Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rise and Shine

I’m not what you might call a “morning person”. In fact I’m the complete opposite of that. Going to bed before 1 a.m. and getting out of it before 10 a.m. feel equally unnatural to me. If I owned a bar, this wouldn’t be a problem—me being broke from drinking my entire inventory would be a more likely hurdle, were that the case. But as a member of the 9-to-5 sector of society, these tendencies of mine are a bit of an interference, and have resulted in me sliding into my own personal 9:45-to-5:45 sector.

That’s not to suggest that I sleep until 9 a.m., either. I’m typically awake—using that term loosely—by 7:30, as I was today. But then I meander through a morning routine of breakfast, Facebook, Twitter, showering, drinking a glass of juice, Facebook, Twitter, shaving, and dressing that fill up the ensuing two hours. Sometimes, like today, I skip the shaving portion; but, instead of this allowing me to arrive at my office at a more reasonable time, this “found” time is applied towards other unproductive pursuits. Today those pursuits included a discussion with Dupa, who posted an article on my Facebook wall about a new bourbon brand being distilled in Houston. This, of course, made me question if they were permitted to call their product “bourbon”, since it is being made outside of Kentucky. This conversation, along with other various activities, resulted in me walking into work at 10 a.m. today.

Clearly, I have my priorities in order.

My office sits directly across the hall from that of my Program Manager; he lives in Maryland, though, and therefore is rarely around to see me saunter in at an advanced hour. This week, however, he’s in town. And as I sat down at my desk and logged into my computer, I found him walking towards my door.

Uh oh.

He poked his head in my door, and I smiled while mentally preparing myself for a scolding.

“Hey, I just wanted to tell you: You can still call it ‘bourbon’ when it’s made outside of Kentucky. There’s a Virginia bourbon that I’ve tried…”

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wifey Material: Christina Hendricks

Any friend of Johnnie Walker Blue is a friend of mine.




I think I'll cut this post short, to prevent typing something that will get me in trouble with our Standards and Practices Department.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The boys of Fog & Smog like to keep it simple, even if the guy behind the bar doesn't.

A Happy Hour Field Guide

As certified wifey material, Jenny's boozing ain't never been on trial. So you'd be wise to listen to the wisdom she hands out in her recent piece for GQ, "The Faces of Happy Hour". She expertly identifies the various components of any bar scene at happy hour, including the creepers, the boyfriend-hungry girls doing it all wrong, people living with the wrong choices they've made in life, and that classic trap many a guy falls into between the hours of 5 and 7 pm:
Cougar Den
Watch out for this pack of horny divorcees, because they are on the prowl. They can be found wearing rhinestone belts and carrying rhinestone purses, and have rhinestones bedazzled on their jeans. Their French manicures are always wrapped firmly around a Bud Light Lime and a Virginia Slim. Their freckled cleavage is often showcased in a black, bedazzled body suit, topped off with an oversized, sterling silver necklace from Brighton jewelry. They spend their few sober minutes discussing their kids and ex-husbands, and then the booze kicks in. Once the first line of an AC/DC song begins to play, the dancing begins. They will ease off of their bar stools and whip their hair around. Creepy Middle-Aged Guy in a Blazer is aroused, but hides his erection under the safety of his houndstooth sport coat. Inevitably they rub their hands through their crunchy hair, channeling their inner Tawny Kitaen. It's a classic ritual of the happy-hour cougars.
Good luck out there, ladies and gentlemen. You can find me among the exclusive, final group that she mentions. Salud.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wifey Material: Hope Solo

A true wifey never lets her duties interfere with her partying.

From Today at MSNBC:
American soccer goalkeeper and Olympian Hope Solo said she was "drunk" during a TODAY interview the morning after her team won the gold medal in 2008.

She said she and her teammates from the Summer Beijing Olympics partied after the winning game.

"When we were done partying, we got out of our nice dresses, got back into our stadium coats and, at 7 a.m. with no sleep, went on the TODAY show drunk," the goalie told ESPN the Magazine.
You can watch the interview below. She stumbles a little at first, but then soldiers up and keeps her shit together. Gangsta.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dark Country

The muffled bars of Childish Gambino’s “Lights Turned On” broke me from the blackness of unfiltered sleep, and into the bright, balmy late-morning air that filled my bedroom last Saturday.

2:30 and we still makin’ progress,
Talkin’ on Twitter to see where to go next…

My phone vibrated near my outstretched right hand. I picked it up and forced my eyes to focus on the screen. I didn’t recognize the number, so I hit ignore. I glanced over at the clock. 11:02 a.m. My phone buzzed with a new message; it was a text from the same number that had just called. “Hey are you down here for the tailgate?”

“Wait…” I said, picking my head up off the pillow. “I’m supposed to be at a country music tailgate right now…”

A little over a week before that, my friend Bill was once again attempting to persuade me to come to the tailgate party he and his boys throw each year for the Kenny Chesney concert. The show is a huge event in Pittsburgh every summer, and it brings in country music fans from as far away as western New York and Michigan. Bill, Steph, and others had petitioned me for years to come to the party. I flatly refused each and every time, usually countering by naming another activity I’d rather do than sit through a country music concert. Like…solder my tongue to a bus.

As we sat in Bossa Nova at a friend’s birthday party [Note: Their caipirinhas are still magical.] that Friday night, Bill finally won me over with a simple clarification. When I reminded him that I love nothing less than country music, he laughed it off. “I hate it too! I don’t actually go into the concert; I just go to McFadden’s once everyone else goes to the show.” Now he had my ear. And so, when he then reminded me—for the 5,309th time—that the tailgate is always packed with scantily-clad tail, I finally saw the wisdom in exploring this local tradition. You know, for the blog. Yup. *sips drink*

As the week had went on, Dupa and Jay Swag were convinced to join me. Armo decided to have a pool party that same Saturday, and the forecast of temps in the mid-90s indicated that making our way to his place to end the day would be in our best interest. I made preliminary plans to meet up with Dupa and Swag on Mt. Washington around 11 a.m…

…Well, that part was going to have to be amended. I climbed out of bed, exchanging texts with each of them as I looked for my phone charger. My Droid's battery was at less than 20%; which, for a smartphone, means it was running on fumes. When my charger wasn’t in its usual place, I remembered having put it in the gym bag I’d taken with me the night before—I had gone to Dupa’s to pregame by his pool before catching “Ted” on its opening night [absolutely hilarious film, by the way]. And my bag, more than likely, was still in the trunk of my car. I grabbed my keys and stumbled out to my garage, hitting the trunk button along the way. When I didn’t hear the normal sound of the trunk unlocking, I looked up: My garage was empty. What…the…fuuuuuuccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkk?…

11:21 a.m. text to Swag and Dupa: “Ok, got a whole new problem. My car is missing.”

Part of me felt I should call the police. Another, much more logical part of me felt that my propensity for drunken foolishness may be a more likely culprit than a thief. I threw on a shirt and some sneakers, grabbed a bottle of Gatorade, and trudged up the sidewalk. I could only guess that maybe I had, for whatever reason, parked on the street instead the night before. Then, about halfway up my block, a memory jolted awake inside of me: On my way home from Dupa’s place, I had met up with Pakistanimal at Shady Grove. And I had parked near the bar. It seemed probable, then, that I had never moved my car from that spot. The fact that I had no clue if I had, indeed, left my car at the bar—and barely remembered being at the bar at all—made me all the more thankful that this scenario was the most likely one. I found my Bavarian chariot exactly where I had parked it the night before, now with a fresh parking ticket tucked under one of the wipers.

By 1:10 p.m. I was at the Wendy’s drive-thru, picking up some spicy chicken fortitude and receiving confirmation from Dupa that my sunglasses weren’t at his place, which meant I had, indeed, lost them the night before. The very same sunglasses that I’d bought less than two weeks before, to replace the pair I’d ruined at the Furry Safari. Which were purchased in March to replace a pair Dupa stole from me the day after the Super Bowl…

There’s a reason I buy my shades at Target.

I met up with Dupa at his place, parked my car in his apartment building’s garage for safekeeping (I wasn’t going to risk losing it again), and rode with him to Swag’s house. Once Swag had made some quick modifications to his facial hair (see right) and we’d done a shot of Dr. McGillicuddy’s Mentholmint, the three of us set off for the nearby T station. Dupa had brought half a case of Miller Lite with him, but by the time we were boarding the train there were only three cans left. And since Swag is continuing to obey the open container laws while on probation, that damage was done entirely by Dupa and me.

Once we reached the North Shore’s parking lots, where container laws don’t apply, Swag joined us in killing the remaining beers. We waded through thick 95 degree air and thicker swarms of people, many in cowboy hats and little other clothing. The attire for this tailgate has always been described to me as “slutty casual”, and those reports came in years where Pittsburgh wasn’t suffering through a record heat wave. With the sun burning away any fucks that people might otherwise have given, nary a Chesney fan in this land—male or female—hid behind stitched modesty. While surveying this landscape, we walked right into Bill’s party, completely by accident. Even the drunken squirrel finds a nut. They had cornered a large section of Gold Lot 2; here we found music pumping (mostly hip-hop, I believe), kegs tapped, a buffet of food set up, and red plastic cups a-tippin’.

We stopped only briefly, as we each needed to hit an ATM, and had other people we wanted to catch up with first. We walked along the river, taking in the sight of hundreds of boats docked with people partying and dancing everywhere, many of those people being young, tanned women in bikinis. I mentioned I was doing all of this strictly for the blog, right?

Swag broke off to catch up with Belle and her posse, while Dupa and I found Shannon and her girls crowded under a 5’-by-5’ blue canvas tent, tucked in amongst a hundred others like it, a broad ocean of asphalt, sweat, and beer away from Gold Lot 2. They fed us cans of Labatt Blue while we hung out, and we appreciated the cold sustenance and familiar faces.

Occasionally I looked around to find an inquisitive eye staring at me from a pickup truck or tent in the wilds beyond Shannon’s plot of land. Let’s face it, a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate isn’t the well-trodden domain of my people; when I did happen upon a fellow person “of color”, we gave each other knowing nods, as if to say, “The world done changed, homie.” Yet, what struck me more than how many people stared at me, was how many people didn’t stare at me. The overwhelming majority of revelers seemed indifferent to the fact that a 6’6” half-Black man was walking amongst them at a country music concert. The world done changed, homie.

Dupa and I journeyed off to Bill’s party once more. Upon arriving we found Swag, Belle, and the other gals, including Stacks and “AIDS”. [Note: This nickname is real, though it is hardly based in reality. The story, in a nutshell: Upon meeting this cute blonde friend of Belle’s for the first time some years ago, Swag thought it would be charming and/or clever to tell her that she looked like she had AIDS. Needless to say, it didn’t win her heart.] While her girls wore shorts and little t-shirts, AIDS went all-in with a little pink cowgirl hat, a tiny blue bikini, and cowgirl boots. “I told you,” she reminded us, “I don’t really like wearing clothes.”

By around 6 p.m. Dupa, Swag, and I were ready to switch things up, since everyone else (save for Bill and a few of his boys) was heading into the concert. The three of us flagged down a cab, and headed for Diamond Market Bar & Grill in Market Square. I know I ate while we were there, but all I really remember consuming was Moscow Mules. Swag disappeared mid-meal, and was gone a long while. Just when we had begun formulating plans for moving on without him (and eventually exacting revenge upon him for ditching us), he reappeared with a look of pure glee on his face. He had gone outside to smoke a cigarette; while out there, he ran into the ex-WWF wrestler Virgil. Twenty minutes of conversation and an autograph later, Swag was like a kid that had just met Mickey Mouse. He was so giddy, in fact, that he volunteered to pay the bill. All plans for revenge were scrapped.

We caught another cab; Swag, being averse to all things swimming pool, had us drop him off at his second home, Rumshakers. Dupa and I continued to his car on Mt. Washington, and then found our way to Armo’s. My Polish homie was soon snoring from an inflatable raft as the breeze gently pushed it to every corner of the pool. I occupied the rest of my night swimming, eating burgers from the grill, and kicking it with TJ and other party guests. I awoke the next morning to Armo poking my arm, for no other reason than his sheer desire to not be the only one awake. For a solid five minutes I puzzled my mind around how I had even gotten there. A short time later, as Armo drank a Bloody Mary to kick off his Sunday Funday and Dupa moaned like an orgasm-faking porn star from the kitchen for no reason whatsoever, a thought popped into my mind.

“Wait...I was at a country music tailgate yesterday…”