Monday, October 27, 2008

J-Man goes Camping (sort of)

As I mentioned in a past post, this past weekend I was going camping for the first time in my life. The plan was for me to drive over to Danielle's around 9:30 on Saturday morning and we would caravan from there along with two other carloads all the way to Mt. Jackson, VA to the cabin of her graduate program director.

Seems like a good plan. Probably would have been good to get a good night's sleep the night before, but instead a low key night grabbing a few beers with Dave turned into a 2 AM drunken shitshow where I seemed to run into a bunch of different friends at a variety of bars, including a trip to a new one, Sasso, that I had never been to before. In any case, the 8:15 AM wakeup was rougher than expected, but I grab a bagel sandwich and headed to College Park right on time. What was also right on time, was my need to take a morning shit right when I got to Danielle's place...therein lies the problem with drinking the night before.

Problem is, they have only one bathroom for the three roommates to share. And one of them is getting ready for the first 10 minutes I'm there waiting. Did I mention that I had not yet met the roommates, nor anyone going on this camping trip before? So, yes, I am now the guy that shows up to a new place and shits. Yep, that's me.

I finish that up and we load up Danielle's car with the gigantic tent my older brother let me borrow and the other supplies. Seriously, this tent is like 10 X 10 and I can stand completely upright's like a convention center of the tent world. It's mildly drizzling as we depart, but that quickly turns to rain on 495, pouring on 66, and monsoon on 81. Thankfully, I'm not driving, but sitting in a car for two hours after a night of drinking is never the best thing.

We pull up to the cabin, which is well secluded in the woods down a pretty windy path, and about 20 people are already there. It's your standard wooden cabin in the forest, equipped with wrap around porch, rustic kitchen, wood burning furnace, and cider press. Cider press?!

Well, that was the theme of the gathering, a Cider Fest. So, first thing you have to do is go to work. Well, actually the first thing I had to do was take a shit...again. Yes, I just pulled up to another place where I know no one, and the first thing I need to do is walk past these strangers and blow up their bathroom. Of course, it's single ply!! Why do people still use single ply? Are we really in a depression? I'm sorry, but as I've mentioned before, I have a strict ply minimum required between my ass and my hand.

After that, I'm feeling better, grab my first beer and head over to help with pressing cider. It's a pretty cool process, as you hand crank an apple crusher which sends the apple bits into a bucket below. Once you fill the bucket with apple mush, you move it to the actual press where, you turn a crank and squeeze the cider into a bucket below. It was pretty good stuff...hand made by me. See, aren't you glad I have a strict ply minimum?

After the cider making, we move on to eating, which includes a wide variety of stuff brought by all the guests. Did I mention that the program is for people studying Conservationist something & Sustainable Biology? So, basically we're talking about a lot of conservationalist, which usually means tree huggers, which usually means vegetarians. Danielle and I had a few granola and birkenstocks jokes on the way up, but I promised to withhold from any further jokes while on-site.

Anyway, there's a lot of vegetarian dishes to be passed over by me (I've shat enough today), but there's also some nice grilled Elk (first time I've ever had this), Venison, and barbeque chicken. Don't worry, all the animals are from a sustainable population...we're not eating panda here.

We finish eating and decide it's time to carve the pumpkins we got on the way up...yeah, I left that part was rainy, so we ran. Anyway, Danielle gave away one of our pumpkins to her friend who didn't bring one, so we ended up sharing a pumpkin. Aaahhh, I cute. Well, if you saw what we created, you wouldn't think it was that cute. We had a stencil for a pirate skull and crow bones, but the pumpkin was a little too small for the bottom part, so I had the free hand it. The result was a skull that looked like it came from either a retard or Jay Leno.

Danielle insisted it would look better once it was lit, but she was terribly wrong. I have a picture to prove it. We're getting two more pumpkins today to carve tonight, so hopefully my second attempt (she was holding me back) will be better.

Anyway, the night is soon approaching as we begin to set a bonfire, partake in a scavenger hunt, and eat some desserts. My hands are frozen from being outside all day and from holding a beer most of the time, so as darkness approaches and we realize we still haven't set up our tent, we have the discussion.

Set up the tent in the dark and sleep in the wet and cold...or get in the car and drive back to my place, jump in a warm bed, and watch the end of the Penn State-OSU game.

Thankfully, we are of the same mind, as we bolt from the cabin, stop at McDonald's so I can grab some "normal" food, and arrive at my place in time to catch the end of the 3rd quarter.

And when we woke up on Sunday morning, we both realized we made a great decision. I mean, seriously...who would want to sleep outside in the cold? It just seems stupid, when there is a perfectly warm house to sleep in instead. Did you expect something different?

I'm not saying I'll never go camping, but for now, we'll just have to wait. At least I learned how to press cider, eat elk, and fight off the desire to make a joke as Abba was being played around a campfire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top 10: Worst Halloween Costumes

As most of you are aware, I am a huge fan of Halloween. There are very few nights when you can dress up like a moron, go out to the bars, and pretty much start up a conversation with anyone just because. It's like on Halloween, everyone is having a big party, and we're all invited.

So, with that in mind, the next question comes...What am I going to be this year? I've had my share of classic costumes over the years, and I've seen a few great ones out at the bars. But as I try to come up with good ideas, all that pops into my head are arguably the worst costume ideas. So that got me to thinking...what would be the Worst Costume Ideas? Which leads me to this list of: (may at your own discretion)

Top 10 Worst Costume Ideas:
10) Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights after the Crash: A simple costume which includes only tidy whities and a NASCAR helmet. It's not that bad of a costume, thus it being #10, but wearing tidy whities all night...rough. I would laugh if I saw this.
9) Derek Jeter: This is less the costume as it is where you wear it. I would love to see someone sporting this out to the bars in Boston. He's probably not making it home.
8) A pedophile/rapist/serial killer/person from Montana: Real mustache, tight jeans, jeans jacket, jeans shirt, and some creepy glasses. Add some vasoline on your face to give that greasy look and it's a winner.
7) Your mom: What if your girlfriend/wife thought it would be funny and decided to go dressed as your mom? That's not cool at all.
6) Priest with a cabbage patch kid glued to his crotch: Nothing says inappropriate like making fun of religious figures. Make sure the head is firmly attached at the crotch to give the impression of a young boy giving a BJ. As a Jew, I find this humorous...can't say others would.
5) A piece of shit: Not those corny (completely not intentional) costumes of poo with horns being "Bull Shit" and angel wings being "Holy Shit", I'm talking, what if someone wore all brown and then rubbed real shit all over themselves to make it more realistic. I would probably laugh at the craziness of it all, then vomit.
4) Muslim Terrorist: Strap on the beard, the turbin, and some fake dynamite. See how far you get.
3) KKK Member: I'd like to see if the Klansman or the Muslim gets beaten down first. My money is on Jeter in Beantown.
2) Unwanted Pregnancy under President McCain: This one's for the ladies. Pour fake blood all over your legs, wear a dress that you stuff a basketball under and then attach a clothing hanger to the inside of your thigh so it protrudes out the bottom. If you can figure out what I'm describing, you're probably appalled right now. I could actually see some douche wearing this out here in DC, however.
1) Cancer Patient: Seriously. If you saw someone with a bald head wearing a hospital gown and holding an IV bag, all you could do is shake your head in disgust. This one I hope I never see.

Yep, pretty sure I'll get a few hate comments on this one...and I didn't even put "Retard" as one of the costume ideas.

Brain Farts 13

Well, lot of little bits of info and stupid thoughts, so no full post. Instead, enjoy the Brain Farts. Not quite as satisfying as the full shit, but still amusing:

  • Glad I got my cable back on this past Sunday, as my PS3 broke when the cable guy showed up. I didn't realize it at the time, but the game I was playing froze. I shut off the system in disgust and with the beauty of TV and Football Sunday there was little reason to turn it back on until yesterday...when I found out it doesn't read any discs. And Sony won't repair it under warranty because I don't have the receipt anymore. So it's gonna cost $150 to get it fixed. Why God? Why?
  • I'm bored at work as things are slowing down, so I decided to amuse myself by convincing my brother to grow a mustache from now until Halloween. It'll cost me $20 if he follows through on it, but calling him Freddy Mercury and Magnum for the next two weeks will be worth it.
  • I'm sure some conspiracy people have mentioned it before, and while I'm not trying to make a political or prejudicial statement by pointing this out, but doesn't it seem a little too crazy that you can easily transform the bumper sticker Obama Biden into Osama Bin Laden? I mean really? Did Obama have to choose a running mate whose name was that close? REALLY? I'm pretty sure every person I've EVER met could have been his running mate and the name's wouldn't have been so close. REALLY?
  • Isn't it also ironic that my 13th Brain Farts comes a mere week and a half before Halloween?? No, actually it isn't.
  • Speaking of Halloween, the early line on me losing either my phone, camera or wallet on Halloween night is probably around 4-1, especially given that my costume, which came yesterday, has no pockets in the "pants."

That's it for now. Back to making fun of old Rollie Fingers sitting at his desk here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Go Camping?

I feel it only appropriate to follow my last post regarding my dependence on TV and Internet with news that for the first time in my entire life, I am going to go camping.

This coming Saturday, Danielle has invited me to come with her to a Cider Fest in Mount Jackson, VA (yeah, I don't know where that is either) that her graduate school program organizes every year. The plan is simple. Drive 2 hours to someone's cabin in the mountains, make cider to store for the following year in the morning, and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening drinking the cider and cider wine that was made the previous year, while eating barbeque and playing games.

I think I can handle all of that stuff, as I've done all of that in the past. The trick comes at the end of the day. You see, there will be around 100 people at this Ciderfest, and there are only about 4 beds or so in the cabin. So the typical plan is for the remaining guests to pitch a tent (he he) and sleep outside.

Let me mention this again...I have never slept outside before, with the exception of my freshman year in college when I was too drunk and tired to climb the steps into my dorm building and instead fell asleep at the bottom of the stairs. In this case, I may be just as drunk, but the lead up is quite different.

I like my bed. I like my ceiling. I like a controlled temperature of 68 degrees. I like not wondering if a bear is going to eat me while I sleep. You know, the simple things.

I'm not gonna go into any further discussion of this matter at this point. I just wanted to let you all know, so that if you don't see any posts after this weekend, you can thank old Yogi for doing in the J-Man. Wish me luck...I'm sure I'll do fine...I adapt well in new environments.

Did I mention that the forecast is for rain?

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Cable??!!

I'm not dead. Though I might as well have been. You see I haven't written a post in almost a week because my cable and my internet has been out. Yes, I was without both for over four days. No warning. No time to get milk, eggs, and toilet paper. (Do weather men expect us to eat only omelettes and shit alot during snow storms?) I was stuck with this most unnatural disaster when I least expected it.

Remember that post when I mentioned the tree being removed from my neighbor's yard? Well, the next day, they took away the ground too. They dug a hole adjacent to their house that was the entire length of their house by about 6 feet wide and about 10 feet deep...exposing the entire foundation. Then they resealed the foundation or some shit, and ultimately backfilled the hole. And that is when they broke my cable.

Have you ever lived without TV? It's doable, so long as you can fill your time with internet surfing and perhaps even downloading a TV show or two. Have you ever lived without the internet? It's tough, wondering if someone is trying to email you because no one seems to want to actually talk in person any more. Do I have a new facebook friend? What's that wacky J-Man been up to?

Now, imagine being without both of them? I know, it's horrible to even think of, but I feel everyone needs to be prepared for such a disaster. I was not prepared. Emails went unanswered. College football scores went unknown. Porn went unwatched.

I literally had the feeling that I had no electricity, despite the lights being on. Like I was in some foreign prison camp. I might as well have lit a candle to walk around my house, eat food out of a can, and shit in my backyard. Seriously though, it is amazing how dependent on my computer and TV I have become. Earlier in the day, I was mocking my friend Edwin about living without his cell. phone only to arrive home and find my connection luxuries missing as well. I truly felt like I was missing something. Like the world was going on while I sat in a box.

You would think that without the distraction of the TV and internet, I would have taken the opportunity to be productive. Like the Simpsons episode where all the kids go outside and start playing. I, however, am far too entrenched in my laziness. I did what any normal man without internet and cable would do. Do Laundry? Nope. Read a book? Nope. Take my dog for more walks? Nope.

I played Madden. It was the only way to stave off insanity. I need the glow of the screen...I crave it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This is less a post as it is a public service announcement to all of my friends that love beer. Back when I went to Charlotte a couple weeks back, we ended up going to the Blackfinn down there. When we walked in one night, I noticed these giant containers of beer sitting on all the tables. It most closely resembles a bong (the smoking kind), but sits about three feet tall with a tap on the bottom. It is full of beer!

So fast forward to this past Saturday night, I head to Blackfinn here in Bethesda to watch the Penn State game with a bunch of people. And that's when I see it on the menu. The "Tower" of beer. And it's on special. 120 ounces of beer for $15. So we order one. Then another. Then four more. Yes, five girls and I killed 720 ounces of beer. Actually, Danielle and I polished off a pitcher before we ordered our first tower, since there was only two of us there at that point. Needless to say, insanity was had by all and I have now found the greatest deal in Beer since the 40 oz. bottles for $5 at the sports bar at the Tropicana in AC.

I'll see you out there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

You Just Can't Win

As I've already brought up in the last post, I ended up staying at Rocket Bar on Friday night as opposed to making my rounds to hopefully meet up with my other friends randomly positioned around the city. What I didn't mention was the fact that I realized that regardless of what I do, if I talk to a woman at a bar, I'm a dick. Here's how it went down.

We roll into Rocket Bar and head to the back corner area of the second bar, over by the shuffle board table. My friend Stephen is pretty tanked and apparently can't control himself when he sees a birthday cake sitting at a table here, and helps himself. Thankfully, the birthday crowd is more than willing to share their cake, and ironically one of the members of the party went to high school with me. I talked to her for a bit, found out it was her boyfriend's birthday and then begin talking with her friend, Kara, for the next 20-30 minutes.

As I've mentioned in past blog entries, I could probably talk to a deaf monkey for hours, so I'm really not sure if I was being charming or what, but after some time, I feel it is best I move on so as not to lead this girl on. I head over to play shuffleboard, and Eric asks me what happened with the girl. He's disappointed in me for walking away as he thought she was pretty hot, and as their entire group left the area, it appears as if I've heard the last from her.

Or not. About an hour later, I'm still playing shuffleboard (I'm apparently getting better at this game) when I get a tap on the shoulder. It's Kara. She's come back to let me know that she's heading out, and when we get to that awkward moment when I don't know what to do, I cave. I ask her if I can get her number so maybe we can hang out some time in the future.

Eric sees this exchange and later comes up to me to inquire about my getting her number.

Eric: So, I saw that girl came back.
Me: Yep, she wanted to say goodbye.
Eric: You get her number?
Me: Yeah.
Eric: So, you gonna call her?
Me: Probably not.
Eric: You're such a dick.

Yes, I am a dick. I didn't want to be. But, yes, ladies, I am apparently "that guy" at the bar that gets your number and never calls. I tried the avoidance technique earlier, but I just couldn't withstand the pressure of awkwardness. Perhaps I need to be stronger in the future to avoid being a dick.

Well, wouldn't you know it. The future comes faster than one would expect. Apparently, I'm throwing mad mojo this particular night, as a new girl appears and I end up talking with her as well. She's on the same side as me playing shuffleboard (now, I'm a pro) so we're just talking that usual shuffleboard shit talk. Anyway, the place closes down, and Eric, G-Man, this girl, her friend, and I all head to the metro. This girl is actually a friend of Eric's, so I'm just thinking we're all leaving together to be friendly.

We wait at the metro for a while, get on the train, and she sits next to me. Everyone else is sitting in their own seat. Uh oh. Awkward moment is coming. Be strong J-Man. Be strong. Her stop is the first one we come to, and as the train starts to slow, I say, 'it was nice meeting you.' Didn't ask for her number. Staying strong.

A few minutes pass and we continue on our trip up the red line. At this point, the girl's friend turns to me and we have this exchange:

Her: Why didn't you ask for her number?
Me: Because I have no intention of calling her. (blunt, but true)
Her: Wow, you're a dick.

Yes, apparently I am a dick. Regardless of what I do, I am indeed a dick.

You just can't win.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Double Dipped

I don't know what it is about this weekend, but it seems as if all of my friends are doing something and none of them are doing it together. I think it is the downfall of having several groups of friends, that for one reason or another are just not friends with each other. Last night was the beginning of Double Dip weekend, but it gets even worse tonight. Here's how it went down.

Several weeks ago, my friend Amber invited me to see an art presentation of some photographs that she took that are being put on display. They were having a wine and cheese presentation for the opening night last night, and I had told her I'd make it when she first brought it up.

Weeks pass, I have no daily planner, and an email comes through from my friend Eric that we can get free tickets to the Wizards pre-season game since we have a ticket plan during the regular season. He's gonna get tickets for a bunch of us, and it's a friend of his's birthday, so we'll make a night of it. He's friends with Amber, and my brother is also on board for this, so this must be a different night. Sounds fun, I'm in.

And then I realize the two are on the same night. Uh oh.

Rewind to about a month and a half ago, and my friend Greg sends me an email that he's got a group of people heading to the USA vs. Cuba soccer game tonight at RFK. Sounds like a fun time, I'm in. I find out later that week that my friend Nicole and some of her friends are going as well. Sweet.

Weeks pass, I obviously still have no daily planner, and Danielle mentions that she and some friends of hers are planning to watch the Penn State game in Bethesda (for my benefit) so that I can meet these old friends of hers. I like Bethesda, I like football, I like meeting new people...I'm in.

And then I realize the two are on the same night. Uh oh.

So last night rolls around, I've spoken with Amber and she's OK with me not coming to the show, as she's a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, but she wants me to meet up with them after the show, and the game, in Bethesda. Seems like a good plan.

Meanwhile, Danielle has gotten terrible news that her grandfather has had a stroke and some further ailments make it somewhat necessary that she take a trip up the Pittsburgh this weekend to see him. Well, I already cancelled going to the soccer game, as I'm not much of a soccer fan, so that's out of the loop. But wouldn't you know it, my friend Kalyn emails me later that day that it's my friend Chris's birthday and they're going out in Adam's Morgan. My other two plans fell through, I'm in.

Then I get home after work yesterday and my friend David emailed that it's his brother, and my friend, Colin's birthday this week, as well, and they're having a party for him in Adam's Morgan at Bourbon. I'm gonna be in Adam's Morgan for Chris's thing, let's double dip.

But then Danielle calls me and tells me that her grandfather is doing much better and she doesn't have to go home after all.

Uh oh.

So, here's what has ended up happening thusfar:

Last night, I went to the Wizards game as planned and texted Amber after the game to check on whether they were actually going out in Bethesda afterward. We're doing OK thusfar. I don't hear back immediately, so I get pulled into going to Rocket Bar near the Verizon Center and hanging out there. Meanwhile, my buddy Greg is in the same neighborhood at Proof, but I can't go there since I'm underdressed, so I invite him to meet up since I'm missing the soccer thing on Saturday. He mentions that Nicole is also going out tonight, so I see if she's interested in going to Rocket Bar.

Apparently, I have my eggs in way too many baskets. Next thing I know, Greg shows up at Rocket Bar, Amber texts me an hour and a half later that she is out in Bethesda, and Nicole texts that she's going out in Adam's Morgan. I'm drunk at this point, so I pull the obvious (and least popular) move. I stay at Rocket Bar.

So I imagine Amber is pissed (sorry) and Nicole is slighted (sorry)...but hey, J-Man is but one man.

Honestly though, when does it ever work out that you leave one bar during prime hours (11:30 PM - 1:30 AM) and successfully meet up with a second group? It's just an impossibility. It's like when you buy a fish from the pet store to put in your aquarium. Most of the time, the fish is going to die, but in all cases, the fish is gonna feel out of place and have to stay in his little bag with his own water for a while just to get situated. Huh?

Anyway, on to tonight. Now that Danielle's thing is back on, I feel it only appropriate that I go with her. I've learned from the past that when in doubt, please the one you see the most often. So I will be heading to Black Finn in about an hour and a half, while missing out on a soccer match and two birthdays in Adam's Morgan. Thankfully, I've started covering my tracks and talking to the people who will be wondering where I am.

And with this double dipping disaster, I have now established a new precedent. I am not committing to doing anything. You want me to meet you for a birthday...I'll see what I can do. Drinks after work...It's possible. Sporting event...I'll check my calendar and get back to you.

Or maybe I'll just start being more of a dick and cut down the number of friends I have. So, you, the guy or girl reading this...I've been meaning to tell you...go fuck yourself.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Have you ever woken up from a nap and something didn't seem quite right with what you were seeing, and you questioned whether you were actually awake or not? Most often, I have the disoriented feeling of not knowing where I am for a bit, or not knowing what day of the week it is. However, just a few minutes ago, I woke up from a 20 minute nap and seemed fine as I walked to my basement to let my brother's dog (who I'm watching this afternoon) and Chloe outside.

I opened up the door and in order to get Jasper to go out with Chloe, I had to walk outside as well. And then something seemed odd. After living in my house for over 4 years now, I have become accustomed to seeing the same thing when I walked outside. Why shouldn't I? Behind my house is my fence, and only about 15 feet from there is the side of my neighbors house. And between the two is a big evergreen tree. Isn't there? Am I awake? Because there is no evergreen there any more. I'm sure it was there just the other day. It's a freakin tree!!! How did it just disappear and I didn't even hear anything? How long was I asleep?

Unfortunately, I'm not dreaming and now it appears as if my view from my back deck is squarely at the side of my neighbor's house. That'll teach me to take a nap.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brain Farts 12

Well, I've got a couple things that I want to touch on, and some of them aren't really worth a full post, so I figured I'd just throw them in in my typical fashion, the Brain Farts. Not quite as satisfying as the full shit, but still humorous.

  • I was watching the Presidential debate last night and I couldn't help noticing that in his shiny black suit, and with his arm issue and waddling walk, John McCain strongly resembled the Penguin. I hope at some point, someone gives him a top hat and long cigarette thing to complete the look.
  • I also don't know if I would vote for either candidate seeing as they haven't grasped the concept of "one minute" or even understand how a stop light works. Even Tom Brokaw was getting irritated.
  • Last night, I got to see my friend Zack's baby, Mikayla. I was able to hold her for a bit and surprisingly she was not crying or fussing during this exchange. While, I like babies and know enough about how to take care of them from general knowledge and my psych classes in college, I would not consider myself an expert on baby handling. However, it never fails that whenever a baby is around, there's some older mother, whose kids are now grown, that has to chime in that she "knows" how to calm a baby. And nothing amuses me more than when this "expert" asks to hold the baby and the baby proceeds to scream like it's being held by a barbed wire fence. And yes, this happened right after I passed off Mikayla. J-Man - 1, Old Mother - 0
  • Did anyone else not notice that the NHL Hockey season started?
  • Or that the WNBA Finals just passed?
  • Work is starting to slow down now and with that comes our need to layoff several of our employees for the Winter. I have had to do this for 9 years now, and every year it is difficult, even though most of the employees are aware it is coming. Perhaps to make it less uncomfortable, I will go as Donald Trump for Halloween this year, and wear the costume in to work to lay everybody off...then it's somewhat festive.
  • Banks are failing all over the place and my bank is named after an actor most famous for playing Clark Griswald in the National Lampoon's Vacation movies. Should I be worried?

Monday, October 06, 2008

For My Amusement Parks

I would have to say that one of my favorite past times is people watching. I'm a bit of a wise-ass (you think?) and find it amusing to see "different" people and either point out something odd about them or just create a story about where they're going and what they're thinking. I've been doing this in camera form as well, if you've checked my facebook or myspace picks in the past. It's actually pretty fun and quite amusing, if you've never tried it.

Anyway, no place is more perfect for people watching than an amusement park. I actually hadn't been to an amusement park since Amy and I went to Hershey Park over three years ago, so when Danielle got free tickets to Six Flags, I figured, why not?

I had a football game on Saturday morning, so after cleaning up and picking her up, we make it to the park area around 2 PM. I figured this wouldn't be all that bad since I imagine most of the crowd gets there earlier in the day so they can get their money's worth out of the park. I figured wrong. The lineup of cars just to turn into the park was ridiculous and then the wait to actually pay for parking ($15!!!!) was even worse. Think, Jersey Turnpike Southbound at the Delaware Bridge in mid-Summer.

Needless to say, our spirits are high and after finding a spot, I discuss with Danielle my underlying goals while at the park. She's on board and we begin to bet on the number of grown men in sports jerseys, mullets, and mohawks we will see. And then I pull out an ultimate bet. Having been to many a theme park in my day, I put a guarantee that we will see one fat person trying, despite the obvious difficulty, to fit into a roller coaster seat. Considering how late in the day that it is, the odds are against me, but I'm feeling lucky on this particular day.

And I better be feeling lucky, because while waiting in line I notice an exceptionally large number of men with long black beards and women wearing robes with their faces covered. Upon entering the turnstyles into the park, I walk through a metal detector monitored by armed policemen, and I'm starting to wonder if I made a wrong turn. It is only after a few steps into the "Main Street" area that I see the banner.

"The Nation of Islam welcomes you all to Muslim Day at Six Flags"

Seriously, I can't make this shit up. I've told you before, I swear I'm living in a movie. So, we grab a map and start heading for our first roller coaster. I spot several mohawks in rapid succession followed by a few Redskins jerseys, and then we pass the log type water ride that usually soaks stupid kids that wait at the "observation booth." You know you know the one I'm talking about, every park has them. Anyway, it's closed. Peculiar. We tredge onward and make it to the rollercoaster we've's closed. Even more peculiar. Come to think of it, I haven't heard the click click click...aaawwwwwwww!!! of any of the rides.

Has homeland security done the ultimate in stereotyping and ordered Six Flags to leave the rollercoasters off on Muslim day? Thankfully, they haven't, but several rides are oddly closed as we make our way to the Joker's jynx. I'm doing my typical people watching as we wait for almost 45 minutes to get on the ride. It is at this point that the girl operating the ride tells Danielle that she can't have her bag in her lap during the ride...or put it on the side. What happened to the old fashioned cubbies on the side of the rollercoaster? Thankfully, the girl caves under the pressure of all the people in line and the relative simplicity of putting the bag on the ground, because I was not about to get off this rollercoaster after all the leadup time it took to get here.

After that, we continue to wander and that is when I come across another great moment in Amusement Park history. During my search for men wearing jerseys I see two apparently Muslim guys walking in our direction...both in jerseys. One is wearing a Jason Campbell jersey, and the other...

Muhsin Muhammed.

Yes, a Muslim man wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey with "Muhammed" written across the back. Seriously. I'm not shitting you. This is bordering on a moment as great as the Asian girl crossing the street wearing a Rice sweatshirt from a couple years back.

But I digress. We make our way to one more rollercoaster, realize that Danielle is supposed to put her bag in an actual locker (that you have to pay for) and my mind begins to numb as we are waiting for almost an hour before we get to the front of the line.

I've lost interest in even looking for jerseys, mullets and mohawks at this point. We're discussing just calling it a day after this one since neither one of us is too fond of the line waiting, and I was less than impressed with the last rollercoaster anyway. And then it happens.

The group directly in front of us to get on the Superman coaster, back seat, a 6 foot, 3 inch, possibly 300 lb. black man nestles into the left seat. I tap on Danielle's shoulder in excitement as the show begins. We both turn and watch as he gives a pull on the seat belt that must first be put on before the harness. He tugs. He squeezes. He adjusts. He tugs again. He shifts in the seat. He looks around awkwardly. I'm crying it's so perfect. One more squeeze. He is actually physically shaking as he pulls at the obviously overextended straps. One more adjustment. More awkward looking around. He's gotta keep trying. Danielle is now crying. And with a great inhale, an aggressive shaking session as he pulls on the strap, and one final squeeze, he's in. The look on his face nearly put me on the floor.

And that my friends is why I love Amusement Parks. Two rollercoasters (we made it to one more before calling it) in and we see our fat guy. What are the odds??!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bowling Redemption

As some of you may recall from a couple months back, I was in a bowling league. Well, that league ended but a new season is now upon us. I've been travelling and up to stuff the last couple weeks, so yesterday evening was our team's fifth game, while only my second. And who should we be matched up against, but my ultimate nemesis from the last season, "Drago."

Last I met Drago, he absolutely dominated, as did his team, and we fell 1-14 to them. But this was a new season, we had combined "I'm With Stupid" with "Better at Skeeball" and now we were looking for redemption.

The combination of our teams pushed me out of the 1st spot, where Hilary bowls, down to the third spot, so I would not have to face the Russian machine directly. A quick look at the handicaps before the game and I notice that everyone on my team, except me, has a higher handicap than their opponent, so we've got early leads and just need to put forth our "A" game.

Most of the matchups are staying close for the entire first game, and Hilary is actually holding her own against a less than perfect Drago. He's not a machine...he's a man!!

We go into the tenth frame with the game in our grasp. Hilary pulls out a victory against Drago. Edwin edges his opponent. And then I'm up. I have a decent lead and it's gonna take a miracle for this guy to pull this one out...and then he does it. Strike. It's still OK, I just need a decent 10th and I'll pull this out. Uh oh. Strike #2. Now we're in trouble. I'm definitely gonna need a mark. What is with this team?!! They always find a way. But not this night. We have a stuffed rally monkey sitting on our table, and I've got about 5 beers in my belly. I walk up to the line and fire one down. It's a blood pins remain. STTEEERRRRIIIKKKKEEE! It's over. I've beat him. Now we are going for the sweep.

Carter needs a spare to stick with the guy he's against...and gets it. Now all he needs is at least 4 pins on the last ball and we will have skunked these mercenaries. He bowled a one. A one!! A one?? Yes, a one. And he drops his game by three pins. We're still up 4-1 after the first game and we always tend to do better after we get a little drunker.

And tonight would be no different. I rail off a spare in the first frame. Edwin drops a strike in the second, followed by a strike of my own. We have a rule when we bowl. If you bowl a turkey (three strikes in a row), you must do the running man. Yes, the dance know that's how we roll. If the team bowls a turkey, all four of us do the running man.

Carter has a chance to get us all dancing and break the spirits of Drago and the Russian contingent (none of them is likely a real Russian, but let's stick with the Rocky metaphor, eh?). He fails. Third frame...Eddo and I drop two more strikes. The politburo is getting anxious. Carter once again keeps us in our seats. If we wanna break these guys down, it looks like it is up to Edwin and I alone.

And so we do. Edwin does a spinning running man as the pins fall and you can feel their hearts breaking. As I stand up there, ball in hand, I know I can lay that final upper cut to KO these punks. Three steps, lean, toss, wait, crash, VICTORY. I turn around, give the nod, and throw my arms and legs forward and back like a 1980's hip-hop video. Their heads drop. The remaining six frames are more of the same. Edwin mimicks dialing a phone as he is "dialed in". I throw out the DeShaun Stevenson and Booker T "Can't see me" hand in front of your face, and we're gonna need four body bags.

When the carnage is over, the final score sits at 14-1. A fitting redemption given the score of my last match with these guys. How sweet it is.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mac Crappy

Two weeks ago, I ordered myself a new computer. Since college, I had been using the same Dell desktop and unfortunately it contracted a series of Trojan viruses a couple months back after my buddy Dave went to a website where you can download movies (real movies...even the ones still at the theater). I tried to fix it, but shit was getting slow and to be honest, using an 8-year old computer is like talking on the Zack Morris cell phone...time for something new.

I had heard that Macs couldn't get these types of viruses, and those commercials are just so darn trendy and clever. However, after thinking it over, I decided that this old computer gave me virtually no trouble, especially given the amount of porn and illegal music downloading I did, why switch to Mac? I went to Dell's site and grabbed myself a top of the line computer, with pretty much everything I could possibly need. My thinking is that the future is in streaming movies through my computer, so I wanted to be prepared...and I wanted to connect it to the monster LCD TV in my bedroom.

Yes, I know. There is now even less of a reason to ever leave my bedroom. All I need is a microwave and a refridgerator, and to teach Chloe to let herself out, and I'll go into hibernation each Winter. But I digress. The reason for this blog is not to go on about my new's to point out how thankful I am that I decided to stay with my PC.

So, here's where it starts: After updating her Mac laptop with Apple software a couple weeks ago, Danielle's computer has been slowly getting slower and slower, to the point where on Sunday she claimed it wouldn't even start. After calling Mac and getting talked through a process to bypass the startup and find the problem, she discovers that her computer is not reading her hard drive. And all of her files from all of her years of grad school are on that hard drive. And she didn't ever back them up. And she's freaking out.

Let me remind you. One Dell for me since college, lots of porn and music, no broken hard drive. Her laptop is only two years old, probably no porn (although that would be kinda cool), and a broken hard drive.

So, she decides to reserve a spot to see a "Genius" at the "Genius Bar" at the Apple store. Since she lives in College Park and there aren't any Apple stores near her, I volunteer to take her laptop in (without the pink carrying case) to the store at Montgomery Mall. She books a time of 5:20 PM for me to take it in, and I promptly arrive at the Apple Store right on time.

I've always looked into the Apple Store and seen mobs of people, wondering how so many people can possibly be buying new Macs and Ipods all the time. Now I know...they're not buying stuff, they're there to get their stuff fixed (how'd you like the use of all the forms of "there" in that sentence?).

After meeting a portly little imp of a girl who informed me that she had "checked me in" with the "Geniuses", I saw my name appear on a list on a screen amidst trendy Apple advertising. I was 4th on the list of 9. And that list was just for Macs. There was a second list of 8 for Ipods...and a crowd standing around the "Genius Bar".

I wish it was a bar, because apparently an appointment doesn't mean much to Apple. I stood there for over 30 minutes, waiting as the "Geniuses" plodded through each of the names before me, attempting to fix the computers right there, while I looked on. At one point, a 15-year old girl and her mother shuffled in and started asking questions about her iPod. The redneck mother didn't take kindly to the "check in" philosophy and said she just had a quick question.

So, what does the "Genius" do, he listens and tries to help. What the fuck?!! How about the rest of us that actually have "appointments?" I am shooting this country hillbilly and her anorexic daughter the "I'm gonna kill you and bury your dead carcasses under your own trailer" look during this whole exchange. They are unfazed.

Finally, this waiting ends, and at 6:05 PM, they call my name. I explain what's wrong with her computer and after checking it with his special genius devices, the lead singer of ZZ Top (that's what he looked like at least) told me the hard drive was still in tact but the computer had a problem. Danielle prepared for this by pre-buying a portable hard drive and I told him to just transfer all the files to the new hard drive before trying to fix anything.

That'll be another 30 minutes or wanna wait or shop around and come back?

Uh, actually, I'm gonna go home and drink shots of bourbon to stop the voice in my head from telling me to strangle old Jesus Ferguson here.

And this, my friends, is why "I am PC."