, Beard, Stef, our boy Garrett, our girls “Cool Boobs” and “Bring It On” (BIO), Chad and his homie, and a sunny concrete sea of other drunken characters. As usual, Mudd had the party hooked up with everything we needed. Tub of iced-down cans of beer? Check. Grill cooking up burgers and hot dogs? Check. Cupcakes, pretzels, chips, pasta salad? Check, check, check, check. Gummy worms that had been soaked in vodka for a week? Yessir...

Unlike in past years, the party was actually a conglomeration of two or three total parties, stretching across two rows of Gold Lot 1, creating a solid territory of six or seven parking spots. The Piss Box was located on the other side of this expanse, between two trucks belonging to affiliates of Mudd that my crew doesn’t know. Mudd assured us, though, that it was there for use by everyone in his party. But when I led TD, Cool Boobs, and BIO over for a quick pit stop (I was going to block bystanders’ view from one side of the “alleyway” between the trucks), the owner of one of the trucks got agitated. “Piss Grinch” bitched about the girls opening the doors to his truck [they planned to use them as an added privacy measure—a practice we had seen others employ] and chased them off. When this was reported to Mudd, he escorted TD over and talked out the situation with Piss Grinch while she took care of business. The whole confrontation had made TD nervous, though; so much so, in fact, that when she felt as though she was taking too long to finish the job, she pulled up her pants abruptly. This resulted in a noticeable wet spot on the back of her jeans. Initially embarrassed, TD—who was already twisted like Janet’s “Poetic Justice” braids when I got to the party—was soon dancing around and telling everyone that she had pissed her pants. *sigh* She’s like the little sister I never had.

The animosity imparted by Piss Grinch had stuck with Cool Boobs and BIO, though, and near the end of our parking lot time the girls were eager to exact some kind of revenge. First, they thought of pouring the contents of the Piss Box onto Grinch’s Escalade. I vehemently advised against that—murder sentences have been lightened for less. As an alternative, the ladies resolved to sit the very full box o’urine on his hood. Again, a bad idea, and I disavowed myself from any involvement. When the two wannabe pranksters ran over to carry out the deed, however, they were shocked to find Grinch relaxed in the Escalade’s driver seat, asleep. They halted their operation and returned to base. “You know what would be great?” I offered. “If someone were to drag the box over to the driver’s side door, so that he’d step in it as he got out of the truck…” The ladies’ faces lit up like watchtower lights, and they ran back to carry out my idea. After they had scurried back, we all decided it was time to head inside. Dupa needed to urinate before doing so, though; a minute later he returned from the Piss Box. “Yeah, he’s definitely awake,” he reported. “I looked over while I was pissing and [Piss Grinch] was staring back at me. I nodded like, ‘What up?’”

We headed into Tilted Kilt. While Swag, Canada, and I ordered ourselves a round of beers from Mary, Dupa ordered a round of shots at the bar. Why walk through the gates of Hell, when you can sprint? As we talked after doing the shots, I quickly learned that not only had Dupa bought shots, but he’d bought a round of Captain & Cokes. Oh…my…gawd. We had polished off four or five cases of beer in the parking lot alone. I could only hope to land softly, wherever and whenever that may be.

A short while later, my Polish homie was standing in front of me with an unknown female friend.

Dupa: “This is [seemingly random girl’s name]. She lives in West Mifflin.”
Me: “Oh really? What part?”
Girl: *pause* “I live next door to your mother.”
Me: “Huh? How so? [‘L.’] lives next door to my mom.”
Girl: “I am ‘[L.]’…”
Me: *pause* “[L.]!”

Did I mention I’d been drinking? Not only have I known L. from being my mother’s neighbor for the past few years, but I’ve actually known her for the majority of my life. When we were kids, I hung out with her brother all of the time. Alcohol’s a hell of a drug.

Also making an appearance at Kilt was my homie B-Rush. B grew up in Pittsburgh, but moved to Vegas in 2004. Family matters had him back in his hometown for the week, and a free afternoon meant I could get him day drunk, as thanks for getting my boys and me hammered during Dupa’s dirty-thirty trip to Vegas. Within seconds of arriving, B had a Captain & Coke in his hand. The poor bastard never saw what hit him.

We moved to Dirty Harry’s, a dive bar in Station Square. Looking back on it now, I remember lots of us hanging out with (lots of) beer, games of darts, and laughter. But I don’t remember one intelligible conversation. In my head, the scene resembles a foreign film with no subtitles. Everyone in it knows what’s going on, but the audience watching at home is completely lost. And there really was no recovering from that point on. The end of the night found B, Swag, Canada, L., some others, and I at Rumshakers, capping the night with still more beer (and a minor case of heartburn for me, most likely from skipping dinner).

The next afternoon, as I nursed from a Gatorade bottle, I got a text from B. “I’m hungover. It’s all ur fault”.

Me: “Haha. It’s what we do.”
B: “Whatever n***a. I’m hungover as shit.”

More Hahn

I might have to start importing Hahn to Pittsburgh, just on the basis of their marketing work. Here are three more great ads from the Australian brewery.

Thanks to my boy Hollywood for the assist.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Social Drinking Excellence: Oskosh, Bygosh

Sometimes, when you're hammered, the booze just has a way of finding you. TJ chalks an assist on this one.

From The Northwestern:
An 80-year-old Oshkosh man was arrested for his second drunken driving offense Friday afternoon after he failed to stop for a stop sign and struck a beer delivery truck.

The man was traveling west on West 17th Avenue at 1 p.m. Friday when he did not stop for the stop sign and hit a beer delivery truck that was traveling south on Oregon Street. The man then backed up 100 feet and hit another parked car, said Joe Nichols, spokesman for the department.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Drinking is poetry.
  • Was this a failed "smash-and-grab" job?
  • ...Was this Saul? Retirement has not been good to him.
  • Do you think he panicked as he realized the car was racing towards a huge truck, or do you think he saw what kind of truck it was and pressed harder on the accelerator?
  • How tempted do you think Budweiser's PR people are to turn this into an ad? [SCENE: An elderly man approaches a dark intersection, and sees a Bud Light truck approaching from the right. The old man smiles and says, "Here we go!", presses the gas, and crashes into the truck in a terrifying explosion of smoke, metal, and beer. When the dust settles, the old man is doing the Dougie in the middle of the street between two girls in Bud Light bikinis, as a party breaks out all around him...]
  • I'm fairly certain one or more of my friends has said at some time that crashing into a beer truck would be their chosen way to go. I can't hate on it, though I'd add, "...while getting head from Sarah Palin." Just to sweeten the deal for yourself—and for the world you'd leave behind.
Sir, your Rummy Award is in the mail. It has a beer-seeking radar built in for your next kamikaze mission.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Green Dawn (Part 2)

[When we last left our sloshed boozehounds in green, Belle—the only female in the group—had led them on a trek down the steep Mt. Washington hillside to Station Square.]

Once there, we still had a fifteen minute walk to the South Side. On a normal St. Patty’s Day this would all have been trivial; when it’s less than 50 degrees and you’ve got nothing but Car Bombs and thermal shirt sleeves keeping you warm, a brisk walk is invigorating. But, with temps in the upper-70s you’re in danger of provoking beer sweats.  Our fearless leader soon fell back somewhat, after falling victim to another beer-induced malady: clumsiness. Twice, while trudging along in her flip-flops, Belle managed to kick obstacles in her path. Halfway to our destination—Rumshakers—she was suffering from two cut toes. “So,” I asked, “that means you’re bleeding from three gashes?”

Rumshakers was packed, as one might expect, but we were able to find a piece of real estate to call our own. Not long after getting there, though, we lost Chappy and Aff. They both disappeared without so much as a goodbye or a wave to the rest of us. I still don’t know where they went (experience tells me Chappy probably went home to pass out, and Aff probably went after a big girl…don’t ask me which fate is worse). Our numbers didn’t suffer, though, thanks to three of Swag and Canada’s buddies arriving, as well as four of Belle’s girlfriends. Green beer and shots were flowing. We were eight hours in—about halfway through the day. Like a well-trained vet, I pulled the 5 Hour ENERGY from my pocket, cracked it open, and tossed it back. Passing out is for pussies (you hear me, Chappy?).

As Tony sat on a bar stool talking with some of us, a cute, petite girl appeared out of nowhere; making a beeline for our Irish homie’s lips, she planted a kiss on him and then quickly disappeared again. Tony blushed and shrugged his shoulders as the rest of us tossed out “what the fuck?” in various forms and abbreviations. He pointed out that the kissing bandit was now out in the crowd talking to our buddy Jesse; shortly thereafter, Jesse came over to us chuckling.
    Jesse: “I don’t know who she is. She wanted my beads, and my girl’s with me, so…I told her to come over here and kiss you. You may want to wash your face—you’ve probably got herpes on it now.”
Our band of 13 souls—check that; 15 souls? 17 souls? We were adding and losing people, seemingly at random—soon convened at Kopy’s on 12th St. By now, thoughts had seemed to turn towards more amorous pursuits. I had eyed up one of Belle’s friends at Rumshakers, but now learned that she was married. Strike One. While at the bar to buy a round, I graciously ceded my place in line to a pretty blonde girl, telling her, “Go ahead. You’re hot, so I’m fine with waiting.” She giggled a thanks, but her boyfriend was none too pleased to see this exchange. Strike Two. I pocketed my third strike, content to enjoy my drunk and my friends.

About that time Swag expressed interest in another one of Belle’s friends (“Stacks”). She was, however, being wooed by another man, albeit one of slender dimensions and strategically-shaped hair. Think Chris Carrabba, minus the musical talent. Confident that in the end the hero would get the girl, Swag laughed off the chances that “Spiked in the Front” [Swag’s actual name for the guy all night] would be victorious. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Swag Montana.

It was time to make another move. The girls wanted to hit another bar in South Side; Canada and his boy wanted to go to Mario’s; Swag, Tony, Specs, and I wanted to head back to Mt. Washington. Everyone went in their desired direction, which left my foursome standing outside of the Holiday Inn Express trying to wave down passing cabs. Joining us in this futile exercise were another 50 random people on that block—as well as probably another 2500 or so more people across the South Side as a whole—trying to catch the attention of an open taxi. Of the people gathered by the hotel, one man in particular announced his presence, quite unexpectedly.

He was a young brother with a shaved head, wearing a Gary Payton Celtics jersey and his indomitable-Black-man indignation on his shoulders. “I’m TIRED of these mothafuckas,” he shouted. “Nah, nah…I’m tired of these mothafuckas, lookin’ me in MY face!” He paced back and forth within an imaginary eight foot box, and white folks everywhere diverted their gaze. “KnowwhatI’msayin’? Lookin’ all up in MY face, like…like…Man, fuck these mothafuckas!” I cracked a smile (admittedly not while looking in the brother’s direction, lest he think my amusement was at him and not the Caucasian folks in the vicinity who were suddenly going in other directions to find cabs). He was in the company of two other young brothers, but they seemed rather nonplussed by the whole scene. I just chalked it up to the booze.

After a few minutes of tense pacing, the bald-headed brother and his boys finally decided to walk elsewhere in search of a cab. Before he left, though, he walked over and dapped up…Specs. Giving him a hug, he said a few quick words and then was out. I nearly pissed myself laughing as Specs, who in appearance and demeanor resembles an extra on Newhart, strolled over towards me. When I asked him what the exchange was all about, he said, “Oh, that’s ----; that’s my boy. I know him from college.”

Swag found a Cadillac jitney—I don’t know where or how; but, really, what else should a gangster like Swag Montana be riding in? $20 later we were back on Mt. Washington. We walked into Havana and ordered beers…and fell in lust with the beautiful bartender. My Latin Fever was flaring up something fierce. I wanted to suavely ask her something in Spanish. Something like, “What time do you want me to wake you up tomorrow morning?” Or, “Will you marry me?” A couple of problems with that plan, though: (1.) I had been drinking for about 12 straight hours. I could barely put together a sensible thought, let alone smooth pimpin’. (2.) I don’t know very much Spanish, other than the basics like “Hi”, “Thank you”, “Suck my dick”, and “Where are all of the white women?”

We moved to Packs & Dogs and passed Belle and her group, who were leaving as we were walking into the store. We put away a quick hot dog dinner, then caught up with the others back at Havana. More beers, more Swag Montana denying the inevitable loss in the invisible duel with SITF for Stacks’ attentions. Things were certainly winding down. Tony was the first to break, taking Swag’s keys and walking back to the house to pass out. The other nine of us decided the best plan of action would be to get some six packs from Packs & Dogs and close the night at Swag’s. When we arrived, however, we discovered that Tony had not; he was lost in the Mt. Washington wilderness. When he found his way and showed up a few minutes later, he gruffly handed Swag the keys and waved off our questions about where he had gone astray.

The rest of the night played out rather tamely. Our boy JL showed up, ordered a pizza, and joined us in our cool-down beers. The girls held a brief karaoke session in the living room, while Swag, Tony, Specs, and I drank beers on the front porch (during which time Swag reluctantly admitted defeat at the hands of SITF). Belle’s girls (and SITF and his boy) all soon left for the night (and Stacks made sure to hug me goodbye…which is still confusing to me, since I didn’t know her—we might’ve spoken eight words to each other all day). Canada, who had been in bed, woke up and came downstairs for a while. Swag soothed his bruised ego by relishing in the fact that he was still awake and going strong, having far-exceeded the predictions. Belle performed a one-woman rock show/comedy act, first standing on a chair and then a coffee table while belting out hits and one-liners. And we closed the day's events by screaming insulting jokes at each other—Belle and Canada yelled from an upstairs window; JL, Swag, Specs, and I from the back porch. Our jokes about period blood and arrest records echoed throughout the neighborhood.

Tony dropped me off at my place around 1 a.m., and I strolled into my apartment building drunk, happy, and tired of all these mothafuckas looking me in my face.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Green Dawn (Part 1)

I won’t lie, I didn’t like my odds.

I awoke the morning of St. Patrick’s Day with a serious buzz. The night afternoon before I had met up with Jay Swag in the South Side to watch some of the NCAA tourney games, and over the course of the next several hours we threw back lots of liquids and zero solids (unless you count the occasional crunched-on ice cube). Now, at 6:30 a.m. on the biggest Saturday of the drinking season, I shut off a blaring alarm clock and then very nearly tumbled over my dresser and into my clothes hamper. Yayyy…

I managed to get some toast and about half the contents of a 64 oz bottle of Gatorade into me by the time Tony arrived to pick me up (my final preparations for the onslaught ahead included sliding an airplane bottle of Jameson into one of the front pockets on my jeans and a bottle of 5 Hour ENERGY into the other). I felt as though I had successfully neutralized the prior day’s intoxication, but I was weary of the hangover lurking in the shadows. As Tony and I strolled past men and women (young, hot, scantily-clad women, mind you) adorned in green regalia—much like ourselves—on our way to his truck, our planned stop at the Wendy’s drive-thru looked like a glimmering oasis ahead in the distance.

We walked into Swag and Mitch Canada’s Mt. Washington home around 8:45 a.m. (we were running late—as was Swag), carrying Wendy’s bags and cups, as well as our boozy hopes and dreams. Swag was restlessly pacing about the living room and dining room, still quite drunk from our adventures the previous day. While Tony sat down to eat his breakfast (I polished off mine in the truck within 10 minutes of leaving the drive-thru), I poured the Jameson into my medium Wendy’s cup of Coke to kick things off, announcing, “I’m going to make my Coke ‘Irish’.”

“I take offense to that,” quipped Tony, one of the few people in our crew who are actually of Irish descent.

We (Tony, Swag, Mitch, our buddy “Specs”, and me) waited another 20 minutes for Belle to finally arrive, during which time Canada and Swag did a shot of moonshine, and the four of us who aren’t Swag took bets on exactly what time the man who is Swag would pass out (I guessed 1 p.m., Canada and Specs said 4 p.m.). Once our homegirl joined us, our intrepid six began the trek to Shannon’s apartment, site of her annual party.

The journey, a 15 minute walk across the concrete wilds of Mt. Washington, felt somehow Tolkien-ish. Halfway up Swag & Canada’s street, a small dog with a bright green faux hawk ran out to yip at us. All of us (save for Swag, who was uneager to provoke the probation gods) sipped from cans of Miller Lite along the way. Belle’s “monthly visitor” was in town, which supplied a seemingly constant stream of jokes from all of us—including her (coolest chick ever?).
  • The day before, Swag had posted a picture on Belle’s Facebook page of a man with blood all over his face and the accompanying text, “A real man loves his woman every day of the month.”
  • Canada and I found ourselves recalling his housemate’s fate last year, when he fell down multiple times along Carson St. and came home looking like he’d gone 12 rounds with Tyson. “Hey Jay,” I called up to Swag as he walked near the front of our group, “You may not be loving Belle tonight, but you’re still going to end up with blood on your face!”
  • After another salvo of jokes by Swag, Belle let her irritability speak for her. But Swag was ready.
    Belle: “SHUT UP!”
    Swag: “STOP BLEEDING!”
  • We passed two random girls as we walked up Shannon’s street, one of them dressed St.-Patty’s-sluttily. Swag engaged them in a little small talk as we passed each other, to which they replied, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” Swag’s response? Pointing towards her, he said, “Belle’s on the rag!”
Walking into Shannon’s place on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day is like walking into your grandmother’s house on Christmas morning: warm, inviting, lots of food, and lots of festive people that feel like family. Not to mention, a shit-ton of booze. We exchanged greetings and brothers-in-arms terms of endearment with Entertainer, Shannon, Rackt, TJ, Chappy, and Affliction, as well as the various other guests in attendance. At its height, the party probably featured 30 to 40 people, including Dupa, Smashley, Prince of Ligonier, and Mrs. Prince. Thanks to the unseasonably pleasant weather—mid-70s and sunshine all day—Shannon was able to set up beer pong and cornhole in the parking spaces behind her building. Once again, though, she left Entertainer in charge of beer. And while Sam Adams Octoberfest is delicious, it doesn’t quite fit the motif on March 17th. But, while out-of-season, it was a far-superior option to the case of Pabst Blue Ribbon Light that our buddy proudly iced down in the driveway. He laughed with the self-satisfied bawdiness of a Disney villain as we cursed at him.

After a round of Car Bombs, conversations about vajazzling, two rounds of Jell-O shots, games of cornhole, Google’d pictures of vajazzling, and TJ making a drunken bet with Swag about whether Matt Forte would be wearing a Bears uniform in the 2013 season, the bulk of us decided it was time to find our way to Redbeard’s. Canada and Belle stuck to the bar; TJ, Affliction, Chappy, Swag, Rackt, Specs, and I grabbed a table in the back. Not long after, we were followed by Dupa, Prince, and their ladies. Just as quickly as we put in drink orders, though, we were down a man. TJ, who had been drinking straight from a bottle of Parrot Bay for most of the morning, was dead in the water. He held his face in his hands for several minutes, then stood up and made that familiar, defeated walk to the men’s room. He had made the suddenly common mistake of not eating anything before or during his drinking, and now his booze-soaked stomach was seeking justice. When I finished my chicken tenders and my beer, I found him outside; while Rackt kept a watchful eye on him and called someone to come pick them up, the homie sat on the sidewalk in a heap, with his knees drawn up, his back against the building, and his head resting on his folded arms.

With two down, we decided it was a good idea to get a move on, lest the sandman seize an opportunity to claim another victim. The couples (Dupa, Smashley, Prince, Mrs. Prince) stayed at Havana Lounge, a small Cuban-themed bar across the street from Redbeard’s, but the other eight soldiers headed towards the Incline. Unfortunately, though, there was a line stretching up the street from the doors, and someone ahead of us said it would be a 45 minute wait. The only XX-chromosomer among us grabbed the reigns; there would be no waiting, only action. Belle took charge of her seven man battalion and led us down a path and roadside that runs to Station Square at the foot of the imposing hillside.

[To be continued...]