Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Alaska Diaries, week 4

Pukers Die!!! The Alaska Diaries
[names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent]

WEEK FOUR: Arrival at the Cannery

Monday (day 22)
We plan to leave around 9am--NOPE! Van won't start.
We have to get car towed to Tok, Alaska. They work on the van for a while, costs $80. We drive van back to pick up the rest of the guys and things seem fine.

We turn the car off, and it won't start up again. _______ has to get ride from crazy looking guy back to Tok, and comes back with the mechanic. He starts the car, but we need a new starter.

He puts in the new part while we go buy MUCH beer and a Penthouse. We get totally wasted on 16 oz. Hamm's and hang out at the garage. The guys at the garage give us salmon to cook. Car runs, but doesn't have much power. _____ drives it to the nearest campsite. I pass out drunk and miss the salmon dinner.

Tuesday (day 23)
I start off with a good shower. We leave the campsite.

Still no power driving up hills. ______ & _______ actually have to get out of the van right on the highway and push while we go up a steep hill.

We finally make it to Anchorage. Van is terrible! _______ gets an AmEx advance on his card and we eat at "Eatery." We literally roll the car into Firestone (right as we tried to leave the city).

We leave the van at Firestone and get a ride in the back of a pickup truck with a totally hot girl to Chilkoot Charlie's. We play pool and drink whatever beer we can afford. I get wasted and call ______.

The bar is huge and totally unreal. We see two bands playing at the same time in different parts of the club-- "Kaboom" and "Fear of Flying"... Fear of Flying performs completely insane covers of "Mr. Roboto" (with costumes), Journey, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, Genesis and "Cars" by Gary Numan. Great place.

We stumble out of the place and sleep in the back of a Wonder Bread truck parked nearby. Freezing cold!!! The rest of the guys get high and sleep at a church, get busted, and walk around forever.

Wednesday (day 24)
We wake up in bread truck. Buy coffee and rolls at 7-11.

We see the rest of the guys back at Firestone. They all fell asleep in the showroom while me and _____ walked around. We got _____ and went to Denny's across the street for hours. Then we went back to Firestone to sleep some more (______ slept in the tires display).

The van was fixed by noon, but I wasn't approved for a Firestone credit card. The bill is $412! The car still doesn't have a lot of power - lots of trouble on hills.

We got to the Trans-Aqua processing plant in Kasilof today. Nice place! We apply for jobs & hang out with a bunch of people. Took a nap. We ate lots of food and drink lots of beer.

Thursday (day 25)
We get up early and drive to Soldotna for our audition at the Nightwatch. The car needs to be jumped.

We play "Mary Had a Little Lamb", "Sneakin' Sally...", "Lay Down Sally", "Roadhouse Blues", "Drivin' South" and "Firefly". _____'s bass breaks during the set. We get the gig! Half-price food and free beer.

The Nightwatch guy (Ira) gets us completely stoned. HIGH! We drive down to Homer to find more clubs. We eat raw Ramen noodles in the van. We stop at a gas station and _______ buys everyone two candy bars each.

I sleep. And sleep. ________ snores really fucking loud. Everyone sleeps.

Friday (day 26)
I wake up late. Clean out the van... it won't start again.

______ is already working here at the plant. We sit around and play pitch.

Trans-Aqua has an opening season party tonight. The party is nuts! Huge spread of food and beer. ______ gets totally wasted immediately, and so does everyone else. _______ kicks a chicken across the floor and gets yelled at.

We set up the equipment and play:

"A" Jam
Sneakin' Sally
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Dead Flowers
L.A. Woman
Roadhouse Blues
Heard It Through the Grapevine
Suzie Q
Lay Down Sally
American Woman
Voodoo Chile
Stone Free
Good Times Bad Times
Shotgun Blues
Long Train Runnin'
Brown Eyed Girl
Blues (?)
The Lemon Song

Drivin' South

We're billed as "Pro Motorcycle"... the drums completely fall apart during the set. ________ makes out with some chick at the party. Our boss hooks up too.

A guy named Marty sings "Purple Halibut" and other weird songs. He also calls _______ a "dildo" at the party.

We get crazy high and ________ sprays a fire extinguisher everywhere.

Saturday (day 27)
I missed work. ________ bikes to town (on what bike?).

It's cold and rainy today. We play pitch and get high.

Later we drive down to Homer. We eat pizza (lots of it!).

We audition at the "Land's End" club.

We played:
Gimme Three Steps
Sneakin' Sally
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Dead Flowers
Roadhouse Blues
Lay Down Sally
"A" Jam
Brown Eyed Girl

We got the gig! $300+ on Thursday nights. I slept in the van the whole way home.

Sunday (day 28)
Father's Day. I slept late! Played cribbage.

Tonight we play our first gig at the Nightwatch for $200. We eat lots of half-price food.

Stone Free
Sneakin' Sally
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Dead Flowers
Wild Night
Roadhouse Blues
Lay Down Sally
"A" Jam
Brown Eyed Girl
L.A. Woman
Heard It Through the Grapevine
Proud Mary
Fortunate Son
Bad Moon Rising
Funk You
Shotgun Blues
Pale Blue Eyes
Needle and the Damage Done
Can't Help Falling in Love
Drivin' South
Honky Tonk Women
Further On Up the Road
Long Train Runnin'
Bad Case of Loving You
I Wish
American Woman

WASTED! Me, ________, and _______ get kicked out of the club. "Isis" is kinda hot.

We all rolled around in the back of the van on the way home (dangerous!). _______ pukes back at the cannery, and _______ falls over.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yankees 4, Angels 3

I had my doubts about this game even being played at all. I mean, I knew they'd eventually play the game, but probably not Saturday. The fact that they were so wrong about the weather for Friday made me worry even more-- perhaps the rain was just "saving up" for a Saturday typhoon.

Well, the weather pretty much held up. I was absolutely exhausted by mid-afternoon, after getting up at the crack of dawn with Jr. with a head-splitter and a bottle of expired Advil. I got him down for a nap somehow at around 1:30, and worked for a few hours. The kid woke up at around 4, literally "screaming for vengeance." He had one of those night terror wake-ups where he's absolutely inconsolable for 15 minutes or so, which is a lot like me when FreshDirect delivers a broken six-pack of beer. The kid was completely calmed down by the time the sitter arrived.

Mz and I made the bus in decent time, and descended into the bowels of 125th St with what seemed like ample time to make pre-game ceremonies. Few stations in the system deserve to be described using the word "bowels" more than the 125th A/B/C/D station. I'll just leave it at that.

Bowels or no bowels, the platform was totally packed. Like, "something's wrong" packed. We didn't even bother trying to board this train, which Mz accurately ranked a "5" on the five-point crowd scale. We got on the next one pretty easily, and Mz even got offered a seat by a nice young girl. The girl's mom (sister? aunt?) immediately retracted the offer, barking, "No, she was sitting there!" Our simultaneous two-headed reply was:

MZ - "she offered me the seat..."
LEE - "my wife's six months pregnant!"

Mz got the seat and we made it in just in time to see Tino toss the first pitch. I really liked our seats, even though we were in extreme right field. The Terrace seats at the new Stadium are kinda awesome, no matter where they are.

Too bad I was sitting next to an enormous woman (wedged in would be more accurate). She was like a beanbag chair stuffed into a small garbage can, but with big arms sticking out the sides. She seemed nice enough, but the angle I was forced to sit at crimped my sciatic nerve to the point of agony. The woman also ate at least two sausages, which I easily could have taken bites of without her noticing.

It was very cold. I talked the beer lady into letting me keep the cap of my plastic beer, with hopes of being able to carry the beer around in my pocket. Our seats were right in line with the supposed "jetstream" to right field, so wind was certainly a factor. We ended up seeking shelter in the Yankees Museum, as did other wussies. I saw one funny guy standing outside the Museum slurping two 20 oz. beers while his kid stood inside trying to get warm.

I guess we saw a few funny things. Some lunatic was walking around in a green spandex bodysuit, totally straight-faced. Mz said she thought she saw him getting kicked out; I figured he probably had to take a piss and got caught half-naked in the restroom.

Also caught a hilarious "incident" brewing near our seats. Some totally drunk girl had apparently been asked to leave the game (kicked out), and was screaming "I didn't do nothing! I didn't do nothing!" A few minutes later it escalated into an APB situation with about a dozen security guards involved. The legendary "Angel of Death" was among the first responders, and seemed to be an escalating force in the developing chaos. In fact, she herself had to be physically restrained and removed from the fracas.

We wanted to stay for this little show, but the cold was becoming too much to bear. Funny how being really cold is a lot like being really drunk-- we kept getting split up, buying weird foods, wandering around... finally we just had to leave. We made it through the bottom of the ninth, and just couldn't do it any longer. I imagined all the things I might miss: more heroics from A-Rod? (yep) Bullpen jitters all around? (totally) Ronan Tynan storming the field, hobbling around and screaming about "the damned conspiracy"? (not that I know of)

We figured we could still catch the bottom of the tenth in a cab home from 125th, and possibly even catch some at home if we're lucky. The D took for-fucking-ever, so we were a bit behind our plans. We just missed the Angels scoring in the top of the 11th, but made it home in time to see A-Rod's dong right in our own living room. Things got kinda sloppy from there, but obviously turned out alright.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Alaska Diaries, week 3

Pukers Die!!! The Alaska Diaries
[names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent]

WEEK THREE: The Watson Lake junkyard

Monday (day 15)
Cost estimated at $1800 to $2000 to fix van. Will take 3-4 days.
We go to library, take nap, play more pitch.
________ calls - they're coming back to get us (?).
We eat kidney beans with honey & mustard.

Tuesday (day 16)
More Watson Lake...

Wake up late. Steal 5-Alive from gas station.
We finally play bridge. Visited the "signs" park down the road by people on Al-Can.
We eat split pea & ham soup and play more bridge. Raining! Tent gets wet.
_________ steals tobacco from gas station.
We have to get the hell out of here...

Wednesday (day 17)
More Watson Lake...

Wake up earlier today. We haven't showered in a while.

________ and I jump in the filthy muddy lake. Bugs everywhere.

________ and _______ call. Plan is to meet them in Whitehorse.

I tried to steal fries from someone's plate at the diner. We played a lot of bridge. Stole license plates.

Thursday (day 18)
We may leave today!!! The drive shaft needs to be fixed too.

We didn't leave today. More bridge in tent.

I called _______ and my Mom at home. I got a 3.4 for the semester!

We're leaving tomorrow!!! We eat mac & cheese. Our fifth night in the junkyard.

Friday (day 19)
We are leaving soon.
We took down the tent and cleaned up the area this morning.

After many hassles (flames coming from exhaust pipe, lady tells us story about car exploding, other problems...) we finally left Watson Lake.

After a couple of hours, the drive shaft falls off going 60 on the Al-Can.

We end up in Swift River, and meet some really nice guys. We need a U-joint for the van, which is being shipped in from Whitehorse. We set up our tent in front of the gas station.

Saturday (day 20)
4:00 - our part should come in.

The wrong part comes in... but we still make it back on the road!

We're now in Whitehorse with _______, _________, and _________.
_________ just got his haircut.
I feel much better.

Sunday (day 21)
We have to jump the van twice before we leave Whitehorse.
No hassles at the border.

We camp only 300 miles from Anchorage. Eagle Lake/River?

I drank a bottle of Robitussin that was in the van. NUTS! Listened to AC/DC on headphones and played bridge in the tent. "The Larvas!"

week four: arrival at the cannery

Friday, October 9, 2009

American Top 40s

A good friend of ours is coming up to NY to celebrate her 40th birthday with us in a couple of weeks. When my wife asked me what I thought we should do, I immediately answered, "Let's drink a bunch of 40s!" Has there ever been a more obvious answer to a question?

Seemed like a good time to throw together a quick top ten list:


1. Colt 45
G. Heileman, 5.9% alc.
The undisputed king of the parking lot. I lost a bet once (Monday Night Football, I believe) and had to drink two 64 oz. Colts in 20 minutes. I ended sprinting and shrieking across my college campus (not streaking, but it was actually "the Quad") in the middle of the night. I was supposedly studying for a French final exam and was cold busted by my girlfriend at the time, who actually heard me from inside her dorm room at least 200 yards away.

2. Midnight Dragon ("Special Reserve")
G. Heileman, unknown alc.%
One of the great mysteries of the malt liquor pantheon. The label contains a Latin inscription, which a friend translated as "To sip and tip is hip..." We once put out an ivy fire with about a dozen Dragons.

3. Olde English "800"
Miller, 5.9% alc.
Immortalized by Eazy-E and countless others. Probably the coolest beverage on Earth.

4. Crazy Horse
City Brewing, 5.9% alc.
The bottle alone inspires sheer terror. Jager-esque myths surround this brew, as well as P.C. watchdogs pissed off about the hatchets and scalps that used to adorn the label. I was whooping it up with a few of these one night, blind drunk-- one of my roommates just shook his head and muttered, "Strychnine... he's drinking fucking strychnine..."

5. St. Ides
Pabst, 8.0% alc. (high gravity)
As Guru once said, "This shit'll blow your mind, son." I dismissed St. Ides drinkers as wannabes back in the day, for reasons unknown then and now.

6. Country Club
G. Heileman, 5.7% alc.
My vote for "worst malt liquor of all time." I drank one on Houston St. one time and puked all over the curb. I guess it's a classic, but Jesus!

7. Laser
Falstaff, 5.9% alc.
I only ever bought these as a joke-- kinda like buying a really raunchy mag along with your tank of gas. Great label.

8. Magnum
Miller, 5.9% alc.
(see Laser, but without the great label)

9. King Cobra
Annheuser-Busch, 5.9% alc.
Bud's foray into the netherworlds... getting pulled over with one of these in your lap just might land you in the slammer.

10. Colt Ice, Cool Colt
G. Heileman, 7.5 % alc., unknown
Twin abominations.