Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welcome to the Grown-Ass Man Club

I turned 30 in March ‘09. And one of these days I may finally make peace with it. In the meanwhile, I’ve found some comfort in watching most of my friends endure the milestone. My standard text message/Facebook-wall-post on these occasions has been, “Welcome to the Grown-Ass Man Club. We meet on Saturdays. Bring scotch.”

This month saw the induction of two new club members: T.C. and Alex. T.C.’s birthday was on the 16th; his family, Hurley, and I did a little dinner in the South Side that night, complete with a cake shaped like a stein of beer. While the night was fun, it was relatively non-alcoholic (Hurley and I indulged in a couple of drinks each, just because we’re us). Everyone deserves to get ass-on-the-floor drunk in celebration of his or her 30th, though, and T.C. wisely formed a plan to do so.

He was assisted in this by the timing of Alex’s Dirty-Thirty party. Her birthday falls eight days after T.C.’s, and her friends would be holding a bash for her at Whim in Station Square the Saturday between the two days (5/19). T.C. decided he’d start that night with Alex’s soiree, and then move onto one of his own in Shadyside. Since The ‘Side is my turf, I was appointed second-in-command. O’Captain, my captain

With so much fun scheduled for Saturday, I planned to relax on Friday and conserve my energy. What I didn’t plan on, however, was Pakistanimal getting a “hall pass” from his wife that night. He called me shortly after I’d come home from the barbershop, with designs on getting a whole different kind of fade going.

Me: “I’m staying in tonight.”
Pak: “I’ll be at your place at 8:30.”


He brought a bottle of Kraken with him, and was barely inside my apartment door before he was mixing together two cups of Kraken-&-Coke. While I wasn’t thrilled about having my night hijacked, I couldn’t let that delicious spiced rum go to waste. And then, strangely, I found my agitation being slowly washed away with each sip. For my second round, I abandoned the Kraken and made myself an Elder & Wiser (bourbon, St-Germain, and apple juice). And I soon forgot that I had ever considered not partying that night.

We hit up William Penn Tavern, which had a healthy Friday night crowd buzzing inside. Pak ordered himself a Captain-&-Coke, and I told the bartender that I wanted a bourbon-&-Coke. He handed us a Captain-&-Coke and a…?

Pak: “Is that a bourbon-&-Coke?”
Bartender: “No—I thought you said a ‘bourbon-&-soda’!”
Me: *blank stare*

A bourbon-&-soda? The fuck? I was more than a little disturbed by the lack of hesitation he showed in taking what he thought he’d heard and making it a reality. I know Shadyside attracts a slightly more refined crowd than say, the South Side; but are people around here really ordering that concoction? And at such a rate that he doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when he “hears” it?

He offered to take the drink back and get me a bourbon-&-Coke, but once again I wasn’t interested in wasting liquor. Now that Daddy had gotten a taste, I wasn’t letting any of it get away. I drank the misbegotten mixture as Pak and I lost convincingly at darts to two random guys. When it was time for a re-up, I stepped back up to the bar and gave the same order Pak and I had placed earlier. And once again, the bartender came back with one Captain-&-Coke and one bourbon-&-soda.

I was starting to take this shit personally.

A cute girl sitting in front of us at the bar was Johnny-on-the-spot; she noticed the error before even I could. She took the drink from me, called over the bartender, and told him to fix my order. The take-charge attitude, the Lisa Loeb-vibe her eyeglasses gave, and her pretty face had me falling hard. Before I could start contemplating names for our future children, though, another curveball was thrown, this time by Hurley.

Hurley [via text]: “Come to [Diesel] and call my name. I got bottle service.”

Uh oh.

My nerd-hot love would have to wait for destiny’s next entanglement. Pak and I got to the South Side as fast as we could, and found…pretty much what we expected. Hurley was obliterated, as was his boy who co-signed the bottle service. They had a few random people in their VIP room that they’d pulled in from the passing throng; girls mostly—hot ones, when at all possible. Three bottles of Grey Goose stood on the table with cranberry juice, Coke [“Sure,” I thought. “NOW I have unlimited access to Coke…], and orange juice, daring me. I filled up a glass with Goose and cran, and then took a sip and realized I had grabbed the carafe of Coke by mistake in the dim room. Oh, the irony… The mix still went down smooth. “Yup,” I thought, “I’m definitely drunk.”

We drank and charmed ‘til closing time, doing our best to find hot girls to come share in the Grey Goose bounty laid out before us. And, as the lights in the club were coming up, the lights in my blotto mind were going down. Blacked-to-the-out. I awoke with the usual “What-the-fuck-was-just-happening?” startle on Saturday morning, snug in my bed sheets. I drifted back to sleep with the cloudy foreshadowing of a hangover, and the slightly-more-painful understanding that I had an even bigger night still ahead of me.

I arrived at Whim that night as the party began gathering steam. Alex’s friends had reserved a roped-off section of the club, adorned it with special napkins and balloons, and arranged a champagne toast. It was the typical elaborate, thoughtful, but-a-touch-too-ambitiously-austere party that girls tend to naively plan. It was sweet of them, and I’m sure Alex—being that she’s a girl—loved it. As a guy, well…trust me, no man wants a coronation ceremony after losing his twenties. For all the bad that went on during my relationship with The Ex, I’ll always be grateful for the job she did in planning the party for my 30th birthday. It was elaborate, sure, but it never carried that overwrought I’m-a-big-girl-now feel that women usually build into their big parties. In other words, it was fun.

Earlier in the day, Entertainer had made it known that he wanted to join T.C. and I in adjourning to Shadyside for the second half of the night. But now, as Alex’s party got into gear, it was ever-so-obvious that he was already too drunk to make the transition. T.C. and I were taking it easy, and drank only two beers apiece while biding our time until we could escape. Entertainer, on the other hand, was slamming shots and drinking full cups of vodka. Youngins… When T.C. and I kissed the girls goodbye and headed towards the parking lot, we had to leave our comrade to the care of his girlfriend, Shannon, all of us understanding that trying to do the Shadyside portion of the night would likely kill him.

T.C. and I found our way to Shady Grove, where we met up with Tony, Nate, two of Nate’s boys, and our buddy Trip. Beautiful Coors Light girls patrolled the premises, as did a multitude of attractive women who weren’t being paid to flirt with the bachelors among our ranks. T.C. and his wedding band, when not watching on in amusement, did their flirting with shot glasses at the bar. Eventually our friend “Lotus” made her way to the bar, adding a touch of feminine charm to our drunken male banter. Any charm I was adding, however, came straight from the Elder & Wisers I was putting away one after another.

Several drinks and shots had been thrown T.C.’s way by the time she got there, but that wasn’t good enough for Lotus. “You’re not drunk enough,” she protested to T.C. “I’m buying you a shot!” An hour or so later, she looked over at T.C. and said (with a noticeable slur), “He still doesn’t look like he’s drunk!” “Trust me,” I countered, having spotted the telltale signs—talking loudly, eyelids dropped slightly during regular conversation and squeezed completely shut when placing emphasis on a particular point, etc.—that T.C. was feeling it. “He’s crushed.”

We fit in another couple of rounds of shots—and a round of drinks—as 2 a.m. came calling, and then all headed out into the night. Tony, T.C., and I did the gentlemanly thing and walked Lotus home. About halfway there, though, her own drunken “tell” raised its head: stubbornness. Despite being an intoxicated, attractive woman walking along a dark city street, Lotus objected to being escorted. She stopped dead in her tracks and refused to walk any further if we continued to follow her. We negotiated for a minute, and finally she agreed to move on with just me chaperoning her, while Tony and T.C. headed straight back to my place. [Don’t bother asking what kind of sense this makes; I assure you, it makes none.] Once she was safely in her place, I headed home and caught up with the boys as they reached my block. Lotus sent me this the next morning: “Omg what did u guys do to me last night? Haha the path to my room looks like a tornado came thru!!”

T.C.’s night ended with less spinning winds, and more spinning rooms. He hugged my toilet for about 20 minutes, as Tony and I tried to talk over the awful retching sounds coming from behind the bathroom door. When he had finally emptied himself of all that he could force out, he stumbled out to the living room shirtless, and plopped down awkwardly on my loveseat, passing out in mere seconds.

No one said becoming a Grown-Ass Man was pretty.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Like a Boss

How Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra did burgers. You don't fuck with the Chairman of the Board.

From Sex, Cigars and Booze's Twitter feed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tipping Cows

Coming just a few weeks after my own story about drinking out in the countryside, this sounds...poetic.

Serious party foul: Six bovines crashing your bash and getting totally wasted on your beer. That's literally what happened in Boxford, Mass., last weekend when six cows emerged from the darkness, invaded a small backyard party and went, in the police's words, "right for the beer." The cows knocked over the drinks and lapped them up while startled guests called police. "They enjoyed it. There's no doubt about it," said Lt. James Riter.

I'm sure my fellow experienced drinkers recognized the table that was vandalized as being a beer pong (or, possibly flip cup) table. Given the few times I've ponged with farm animals within smelling distance, this story just warms my heart. The fact that no one from the party was found taking a joy ride on one of the cows, though, tells me that the group wasn't drunk enough.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Social Drinking Excellence: Jerald Reiter

As you read this blurb from KCRG in Cedar Rapids, keep one thing in mind: The GOP considers Iowa an important state in the process of finding a candidate to run for President.
A Cascade man was arrested outside of a Dubuque bar on Sunday night with a pet zebra and a macaw parrot in the front seat of his truck.

Officers charged Jerald Reiter, 55, with OWI. Police reports say officers stopped him in the parking lot of the Dog House Lounge as he drove away in his truck. According to police, field sobriety tests showed Reiter had a blood alcohol level of .14. The legal limit in Iowa is .08.

Reiter tells that he and his girlfriend, Vickey Teters, see the animals like their kids and often take them for rides. On Sunday night, they say they took the zebra and the macaw to the bar because it often lets people bring their animals inside.

Reiter says the owner told him they were serving food that night and he couldn’t bring a zebra inside the bar. Bar owners tell that no animals are ever allowed inside the establishment.
...Seriously. This state has electoral college votes. Seven of them.
  • Iowa being part of the "Bible Belt" and all, is this guy Noah?
  • ...Hard to imagine he'll be able to fit all those animals into a pickup truck, though.
  • How, exactly, does one come to own a zebra? What leads up to the day when you wake up and say to yourself, "You know what? I think I'll get myself a zebra today. Then maybe lunch."
  • ...And how does one come to have a girlfriend when he owns a zebra?
  • In fairness, though, I'm led to believe the zebra and parrot were joint purchases made by Reiter and Teters. But that means that someone crazy enough to buy a zebra, and then ride around with both it and a parrot in a truck, was able to find someone who shared his hopes and dreams of one day buying a zebra and riding around with both it and a parrot in a truck. That's true love, people.
  • Maybe this is all an elaborate drunk driving system he's got going here. The bird's the spotter, and calls out the turns in the road ahead like a GPS; the zebra's for riding away from the ditch that your truck will inevitably be in, because parrots don't understand that trucks can't just fly over ditches and other obstacles.
  • ...Or maybe he's just a drunk hick living in Iowa who decided owning a zebra and a parrot was smarter than procreating. *thinking*
  • ...Maybe I misjudged the IQ levels of Iowans?
  • Then again...maybe not.
Mr. Reiter, your Rummy Award is in the mail. We're also throwing in two small, plush Rummies, for your "kids".

TJ with the assist.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dees Cups

Summertime is almost here. Time to step up your cookout game. From the T.I.T.S. product page:
Price: $13.99
TITS Beer Pong Set

Sink your colored balls in these custom TITS beer pong cups! BP sets come with 10 standard 16 oz. plastic cups and two TITS ping pong balls. Choose from all the 'College Ain't Cheap' colorways!

NOTE: Once supplies get low, we cannot guarantee that the color of the ping pong balls will match the colorway given in the product's title. (Based on availability)
There are ten different styles available. Get your order in now, to be sure they get there by Memorial Day Weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Country Grammar

Close your eyes. Now, in terms of the planning details, describe what you would consider to be the perfect wedding.

If you’re a female, odds are good that you just painted a picture that involved a marble-and-gold-trimmed hall filled with thousands of guests, immaculate flower arrangements, elaborate silk gowns, one or more men on horseback, and doves—carrying wreathes of heather woven into hearts—flying in formation to spell out the names of you and your groom, followed by more that spell “Forever”.

If you’re a male, odds are you ignored the exercise altogether. You probably countered with, “Trick question!” Then you cracked open a beer and turned on a playoff game.

And, of course, the guys were right. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume there is such a thing as “the perfect wedding”. I propose that: (a.) the women were still miles off; and (b.) I attended just about the closest thing to it two Saturdays ago.

My boy Ton has always been an original. A 6’1”, 300-plus-pound Ohio farmboy with a heart of gold and the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s giggle, he’s the type of guy who’s more likely to laugh off a stranger’s taunt—and skate circles around him on Heelys in the process—than to crack heads just for the sake of cracking heads. It follows logic then that, when he finally managed to find himself a woman worthy of wearing his ring, their big day would be done a little differently than how tradition might dictate.

This started with the instructions that were included with the invitations. While the decorative pink cardstock and fuchsia calligraphy were straight out of a 14-year-old’s diary [Note: This isn’t a knock on his wife; it’s a knock on women, in general...], they included at least one specific guideline that I had never seen before in an invitation of its kind: “Dress comfortably”. The ceremony and reception, it turned out, would be held at Ton’s house in Ohio. And not just at his house, but in his barn. Guests were invited to either make reservations at a nearby Days Inn…or to camp out on his property.

Dupa and I decided not to be cowboys, and booked a hotel room. On the Monday before the wedding, we discussed the other logistics and details via texts, with jovial bemusement.

Me: “What are you wearing? Invite sounds like people won’t be wearing suits.”
Dupa: “Yeah not a suit, maybe flip flops, shorts and a beater?”
Me: “Well, it IS a wedding. Got to at least add a trucker hat. #OhioFormal”
Me: “Maybe a button down shirt and jeans?”
Dupa: “Jeans? Wtf it’ll be hot”
Me: “Hadn’t looked at a forecast.”
Dupa: “Lock it up!”
Me: “Shit, so we’re really wearing shorts to this wedding?”

We consulted TK, the best man. He said that, really, anything short of assless chaps was fair game; that being said, the groomsmen would still be wearing tuxes. This left quite a bit of leeway. As a result, when we arrived I was wearing a white dress shirt, black dress pants, and dress shoes. My traveling companion had on a dress shirt, dress pants, flip flops, and a rainbow-colored serape (it was Cinco de Mayo, after all).

Ton’s house sits on a road…and that concludes the list of things that makes it comparable to my way of life. The road itself is gravel, and cuts through fields and untamed wilderness in Southeastern Ohio. Looking in any direction from his house, you don’t see any other homes for (literal) miles. So far as I know, he doesn’t own any crops or livestock, but he certainly has the property to do so if he chose. As we parked, approximately 200 people milled about the barn and road, in every combination of attire between the “formal” and “casual” extremes on the dress scale. Almost all of the women wore a dress of some sort. The men, though… Some wore suits, some wore t-shirts; Ton’s brother-in-law wore a dress shirt, tie, cargo shorts, and sneakers. It was actually beautiful to see so much variety and freedom of individual expression.

Lined up outside the barn [which, for my fellow city slickers, looked more like a large garage than a classic “barn”] were coolers filled with cans of Bud, Bud Light, Yuengling, and Yuengling Light. Just inside the first of three garage doors along the face of the structure was a small bar where you could order wine and liquor. The bar was manned by a little old man in a black dress shirt with an orange and red western scene of horses racing freely across a desert plain. Pimpin’.

We were all instructed to find seats among the rows of picnic tables arranged inside the barn, and the ceremony began. As TK and the maid-of-honor two-stepped down the aisle, I heard someone crack open a can of beer somewhere in the room. I finished my first can of Bud Light as Ton and his wife exchanged vows; I considered opening my backup can that was sitting on the table, but I didn’t want to be that guy. Once the groom had kissed his bride as commanded by the minister, I discreetly cracked it open amongst the roar of applause and cheers.

Before dinner was served, we had to send some people to the beer store for a re-up; 21 cases had met their maker. It mattered little to me, though, as I had switched to gin & tonics, a much more suitable drink when wearing dress clothes outside on a warm spring day. And Crazy Horse, the bartender, was pouring a liberal mix into those 8 oz. Dixie cups. I tore through dinner (homemade barbecue!) while laughing with friends at a table on a patio, enjoying the camaraderie and trying not to stare at my boys’ girlfriends’ chests. Some of our group played “Bang, Marry, Kill” using the wedding guests at the table next to ours (Dupa: “I’d bang the younger chick, kill the older chick, and marry the guy.”). Our buddy Kyle made a run to the bar, and when he came back with a new G&T for me, it was in a 16 oz. cup. They had run out of the smaller cups. And yet, it seemed Crazy Horse had still used the same amount of tonic as he had been putting into the 8 oz. versions.

Viva Ohio!

It had only just dawned on most of us the prior night that TK’s role as best man meant he’d be making the traditional toast. This could only mean good things. And, sure enough, he didn’t disappoint. During the speech, he produced a cocktail shaker, shot glasses, cans of Red Bull, and two flasks from a bag; then he mixed together a batch of Vegas Bombs and distributed them to the wedding party. As they raised their glasses, and the rest of the wedding raised ours, TK closed his toast with, “Here’s to heat—not the kind that burns down buildings, but the kind that brings down panties.”

The dichotomy of crowd reactions was unavoidable; everyone 15-45 years old cracked up, and everyone 46 and older sucked their teeth in (unconvincing) disgust. TK gave less than a standard-measure “fuck”. He brought the leftover Vegas bombs out to us as the party resumed following the maid of honor’s speech. A short while later, TK appeared again, this time carrying a fifth of Patron and an air of determination. “We’re finishing this today.” It took all of 15 minutes for his goal to be realized. The bottle was soon dry, after being passed around a group of about five of us. Even Dupa, who had stayed away from tequila since spring break his senior year, took a swig. There’s a certain fearlessness that comes with drinking miles away from all civilization.

As you might have predicted, things started getting out of control from there on.
  • Not long thereafter, several rows of tables were removed from the barn to create a dance floor. As things started getting funky, our friend Shafe’s girlfriend convinced Crazy Horse to let her wear his shirt. She then bopped around the dance floor in the shirt comically, winning the heart of every guy around. At one point I leaned over to Kyle and said, “The only woman here that I want to bang right now is Shafe’s girlfriend.”
  • When I recounted that anecdote to Dupa during the drive home the next afternoon, he replied, “Buddy, you weren’t alone in that sentiment.”
  • As for the Polish madman, he quickly got wild on the dance floor in typical fashion. That led to the mother of the groom pulling him to the side and politely asking him to pull his pants back up, saying bluntly, “There are kids around.”
  • We discovered the photo booth. Kyle and I took a series of random, mildly-homoerotic shots; Dupa and two of our other friends did the same. Our boy and his girl snapped a series of shots, after which they sheepishly showed us their clips, saying, “We didn’t know these were going into the wedding book!” In the last of the string of four pics, our friend was clearly groping his girl’s titty from behind, while giving the camera an equally-raunchy smile.
  • As good as that was, though, they were outdone by a random couple at the party, whose photo booth pictures were circulated the next day. The first two pics were normal silliness, but in the third the guy lifted up his gal, who supplied the camera with a full-on, panties-full-off beaver shot.
  • I awoke early the next morning to a pizza box snuggled close in my hotel bed. Dupa had ordered a pie after we’d (miraculously) gotten back to the hotel, but I was passed out before it arrived. He therefore ate half and tucked the other half in next to me. I tossed it on the ground, stumbled to the bathroom, and then went back to bed.
  • A few hours later I awoke, asked Dupa where the pizza on the floor had come from, and then munched on a slice while we gathered our stuff up and checked out.

Those country boys know how to do a wedding.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Social Drinking Excellence: Patrick Kane


Kane is no stranger to the hooch, nor to the publicity that comes with being a star player for the Chicago Blackhawks. And yet, he doesn't seem very adept at handling either.

From Deadspin:
On Monday we showed you photos of a soused Patrick Kane in Madison, Wis., and then we asked you if you knew more about what happened while Kane was there. We had heard some bad stories—that Kane supposedly choked a woman, that Kane supposedly said anti-Semitic things—and we wanted to know if other people had, too.

But what, after all, is boozy truth? The chronologies in our Kane tale do not perfectly cohere, nor do the narratives of the events. But you ignore them at your own peril. Did Kane choke a girl? Is he an anti-Semite?
The list of reports from Madison residents is lengthy, and at times funny—though the comedy typically comes from the often wildly naive comments college kids tend to make [For example: "He got the boot from Kappa Sig for choking this girl and then ppl jumped on him and his boys and kicked his ass out. Not that choking is ok, but if i was 23 and had that contract...."], and not for things Kane himself said or did. Let's summarize:

  1. The one and only point of credit I'll give Kane: His "Two '5's = a '10'", Cinco de Mayo shirt. The punchline is spelled out a bit clumsily, but the joke is inspired and fearless.
  2. In fairness to Kane, he's only 23. That suggests that we pardon him for not exactly knowing how to handle the weight of fame with care and/or grace. But, at 23, if you don't know how to handle yourself better as a drinker, then you're doing something wrong.
  3. I mean...does Kane drink at ALL during the season? By all accounts, he seems to black out and pass out at the drop of a hat. If he's so relentless about his fitness that he deprives himself of all alcohol during the NHL season, then I'll let this slide. But, honestly, if you believe he does, then you probably also believe Bristol Palin is a valuable contributor to sociopolitical debate.
  4. Speaking of which, is it fair to call Kane "the Bristol Palin of hockey"? Maybe not, since his team has actually won something in recent years. Maybe "the Roger Clinton of hockey"? Actually...
  5. ...the most appropriate comparison might be "the Ben Roethlisberger of hockey". From another eyewitness: "He was really enjoying himself there and thought he would get a little friendly with a young lady. Kaner thought it would be a good idea to choke a girl, like both hands around the throat choking. She immediately freaked out and started screaming, which drew a lot of attention." Choking? Really?
  6. Is Patrick Kane...gonna have to choke a bitch?
  7. Okay, so you're joking homie. I get that. What I don't get is why, even when drunk, you think this is a quality joke. Kane obviously didn't do it lightly or in a manner that made the girl realize he wasn't serious. She knew he was a famous, millionaire athlete; she wasn't exactly eager to run him off.
  8. The overwhelming majority of these tales depict douchey behavior on Kane's part, from dissing fans to starting fights. If it walks like a D-bag and talks like a D-bag...
  9. You almost want to give Kane leeway for being down-to-Earth enough to hang out on campus all weekend...but he detonates even that goodwill by being a millionaire so buffoonish that college frat boys can't stand him.

Patrick, your Rummy's on the way. We've built a special rubber grip into the neck so you can work out your choking urges.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wifey Material: Charm Killings

From Two In The Shirt's latest design photoshoot, "Goose".

Yes, please.

"That dog'll hunt..."

Pennsylvania is a little archaic when it comes to its laws on alcohol. And while it has made some strides towards modernization in recent years, those attempts haven't always been awe-inspiring. But for once, it appears they may have just struck upon an idea that emphasizes functionality and efficiency.

From KDKA:
And that’s not all a new iPhone app developed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board can do.

The Fine Wine and Good Spirits App is free and allows you to find the stores nearest to you. It also lists the alcohol that’s on sale and maps out which stores have those items in stock.

If you go to a restaurant and order a wine that you like, you can use the app to scan the bar code on the bottle and find out if it’s available in Pennsylvania and how much it costs. Then you can use the app to find the stores closest to you that carry it.

I'm shocked to say that I'm actually impressed by something the PA Liquor Control Board has done. If you've never lived here, the best way I can describe the feeling: Imagine saying back in 2006, "George W. Bush and his administration has really made a smart, socially-conscious move." I can't wait for the Android version to be released. No more scavenger hunts around the city in search of my beloved St. Germain; now I can have it shipped right to my door, along with all the other re-ups of my hooch supply. Hell, if I were to get a well-paying job that would let me work from home, I'd never have to leave.

...It's been nice knowing y'all.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Viva Las Vegas: The Hungover


I vaguely remember this being my first thought that morning, as I opened my eyes to a dim room. It was about 11 a.m., and sunlight was fighting its way past the edges of drawn blinds. Looking around the room, I felt a bit surprised that all three of us had made it back safely the night before. After Dupa’s Wednesday night/Thursday morning adventure, I had just kind of expected at least one person to be missing when I woke up each day. Maybe even me.

Waking up was difficult, in much the same way that lifting a skyscraper with your pinkie finger is “difficult”. And I say this despite being the first one to get out of bed. Feeling the need to aid the common good, I threw on some shorts and a shirt and shuffled my way to the ABC Store in the mall. I grabbed another gallon of water and another four-pack of Red Bull; I’m not sure if the words I spoke to the cashier were English. …Or words, for that matter. I came back to the room hoping to find T.C. and Dupa exhibiting some level of consciousness. No such luck. I threw the water and Red Bull into our fridge, and went back to bed. If you can’t beat ‘em…

By 2 p.m., there were signs of life. And by 3 we were all back out in the fresh—well, freshish—Sin City air, as we strolled the Strip. More than just my hangover, I was fighting malnourishment; I hadn’t had anything to eat besides water, beer, and Cable Car-tini since dinner at Ellis Island 17 hours earlier. With every step amid the buzzing crowds of Vegas, I felt…fuzzier. While Dupa was buying beers for himself at sidewalk stands, I was teetering and sweating in 67 degree weather like a dusthead, thanks to low blood sugar.

Some fries from a vendor outside of Carnaval Court helped bring me back from the brink, and a burger at Strip Burger steadied my legs beneath me. But I could only eat about half my burger, delicious though it was, and I was only slightly more adept at finishing my “Strip & Go Naked (Grey Goose Citron, lemonade, and pilsner). I felt like I was letting down Nancy, our cute waitress; there was a hint of disappointment in those beautiful eyes each time she stopped by our table and saw my plate and glass. [Nancy, if you’re reading this: I love you, and I never want to hurt you like that again. Come to Pittsburgh, and I swear I’ll be soused with hamburger crumbs all over me every night, just for you, baby.]

As I struggled to put food (and more alcohol) into my body, it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one moving slowly. True, Dupa and T.C. weren’t nearly as roughed up as I was, but two days of Vegas had clearly put a hitch in their get-along. Since Strip Burger sits across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Wynn and Encore casinos, we decided to tour the sparkling Babylon-that-Steve-Wynn-built; it was only about ten minutes into doing so that I noticed none of us—not a single-fucking-one of us—had so much as a light beer in his hand. We were dry-humping the Encore. The shame was too much; I couldn’t even look at our reflections in the mirrored ceiling.

After a brief stop at the Ferrari wing (where a lovely c**t of a hostess reprimanded me for attempting to take a picture of the showroom—to which I replied, “They’re cars; the camera’s not going to steal their souls.”), we began the return trek up the Strip. We stopped at Carnaval Court, which by now was in full swing: a band played onstage, cougars and young cougars-in-training bopped around, guys standing at the outdoor blackjack tables drooled over the beautiful dealers in their slore-casual attire (tight jeans, cropped t-shirts, etc), and—for no earthly reason—a bartender stood on top of the bar while blowing the loudest coach’s whistle I’d ever heard. T.C. ordered us a bucket of beers as we talked to two middle-aged guys from Pittsburgh who just happened to be standing next to us. There was a problem, though: My hangover wasn’t going away. I nursed my beer, hoping each sip was going to ease me back into my Danny Ocean state. Negative. Instead I was dull and irritable. And I was anxious to go over to the bartender with the whistle, yank him down by his children’s medium tee, and pummel his face with an ashtray.

…Did I mention I was irritable?

Dupa and T.C. polished off the fourth and fifth beers from our bucket (I forced myself to choke down my one beer) as we returned to the Strip. We stopped to snap pictures of T.C. posing with a street performer dressed as Catwoman [she was wearing the costume almost as well as Halle did] in front of the Flamingo, strolled through the Bellagio (this time with a bit more coherence at our disposal), and then concluded our family-friendly tourism with the fountain show, before heading back to our PH basecamp.

By this point, the reason for our sluggishness had been diagnosed: digestive unrest. Two and a half days of plentiful booze and heavy food—two and a half days of Vegas, more or less—needed to be flushed (no pun intended) from each of our systems. After that, a shower (one that I was actually aware of this time!), and some Red Bull mixed with Belvey, I was back up on my game. T.C. and Dupa were still a bit subdued, but we collected ourselves and headed to the curbside pick-up outside of the main lobby, where we would be meeting up with B Rush.

It had been nearly a year since I had last seen B, who’s been busy in Vegas trying to do his thing in the rap game. We caught up on some of the recent doings on our respective sides of the country, his speakers rumbling with one of his latest recordings as we cruised down the Strip. We stopped at Slots’A’Fun to experience a Sin City novelty that B had been telling me about since we had first gotten to town: A 48 oz. plastic cup shaped like a football. A bartender filled one with Tecate, threw in a straw, and handed it to me as I smiled gleefully like a small child being handed a triple-scoop ice cream cone.

B made a similar purchase, and then we climbed back into his car. The plan was simple: We would be touring Fremont Street that night, where casinos have $2 specials on bottles of Corona and Heineken. In other words, $8 refills of Corona and Heineken.


Dupa and T.C., still in the grips of the slowdown that had been ruining my fun earlier that day, decided to skip the footballs. As we waded through Fremont’s frenetic atmosphere of celebrity lookalikes (Snoop and Tupac!), flashing neon signs, people racing by on zip lines overhead, thick crowds, and a Kiss cover band that tested decibel safety levels from an outdoor stage, they somehow remained dry. I, on the other hand, was clutching my football tighter than Darnell Jefferson. We stopped for some slices of pizza, which did both of them a world of good; afterwards they quickly found a cocktail stand and bought themselves sustenance.

While they were doing that, B and I stood off in the thoroughfare talking. Out of nowhere, a small, older white woman appeared in front of us. Without warning, and to our bewilderment, she began barking at the heavy Jesus piece dangling from B’s neck. “Arf! Arf! Arf!” I don’t know what she’d been drinking, but I can assure you I was jealous that I hadn’t had some, too.

Whatever was coursing through her veins, it most certainly affected her eyesight. When B asked her why she was barking at his Jesus piece, the woman said she thought it was an image of a dog. Then, as if to atone for barking at the prophet, she broke out in prayer while bowing her head in reverence to the golden idol. She then walked off into the crowd and vanished just as quickly as she had appeared. Dupa and T.C. returned from the drink stand to find B and me laughing hysterically, wiping tears.

We headed into the Fremont Casino to use the restrooms and replenish the footballs. Maybe, in another town, a man methodically pouring four bottles of Corona into a cheap, plastic, football-shaped cup while standing at a crowded bar would look…oh, I don’t know…peculiar. Perhaps, one might say, a bit abnormal. Not in Vegas, though. No one so much as blinked. God I love that town.

[To be continued...]

Puttin' on the Spritz

Science is an amazing thing. It can make tequila taste like coconut, dorm rooms turn into discos, and cups fill with beer from the bottom. And now, it can get you drunk with just a quick spray on your tongue.

From Yahoo! News:
A French American scientist has invented a new alcohol spray that instantly intoxicates the user. However, the effects are nearly as brief, wearing off in a matter of moments.

The spray, WA|HH Quantum Sensations, was created by David Edwards and was unveiled during a recent Paris exhibition.

The short-term effects are reportedly due to the 0.075 milliliter dosage. In other words, it would take 1,000 sprays to equal the level of alcohol contained in one conventional drink.

The spray bottle itself was created by French product designer Philippe Starck and will be sold for about $26.

Reportedly, not only does the sensation of being drunk wear off almost immediately but the user would also supposedly be able to pass a breathalyzer test, verifying that they are no longer under the influence of alcohol.
As interesting as this is as far as science goes...I'm struggling to find a practical use for this product. Why bother spending $26 on a bottle of something that doesn't get you drunk for longer than two seconds at a time? People drink alcohol to experience a whole night (or day...) of relaxed mind, soul, and body. What good does it do to only feel that in less time than it takes to send a drunk text?

TJ with the assist.