Friday, March 24, 2006


A Weekend of Epic Proportions

Last weekend, to put it mildly, rocked out loud. I caught up with friends I haven't seen in years. I realized that maybe I had been out of touch for too long when Matt Koon informed me that he just kind of assumed I was dead. For any of you that knew me in high school and early college, that's not too much of a stretch. We did some inebriated math, and figured out that the last time we saw each other was sometime in 1999. We also, through drunken chemistry and physics, accomplished cold fusion, thus solving the energy woes of the Earth.

Friday night started off innocently enough. I met my friend Kyle and his girlfriend Ashley at his house, and we went to his friend's house for dinner and a few drinks (translation: too many drinks before dinner and Kyle and I forgot to eat). Kyle and his friends Brian and Neil have started a weekly beer tasting group. I had been looking foward to participating at some point, but this took a turn for the worse when it turned into an Irish car bomb fest, intermingled with vodka shots with Brian's wife Sarah. Without going into too much detail (because I don't have many to share,) Kyle at one point was wearing a kimono, and I was wearing a beer helmet while crouched in a three point stance. Some other highlights involve a rousing game of leapfrog in the backyard, a video of Kyle and I dancing, and eating mayonnaise straight out of the jar with chopsticks. I would like to thank Ashley for having the patience to put up with us, and Pam brand cooking spray for coating Kyle's face when he fell asleep. If I had the pull, I would award her (Ashley, not Pam) with a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Saturday started off like almost any other Saturday, with Kyle, Brett and I bleaching our beards and then dyeing them green in honor of St. Patrick. We then proceeded down to 5 Points (a small Irish borough in Columbia) to pay way too much for beer. Four dollars for a ten ounce cup, to be precise. Luckily, I ran into my boy Honeycutt, who told me that the gas station on the corner was selling double deuces for three dollars. Like a champ, I rocked a double deuce of High Life for the rest of the day. It is the champagne of beers, after all. Some great bands played that day, unfortunately, it just wasn't possible to see them all. Villanova rocked as always, and I was introduced to a band I hadn't seen before, The Movement, that I will not miss if they're close by. Then, just for good measure, I made my way to Goatfeathers to catch up with my old friends Joye and Mike T, and close the evening out with some nice Scotch. It was right around this point that I lost my hat, but gained a friend. Cat, the bartender that night, rocks, and I plan to drop in and say howdy again soon. How much does she rock? She took my phone and started dialing (sorry Hook) until she made sure I had a ride home (which I did, but in her defense, I'm guessing most drunks always claim to have a way home). Kyle eventually came to get me, and then, in retaliation for the Pam dousing of the night before, applied lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush once I passed out. I love that kid. All in all, a weekend of epic proportions, and one that made me realize just how out of touch with my friends I had become.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I'm so punk rock I can't stand it!

Since Kyle, Brett, Lato and I aren’t known for performing feats of brilliance; we decided that we would do something intelligent for St. Patrick’s Day. I believe the idea was originally Kyle’s, but it may have been Brett’s. We started growing beards a month or so ago, to get them good and thick, which we are going to shave into a beard style know as “Old Dutch” (think Amish looking,) and dye green. We also have purchased an assortment of green clothing to wear. We may not be Irish, but if we’re going to be drinking like an Irishman, we may as well mock their culture at the same time.

I volunteered to pick up the dye, not because I knew of a place to get it, but because I had been drinking and I figured it couldn’t be that hard. I was mistaken. After many days of endless searching (by which I mean one morning of calling around town from my desk while pretending to work,) I finally found a place. Most of the phone calls just got me laughed at, and one lady thought I said “gray hair dye,” and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to intentionally have gray hair. When I corrected her on the color, I’m not sure it made any more sense to her.

The place I finally found it was Hot Topic, one of these alternative-yet-trendy-but-still-way-cooler-than-you-will-ever-be-and-I-secretly-listen-to-Kenny-Loggins-when-I’m-not-working-I-hate-myself type of stores in the mall. That’s how you know it’s not a real punk rock store – it’s in a mall. How counter culture can you truly claim to be if you rent space in a building that is the epitome of America’s consumer driven society and has a food court? Mmmmmmm… court….

Anyway, I went on my lunch hour since I have better things to do after work than go to the mall when all the high school kids are there, such as setting myself on fire while simultaneously excavating ancient Peruvian ruins with a spoon. (When the hell did I become a grumpy old man? I’m not that much older than those kids…except I am.) For the record, the employees working at the store were great. They thought our idea was hilarious, helped me find what I needed, and were way more professional than 99% of retail workers, and 135% of used car salesmen. Unlike the people at Best Buy, who scatter like animals that scatter extremely quickly as soon as you attempt to make eye contact. It was the other customers in the store who pissed me off.

Maybe I should explain – while I don’t wear a tuxedo to work (except on Flag Day,) I do dress professionally. I have to – I work in a professional setting. Usually khakis, a long-sleeved, collared shirt, and well-polished shoes (although under the pants I usually go commando). So I guess I didn’t meet the expected dress code of the kid who is so punk rock that he has no idea who Johnny Ramone is, and doesn’t realize that Good Charlotte is essentially ‘N-Sync playing dress-up. Forgive me for having a job that doesn’t involve selling spiked bracelets and over-priced concert t-shirts of bands that your mom won’t allow you to go see. Although he avoided direct eye contact, or speaking loudly enough for me to hear all of what he was saying, I could tell that he was making fun of me. Being the kind, gentle person that I am, I responded by staring at him and wondering out loud why the kids were out of school today until he shut up and moved to the other side of the store. Now stop glancing at me and muttering under your breath about how I belong at the Gap before I show you exactly how my shoes obtain such a high gloss polish.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


The Hugging Man

Gather round, boys and girls! I had an awkward experience today, and I’m going to recount it for your reading pleasure. I had a meeting with a potential new vendor at work today. At first, I was pleased. The guy obviously knew what he was talking about, I knew his company by reputation, and his pricing and delivery time was reasonable. Then, at the end of the meeting, when I extended my arm to shake his hand, he hugged me. No, you don’t have to reread that sentence. He hugged me.

I don’t mean one of those semi-acceptable macho guy hugs where you shake hands with one arm and loosely throw the other around the guy’s back (and even these are only acceptable if you haven’t seen the other guy in a while, or you’ve been drinking, preferably both.) I mean a full, two-armed hug. He wasn’t shy about holding on for a while, either. That, my friends, is what you call a “deal breaker.”

I truly didn’t know how to respond to the situation. For anyone who knows me, it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words. This was one of those times. Regardless of gender, I would never, ever hug anyone at the end of a business meeting. Even if it were my grandmother who was presenting a proposal to me, and she had brought me pie, the end result would be a handshake. So when this guy, who I knew only ever so slightly, embraced me at the end of the meeting, I was blown away. I know he has been in this line of business with the same company for many years. Does he normally end meeting this way? If so, what exactly is his quote-to-close ratio? (There’s a joke in there somewhere…I just can’t find it.)

Friday, March 10, 2006


Too Much Free Time***

I’ve got a new drinking game to play, kiddies. No, not one of these games where everyone has to drink every time you see someone wearing lederhosen. This one requires participants who don’t know they’re playing. It’s best played with a partner, but you can also play with yourself as long as you’re in a group setting (which if taken the wrong way can lead to either new friends or an arrest record). What you do is start out by loudly making a blatantly false statement, such as “My dad is Mark Twain!” See if anyone calls you out on it. If not, come up with something more preposterous, such as “I’m the Chinese kid who was run over by a tank in Tiananmen Square!” Note: To use this one, you must be very obviously not Asian. Keep this up until someone calls you out on it, or the bartender cuts you off. Just to help out, here are some other good ones:

“I invented the internal combustion engine!”
“I am the Lindbergh baby!”
“I was raised in the wild by a family of carnivorous rabbits!”
“I wrote the theme song for Back to the Future!”
“I was originally cast in the role of Marty McFly, but had to turn it down because of a prior obligation!”
“I coined the term ‘flux capacitor’!”
“Originally, the car in Back to the Future was going to be a Chevy Nova, the Delorean was my idea!”*
“I invented Spanish!”
“I know why the caged bird sings!”
“My name is Asher Lev!” **

*I realize there are a lot of Back to the Future references here, but let’s be honest – it’s the Casablanca of our generation.
**Jon Marsh can’t use this one, because people would believe him.
***First post to use footnotes!



Friday night started out innocently enough (how’s that for foreshadowing?). I had dinner with friends, and then we headed to Main Street Café in Lexington (official motto: We’re the only bar in Lexington). This is where things took a turn towards brilliance. The problem with going here to have a few beers is that, since it is the only bar in Lexington, it’s like a high school reunion with everyone buying each other drinks until we start dancing. That’s when you know we’ve had too much…the dancing. It’s a fail safe litmus test for intoxication.

I don’t know why, but when I woke up my shirt was on inside out. A smarter man would have spent Saturday morning drinking water and praying for death. Luckily, I am not such a man. I promptly started drinking bloody marys. Not because I’m a raging alcoholic, but because we had a pig on the grill, and according to the Constitution of this great nation no pig shall be cooked unless the people cooking are drinking. I think it’s also in the Bible somewhere, New Testament if I’m not mistaken. There are few occasions that demand drinking before noon (the others being football season, camping trips, horse races, anytime you have to go to the DMV, and Arbor Day), but this is one of them, and Stan and I play by the rules. However, it does make for a long, out-of-focus day…the kind of day where you fall down the stairs because you refuse to tie your shoes, and wear your sunglasses at night. We had a great turnout, and the pig (plus the oysters that Stan’s father-in-law steamed) was fantastic. Luckily, towards the end of the night, Anna made me start drinking water (Thanks, Anna!) and I took some Advil. Somehow, this prevented me from feeling like Gary Busey warmed over the next morning, although I still looked the part. Before anyone starts to think I am going to make a habit of consuming more alcohol in a 48 hour period than normal people do in a month, I am in full detox mode until St. Patrick’s Day. My liver and brain got together and staged an intervention.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Mexican Coffee

I like to write about my bad ideas, because they are infinitely more entertaining than my good ideas. Sure, I’m proud that I changed the fuse all by myself without causing a county-wide outage this time, but would you rather read about the time I screwed up, or the time I didn’t? It’s the same reason that you rarely see happy stories on the news. Bad news sells, and people are inherently tuned so that we like reading about other’s mistakes more than their successes. It makes us feel a bit superior, that we didn’t kill our husband with a chainsaw. In other words, I’m here to make you feel better about yourselves. I’m like a mildly insane counselor with booze and fireworks.

Speaking of booze, I’m sure most of you have had Irish coffee before. You know, it’s a cold night out, so you want something hot and boozy to drink. Microwaving a beer doesn’t sound appealing (although I’m incredibly surprised that I’ve never done it,) and you’re not sure exactly what goes in a hot toddy, so you go the safe route – make a pot of coffee, and spike it with liberal amounts of Irish Cream (and by liberal, I mean most of the bottle). What happens when your guests need a refill and you’re out of Irish cream? Well, I’ll tell you.

Maybe you haven’t caught on, but on a day to day basis, I’m a fairly normal guy. However, when the first drop of alcohol touches my lips, my IQ goes up to a number that rivals the great Steven Hawking (I won’t post the actual number here, because I don’t want to embarrass anyone.) We (Tex, Lato, and I) were sitting around drinking Irish Coffee on my back deck one night. We needed refills, so I went in to make another pot. Problem? Out of Irish cream. Solution? Look in the liquor cabinet to find an acceptable substitute…and all I have is tequila. Any normal human being would just tell them he was out of Irish cream and go back to drinking beer. But that’s not how I roll. I decided it couldn’t be that bad, and besides, we were half lit anyway, so they probably wouldn’t notice. I’m not sure how much more wrong I could have been (we’re talking weapons of mass destruction in Iraq wrong). This stuff was awful. That didn’t stop us from drinking it, but it was awful. Actually, and this is proof of our sheer brilliance, we made an agreement – if Tex would put four matches out on his tongue, I would finish the pot of Mexican Coffee. He did, and I did. I’m not sure who felt worse about his decision the next morning, but it’s safe to say that neither one of us could claim the title of “winner.”

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


A Very Special Announcement, followed by Utter Nonsense

Well, it’s official…I’m being read internationally. And not just in Canada, either. I actually have at least two readers in Europe, and one in Canada. Many of you are probably depressed, thinking that this will bring an end to my disdain for the metric system, and perhaps my metric conversions will be accurate instead of witty. Fear not, loyal readers. I’m way too lazy to work out the conversions, and I still believe firmly in the system we use here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. The system that probably has a name that I am unaware of (actually, I think it’s called English measurement).

Many of you may think that name is odd, since the English actually use the metric system, so sit back and enjoy a completely fabricated history lesson from Uncle Josh. You see, the English once used this system of measure, back when the United States were still English colonies. They also used to speak regular English, like we do here in the US. However, when we rebelled and ultimately won our freedom during the Revolutionary War, we set forth some conditions. Few people realize this, because the historians who write textbooks actually do research and don’t make things up, but George Washington was a warrior whose skills and charisma rivaled those of the Nature Boy Ric Flair. After the English surrendered, ol’ Georgie boy threatened them with a figure four leg lock if they didn’t agree to a few more conditions. As you may have guessed, two of them involved them starting to use a convoluted system of measure, and speaking with funny accents so we could all point and laugh. There were only two other conditions set forth – one being that they had to give their food silly names like “Spotted Dick,” and the other that the palace guards had to wear ridiculously tall furry hats. USA! USA! USA! USA!

On a side note, although it may appear otherwise, I have nothing against the British. I just couldn’t figure out a way to make fun of Canadians this week.

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