Thursday, August 23, 2012

Work It Out

Who wants to be my spotter?

Also: This would certainly give a new slant to the phrase "hit the showers".

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Big Swag Steps Off Laughin'

I wrote in May that 30th birthdays are kind of a big deal. They represent the end of a process that begins with the first loosened baby tooth and then carries through puberty and on past using a proper name when ordering a cocktail. On your 30th, the last remnants of youth are shed. Sure, some try to accelerate the aging process by jumping into marriages and parenthood in their 20s—the less-homophobic cousin to “pray away the gay” camps. But, in those rare moments when these misguided souls find themselves free of the shackles by which they have willingly come to be bound, they still fall back on the their birth certificates as evidence that they can party all night and laugh it off in the morning. And it’s accepted currency—until they turn 30. Then they’re as tattered and worn as the rest of us, if not worse.

Dupa has done it. T.C. Aff. Mitch Canada. I did it before all of them, though not before TJ, Tony, and Pak. But two weeks ago it was finally Jay Swag’s turn to join the Grown-Ass Man Club.

For a guy who treats his ordinary birthdays like full-blown, must-see events, turning 30 presented Swag with a new mountaintop of shenanigans to ascend towards. His birthday was Thursday, August 8th; being that his good friend Tennessee (or “The Nashville Knuckler”, as I kept calling him that week) was coming into town that morning, Swag called off work for both Thursday and Friday, with every intention of staging a (minimum) three-day boozathon. He even suggested holding Beer Olympics on the first day, but relented when he realized he didn’t have most of the supplies such a sporting spectacle would require. He fell back on a tried and true game plan: I’m drinking, Tennessee’s drinking; come on over if you want to drink, too.

What he hadn’t factored in, though, was that Wednesday nights he and others play in a kickball league (…I know). After every game they then retire to their clubhouse—a.k.a. Rumshakers—and proceed to party like they have just won the World Series. This led to Swag drinking away the final hours of his twenties, and led to me receiving pictures the next day from both Finger Bang and TJ, in both of which Swag was laying shirtless in his backyard. In TJ’s photo (which was accompanied by the text, “The last photograph ever taken of [Swag] in his 20s. Rather fitting.”), our boy was facedown with a lit cigarette in his outstretched hand, his pale back seemingly intensifying the moonlight that it reflected amid a green pool of grass.

I arrived at Swag and Canada’s Mt. Washington home around 7:30 Thursday night to find Swag, Tennessee, Belle, Bang, and Entertainer drinking Leinenkugels and in relaxed, jovial moods. Then TJ and Canada returned from a beer run, carrying into the house a case of Miller Lite…and a case of Four Loko. I mentally high-fived myself for having had the forethought to call off work the next day.

We watched the Pittsburgh/Philly preseason game, hung out and just enjoyed the moment, drinking and laughing like a group of good friends in a primetime sitcom. Belle danced on a chair, I cracked open a Loko to the cheers of those around me, and everyone fired bottle caps and good-natured jokes at each other. Alex eventually made it up to the party, took the stick, and carried on the pace as if she had been there all day. When I found Bang laying on the couch and drifting away around 9:30 p.m., she blamed her sluggishness on being drunk.

Me: “Would it sober you up if I took you upstairs and banged you silly? Because I’ll do it.”
Bang: “Will you bang me sober?”
Me: “Yes, sweetie. I will do that for a friend.”

By 10:30 we both made our exit from the party; Bang needed to go home and rest up for work the next day, and she dropped me off at the home of a “special *wink* friend” who lives a couple of streets away from Swag and Canada. …Yup.

I played the sidelines Friday (I mean, I’m not a machine…), but Swag certainly didn’t. He, Tennessee, and Belle hit the Pirates game, and managed to fill their time before, during, and after it with booze. “A man got to have a code.

After 60+ hours of nearly-nonstop alcohol consumption, you would expect a newly-30-year-old man to slow things down, right? Wrong. At 10:18 a.m. Saturday, Swag posted this to Facebook:
“Well, I'm awake so anytime you dickheads want to come over, I'm going to crack beer #1 in less than 5 minutes. Since I've nearly refused to make any decisions about times/places, I'm just going to check-in on here. Otherwise, I'm sure you have Mitch or [Tennessee]'s number. I hope everyone remembers to bring loose women. Extra credit for ones that are morally bankrupt. Can't wait till see all of you fuckers. Deuces.”
He’d later tell me, “Remember when I said I was going to ‘crack beer #1 in less than 5 minutes’? That beer turned into a Four Loko.”

I walked through the door carrying a 30-pack of Miller Lite at about 4 p.m., commanding, “Shut up, [Belle],” as she told some story to Swag, Canada, their buddy Tim, Tennessee, and Canada’s ladyfriend Collette. I squeezed my case into the fridge, where two more Miller Lite 30-packs and a case of Miller Lite pounders were already residing. I cracked open a beer, joined them in the living room to watch Olympic handball, and away we went.

Swag, Belle, and Tennessee had a new—albeit really strange—obsession that week: Listening to “Goodbye Horses” and dancing around like Buffalo Bill

*sips his drink*

…I have no punchline for this, folks.

I also have no cause or explanation to add. The most telling fact about all of this, though, is that I had no real moment of shock as it was happening. “Swag and Belle are imitating a cross-dressing serial killer from a movie. …So what’s the score of the handball game?”

We were eventually joined by JL, Bang, Courtney, and Alex, and we made our way to Rumshakers. Once there…well, I’m having trouble remembering exactly what happened there. I know Tony met up with us in time. I remember talking with Joe, a bartender (who bears a striking resemblance to Chad Johnson, and who is nearly as charismatic), as we watched female members of my crew run around goofily. Which girls, or what exactly they were doing to make the two of us shake our heads…yeah. Gone with the booze. I also remember going across the street with several others to get some dinner from Dairy Queen, which we brought back and ate in the bar. But what I drank, what quotes others or I made, what hearts I stole, and what laws I broke are all a blur.

From Rumshakers, we backtracked back to Mt. Washington, heading to Redbeard's. We drank and celebrated there for a couple of hours before finally returning to Swag and Canada’s around 11:30. Checking out from the bars before midnight during a birthday bash? How positively “30” of us. We finished the night throwing back beers at the house, some people congregated (relatively) quietly in the living room around the TV, others (including the birthday boy) loitered on the front porch, enjoying the summer night.

By around 1:30 I moseyed off into the darkness, finding my way over to my “special friend”. Since she had taken in a healthy night of drinking as well, it was 11:30 before either of us got out of bed with any real resolve the next morning. In doing so, I checked Facebook and saw a 6 a.m. post from Swag asking if anyone else was awake. “Wow…” After a hearty brunch, my friend dropped me off at Swag’s, and I walked in to find Collette, Canada, Belle, Courtney, and JL in a joint state of “fml”. They reported that, though most everyone else had called it a night around the time that I did, Swag stayed up well into the morning, drinking and roaming the house. “I probably woke each guy up at least once to do a shot with me,” he explained when I went upstairs and found him awake again. “Mitch and I did a shot of Red Stag at 6:30.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Splashin' Balls on the Mountain

I don't know if this is fake, but I really, really want to keep believing that it isn't. How these two could have smuggled the fake pong table onto the ride, I don't... I REALLY want to keep believing that it's real.

Where's the sign-up sheet?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"I haven't had a nice 'Old Familiar' in years..."

Do you drink beer? Do you comb your hair? Have you ever been stuck trying to decide between carrying a comb or a bottle opener in your limited pocket space? Well my friend, there's hope for you yet!

All jokes aside, this is a pretty cool little idea. I've mentioned before that a bottle opener is a key piece of the Boozing Field Survival Kit. Owning one that doubles as a comb is just good sense. It's multitasking at its finest. Well done Mr. Prince. Well done.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Social Drinking Excellence: Justin Gilpatrick

This isn't Justin pictured here; it's his patron saint.

I've always been interested in visiting Portland. Now I'm not so sure. If nothing else, this incident is not a good look for the area's professional drinkers.

From The Huffington Post:
After a night out at a Portland, Oregon bar on Thursday, the 27-year-old made the wise decision not to drive home drunk.

Less wise, however, was the choice to curl up in a recycling dumpster to sleep off the booze.

Waste Management crews emptied the contents of the dumpster-- including Gilpatrick --into a compactor truck at around 1 a.m. on Friday, KGW reports. The truck driver drove for about a quarter of a mile and compacted his load twice before hearing Gilpatrick's terrified screams.

Gilpatrick survived largely because the truck was relatively empty, according to the New York Daily News. Had there been more recyclables in the compactor, the drunkard's prospects would have been grim.
Mr. Gilpatrick didn't just cheat death, he cheated Darwinism.
  1. Okay, you're out on the town; you're drunk, and you want to sleep it off. How far down your list of bedding options is "recycling dumpster"? Fourth? Fifth? Maybe higher? There certainly are benefits in this location. Presuming there's only plastic in there, there is slightly more cushioning than sleeping on the ground. It's a dumpster, but nowhere near as foul as a regular garbage dumpster. And no one is going to see you in there and harass you. The only real con is that you could be crushed to death if you don't know the collection schedule.
  2. Is it just me, or doesn't this sound like the backstory to a new superhero? "He was an ordinary man, living an ordinary life in Oregon. Until one night, when a terrible accident fused his body with recycled materials...and made him invincible! He is...CAPTAIN REUSABLE!"
  3. I find it interesting and/or disturbing that no mention is made of Gilpatrick's friends. He had to be at the bar with other people, right? Had they parted ways before he decided to book a room at the Go Green Inn? Was his buddy a little further down the alley, laying on top of a stack of milk crates?
  4. Wait, just watched the video at the HuffPo link, so I know the answer to #3. His friend's just a dick.

  5. ...That Jasmine Bailey is tasty piece of yes ma'am. Damn...
  6. ...wait, this is about Gilpatrick. While I'm happy he made it out of the situation relatively unscathed, I find it ludicrous that he blames it on drinking. If you drive your car off a cliff, you don't blame the people who made the upholstery.
Mr. Gilpatrick, your Rummy's in the mail. It has a compartment to stash emergency cab fare.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kicking and Screaming

As Grandma Klump would say: I walked over, but I limped back.

Well, to be more realistic, I stumbled back. I’m guessing. I mean, I was about 85% blacked out. And I was in a hurry—the curtain was falling fast on that final 15%. I was in the wilds of Shadyside on a Saturday night, and the pathway to my apartment—and to safety—was quickly disappearing. Not that the streets and sidewalks were going away—just my ability to see them. It was a race to the finish; I fell through the doorway of my apartment building just as the darkness closed in around me.

I awoke the next morning lying facedown, perpendicular across the top of a made bed. Thankfully, it was my bed. I was wearing an undershirt and boxers. My Tommy Hilfiger polo was on a couch in the living room. My cargo shorts were on the floor in my bedroom. So was the silver string of plastic, star-shaped beads. My socks were missing in action. What caused all of this cataclysmic destruction, you ask?


More specifically, it was a charity kickball tournament. One in which Pakistanimal, Mrs. Pak, TJ, Alex, Shannon, Jay Swag, Mitch Canada, Belle, and others had all taken part last Saturday. I, like any sensible adult on a humid, 90°F August day, stayed home. And when I did leave my place, it was just to go to the barbershop. My friends, in all of their wisdom, began drinking around 9 a.m. in the muggy misery of Pittsburgh summer. Then they ran, sweated, and injured themselves…playing kickball. And they tried to argue that I was being the silly one.

After the tournament, all of the aforementioned suspects (aside from TJ, who was on Daddy Duty) headed to Mario’s Eastside Saloon in The ‘Side. I finally walked over to join them at a little before 5 p.m. But, while I was just beginning my day’s imbibement, I was a solid eight hours behind the rest. Given the wide range of behaviors, intoxications, and events to discuss—not to mention several significant gaps in my memory—I’ll just bullet point the highlights:
  • Jealous that I was freshly showered, several of the Gym Class Heroes tried to hug their sweaty nastiness onto me when I arrived. I came oh-so-close to swinging away like Ashtray in Don’t Be a Menace.
  • Alex jumped up and down dancing for a moment. When she saw me pause and fixate on her quite ample chest, which was active in her shirt, she seemed to learn for the first time that big boobs bounce. “Wow,” she said, continuing to jump up and down with her eyes glued at a downward 90 degree angle. I’m not quite sure how she didn’t end up with two black eyes.
  • When I met up with the group, they were on the deck upstairs, which was a sauna. Why they thought this was acceptable is as unknown to me as why they felt it worthwhile to play kickball. Canada, Swag, and I soon led a migration to Shady Grove, where there was air conditioning.
  • After the tournament, our buddy “Wall Street” was the only one sensible enough to get a full shower. While he did so at Alex’s apartment, her cat pushed open the bathroom door; this gave anyone who walked past the bathroom—including a suddenly prudish Shannon—a full view of him in the glass-walled shower. When Mrs. Pak (who was successfully tanked) later learned of this anecdote, however, she was aghast that neither girl took the opportunity to check out Wall’s goods. She (repeatedly) explained in no uncertain terms the ogling, fondling, etc. that would’ve taken place had she been in their shoes. Nodding towards Wall, I said, “I think [she] just added you to her ‘Exceptions’ list, man. ‘George Clooney’…‘Brad Pitt’…‘[Wall Street]’.”
  • Pak was…well, Pak: Drunk, audacious, chain-smoking, boastful, etc. And loud. After an hour or so at Grove, our bartender—sensing me to be the voice of reason soberest member of the group—asked me to keep him under control. It seems that, though he was only spending about half of his time standing near me, Pak had provoked four separate groups of diners to move from the tables in the dining area on that side of the bar.
  • Being as far behind in the pickling process as I was, I decided that my drink orders would be liquor instead of beer. Earlier that week I had come down with a minor head cold, and had taken to drinking bourbon—and, in most cases, Manhattans—as a home remedy. Therefore I decided to continue improving my health with the bourbon, vermouth, and bitters mixture. I’m not sure exactly how many I put away, but…well, refer to the opening paragraphs above.
  • Midway through the night Alex produced three strings of plastic beads: one red, one silver, one blue. They had been accessories of hers to the Olympics Opening Ceremony party she and I had attended the week before, and were now stowaways in her purse. I vaguely remember snatching the silver strand out of her hand and throwing it around my neck. I've always found boozing to be a patriotic experience.
  • While others soon departed (Swag and Canada had a bachelor party to attend; Pak and Mrs. Pak are married, and therefore cannot be out after sundown; Belle and the rest left to pursue various acts of depravity), Alex, Shannon, Wall Street, and I held firm. Despite our advanced state of blotto, we each had the good sense to order dinner. Hindsight being 20/20, I can only imagine the carnage that would have resulted had we not made that experience-taught move.
  • Shannon’s aforementioned prudishness melted away as she drank. With no provocation from the rest of us, she took the uneaten tater tots from her meal and some dipping sauce, and made a work of art. (Clearly, Mrs. Pak wasn’t the only one questioning her refusal to prey on Wall Street’s earlier state of vulnerability.)
  • This is an excerpt from a text conversation I had the following Wednesday.

    Me: “I don’t remember leaving, but I vaguely remember pretending to be on a phone call as I walked down the street. Which leads me to believe I was running away.”
    Me: “It’s a standard drunk tactic of mine.”
    Me: “Wait, who wasn’t wearing pants?”
    Alex: “Ahha I will remember that.”
    Alex: “I wasn’t wearing pants…I found them in front of my kitchen sink the next morning.”
    Me: “LOL. Totes…”

Thursday, August 2, 2012