Monday, June 23, 2008
Booze 'N Bike Rally Recap
While putting back a few High Life's at a local watering hole, my friends and I discussed the feasibility of drinking at every bar in our hometown in one day. We figured there were around 25-30 bars in the city and figured it was doable. We quickly realized that the biggest threat to not accomplishing this feat was driving drunk for the majority of the day. Being creative and dynamic, we quickly found a solution to that threat: we wouldn't take a car from bar to bar, we'd just ride a bicycle. While being on a bike would make the trek more arduous, it would eliminate the threat of being thrown in the hoose-gow for a DUI. We created a route that hit every bar we could think of and began to make plans on how to pull this off. While my group of friends have never been short on making ambitious plans while drunk that are never acted upon, we were dead set on following through with this one. It was just too good to ignore. Three years later, I'm proud to announce that the plan came to fruition. Regrettably, two of the original planners of this event, Willis and Hodges, were unable to participate due to scheduling and logistical conflicts, but they were not forgotten.
On Saturday, June 21st, a group of friends and I participated in an event that challenged our bodies, our hearts, our minds, and our livers. We went on a pub crawl on our bicycles. The crawl was 22 miles long and included 18 bars. Each person must drink 1 beer per bar. At each Irish bar, an Irish Car Bomb is required, in lieu of beer. Our exact route can be found here. We began the sojourn at 11a.m. at the Crestwood Lounge. For posterity's sake, I kept notes.
11a.m. - The Crestwood - 1st beer is a High Life for $1.75. We are in the parking lot before the employees arrive. We have to wait outside for a few minutes for them to open up. Once in, we settle in at the bar and toast to a great day. Various discussion on who had the best breakfast and who's going to regret what they ate. It is quickly determined that Skribbs' steak and bagel sandwich from McDonald's is going to haunt her.
11:10a.m. - The bartender emerges from the back room in a bikini. This confuses Chuck. "Uhh, is that the usual here?" We explain that the Crestwood is a bikini bar. Chuck questions how he didn't know that and can't believe he's never been here before.
-"I'm not in a rush by any means, but I'd like to get a few bars under my belt before I work on this jibber."
- A minor outburst occurs when the bartender informs us that the special of the day is Ladies domestics for a buck. All the guys are yelling at the girls in the group saying they should have bought everyone's beer since they are the only ones who get the special. Never has $.75 caused such an uproar.
- The sign below sends us on our way in style. (The large black man in the picture was not part of our entourage.)
11:30a.m. - The Penalty Box - We pull into the Penalty Box only to find out they don't open until noon. We debate over whether we should just go on to the next bar on the route and drink two beers there to make up for skipping the Penalty Box or wait for it to open. It is agreed that we can't waste time sitting around doing nothing, so I offer a suggestion. I propose going to the party store next door and just buying beers there and drinking them in the parking lot and count that as one of our stops. Everyone agrees.
11:35a.m. - Liquor Castle - We file in and begin taking cans off of six packs so we can buy them loose.
- "Party Stores love when people do this."
- Each of us buys a single can and asks for a paper bag. Then its off to the parking lot to down them. We spot a cop parked 2 driveways down in the subdivision so we try to be as low key as possible. Open intox tickets would be quite the buzzkill.
- Some of us want to go right back into the party store and return our empty so we can collect the deposit. We don't. But we should have.
12:05p.m. - PY Stix - The special is a bucket of 3 beers for $5.
- Everyone is still working on getting their sea legs back with regard to riding a bike. Chuck nearly went ass over applecart when Johnny slammed on his breaks for God knows what reason.
- Hougland had to call his pit crew for a new bike on this leg. His brakes wouldn't release the tire and it was kicking his ass. His girlfriend drops off a replacement for him.
- It's pretty hot outside and at this point my t-shirt is beginning to stick to my back.
12:11p.m. - Hougland lights the first cigarette of the trip. The Ace Ventura quotes officially begin while talking about the cop by the party store. "Is your number still 911? Alrighty, then."
12:35p.m. - Mason's - No specials. I decide to eat lunch here, because they have the best burgers in town. Don't believe me? It says so on their napkins (above). And napkins don't lie. We overwhelmed the waitress, who was a lifer and wasn't happy about taking a million different beer orders at once. After she delivered all of our drinks, I asked to order a cheeseburger. She nodded and took care of another table. I assumed she'd be back in a few minutes to take my order. Instead, she came back and plopped a cheeseburger down in front of me. Now I've been to Mason's before and usually they ask what you'd like on the burger, how you would like it cooked, and if you want any sides. The waitress apparently didn't want to bother me with such frivolous details, so I got a plain cheeseburger cooked however the grillman wanted to cook it. It was still delicious.
- Skribbs, a high school teacher, comparing her afterschool activities to those of the teacher in the class next to her: "He does everything; coaches quiz bowl, tutors, anything to make any nickel he can. Screw nickels...I need naps."
1:15p.m. - Plymouth Roadhouse - No specials. This is the second leg in which a bike craps out on us, as well as the second bikini bar of the trip. The waitress is less shy than the bartender from the Crestwood. Either that, or she just likes wearing thongs more.
1:32p.m. - A crazy old man comes up to us and asks if we want to buy any fireworks. We all fake like we're thinking it over and ultimately decide that we don't need any Black Cats today. This guy was fucking creepy.
- Someone here loves Metallica, because they've played 4 songs in a row on the jukebox.
- It's probably a good idea we're only having one beer here because it seems like the kind of crowd that wouldn't appreciate our sense of humor and would have little patience for our antics.
- Hougland and Johnny leave ahead of us to swap out the broken bike at Hougland's girlfriends house, which is right down the street. Two and a half hours in, and Hougland's girl is already the MVP of the day.
1:50p.m. - Paddy's Pub - The first Irish bar, which means the first Irish Car Bomb that we have to drink. Paddy's Pub used to be called Hitter's as recently as last month. I have my doubts if this place should be considered a true Irish Bar. The group agrees that as long as they have Guiness on tap, we'll consider it an Irish bar, and do a car bomb.
- They have Guinness on tap. And an Irish Flag. That settles it.
- Hougland and Johnny come back. Johnny looks like he's going to die of heatstroke he's so red. They explain that the bike completely crapped out and was unrideable so they had to ditch it. Where, you ask? "Somewhere between a brickwall and some bushes." Awesome.
- Some members of the group are expressing concern about doing a car bomb on such a hot day and while being fatigued. "You might as well have me drink a gallon of milk on the way to the next bar."
- We all down our shots, some faster than others. Mike T, offering advice to one of the slower drinkers: "Do it quick or it'll curdle - oh, too slow! Now you're drinking swiss cheese."
- Reactions to the car bomb:
"Next one I do better be by a toilet, because it's not gonna stay down."
2:19p.m. - Lakepointe Yacht Club - The special is 23 ounce drafts for $3.75. 5 Mile is the only one to order the special. The third bikini bar of the trip. "I didn't realize this town had so many bikini bars - I've been missing out!"
- Had the following exchange with the exerciese buff to the right:
"So what's the occasion?"
"We're doing a bike rally pub crawl all over town."
"I figured you guys were on bikes. Are you guys part of a bike club?"
"No, we rode here on bicycles, not motorcycles."
"Oh, are you part of a bicycle club?"
"No, we're not fags!"
- 5 Mile, on if we're doing this ride for charity: "Yeah, it's to raise awareness for future liver replacements."
- This leg took longer than expected because many of us ordered lunch here. During our stop the skies began to darken and rain appeared imminent. A few of our friends from out of town kept texting us with weather updates, but no one summed it up quite like the hillbilly who we spoke with right before leaving the Yacht Club: "It's about to piss on y'all in about ten ta fifteen minutes!" Hey, thanks a million, Chuck Gaidica.
3:30p.m. - One Under - Their special was $1.50 pints. After getting to the One Under, which was over 3 miles away from LPYC and the longest leg of the day, some people had conflicting thoughts on the difficulty of it.
- Jessie: "That leg killed me. I'm so over this. I want to be done."
- Mike T: "Leaving Lakepointe for One Under was smooth sailing. Getting to Lakepointe was what chapped my ass."
- We ask the bartender if she can turn one of the millions of televisions in the bar to ESPN2 so we can catch some of the Euro Cup. She comes back and apologizes that the owner of the bar left and took the remote that controls every tv in the place with him. What a douchebag. Doelker tries to change the channel manually and immediately gets the set stuck on a blue screen: "Aaand, I fucked it up."
- Richie joins us mid-rally to participate. How did he find us? "I just drove around until I saw a bar with a bunch of bikes in front." Makes sense.
4:06p.m. - Bar Louie - No Specials. First bar with a bike rack. First time we lock our bikes up. The worst leg so far. 5 Mile almost got hit crossing Newburgh from some punk kid not paying attention. It would not have been pretty.
- Mike T, at the halfway point: "The bike is not bothering me. The alcohol is clearly having an effect on me." After waiting five minutes for our beer: "We did order, right?"
- It took 9 minutes to get our beers after we ordered. The longest wait of the day. While we waited, it finally began to rain.
- "It better stop raining - I don't want to rust out my chain."
- Random drunken exchange between Richie and Mike T:
"Is that Jimmy Buffet concert all sold out yet?'
"Uh, the concert was last week."
"Damn, I was really looking forward to going."
- Everyone is beginning to feel it at this point. We ride in the rain to the next bar.
4:40p.m. - Claddagh - The second Irish bar of the trip, which means another Irish car bomb. Bubs surprises us and is at the bar waiting for us. He graciously pays the tab for the group's car bombs. A scholar and a gentleman, that Bubs.
- Reactions to the car bombs:
"That was better than I thought it was going to be."
"That was one of the best car bombs I've ever done."
5:00p.m. Champps - Draft Special: Boombas for $3.80. The car bombs did the trick and everyone has perked up. Everyone is now pretty hammered. Yet we continue to get served. Weird. Richie buys the group a round, because he is awesome. We watch Russia beat the Dutch on the big screen and leave as soon as possible to avoid causing a scene. The dude whose job it is to open the door for customers enjoyed our bicycle collection immensely.
5:35p.m. Doc's Sports Retreat - No specials. Jessie bit it hard on the way to Doc's, hitting the curb and taking a header into some bushes. 5 Mile may die from laughter. Jessies is covered in pine needles. She's laughing to avoid crying. She looks like she's off her meds with her hair a mess, her eyes glassy, and her clothes disheveled. She goes to the bathroom and cleans herself up. You wouldn't know anything had happened except her face still spells like pine. Also Johnny got clipped by a car coming off the expressway off ramp. Awesome drivers in this fucking city.
- Some people meet up with us to have a drink, but it's mostly a blur.
6:10ish p.m. - George Murphy's - No specials. Bubs meets us up at this bar as well. But instead of buying us another round he sneaks outside and lets the air out of some of our tires. What a prick. We brought a pump, so crisis averted.
- I think some people ate here, but I don't remember. I was pretty drunk by now and I forgot to write anything down for this bar.
6:55p.m. - Coach's Corner - $2.00 PBR Tallboys. Our reputation has preceded us, as the owner of Coach's is sitting out by the front door with an impressed look on his face. (At least I think it was an impressed look. I get "impressed" mixed up with "wary" sometimes when I'm drunk.) "20 miles, eh? That's a long day!" You're goddamn right, it is.
- Woj meets up with us and Richie drops out and heads home for a prior commitment.
- Bubs fills us in on the details of his vandalizing: "When I was letting the air out of your tires I thought this old dude who watching me do it was going to call the cops on me. I almost threw one of the bikes on the roof, but I wasn't sure you'd be able to get it down." Good call, Bubs. We brought a pump, but forgot to bring our Little Giant.
- I wrote the following quote in my notepad, but it isn't attributed to anyone and has no further explanation: "Titties, man. Fuckin' titties." I have no idea what the context of that quote was, but I wish to God I did.
- Doelker fires up his flux capacitor and orders a Bud Dry from 1991. Seriously, how is this still being served?
7:33p.m. - Wintergarden - No specials that I can remember.
- Another random quote, unattributed: "I haven't said 'fag' in a year and a half and as soon as I say it I end up offending one."
-" How many bars have we been to? Because I feel like a million dollars!"
- At this point I go to the bathroom to introduce Mr. Thickdick to Mr. Urinal Cake. While I'm doing my thing, I hear some random dude suffering from massive diarrhea in the stall next to me. It is LOUD. And sounds sloppy. After a few minutes of hearing just pure torture I check to see if the dude is gonna make it. "You alright in there, brother?" To my surprise, out pops Chuck, from our group, wiping his mouth. I'm incredulous: "That was puke? That sounded like foulness. Jesus, are you okay?" Chuck confirms that he'll live and we both go back to drinking. The sound of his diarrhea/vomit continues to fuel my nightmares.
8:10p.m. - Bench Pub - No specials. We opt for pitchers. Everyone is a mess, but feeling no pain. Here is a scan of my notebook paper from this bar so you can see the effect alcohol has had on my handwriting. I don't normally write like I'm Muhammed Ali jumping on a trampoline in an earthquake with his opposite hand. I'm saying that my writing was sloppy, people.
- "Show of hands...who is excited about doing car bombs next bar?" 5 Mile just sits there, unmoving: "Is my hand up yet?"
8:35p.m. - O'Malley's - The final Irish bar of the trip. All I wrote for this bar was the following:
- Car bombs.
- People's legs have stopped working.
- Everyone's butts hurt.
9:00p.m. - The Stables - The final destination. After a 2 mile ride from O'Malley's to our familiar haunt, The Stables, we were greeted to the closest thing we'll ever see to a hero's welcome. A bunch of our weaker-willed friends met us at the Stables to congratulate us on our awesomeness. It was great to see everyone rooting us on. It was also nice to finally get some different drinking buddies.
- "You going to singing karaoke? (Starts singing Sweet Caroline) It's easy because of the ba ba ba's"
"Oh yeah, it's all about the ba's."
- "Next year we need to do this in reverse so we can finish with all of the bikini bars." - Chuck
Final Booze 'n Bike Rally Tally:
10 Hours of Drinking
3 Irish Car Bombs
1 Party Store
1 Hell of a hangover
Thursday, June 19, 2008
This Guy is Punnier Than Mort Crim
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Rollerblading Is Hard
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Now You’re On The Trolley
Every year, the city I live in has a week long festival featuring a carnival, live music and entertainment, and a fireworks display to cap off the event. This event is called the Livonia Spree. And it is fucking awesome.
When you are little kid you live for this thing. The rides seem epic and the cotton candy is endless. It was the next best thing to Disney World, and the best part was that if you were lucky you got to go multiple times in that week. Usually once or twice early in the week, but always on Sunday to meet up with friends and family to watch the fireworks. It was like a giant picnic with snacks and pop for the kids and coolers of beer for the adults and 14 year olds. If anyone wanted to burgle the hell out of Livonia they should do it the night of the Spree Fireworks. Outside of the viewing area for the fireworks show, the city is a ghost town and all the cops are busy controlling traffic.
When you're a teenager and everything sucks and is boring, the Spree still offers you something. It's one of the first places - besides the mall - that your parents will let you go to by yourself. Hanging out there with your buddies without any supervision is awesome...until the kid in the Larry Johnson Hornet's jersey by the punching bag machine hears you make a joke about him and asks if you've got a problem with him. Then you begin to wish someone - anyone - in a position of authority was there to prevent your face from getting broken. Or you wish that your friends weren't such big pussies and that they'd stand up for you so you wouldn't have to stand up for yourself. But I digress.
Even now that I'm in my twenties I still enjoy going to the Spree. A couple of years ago I slipped a fiver to the guy running the "Himalaya" (pictured above) and instructed him to make the ride "the best ever." It was the best five dollars I've ever spent. He started out the ride at full speed...in reverse. It was unprecedented. The ride lasted forever - I swear he let us go through like three Poison songs. The kids and whiggers in line to be next were booing because they had to wait so long. It was just awesome. With the exception of one or two Carpet Slides, it was the greatest ride of my life.
Now I'm not saying that the Spree is the best thing ever, just that it is still capable of providing a lot of people with some good times and some good stories - even to cynical dickheads like myself. I know a fair amount of people hate the Spree. That's fine with me. Don't come. They'll be less of a line at the Pirate Ship and Beer Tent. I don't have any illusions that the Spree is greater than it is, but it is a long-standing tradition and it is something to do in a city whose population laments daily about the lack of anything ever going on.
What I'm trying to say, is that I've never felt the need to defend the Spree from its detractors. I liked it well enough and I didn't really give a shit if people didn't like it. That was their problem. Then I read a letter in the local paper bitching about the Spree. And it enraged me. Even now, days after I initially read it, I'm still getting upset just thinking about the asshole who wrote it and how badly I want to tell him to eff off. After reading it, I decided to submit my own letter to the editor about the letter that got my panties in a bunch. The offending letter is below, followed by my response. I'm hoping that it makes this Thursday's edition.
Dreading the Spree
Hee haw! Ma and Pa Kettle, grab the young-uns and head to Lirvanna town's premier, annual cultural event - Whee! The Spree! (Simpleton entertainment for the "great unwashed"). Yes, here again comes that dreary event - the one which defines the city for what it truly is - someplace little better than a backwoods borough (despite how it attempts to put on Bloomfield Hills-type airs).
How I dread each June that brings the Spree. It really lowers what few standards Livonia has. To begin with, most people aren't aware of the low character of the carny folk camping out at Ford Field. Stroll through their camp-grounds and you'll find all the "empties" tossed out around their living quarters/trailers (many of which are occupied by "shack job" couples).
During the carnival itself, you'll find lame amusement rides (St. Mary's Polish Country Fair looks fun in comparison), plus over-priced, small portioned food and "watered down" beverages. Sadly, now gone are those cultural icon exhibits, Machine-gun Kelly and the Great Lakes (fake) wrestlers, and the Chinese midget acrobats. Horrid, loud music blares from loud-speakers at this over-crowded event, where pick-pockets troll for targets, and gangs of unsupervised, under-aged youth gad about as they indulge in illegal use of booze and drugs.
As regards the fireworks, we don't even seem to know when July 4th is since we shoot 'em off in June! Anyway, you've seen one firework, you've seen them all - BORING! Fireworks also frighten most dogs, and startled nesting birds often bump their young out onto the ground. The show is also over-crowded, with people filling up any vantage point (streets, parking lots, private property), which they litter. You'll see the yahoos sitting on car-hoods, on lawn-chairs, with beer coolers etc, in colorful, trailer-park trash fashion.
This letter is in response to Leo Weber's letter on 6/1, in which he essentially blames the Spree for being too popular, killing young birds, and providing unsatisfying food in too small of portions. One would think that if the food wasn't any good, one wouldn't request to have more of it.
Mr. Weber also laments how the Spree lowers the city's standards because of the crowd it attracts. Mr. Weber should feel lucky that Livonia's standards are so "low" that his fellow citizens put up with his elitist and cantankerous attitude instead of running him out of town for his frivolous and ill-informed complaining about an event that brings revenue to the city, fosters a sense of community, and provides enjoyment to so many.
While I will admit that the Spree does have some negative aspects to it, I think it more than redeems itself by forcing the humorless grouches in the city to stay inside their ivory towers (or are they glass houses?) for a week to avoid encountering the "unwashed" masses who have the gall to try to have fun in a family-friendly environment.
Someone should inform Mr. Weber that the people who work at and attend the Spree are not on his lawn, and that he needs to stop yelling at them to get off it.
God, do I hope they run that in the paper, just so I can ruin that old fart's day like he ruined mine.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
The Sweetest Hangover
This is the montage that CBC ran after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. It appears that CBC let Alan Almond from WNIC's "Pillowtalk" pick the song to go along with the clips because it is a snoozer. I can appreciate the message of the song, but it needed less of of Ron Burgundy's jazz flute and more of Bruce Dickinson's cowbell. The montage is heavy on the Eastern Conference teams and Sidney Crosby's poo-stache but there are some good shots of Detroit fans, including a dude just chucking a huge octopus onto the ice about a minute in and a clip of Mo Cheese not being thin.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Wow. Triple overtime losses to clearly inferior teams sucks balls. I am drunk and figured I would post my thoughts after watching the Red Wings lose Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals in heartbreaking fashion. I don't have much to say about the game, because I leave the spouting of horseshit opinions and commentary to the fags who call in to talk radio shows, like "Stevenson Bill" or "Stevenson Dan" on WDFN. Yelling "Bench Jiri Hudler" just doesn't make me feel better about the outcome of today's game and doesn't prove that I know what I'm talking about.
When confronted with a gut punch loss like this, I try to look on the brighter side of things. That doesn't mean that after losses I'm like some firecrotch singing "the sun will come out tomorrow," it's just that I take a moment to be thankful that I didn't paint my upper body in red and white and go down to "Posertown Cafe" (aka Hockeytown Cafe) and buy $8 beers all night only to see the Wings lose. I don't know what it says about my personality, but I feel better seeing other people get more upset about the loss than I get.
Yeah it sucks the Wings lost, and that they were 30 seconds away from hoisting the Cup. But if this loss means that the guy behind me at the bar who kept yelling incisive coaching instructions like "Do It!" and "Shoot!" and "C'mon!" at the TV had his night ruined, then I am quite alright with the Wings wrapping up the series in Pittsburgh. The sight of that douchebag punching the wall in frustration before he left the bar was the next best thing to seeing Hank and Pavel raise the Cup in triumph.