November 10th, 2008


Obama Wurstfest & Catheters

I may be in love with a singer by the name of Jenny Lewis. You'd know her as the lead singer of Rilo Kiley; astonishingly enough, I thought her name was actually Rilo Kiley. Moving on.

It's been a pretty big month, and we're not even at Veteran's Day yet! Say what? You want things spread out in a linear, chronological order? Rock N' Roll, Hoochie Coo.

So I went into this trip to Texas feeling a little run-down, a little sore in the throat, 85% healthy, 15% ill, yet barely clinging to functionality. Through SHEER FORCE OF MY WILL, I managed to not let a body decimated by lack of sleep and poor overall upkeep prevent me from going out there and eating my weight in sausage. Of course, as it stands, I'm back from Texas now, having roused myself at the normal going-to-work time, unable to move more than the ten-to-twenty feet from my bed to my chair. I have called in sick to help my immune system regroup, because after a week like last week, I don't think I could handle five straight days of work without reprieve.

See, to be quite honest with you, I never have heard any Rilo Kiley songs, or indeed any Jenny Lewis songs until this morning via their MySpace pages. I just saw her picture in Rolling Stone a few issues ago and I was straight-away smitten. This may border stalkering before all is said and done ... she just may be, without hyperbole, the most beautiful woman on the face of the planet that the world has ever known.

You may imagine me, nude underneath a back-less hospital gown, tube pumping urine from my bladder through my urethra, out of my penis, and into a plastic jug, two small holes on the underside of each elbow - one having given blood, the other having received fluids from an IV - with colorful writing on my face proclaiming my unconscious proclivity for homosexual encounters and you may feel sorry for me. But I implore you, fret not! It's not as dire and lonely as you'd think. Yes, my first thought was, "Why the fuck am I in a hospital?" Yes, my first sight was of a male nurse's hand yanking that catheter from my Johnson moments after he said, "This may hurt a little." Yes, my first words were a girlish, infantile, "aaahhHHHHHHH!" as the pain intensified with every inch he pulled. Yes, it took me a solid two days to urinate painfree and three solid days before I was comfortable receiving an erection.

That, I say, is what happens when you go to a party by yourself and drink straight through submission as you're wont to do on occasion.

Really, what it's called is Self Sabotage. It's a subject I'm familiar with; indeed, it's a subject I've covered here many a time, most recently in New York City when I was miraculously invited to a party with my old roommate Liz and her hip friends. That night I drank too much before we left, I drank and smoked too much while I was there, and before an hour had passed - during which I had a most fabulous time, chatting with strangers who could quite possibly be the new friends I'd sought - I was bursting through the door, trying to get away so I could sleep it off.

Well, on that night, it just so happened I lived a mere three blocks away. I made it to my bed in plenty of time to wet myself and snore the night away, no catheters necessary.

Last Saturday was a most decidedly different occasion. Where on one Halloween many moons ago when I went as Space Ghost I got luckier than I ever have since, this post-Halloween Halloween party saw the other end of the see-saw drop, again with me dressed as Space Ghost. That's Karma for ya. Last Saturday I was miles and miles away from the security of my own bed. North 85th, when I live in Beacon Hill. Last Saturday, I also didn't have my roommate with me to make sure I got home OK. It was just me, catching a ride from my brother, with the promise that I'd take a taxi home later that evening.

Oh, I took a taxi, but not until after 9am, and not in that sexy kind of way where my muscley Space Ghost costume had the chicks all over me. No, more like the kind of way where I drank a half a fifth of Jack Daniels & Coke before I left, then sucked down a bunch of newly legalized Absinthe shots in the party's kitchen, then proceeded to vomit liquor all over myself, fall down repeatedly, and finally sleep the night away on the ground somewhere as party-goers had a good laugh by drawing DICKS on my face. As I proceeded to continue dry-heaving in my sleep, certain parties at this party got nervous and decided to call the paramedics. This is where Nate comes in, having been called countless times from my phone by people looking for someone to pick my ass up. He got there in time to see the fire fighters making fun of me with my Space Ghost costume and the dicks on my face. Captain Douche, I believe, is the nickname the firefighters came up with. America's finest, ladies and gentlemen. How about a little professionalism here for the guy who OD'd on alcohol!

Needless to say, I remember none of this. I also haven't spoken to anyone from the party since. What I recall for you here is what Nate relayed to me on Sunday afternoon.

I apologized for my behavior to the person hosting the party, I suffered through the three-day hangover by not missing a beat at work, I even considered giving up alcohol for a while, clean myself up, improving body and mind through sobriety.

Then I thought, "Fuck that, I've got Wurstfest to go to next week."

Indeed, plans were made weeks in advance of my overdose, and I wasn't about to shake off that expenditure because I was a little self-conscious about my drinking. I'll sober up when I'm dead. And fuck you Pat O'Day.

I did, however, opt to take it easy the next day. Monday. That's when, after work, I met Mark and Colin for a little Pittsburgh Steelers MNF action at the Eastlake Bar & Grill. Stuck strictly to the iced teas for the first half before I moseyed on over to the Showbox. Let me give you the lineup of acts:

Headliner - The Nightwatchman (lead guitarist Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine and his side-project's folk/funk-fused political rocking)
Mike McCready (lead guitarist from Pearl Jam) and his Jimi Hendrix cover-band
Rapper Boots Riley and his kickass solo set of politically conscious rap fare
Stone Gossard (guitarist from Pearl Jam) and his all-acoustic Hank Williams cover-band

This was $10, it kept me out until 1:30am with Cait and Matt and Pat and Jared, and it rocked SO HARD. Stone Gossard's band doing an acoustic version of Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades" was a personal highlight. I won't get into all of it, but rest assured, I had an amazing time.

I will say this about the Jimi Hendrix cover band. This was really a derivative, jam-laden set. The only mild surprise was the opening song, "Killing Floor". The rest followed something like: Fire, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Little Wing, All Along The Watchtower, and The Star Spangled Banner. That, pretty much, was the hour. Voodoo Child and Watchtower were the extended jams, ranging anywhere from 8-18 minutes each. There may have been another song there at the end, but I think this was it pretty much, and I think I know why. It's not that Mike McCready isn't talented - he is, and he has the chops to at least HANG with Jimi on an average day. But, the thing is, he was raised in a metal/punk environment, and as such he focused on the more metal/rock songs in Jimi's catalogue. As opposed to the more blues stylings that Jimi actually preferred and indeed excelled at. So, no "Red House", no "Hey Joe", no "Hear My Train A Comin'" or some of the other more blues-based numbers. Which is too bad, yet understandable. Really, the only thing he was missing (and indeed, probably what we would've seen had he played for longer) was Purple Haze, Foxey Lady, and Stone Free. But that's neither here nor there. I wasn't as offended by the performance as a hardcore Jimi Hendrix fan might be, but it still made me long for the original. At least I have my Woodstock DVD.

So, that made me super tired for Tuesday. And that was just too fucking bad, since Tuesday was Election Night On CNN! I'm not gonna lie to you, when they got into some of the hologram stuff with Will.I.Am and the like, I changed the channel. But, for a few solid hours I was riveted. Then, when things were well in hand for Obama, Nate got bored so I changed the channel again. Yeah, I missed the Obama acceptance speech, but really, when you've seen one Obama speech you've seen most of them. He's not REALLY Martin Luther King Jr., you know that, right?

OK, so if I wasn't so exhausted from the night before, I would've been decidedly more floored than I was. As it stands, I got to rub it in to my McCain-loving brother before I called it a night around 10pm. Nevertheless, for as jaded as I am, you can't deny the historic aspect of this moment. This is the biggest single moment in American history since the freeing of the slaves in 1862. Bigger than any moon landing or any passing of legislation we've had since. This will be the moment where historians look back and say, while racism may not be cured, we've at least taken that one major step in shattering that white ceiling in American politics. And, really, it had to be now. It had to be at this time with this man. It had to be someone with the potential to inspire, to unite, to turn things around when these things are as bad as they are.

And, for as excited as I am that I've finally lived to vote for a president who actually went on to win after two crushing defeats, I'm not going to sit here and give him a standing ovation for the next four years. Nor am I going to pat this country on the back as we all sit around congratulating ourselves for not electing a huge fucking cocksucker. Am I supposed to be proud that we didn't vote WRONG for the third consecutive election? Am I supposed to jump for joy because the people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida elected our president for us yet again? Look, if the markets didn't crash and the banks didn't self-destruct, John McCain would be the 44th president of these United States. Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that if the economy was just OK, as it was just OK about six months ago, Barack Obama would have still won. There are two issues on the table in any election: The Economy and National Security. If the economy was as it was six months ago, there are more neanderthal dunderheads in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida who would have placed National Security staunchly at the top of their list. And, look at any poll, John McCain was winning over those voters hands down. It would've been John Kerry all over again, only swift boats wouldn't have been necessary. McCain would've cooked up more scare-tactics than you could shake a stick at had this economy not gone post-nuclear, and that's the truth.

Nevertheless, we still have work to do. The democrats for the last two years have been WHINING like little bitches, crying into their beers about how, "We can't get anything done because that mean ol' president keeps threatening to veto us!" Well, guess what! You've got your fucking majority, you've got your fucking president, now you fucking Democrats better get off your asses and get some shit done! And if you let the Republicans start fillibustering, followed by your panty-waist whining about not having a 60% majority in the Senate, I swear to fucking God I'll vote for every God-damned republican from here to Timbuktu in sheer defiance of your limp-wristed political bungling.

So, anyway, that was Tuesday. Wednesday saw my bowling team, Bowlshit, lose three out of four, with me steadily improving my overall bowling average with a 154, a 188, and a 176. That got me back home bright and late to throw some clothes into a duffel bag and grab a few winks before ...

Thursday! Waking up at 6:30, driving to the airport, boarding my plane at 8am, finally leaving 2 hours later thanks to delay after delay what with the equipment malfunctioning! Landing in Houston's George Bush International Airport around 4pm Central Time! Kon picking me up! Driving to his apartment and then walking to Happy Hour at a Mexican restaurant for nachos and quesadillas and blue margaritas! Going to the biggest liquor store I've ever seen, then going back to the apartment for White Russians and some Two & A Half Men! Followed by beers at another bar where we watched the NFL Network's Thursday Night Game Of The Week pitting the Denver Broncos against the Cleveland Browns! Cheering against Braylon Edwards! Then going out to another bar and another bar for Bud Lights & Booing The Crappy 80's Band With The Talentless Hack Playing Bass Guitar! That Fucking Choad!

Yeah, we got drunker than we probably anticipated on Thursday. So much so that I was still sleeping at 11am or so when Kon got home for a nap and some lunch. We went and had some amazing Thai food, where I started feeling marginally better. Then, I went to sleep some more of my hangover off in Kon's car at his work's parking lot. This was exactly what the doctor ordered. After an hour or two, I was able to finish the rest of my lunch, drink some water, and even read a little of my magazine.

Then it was off to Austin! The city that sometimes sleeps! We arrived at Kon's roommate Paul's brother Mark's apartment after stopping off at the single greatest gas station of all time where I bought a cherry Danish-like thing and some breaded sausage kolaches. I also had my first taste of Chick Fil-A, which I have to say is hands-down the greatest fast-food produced chicken sandwich place I've ever been to. We watched some TV, then headed out to 6th St for going to bars and mingling. Well, they mingled, I mostly hung back and held down the fort, but it was still a great time as there was music and chicks and hot chicks and chicks who nipped out. We took it easier this night, though, since Saturday was devoted to:

WURSTFEST! Oh Yes! Sausages, Bratwursts, Germans, Beer, German Beer! It had it all! Even a super SUPER hot lady in a super SUPER skimpy beer-wench dress with super SUPER long legs walking around for our viewing enjoyment. I could've boned her from here to Oktoberfest had it not been for her husband who I never did have the pleasure of meeting.

Kon and I plowed through all the German Beer they had. Not literally, of course (I know how to count), but we did try all the different types, except the Hef, because we're not fans of the Hefeweizen. I also had a brat with peppers in a pita, some sausage and chicken gumbo, a wurst-kebab (which was just a sampling of different sausages on a stick), an extremely dill pickle, and later another one of those brats with peppers in a pita.

The food was awesome, and even reasonably priced. Most things were around 5 bucks and, as you may or may not know, sausage is pretty fucking filling. The beer, however, was another story. We're talking $25 for a pitcher of imported beer (about half that for domestic, but who goes to a German festival and drinks Bud Lights?). They had about 5 cups to a pitcher, so you're talking $5 for a cup of beer that looked like it was 10 ounces or so. I'm not complaining, though, because how often do I get really good beer? Not bloody often! And, they had 1-litre glass boots - much like you'd see in the movie Beerfest - for only $20 bucks. Some of the other souveniers, like beer steins and authentic German garb, were out of my price range (some of those steins were upwards of $200), but I made sure to get a boot for me and my brother and Kon.

And, of course, since I had so much German beer, and since that car ride home from the fest was the longest three hours of my life, I ended up passing out as soon as we got back to the apartment. So, I missed out on going out to 6th St again.

Sunday was devoted to driving back to Houston, stopping off at that gas station again for more kolaches, going to this burger place for the best burger in Texas while watching and rooting for the Miami Dolphins because I picked them in my Eliminator (can't rightly recall who they played though), followed by getting dropped off at the George Bush International Airport and flying home. Got in around 8:30pm or so to find that my Led Zeppelin bar stool had arrived. Put that together, got my clothes washed, went to bed at the reasonable 10 o'clock hour, and woke up this morning not feeling much like working.

So, that's been my week, from catheters to bar stools, it's been a wild and crazy 10 days. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some soap operas to watch.
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