Friday, May 29, 2009

Vacation Breakdown (Havin' Another Breakdown...Drive Me Insaaaaane!!!!)

Please, somebody get that title, I realized the similarity at the last second and thought it was kinda clever, so I added the part in parentheses. Sometimes I even amaze myself. Anyway, here's a day-by-day breakdown of my vacation to the Motherland for Noles and Jenna's wedding.


- Got a hole-in-one, shot -1 at King's Walk.


- None, bitch! Didn't you hear I got a hole-in-one? Read the papers.


- Got in a bonus round of golf with Fundy, Noles, and Hal at Lincoln.

- Won an amazing number of games of beanbags in a row, especially considering I was wearing a suit jacket from the Salvation Army, and my partner was Smapes (loooooove you, Smapes.)

Me showing Hal the form of a champion. That's how you win games, even when your partner doesn't even think about trying until you're losing 10-2.

The sole reason I put this picture up was for the benefit of anybody who ever wondered what Tiger Woods would look like if he had JJ Redick's haircut, and his beer league softball team was called the Warriors. Also notice Smapes' facial expression, which says "I hope Hammen's got another 7-point round in him, cause I sure am getting worked right now."

- What was supposed to be just a little Popolino's Pizza get-together at Casa Hammen turned into "Holy shit, it's 10:30 pm and there's 30 people on the front lawn, are we ever going to make it to the bar?" It was like when we did Lawn Sitting every day my last semester of high school, and it was wonderful.

- Eventually we made it to the bar, and I got my blackjack fix. I even won some money, but like a junkie smoking a bunch of crack for the first time in months, the money doesn't matter. Just feel that high, baby.

Noles throwing beanbags, using the same form that he would use just 48 hours later when he threw his freedom away. Baaa-zing!


- The reason I was able to play golf that afternoon was that Paul and Mandy were running way late because, in completely typical Paul fashion, he chipped off half of his tooth while eating lunch in Fargo and had to go to the dentist immediately. Thus we missed out on a lot of Paul and Jim Time, and I had a lot of activities planned. Mostly building forts in the basement.

- I went to the bathroom shortly after we came home from the bar, only to find Paul was taking one of his patented drunken sit-down showers. I put the kibbosh down on that, because he had already kicked over all the shampoo and body wash containers and was watching them float around his body as the tub filled up, and because I didn't want to re-enact the Great Walsh Hall Flood of 2001.

- Two minutes after I pulled Paul out of the tub, I threw up.

- 10 minutes after I threw up, Paul threw up.

- 10 minutes after Paul threw up, I went back for round 2.

- So to summarize, a couple of 26-year-olds spent a decent part of the late night/early morning puking in their parents/friend's parents' bathroom while their wife and significant other listened in disgust from the bedrooms (we really should've built that fort, dude. It totally would've been no girls allowed.) Mayyyyybe it was the multiple pitchers of red bull vodka we had after 5 hours of drinking beer. But for 5 bucks for 32 ounces, we would have been stupid NOT to, right?


- The rest of the out-of-town-cavalry has arrived (Chelsey & Sweeney) and we also meet up with Weisser, Erica, and Lindsey, who I haven't seen in months/years. Here's all you need to know about Sweeney: she calls me when their plane lands, I pick up the phone and give a standard hello, and she responds with "What's up you fuckin' douchebag? You guys better be ready to party!"

- After having some tasties at Weisser's house (Brayden got out of control drunk and was insisting on driving, LOLZ) we eventually meet up with the wedding party and the rest of the crew, and start drinking poolside at the Holiday Inn. They shut the lights off on us at around 10:00, and we all laugh, knowing it's gonna take A LOT more than that to get us to leave before 2 am.

- The sex in the bathroom incident, obviously.

- RED PEPPER. Between that and Popolino's, it was enough to make me forget that I was in the middle of a 6-day stretch without Sonic OR Chipotle. And that's saying something.

- Things we made fun of each other for throughout the night:

Paul for the events of the previous 24 hours and the 'Donna Martin Graduates' story (and his whole life's worth of shenanigans, really)

Horp for his disappointingly constant PDA with Katie, and also for having incredibly dry hands (seriously, giving him a 'what-up bro' handshake is like high-fiving a dinosaur)

Jonye for wearing Drew Carey glasses, and for killing the Twins' season after throwing out the first pitch last year

"All the little chicks with the crimson lips go Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!"

Fundy for his phone conversation when he asked Breezy to prom (which has inspired 8 years' worth of "whaddyadoin! igottagobaseball!" jokes)

Bergman for contantly calling/texting/contacting me and earning the name Brokeback Bergman

Me for constantly re-watching Star Wars and old sports events on DVD, along with the prediction that soon I'm going to start videotaping all my games during my MLB '09 season for PS3, and making Alex re-watch the classics. (Hey, who doesn't like to watch walk-offs, even if it is a video game?)

And probably others that I can't remember.


- Paul and I lost La Copa de Joe Bueno at King's Walk to Fundy and Bergman, 2 and 1. I brought my D game (which is pretty much standard when I play team match play golf at this point) and Paul was so hungover he puked on the 13th hole, and basically just picked up his ball for a few holes during the best ball format. Thanks, partner. Our matching team uniforms were pretty baller, though.

Fundy and Bergman with their island camo shirts. Gold jacket, green jacket, shitty thrift store jacket that's 2 sizes too small, who gives a shit?

Me and Paul, aka team "I was puking in Hammen's parents' basement 12 hours ago"

- My hangover from Thursday didn't hit until like 5 pm, so it was an uphill battle for me all night to get drunk. I could've had 40 beers and still been sober (which I can say with total confidence, since I actually had 37 and still passed all my sobriety tests with flying colors after I got pulled over on the way home.)


- Weisser, my dad, and myself (Team Accountancy) played Bergman, Jake, and Cheese (Team Hatred, or as Jake put it- Team Bergman & Jake) in a 3-man best ball match at Ray Richard's. I should say that the round of golf itself was a highlight, but the quality of golf was certainly not. To put it this way: among all 6 of us, there were less birdies than there were instances in which a member of our group was struck by a ball hit by another member of the group. The match ended in a tie, but I can confidently say that we were all losers that day.

- The wedding ceremony. 'Twas lovely, and went off without a hitch.

"Honey, I'm trying my best to fix this, but it's really tough with all the back hair poking through the shirt...."

- The wedding dance was amazing. The dance floor was ALWAYS at least 3/4 full, every single song. The deejay told Noles that it was one of the best dance floors he's ever seen. I think everyone can agree that the best part was T.Nels and Fundy's impromptu dance-off to Sexyback.

Although watching Big Mike, The Lord of Culligan Manor, is a close second. Showing us how a true Culligan man cuts a rug.


- During the wedding dance, I missed the Electric Slide because I was in a conversation with a bunch of people. I'd like to say it was something important, but in all likelihood it was the girls talking about how cute their dresses were, while I complained to no one in particular that I'm almost positive David Ortiz was on steroids, and that's why he sucks now. Whatever the case, I got in line to get another drink and all of a sudden I heard it was playing, and by the time I headed out to the dance floor, it was ending. Such a letdown. I don't like to brag, but me showing up for just the last 20 seconds of the Electric Slide would be like Michael Jordan finally coming out of the locker room with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter of a Game 7, with the Bulls down by 12, and asking his teammates "Hey, what'd I miss?"

- I was a total plane crash by the end of the night, and so my goodbyes were rushed, or skipped altogether, which sucks because I can't think of the next time we'll all be assembled in the same town again. Someone else needs to hurry up and get married so we can make this happen.

1-2-3 NOT IT!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Awesome Things That Happened To Me During Noles' Wedding Weekend (That Have Nothing To Do With The Wedding)

1. On Friday night, I walked into the bathroom outside of Sugarz and heard the familar sounds of love-making coming from the bathroom stall (I shouldn't say the "familiar" sounds of love-making. In my experience, love-making sounds like an asthmatic kid desperately trying to complete a marathon without his inhaler, followed by a noise that sounds like a grizzly bear getting sucker-punched in the stomach, followed by me high-fiving the girl, then rolling over and heating up a couple of pepperoni pizza hot pockets in the microwave I keep next to my bed. The noises coming from the bathroom stall sounded different.)

The girl immediately heard me enter and instructed her partner in a breathless voice to "stop, stop, just hold on a minute." Not wanting the dude to have to stop on my account, and partly to keep me from busting out in side-splitting laughter, I started whistling softly to myself while I used the urinal. The guy and I shared a hypothetical high five and he immediately resumed nailing her to the wall as she voiced her approval through various noises that easily drowned out my rendition of the Mr. Belvedere theme song. I finished up and literally sprinted back to the patio to round up some people to help me bust the party up in the most awkward way possible (my previous good deed already long forgotten) but by the time Horp, T.Nels and I made it back to the bathroom, the couple was already on their way out the door, with clothes askew and faces flushed. Turns out the dude was kind of a Poindexter, and the chick was pretty hot, at least an 8. I don't know how he pulled that off, but I'm sure Will Smith was involved.

NO. No. No. Are you gonna listen to my advice on dance moves, or are you gonna spend the rest of your life NOT banging hot chicks in bathroom stalls?

2. Last Wednesday I was golfing with my dad and uncle at my old home course, King's Walk, and recorded my first ever hole-in-one. Par 3 4th hole, 148 yards, hit a knock-down 7-iron into the teeth of a screaming wind and WHAMMO! It was British Open-style conditions out there, so I'm actually more proud that I was able to keep my composure and finish out the round strong and shoot 1-under than I am of the hole-in-one. My only regret is the news report didn't elaborate on the wind conditions and club selection. When Pat Sweeney announced it on the Channel 8 News, he may have actually just said "Jim Hammen aced the par 3 4th hole at King's Walk today using a 7-iron" but what I heard was "A 7-iron? A fucking 7? From 148? Was he afraid a 6-iron would be too much club? What, is he a 13-year-old? What a puss."

The funniest thing is that a bunch of people who were in attendance at the wedding later that weekend came up and congratulated me, and I didn't have a clue what they were talking about (partly because it was 3 days later, partly because I had been drinking pretty much nonstop during those 3 days, and partly because I had been triple and quadruple-fisting all through the wedding dinner and was completely special sauced.) Dunph's dad, a big golf fan himself, came up at the reception and gave me heartfelt congrats, and I stood there for a good 5 seconds awkwardly shaking his hand and smiling stupidly while I wondered what the hell he was talking about, before finally remembering the hole-in-one. So needless to say I haven't been properly basking in the after-glow of my accomplishment. I think I was more excited when Cheese dinged his tee shot off a tree at 140 mph and almost killed a guy on the adjacent green at Ray Richard's on Saturday. Now THAT was awesome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brother's Day Update

I'd like to start by saying that now, in our 9th year of celebrating Brother's Day, I had hoped that we would be further along in the process of making it a national holiday. Studies have shown that among the siblings that officially recognize the holiday, brother relations have increased 48%. It's a day to set aside your differences, and just let bygones be bygones, you know? I forgive you, Brother, for sneaking into Culligan and stealing my Nintendo64 while I slept...and I hope you forgive me for charging you interest on that 2 grand you owe me.* C'mon, you said you'd pay it back in a month, and it's been almost 3 years. We're in a recession, dude.

In any event, I realized that I forgot to alert everyone that Brother's Day has officially been moved to this coming Sunday. Normally it is celebrated the Sunday after Mother's Day, but it's been moved so that I can spend it with Brother while I'm up in Grand Forks. By "spend it with Brother" I mean that I will greet him in the morning with a big hug and a "Happy Brother's Day!" and he will roll his eyes, tell me to stop being so fucking annoying all the time, try and fight off the hug, get mildly angry with me when I keep hugging him anyway...and then the moment is ruined and we won't talk for like three hours.

So this Sunday, everybody call your brother(s) and wish them a happy Brother's Day, at the very least. Presents are encouraged (but not required- I am still patiently awaiting my first gift- cross your fingers, this might be the year!) This year I am giving Brother a couple of old shirts that he has had his eye on that no longer fit me, a tin of chew, and a possibly heavily shaken beer. Let's just say that if he finally has a gift for me after all these years, then I won't shake it. Too much.

*I'm not really charging Brother interest on his debt. Sometimes people don't know when I'm joking, and I don't want to be known as the asshole who has had the juice running on his own brother since 2006.**

**But seriously, he can finish paying me back anytime now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Noles And Jenna- A Tribute To Marriage

So awhile back, right in the middle of our Boom ROASTED phase (was that really 3 1/2 months ago already? holy shit) we were discussing Noles' upcoming wedding (important stuff like what we're gonna wear, how we're gonna do our hair, if we're bringing dates or not) when Jonye made one somewhat innocent joke:

Noles, your life called, it said you are throwing him away by settling down. Boom. ROASTED.

Now, if there is one thing I love, it's ripping on friends (and having them rip on me.) If there are two things I love, it's "____ called, they want their ____ back" jokes. Don't ask me why, I know they were cool like 20 years ago, but they get me giggling like crazy. They own the keys to my comedy car. So needless to say, Jonye's comment got the ball rolling, and here's how Jonye, Horp, and I spent the rest of our afternoon:

- Noles, fun called....he was just calling to say goodbye, and don't bother calling him back. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, every other vagina in the world called, they said it would've been nice getting to know you, but now it's too late. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, sex was with fun when he called, and yelled from the background "SAME GOES FOR ME DOUCHE BAG!" Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, when the other vaginas of the world called and said it was nice to know you, well they called back and said we forgot that you had back hair, so it wouldn't have been an issue anyway, sorry for the mix up. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, Barney from HIMYM called, he said Suit Up....then called back and said nevermind, you shouldn't watch his show anymore...Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, Vegas called and said you're not allowed to come back again. Sorry, no married people allowed, it's not you, it's just policy. Actually, it is a little bit you too, but mostly, it's policy. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, 'I'm A Big Pussy' Magazine called, they said thanks for your subscription and your first issue will be in arriving in the mail shortly. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, 'Maxim' called, they said yup, now you will have to beat off to me, no more porn allowed.....Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles your mom called, said she was proud of you...then your brother yelled from background PUSSY!....and your dad gave him a high five....Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, my old bedroom at Culligan called, he wanted to remind you to keep the heat turned up or Jenna will start crying in the middle of the night again...Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, Big Mike here, just want to say, you're a puss. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, your late-twenties called and said what the fuck dude? We could have had some fun...Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, your freedom called, heard you pick up, and said "Whoops. Wrong number. I was trying to reach Old Nate" and quickly hung up. Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, Coach K called, he hopes you weren't planning on watching a Duke game by yourself EVER again.....Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles the first two days of the NCAA tournament called, they said it's too bad that you can't drink and you promised you would be home for dinner, PUSSY....Boom. ROASTED.

- Noles, your free nights and chewing called (they hang out together and chewing cannot afford a cell phone, so he used free nights' minutes), they said "Fuck You, really, you would rather watch 27 dresses than just sit and have some chews and Dews?" Boom. ROASTED

So I'm leaving this afternoon for nearly a week in sunny, beautiful Grand Forks, to golf at my old courses, eat at my old eateries, and drink at my old drinkeries. And also to celebrate the union of two of the biggest Duke fans I know. Kiss the rings, bitch. I'm out. Oh and just one more...

- Noles, Jenna called, she said it's probably about time you got some new friends. These ones suck. Boom. ROASTED.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pomp And Circumstance

Graduating college. A time for celebrating the present. A time for reminiscing the past. A time for anticipating the future. (How awesome would this paragraph be if it was being read by Jim Nantz, as soft piano music is playing, and a montage of Augusta National is being shown in the background? And then it finishes with "Although one door may be closing behind you, many more doors are opening before you" ~ cut to a shot of the graduate accepting their diploma and pumping their fist ~ "So, college grad....which door will you choose?" then the CBS Sports theme song starts blasting.....annnnnd scene.)

Graduation is a time to celebrate the turning of a page in the book of your life. Nay, not just a new page, but a new chapter. Or if it's, like, one of those books that has both chapters and sections, then it would definitely be a new section. Or maybe it's, like, one of those books that have books within them, even though it's really just a new chapter- like BOOK IV: SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S know, I've never liked those books, they always seem so pretentious. What kind of pompous asshole has books within a book, anyway? Just give me the old Goosebumps books that had 46 chapters that were like a page and a half each, and every other chapter ended with "I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out".....anyway, you get the idea. Graduation is all these things, rolled up into one emotional day.


...if you're anything like Noles and I back in 2006, it's a time to kick back with a few morning beers, turn on the graduation ceremony on local channel 6, and laugh at all the suckers who decided to actually attend their own graduation. Shortly after it begins, you decide that maybe your parents would appreciate some photographs to remember this momentous occasion- you know, since they're not there in person. So you throw on some of your finest clothes, ask Horp to represent President Kupchella, wait until your name WOULD'VE been called in alphabetical order as they're announcing the School of Accounting, and walk across the "stage" and accept your "diploma" while Fundy watches, shakes his head, and calls you "idiots."

President Horpchella and I

President Horpchella and Noles

Noles celebrating and waving to his "family" as he walks off the stage. You know that it was a special event if Fundy was out of bed before 4 pm on a Saturday, as evidenced by his bedhead. Notice the Canadian flag in the background- probably one of the top 5 drunkest nights of my life. After already drinking for hours during a camping/tubing trip, we met some rando Canadians with a beer bong, I bonged like 8 beers in 8 minutes, ran over to another campsite with a hunting knife and literally cut the flag down off of some family's camper while they slept inside. Later that night I threw up around 10-15 times. Man, 2003 was AWESOME. But I'm getting off-topic here.

Shockingly, neither of us have seen any of these pictures framed in our mom's office, which is a little disappointing. It's a slap in the face, frankly.

So congratulations to Alex and all you other grads, be it grad school, undergrad, high school....and let's not forget Michael Vick is graduating soon from a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison to a halfway house.

Two dudes who wouldn't fare so well in a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot

So a couple weeks ago my parents went to Vegas to visit my aunt and uncle and attend some intense, boot camp-style gun training seminar. The fact that they were in Vegas for nearly a week and NEVER EVEN SET FOOT in a casino just goes to show how far the apple falls from the tree sometimes (especially when the tree finds out about the apple's online gambling account and disgustedly kicks the apple a couple of times, and even tries to claim that it's not even their apple, it belongs to the tree next to it.) I mean, not even one little shoe of blackjack? Not even one roll of the dice at the craps table? Not even 20 minutes in the VIP room with Cinnamon from the Olympic Gardens? That's just crazy to me. But I digress.

The point is that my mom is now proficient with an array of handguns. Like, really proficient. To hear my dad tell the story (which he was WAY too excited to tell, now I know how Alex feels when I ramble on for 20 minutes about how amazing it was that KU made the championshihp game in 2003 with only a 6-man rotation) she is a regular G.I. Jane now, rolling through the obstacle courses, blasting the bad guys and flawlessly saving the elderly ladies and children.

And I gotta tell you, it's incredibly emasculating. Although it's not completely new to me- I've been fairly sure that my mom could kick my ass for a few years now, ever since she started regularly working out....especially considering that the last time I was in a weight room, you couldn't download Britney Spears and Mandy Moore songs because Napster hadn't even been invented yet. (Side note: this was confirmed last year when I was home for a visit. Long story short, I wanted my steak medium rare, she cooked it medium well, I voiced my displeasure, a fistfight broke out, and I ended up in tears, with nothing but a black eye, fat lip, and slightly overcooked steak to show for it.) Now she's going to the gun range and applying for a concealed weapon permit? What the HELL is going on? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

I'm sure the next step will be my mom going with on family hunting trips now, toting her own shotgun and bringing down twenty-point bucks (I'm not positive what 'twenty-point' means, but I've heard my friends talk about it a bunch of times. I think it must signify how many stripes the deer has on its stomach. Deer have stripes, right?) So my mom will be out big-game hunting; meanwhile, I haven't slept well in a month, ever since the day I accidentally ran over and killed a squirrel in my golf cart, and the nightmares began. Poor little guy came out of nowhere!

At night the whole family will sit by the campfire, trading hunting stories and laughing...then someone will mention my name, and they'll grow quiet and my dad will spit a big wad of tobacco and say something like "Yeah, it's too bad he couldn't make the trip, I guess he's got his own hobbies....what the fuck is a blog anyway?" And then they'll all have a big laugh and go back to cleaning their guns.

It's official: my dad's eldest son has disappointed him so badly that he's converting his wife into a new one.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Brought To You By Air Supply

I'm lying alone with my head on the phone
Thinking of you til it hurts
I know you hurt too but what else can we do
Tormented and torn apart

I wish I could carry your smile in my heart
For times when my life seems so low
It would make me believe what tomorrow could bring
When today doesn't really know, doesn't really know

I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you
I know you were right, believing for so long
I'm all out of love, what am I without you
I can't be too late to say that I was so wrong

I want you to come back and carry me home
Away from these long, lonely nights
I'm reaching for you, are you feeling it too?
Does the feeling seem oh, so right?

And what would you say if I called on you now
And said that I can't hold on?
There's no easy way, it gets harder each day
Please love me or I'll be gone, I'll be gone

I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you
I know you were right, believing for so long
I'm all out of love, what am I without you
I can't be too late to say that I was so wrong

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The 135th Running Of The Kentucky Derby

Things I Loved:

>> Gambling success, once again. I was nowhere near as successful as last year- but let's be honest, I couldn't hope to recreate that ridiculous stretch of luck ever again. Last year, by mid-day Saturday I had paid for my entire trip, plus a couple extra hundred for my troubles. This year, I only netted around $250 or so total. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be that guy who bitches about winning money at the Derby. I'll take that every single time, if the Derby Gods decide to give it to me.

We sat down in our classy box seats on Friday (thanks George, you're the man) and I immediately hit on a 13-1 longshot in the first race and found myself up around $120. The rest the day, I pretty much just treaded water, until the next to last race, when my $2 longshot won the race at 45-1. On Saturday, I lost almost every race I bet on (and the main event was a huge embarrassing failure, with only one of my many horses even coming close to placing) but again hit a couple of big longshots, and so I only lost $20 on the second day.

HOWEVER, the bet I enjoyed winning the most was the money I took off of both Kos and Teri, when an impromptu argument broke out regarding what building on campus our freshman year English class took place in. We were gonna go home that night and check Teri's old transcripts to settle the bet, until Rita came through with the answer for us via text. I had offered them fairly generous odds of my checking account against $100, but I had to settle for just $10 each (despite their constant stream of shit-talking, apparently they weren't as confident as me.) I hope you two learned your lesson, which is summed up nicely by what Schne said after you told him about the bet: "Dude, don't ever bet Hammen on that kind of shit."

Teri, me, and Kos- most likely early in the day since they're still smiling with me. They were not happy about losing that bet. And who could blame them? I would say the loss of pride hurt a lot more than the 10 bucks...but you'd have to ask them.

>> Our seats at the Oaks (the races that take place Friday.) Last year we were down in the paddock with the other poor people, but this year we had the hook-up and were up in the nice box seats, just one level down from Millionaire's Row. Personally, I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio when he gets invited to the rich people's dinner as a thank-you for saving Kate Winslet's life in Titanic. Kind of a mixture of "This is awesome, I can get used to this" and "Lemme get this straight- I'm NOT supposed to drink this by punching a hole in the bottom of the can and drinking it all at once?!? Bizarre. Hey, is that Nick Lachey?"

Now, unlike Leo, I don't think I can go back to steerage next year with all the other poor, dirty immigrants. We gotta get box seats again. Winning that ticket was the best thing that ever happened to me, Rose.

>> The cargo van that Schne rented for hauling us around all weekend. Anytime you can have upwards of 15 people rolling around the back of a child molester van, passing a bottle of Early Times whiskey and playing a game where before you take a drink, you have to come up with a commercial tagline for Early Times....well then, you gotta do it. Seriously, the Schneweis brothers should start up a prep school where they teach college kids random drinking games. (Incidentally, Heather won the contest unwittingly the next morning, when, on the way to the track, she mumbled to herself "I just wanna be drunk RIGHT NOW" and about 5 of us simultaneously shouted out "Early Times!")

(Side note: this seems like as good a place as any to mention what I love the most about Derby weekend: the people, and the inside jokes. I think the main reason I have so much fun is the people I'm with, and the people I meet (awwww.) By the end of the weekend I'm bullshitting and joking with some of the natives like I've known them for years, and everyone I met at last year's Derby pretty much feels like family by now. And whether it's running jokes like slogans for Early Times whiskey, or our joke from 2008, "more kick for your punch"'s just awesome. End sappy side note.)

>> My Saturday morning breakfast at Twig & Leaf, the greatest lil' diner I think I've ever eaten at. We ate there last year, and I was looking forward to going back almost as much as going back to Churchill Downs. Seriously, whenever I walk in the door there, the opening piano intro from Baba O'Reilly starts playing in my head, and I have to restrain myself from giving the 65-year-old waitress a heartfelt hug. Friday night, after drinking for 15 hours, and with people passing out all around us, JV, Jessica and I had a drunken executive meeting and determined exactly how early we had to wake up in the morning to get ourselves that perfect breakfast, and still have time to get our other shit done before heading to the track. Remember kids, it's important to build a solid foundation of greasy eggs and biscuits covered in country gravy in your stomach before you resume pouring alcohol down your throat. Even at the expense of extra sleep.

>> The people who live in the houses in the neighborhood of Churchill Downs. Those crazy entrepeneurs, instead of bitching that thousands of people are trekking through their sidewalks and yards after the races are done, take the opportunity to sell $1 hot dogs and $2 beers. Kos and I couldn't dig our wallets out fast enough.

Things I Did Not Love:

>> Eating in sit-down restaurants after drinking all day/my pride/drinking out of a straw. As soon as I heard where we were going after The Oaks races on Friday, I knew it would be my undoing. When I'm in drink-all-day mode, the last thing I want to do is try and maintain my composure in a restaurant while waiting on a server to bring my food. Just give me a stack of dollar hot dogs and a bottle of Early Times, and I'll wait out in the cargo van, bro.

So I order a margarita at this particular Mexican joint, and the server fails to tell me that "large" = 200 ounces (I'm no mathmetician, so that's a rough estimate.) So I've got this drink as big as my head in front of me that I'm barely making a dent in...which leads to the table making jokes at my expense...which leads to me chugging the entire glass in one drink to show them what's up...which leads to Kos and I throwing two straws in Scott's virtually untouched margarita and chugging that one to show them what's up, again.....which leads to me puking in JV's backyard roughly 30 minutes later. Fortunately, it was a career-best puke-and-rally, and I was throwing in a chew and taking pulls from the whiskey bottle within minutes. But still, if only I would've just gone to the McDonald's down the street, and if only my pride hadn't got in the way, and if only I was responsible enough (at age 26) to drink out of a straw without chugging the whole drink.....things might have turned out better for me.

>> Our camp ruined our ticket to free booze. Late afternoon Saturday, we had an arrangement worked out with some shitfaced old guy that as long as we let him pass out amongst our lawn chairs, we would get free beer from his buddies' backpack (interestingly, they were able to smuggle in a couple cases by bribing security with $20. Something to think about for next year?) Alas, some members of our camp couldn't resist the temptation to throw ice cubes at him while he slept, and we lost our sugar daddy. Teri did get this picture though, before he stormed off:

>> My laziness/cockiness. Last year, every person in our crew was successful in sneaking booze past the security guards into the infield. In addition, we were able to get a ton of bottles of whiskey past the guards by tucking them into our dress socks the day of The Oaks races this year. As a result, I got lazy walking into the Derby with my Early Times tucked into my crotchal region. I didn't even use duct tape, and I didn't switch lines when I had the chance, even after I realized the security guard in my line was giving a much more thorough pat-down, as opposed to the 17-year-olds last year who wanted no part of feeling your junk. So Officer Nutsack Grabber discovers my bottle of Early Times within 1.2 seconds, digs it out himself (awwwwk-ward!) and holds it in the air, much to the delight of the many bystanders nearby, who all enjoy a good hearty laugh. All I could do was shrug sheephisly and smile to the crowd as if to say "Hey, it's the Kentucky Derby, whaddya want from me?"

In retrospect, I wish I would've had the wherewithal to keep a straight face and announce to the crowd "That bottle of whiskey is practically dripping with smegma.....Early Times!" But alas.

Also, Amy and Jessica got busted with alcohol on their persons (Jessica's female security guard went digging in her shirt to find the ziploc baggies of vodka) so as a group we had 3 people get taken down, after a 100% success rate last year. Don't worry, we'll be back with a vengeance next year.

Actually, it would've all been worth it if the security guard would've turned to the crowd, hoisted my whiskey into the air like Simba, and the "Circle of Life" song at the beginning of The Lion King burst out of nowhere.

"Aaaaaaahhhh!!!! Tseebainyyyaaaaaaa!!!! Mamaeetchibaba.... Ooooohhwenyaaaa......Ohhhmmmmmmmmm"

>> The scene in the infield after the main event is finished, but you stay to gamble on the last race or two. I'm not even sure I should say I dislike it, because it's kind of cool in the sense that it feels like an apocalyptic wasteland. But it's depressing, kinda like being in the aftermath of a natural disaster or the Rapture or something. A large amount of people have suddenly disappeared, and those who are left are in rough shape. People are staggering around, either desperately searching for booze, their camp, or just a friendly face. People are lying on the ground passed out, hopefully with someone there watching over them, but sometimes alone, and possibly bleeding. People are being led into the underground drunk tank by police officers, probably to be tortured until they accept the mark of the beast. There is garbage strewn everywhere. There are lawn chairs and blankets and half-torn apart canopies lying in ruin. It's just eerie. This is when you know you're a degenerate gambler. There's no more alcohol for sale; over half of our group has gone back to the van where cold beer awaits; there's no main event to look forward to anymore. We are there for one reason and one reason only: to win some fucking money on this next race (which of course we don't.)

So in conclusion: big ups to Schne, Teri, and JV for being wonderful hosts; George for hooking up the box seats; Rita for settling our epic bet without resorting to 8 year old transcripts; Kos, Schne, Teri, JV, Kyle, Laurel, Scott, Becky, George, Toe, Jessica, Amy, and Heather for being awesome; and the server at the Mexican restaurant for not cutting me off when it was blatantly obvious that I should be.

Monday, May 4, 2009

This Romeo Is Bleeding....But You Can't See His Blood

As per usual after I return from a major weekend, I desperately need to take a couple days to detox/collect my thoughts/rebuild the mental strength necessary to organize my thoughts into a semi-coherent post....but let's just skip the part where everyone yells at me to hurry up and update. Here, read about last year.

I'd also like to apologize to almost everyone who either called or texted on Saturday afternoon; apparently reception was shitty for me this year. I didn't have any problems last year during the races, but I noticed about halfway through the day this year that I had barely received any texties from anyone all day. Despite my feelings being absolutely crushed by the apparent lack of concern from my so-called friends, I shook it off and enjoyed my day (traumatic, I know.) Then, starting the minute we got back to our tailgating spot, my phone started vibrating. It lasted for about 20 minutes straight, and then sporadically continued throughout the rest of the night and into Sunday afternoon. Just texty after texty, all sent during the races on Saturday. So my apologies to anyone who may have thought I was being too cool for school and ignoring them. That's not how I roll.

I'm extremely grateful that there is a Red Sox/Yankees game on TV tonight to help me through my coming down process. The crash after Derby weekend isn't as severe physically as coming back from Vegas, but it's just as depressing emotionally. One of Jonye's favorite Culligan memories of me is the morning after a Vegas trip. He was on his way out the door going to work, and I'm still sitting there on the couch from the night before, eyes completely glazed over, double-fisting 24 oz. cans of Amp energy drink and watching Richie Rich on TBS.

Similarly, last night I sat and watched Down to Earth in its entirety without making a facial expression (although I might have twitched a mouth muscle when Chris Rock dresses up in golf clothes and slides across the floor saying "Tiger Tiger Tiger Woods y'all"'s funny because black people are different than white people.) I spent the commercial breaks reading a road atlas, only moving off the couch to stare at the lack of food in the fridge, and wishing I would've gotten a couple extra burritos at Chipotle earlier.

So yeah, it's pretty rough right now. If I were to update my facebook status, it would definitely have a few frowny faces tacked on the end. Don't be surprised if after the game tonight, I'm attempting to make homemade mint juleps and gambling on computer-controlled races for Super Mario Kart.

My $10 exacta box for Koopa Troopa and Yoshi finishing 1-2 in the Mushroom Cup looks promising right now.

On a side note, congrats to Z-Unit and Tara, whose wedding I missed this last weekend due to being in Louisville. I would've bought you a more expensive gift if Freisan Fire hadn't taken 18th fucking place on Saturday. Dammit.