Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Events from This Past Weekend

Bear in mind, my definition of the "weekend" goes from any point on Friday until the conclusion of Monday Night Football. Really, only nine good things happened, but I had to include ten, so here you go.

10. Our laptop died. The smug bastards at Geek Squad could not revive it, nor could they retrieve the data from it, which includes all of our pictures and videos of Daughter from her first year, all of my other pictures (including Oktoberfest pictures, so the stringing out of the Oktoberfest recaps will continue into to the new year), as well as what I assume are millions of dollars worth of intellectual property. Thus, we have sent it to an outside data retrieval company, who we will likely have to pay more than the equivalent of a new laptop to retrieve our data.

9. I had a steak burrito for dinner on Sunday. Now that I no longer (regularly) roam the streets in a drunken haze between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m., my burrito consumption is less frequent. Still delicious.

8. I had Taco Bell for lunch on Saturday.

7. I got a new laptop.

6. My boss took a bunch of us out for "lunch" Friday, which meant I not only got a free lunch at a nice restaurant, but I also had to do nothing the entire afternoon.

5. While scouring the nearby Salvation Army for a bad Christmas sweater (which I did not find), I purchased several 1990s alternative rock CDs for $1 each, including, but not limited to, Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, The Offspring's Smash, Oasis's What's the Story Morning Glory?, Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville, Rusted Root's When I Woke, and Better Than Ezra's Deluxe. If you are looking for pretty much any early to mid '90s alternative rock or grunge, the Salvation Army on Clybourn just south of Fullerton is a bastion. I didn't realize The Why Store put out that many albums.

4. The Bears clinched the NFC North title last night.

3. I went to a bad sweater/white elephant party. My friend Adam and his wife Jen throw said party every year, and I had to miss it last year because Daughter had only recently escaped from the womb. Needless to say, good times were had, White Russians were drunk, and crazy holiday clothing was abundant. Here is a picture of Jester (as well as Gemkeezi's wife). She was the runner-up for the best dressed.

2. I got a samurai sword at the white elephant party. I should say, Jester got a samurai sword. Since she was the runner-up, she had second-to-last pick for the white elephant presents. It was between the sword and a little gaming system you can plug into any TV that has old Atari games on it. We found out that the winner wanted the Atari thing, so we went with the next best thing: a fucking sword. Look at how giddy I am. Do not concern yourself with the trophy I'm holding. Now I just need to find some nunchucks, a bo staff, a couple sai daggers, three other turtles, and a mutated rat sensei. Then I'm coming for you, Oroku Saki.

1. Last night, I clinched a spot in the finals of one of my fantasy football leagues. The reason this trumps the samurai sword is the way in which it happened. I would liken it to Sunday's Eagles come-from-behind victory over the Giants. I was left for dead, staged a furious comeback that looked like it wasn't going to be quite enough, and then in the last minute, I stunned my opponent. Here's how it went down. I am the #4 seed in the playoffs, and I was playing the #1 seed. Going into last night's Bears/Vikings game, I was approximately 34 points behind. He had Joe Webb, who was somehow listed on Yahoo as a WR or a QB, so he started Webb at WR. I had my kicker, Robbie Gould, and the Bears defense/special teams. One note that makes it more interesting, which I didn't know until last night, is that, unlike many leagues, there are no points for special teams touchdowns (although we get a point for every 15 return yards). Anywho, the Bears defense was spectacular last night, and Devin Hester had a ton of return yardage (and a punt return touchdown for which I got no points). On his side, Brett Favre started, so it looked like Joe Webb was not going to play. Of course, the Bears finally ended Favre, and Webb came in, playing admirably. I was down by about one point when the 2-minute warning hit. The Bears had the ball in Vikings territory. They had a chance to kick a 48-yard field goal (which would have got me 3 points), but chose not to, since they were already up 40-14. So they went for it on fourth down and were stopped. The Bears D came on the field. I needed a turnover. Webb completed a pass. I was down by about 1.5 points. With about 30 seconds left, Webb completed another pass, and then it happened. FUMBLE! Bears recover. This put me up 122.60-122.17. The Bears knelt to run the clock out. I was literally frothing at the mouth. Christoff, who was over watching the game (and had stayed despite the fact that the game was a blowout solely to find out if I would win my fantasy matchup), was equally as excited for me. I burst into Daughter's room to tell her the news, and she was so excited she started to cry. For those of you who think fantasy football is just some dull thing dudes do, good God, you are wrong. And Jester, this is the last year you chastise me for being in three leagues.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

American Werewolves in Munich: Thursday 9/23

Previous chapters:
Cast of Characters
Monday 9/20
Tuesday 9/21
Wednesday 9/22

Thursday morning ceased to exist, as far as I know. I woke up around 1 Thursday afternoon, and I felt pretty good. I walked into the other room in our suite, where Shane and Derrick were also just waking up. Shane was still in his clothes from the night before. He got up, looked at his hands and jeans and asked, "Why are my hands and jeans bloody?" I answered with two words: "Gloria Estefan." "Happens every time," he replied. He then let out a bellow, started flexing, and eating mozzarella sticks that he smuggled in from Chicago.

Given Wednesday's debauchery and that we were going back to the tents on Friday, we decided to take it relatively easy on Thursday.

Bonham is both cunning and full of wanderlust. He had presumably been up since 5 a.m., exploring Munich's underbelly. He communicated telepathically with me to let me know he was at the Hofbraukeller, a restaurant and beer garden owned by Hofbrau. It's a little bit outside of the center of the city, across the river, and much lesser known than the Hofbrauhaus. It was a spectacular find by Bonham.

Shane, Derrick, and I hopped on the subway a couple stops, and then exited with absolutely no idea which way to go. Everything was in German. Thankfully, I smelled a hint of pineapple brandy mixed with blood, which meant that Bonham couldn't be far away. We followed the smell to find him sitting alone at a table in the Hofbraukeller's large and welcoming beer garden, a ham hock in one hand and a liter of beer in the other, cackling like a hyena.

Meanwhile, Daniel, Chandler, Alex, Colt, and Laura went on a tour of Neuschwanstein, a spectacular castle a couple hours away in the Bavarian mountains. According to pictographic evidence, Daniel was struggling, sweating like a whore in church. While there, he saw this sign for sale, which was the only sign in English: Back at the Hofbraukeller, RPTre, Kellie, and Mirka showed up a little while after we got there. A good laugh was had by all. Gregerson and Emily followed a little while later. We had become too big of a group for our initial table, so we moved to a larger vacant table next to us. A stern fraulein waitress frantically rushed up to us and spewed what I assume were profanities at us in German, pointing to a wooden sign that hung from a tree above the table. What we gathered is that this table was reserved for someone named Mir San Mir!
Thus, we moved to another vacant table. That one was also apparently reserved, even though it was the middle of the afternoon and the place was pretty much empty. We finally found a table that was agreeable for both sides.

In addition to the beer and the garden, another awesome thing about the Hofbraukeller is that there is on-site day care. I kid you not, you can bring your kinder, plop them down in their little play area, get shitfaced, and then pick them up eight hours later. By the way, when you take a shit at the Hofbraukeller, they make you look at pictures on the back of the door showing German children eating Italian food and yelling. Unsurprisingly, the title of a German poster has the initials "KKK." There's nothing right about this. At dusk, some toddler walked up to our table. His soulless eyes and attempts to take our goats indicated to us that he was a gypsy.
Unsure of what to do next, we did the only thing we could think of: we popped and locked. Then we ate the gypsy kid (he tasted gamier than I would have thought). Then we got kicked out. Then we started riding lions and cows. Then we went to the subway station, where we started singing "99 Red Balloons" (English lyrics), which caused Kellie to air motorboat Mirka. Notice the guy in the background. From the knees down, he is a fucking deer. Then Gregerson made himself into a statue and mounded himself to a wall. After that, we headed to Der Pschorr for some dinner. While some of us ate, Kellie slept, as is her style. As night fell on Munich, we watched as a full moon entered the hop-filled Bavarian sky.
We went back to the hotel somewhat early because we had to get up early Friday morning to head to the tents. No one slept well that night. I was restless, so I got up around three in the morning to wander the streets. I fed on a drunken Slovenia couple walking through the deserted market and some wild dachshunds I found in a nearby badger hole. Prove to me that it didn't happen.

In the next installment: a day of lost memories.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cash Cab in Chicago

After a swindle-filled early week, things are beginning to look up. Cash Cab -- my favorite livery-based reality game show -- is filming in Chicago. As someone who loves trivia and loves to be paid to be driven places, this is quite exciting. Needless to say, I'll be hailing every Yellow Cab Toyota Sienna that I see.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My German Irish American Shorthaired Golden Eskimo Setrievointermatian

As you may know, we really have no idea what kind of dog we own. The people at the rescue where we got her said the only thing they knew for sure is that her mother was part dachshund. She barks like a hound, and looks like some sort of hound puppy. Every loudmouthed saluki owner is convinced she's part saluki. Most vets think she's probably part whippet.

I was on an aeroplane a few months ago, perusing the Sky Mall catalog, when I came across an interesting entry in the Hammacher-Schlemmer section: a dog breed DNA test through some company named BioPet Vet Lab. They have a website and everything.

This seemed like a great Christmas gift for Jester, since she pretty much asks me every day "so what in holy hell do you think Harley is?" I kept it in my back pocket (literally) until a few weeks ago, when I ordered the test. The test box came, and I followed the directions, rubbing the swabs on the inside of both of Harley's cheeks, much to her horror. I sent the swabs in and eagerly awaited the results. Since Jester usually gets home from work before I do and gets the mail, my hope was that the results would not come in an envelope that said "DNA Breed Identification Results Enclosed." My dreams were shattered yesterday when I returned home from work and Jester asked me if I had gotten a DNA test for Harley, handing me an envelope with the very same phrase I had hoped would not be on it. I confessed and told her it was one of her Christmas presents, and she said she wanted to open it now. Whatever, it's only Christ's birthday, but if you want to piss all over it, be my guest.

The results were appalling. This might have been the biggest waste of $60 since I cornered the market on Animaniacs pogs.

Here are some pictures of my dog:
Here are the results of the DNA test and pictures of the dog breeds that supposedly comprise my dog. I am fairly confident that no part of Harley consists of any of these breeds.

American Eskimo Dog (20-36% of DNA)
Dalmation (20-36% of DNA)
Irish Setter (20-36% of DNA)
German Shorthaired Pointer (10-19% of DNA)
Golden Retriver (10-19% of DNA)

How 'bout no!

Tuesday Top Ten: Beers of 2010

I've been too busy tracking ticket scammers like a hellhound to write my own Tuesday Top Ten this week. Thankfully, I received an email today from Binny's Beverage Depot (Chicago's greatest chain of liquor stores) listing their top ten beers of 2010. Here is their list, with their descriptions. Yes, I know last week's Tuesday Top Ten was beer-related as well, but tis the season for boozing, so you're welcome.

10. Stone Double Bastard
The 10.5% ABV Double Bastard is the big brother of Stone's most popular brew, Arrogant Bastard. It has a tremendous malt bill to go along with a ridiculous amount of hops. This beer is definitely not for the faint of heart. Are you worthy of this aggressive brew?

9. Smuttynose Robust Porter
One of the gems of the east coast, Smuttynose Brewing Company, debuted in out stores in October. Their Robust Porter is everything you could hope for in a porter, and more. It has a coffee and espresso like bitterness, along with flavors of chocolate and caramel.

8. Goose Island Night Stalker
Night Stalker is a monster of a beer, clocking in at 11.2% ABV and 60 IBU's. It is on the hoppy side for an imperial stout, as it is gushing with Simcoe and Mt Hood hops. The "midnight" color of the Night Stalker is derived from the six different types of malts used during the brewing process.

7. Emmett's McCarthy Red
Emmett's Brewing Company has been crafting beer locally at their brewpub and restaurant in West Dundee since 1999, and have since added locations in both Downers Grove and Palatine. McCarthy Red has a nice toasted malt flavor and a slight hop bitterness. It is easy drinking and has great balance.

6. Scheldebrouwerij Hop-Ruiter
This beer pairs aggressive American hops with Belgian yeast. But rather than the hops taking away from the Belgian yeast characteristics, they add complexity. Flavors of fruit, grass, and spices such as clove paired with assertive hops make for a very interesting and intricate brew.

5. Stillwater Stateside Saison
Some of us had the chance to sample this beer at the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown beer festival, and it stood out among the hundreds of beers we tried. We were elated when it debuted in our stores a few months later. It is floral, fruity, easy to drink, and definitely one of the premier saisons on our shelves.

4. Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo
This traditional English Strong Ale is aged in oak barrels that previously held cask-conditioned ale. It is also bottle conditioned, and these two attributes unite for a rare combination. Flavors of caramel, dark fruit, oak, and toffee make up this 8% ABV brew.

3. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Brooklyn decided to use their bounty of the rare and coveted Sorachi Ace hop variety to craft a saison. This beer pulsates with a lemon citrus aroma, backed up with some herbal spices and yeast. The flavor is packed with more lemon, spice, and a bit of that funk that seems like a staple for saisons. The finish is mildly bitter but extremely refreshing.

2. Troubadour Magma
Magma is a decorated beer, having won top honors at Zythos, the biggest as well as the premier beer festival in Belgium. Magma is brewed with Belgian yeast, and dry hopped with American simcoe hops, resulting in a Belgian IPA that clocks in at 9% ABV. Flavors of strawberries, citrus, and yeast are apparent. The hoppiness is pleasant and not overwhelming.

1. Central City Red Racer IPA
Central City has come along way during their youthful 7 year brewing history. They were recognized as the 2010 Canadian Brewery of the Year at the Canadian Brewing Awards, edging out other Canadian brewery heavyweight favorites such as Unibroue. Their Red Racer IPA took home the gold medal for best American IPA at the same event.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jeffrey Diebold Ticket Scam

Yesterday was supposed to be awesome. My lovely wife bought me tickets to the Bears/Patriots game for my birthday. She got the tickets on Craigslist back in October. I hadn't been to Soldier Field since the 2003 renovation (when they implanted a spaceship inside Soldier Field), or to a regular season Bears home game in over 15 years, so I was obviously excited. Jester didn't want to go, so I employed a complicated algorithm to randomly select Australian Andrew to accompany me.

As you may know, yesterday was a classic Chicago winter day. It was snowing the entire day, there were 30+ mph winds, and the wind chill was in the single digits. But that didn't temper our attitudes or excitement. We bundled up, and headed to the game, pumped up to see what we hoped would be a good game between two good teams.

After waiting in line for 15-20 minutes to get inside the stadium, the ticket scanner scanned our tickets (which were print-outs, not actual tickets), and allowed us to pass into the Mecca of professional football. We went to our section. It was great -- 40-yard line seats on the club level.

The only problem was that our seats were in Row 9, and there were only 6 rows in the section. We asked the usher where are seats were, and she was just as confused as we were. She got someone else, and he was equally as confused. He then got someone from the ticket office, who was also confused, so she asked us to come with her to the ticket office so she could figure out what was going on. Here is the view from what where our seats should have been:
As we walked to the ticket office, she asked where I got the tickets. I told her my wife got them on Craigslist, and the guy who sold them to her -- Jeffrey Diebold, whose name was listed on the tickets as a season ticket holder -- also gave her a copy of his drivers license, which I had with me. When we got to the ticket office, she took the tickets and the copy of the ID and went into a room. She reemerged a couple minutes later and told us our tickets were counterfeit. They have apparently had several counterfeit tickets with this guy's name on them.

With that, she sympathetically informed us that we had to leave, escorted us out of the stadium, and told us to file a police report. Sweet. And, of course, the ticket office is on the south side of the stadium, so we had to walk all the way around the stadium to head back to the L. We ended up just going to a bar and watching the rest of the game.

I was pissed off, but took it in stride. Jester, on the other hand, was mortified, not only because she spent a lot of money on the tickets and because she knew how excited I was about going to the game, but also because she had been swindled. To her credit, she did everything recommended by Craigslist. She met the guy in a public place, used cash only, and communicated with the guy both through email and phone. After the guy asked to meet at the Woodfield Mall because he lived in the Northwest suburbs, she even did some quick internet research on the guy's name and confirmed that there was a Jeffrey Diebold who lived in the Northwest suburbs.

Needless to say, we will be filing a police report.

Here are some lessons to take away from this:
1. Don't buy tickets from someone holding himself out to be Jeffrey Diebold of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. Jester said the guy who sold her the tickets looked like the guy on the copy of drivers license he gave her. From some quick internet research, the address on the license appears to be real and appears to be where the guy lives.
2. Don't ever buy tickets from Craigslist. Use Stub Hub, Ebay, or some other site that has mechanisms in place to hold its users accountable. And, in the case of Stub Hub, it allows the seller the option of entering the unique ticket ID code, so that as soon as someone buys it, the actual ticket is sent to the buyer.

3. If you do use Craigslist:
-Make sure the tickets you get are the exact same seats as those advertised (and, if specific seats aren't advertised, make sure to email the poster to get the specific seat information first).
-Call the venue to make sure those seats exist.
-If you communicate via email, be cautious of any odd email address or an email address that doesn't contain the person's name. For instance, this guy had an email that was something like albertcaponechicago@gmail.com, and when Jester asked him about it, he said that he uses it only for Craigslist postings.
-Meet the person in a public place.
-Ask to see the person's ID or to take a picture of them if they say they don't have an ID with them (seriously). If you see their car, take down their license plate.
-Get hard copy tickets (i.e., not print-outs of electronic tickets). If the person says he or she only has electronic tickets, make them forward them to you in addition to giving you print-outs.
-If anything at all seems fishy, don't buy the tickets and report the person to Craigslist.
-Keep copies of the Craigslist posting, any emails exchanged, and any phone numbers until after the event takes place.
-Don't be afraid to resort to vigilante justice.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Lizard King CAN Do Anything

In an odd yet overdue move, Florida officials have posthumously pardoned Jim Morrison for allegedly showing his dong during a concert in Miami in 1969. (Thanks to Bonham for the link.) Of course, Morrison was convicted of several misdemeanors, despite the fact that there are dozens of pictures from the evening, none of which show Morrison's wang, and, conveniently, pretty much the only eyewitnesses who say they saw it were cops.

My favorite part of the article was the following snippet: "The pardon was granted over the objection of Angel Lago, a former Miami police officer, who said it sent the wrong message to the nation's youth[.]" I can see his point. With this news, I fully expect the nation's youth -- many of whom have no idea who Jim Morrison is -- to take this news as an invitation to form one of the most important American rock bands of all-time, get all hopped up on booze, acid, mescaline, and the like, write a whole bunch of great songs, and then find themselves on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans, where, empowered by the Florida board of clemency, they will be left with only one realistic option: whip it out. After all, if they do that, then they will railroaded by old-fashioned and threatened cops and then pardoned 39 years after they die. It's inevitable.

Passive Aggressive Notes

If you've ever worked in an office and someone's lunch has been stolen, or someone left the microwave splattered with pasta sauce, or someone has left piss in the sink, then chances are someone posted an anonymous, passive aggressive note about it. This is just how things work. Thankfully, someone decided to put these types of notes onto a website, aptly titled Passive Aggressive Notes. Check it out. It's funny because it's true.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It Was Thirty Years Ago Today

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon's death. Some asshole with a handgun walked up to Lennon outside his apartment building and put four bullets in the man who wrote "Give Peace a Chance."

This past Sunday, ESPN's Outside the Lines had a really good segment (part of which was replayed on SportsCenter this morning) on Lennon's death, which was announced to the nation for the first time by Howard Cosell during the final minute of an important late-season Monday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Patriots. It was fascinating to hear how Cosell and fellow announcers Frank Gifford and Fran Tarkenton discussed, off the air, whether and how to break the news to the country.

Every time I see a special about John Lennon's death, and I hear about him being rushed to the hospital and what the doctors did to try to revive him, there is a part of me that has hope that somehow he pulls through and the story will end differently.

I wrote about it five years ago, and I don't think I can put my feelings into words any better now than I did then. Like I said then, I don't think my generation can comprehend how big of a loss it was for the world, since we don't really have anyone that could possibly compare. Michael Jackson was probably the closest thing, but he was too weird and molesty to be considered the voice of a generation. He wrote a song about playing with a mouse, for Christ's sake. Cobain was okay, but not everyone loved grunge, and he was a heroin addicted who offed himself, so that's not exactly a positive message. "Rape Me" just doesn't have the same universal appeal as "Imagine." Bono is a great philanthropist, but not as universally loved or relevant (musically and otherwise) as Lennon. Let us never forget the Pop album.

Anyway, listen to The Beatles and Lennon's solo material today, and don't shoot anyone.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Winter Beers

I love beer, and I love dark beer, which is why winter is a great time for my palate, but a bad time for my gut. Winter is by far my favorite beer season. In the winter, breweries put out heavy, darker beer, often with higher alcohol content, to warm our souls while we patiently wait for the snow to melt. I'm not a big fan of hoppy beers, which is why winter beers generally appeal to me. They tend to be malty and full of flavor and spices, but not bitter (except for Alpha Klaus -- damn you, Three Floyd's).

Every year, my favorite neighborhood bar, Rocks, has a "12 Beers of Christmas" promotion during the month of December. If you drink 12 winter beers (out of a possible 18 this year) during the month of December (or, in the case of Gregerson, during the early afternoon and late evening of December 4), then you get a t-shirt with your name on it and listing all the beers of Christmas from that particular year. The nice thing for someone like me is that they have a bunch of different beers that are not widely available. As a result, I have been able to sample a bunch of winter beers I would not otherwise necessarily have thought to have tried. I have also sampled a couple beers that I will never try again, including Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout, which had the consistency, look, and taste of motor oil, and should be drunk only from a snifter, two ounces at a time.

Here are my ten favorite winter beers (in alphabetical order):

1. Abita Christmas Ale
I saw this at Target a few weeks ago, and I had no idea Abita put out a Christmas ale. I liked several of Abita's other beers (Turbodog, in particular, is awesome), so I figured I would pick up a sixer of the Christmas Ale. It was really good.

2. Anchor Christmas Ale
Every year, Anchor puts out a Christmas ale with a different recipe. This year's edition is full of spices. It's almost like a chai beer.

3. Blue Moon Full Moon
This is Blue Moon's winter ale, although I think it might have been replaced this year by Winter Abbey Ale, which I have not yet tried (so I'm not sure if it's the same thing, just a different name). I was pleasantly surprised by Full Moon. It was a smooth and flavorful winter ale. It's too bad it appears to be discontinued.

4. Delirium Noel
You may be familiar with Delirium Tremens, a Belgian ale that packs both deliciousness and a punch. Delirium Noel is Delirium's winter ale. It's nice and dark, and it clocks in at 10% ABV, but it's too smooth for you to tell, which make it dangerously good.

5. Goose Island Christmas Ale
Chicago's own Goose Island makes a pretty damn good Christmas ale. Like Anchor, each year, they switch up the recipe, and it's always good.

6. Great Lakes Christmas Ale
This is a great winter beer, and it's definitely one of the more popular Christmas ales in the Midwest. It's known colloquially in some circles as "The Time Traveler" because, after a few pints, the next thing you know it's morning and you're in some stranger's manger wearing nothing but jingle bells around your neck and ankles, with no recollection of how you got there.

7. Harpoon Winter Warmer
I had this a few days ago at Rocks for the first time, and I really liked it. As far as Christmas ales go, it was a little lighter tasting than most, but that's not a knock. It was dangerously smooth. There was no aftertaste at all.

8. Magic Hat Howl
This is another one I had recently at Rocks for the first time. It's a black lager, although it kind of has a stout flavor to it (which I like), and it went down really easily.

9. Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Just about every year, Santa brings me a Sam Adams winter sampler pack, since he likes to encourage my vices. (He also usually brings me a carton of Lucky Strikes, two speed balls, a subscription to Bestiality Today, and a lot of mild cheeses.) Old Fezziwig Ale is probably my favorite of the Sam Adams winter brews, especially since they apparently stopped making the Cream Stout. It has a lot of spice to it (although not too overpowering).

10. Shiner Holiday Cheer
This was Rocks's beer of the month last December, and it has a lot of flavor, while maintaining smoothness. It has a hint of apricot, which I don't normally like, but it works well here.

Honorable mention: Bell's Winter White Ale, Breckenridge Christmas Ale, Goose Island Mild Winter, He'Brew Jewbelation, Little Fat Dog CHEWiE Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Samuel Adams Holiday Porter

Any other recommendations?

Monday, December 06, 2010


I have a bunch of random links and stories and such, so rather than have a bunch of different posts, I'm just going to have one post with one large paragraph, with back-to-back sentences that have nothing to do with each other. It'll be madness. Our house, in the middle of our street. So, Leslie Nielsen died. His deadpan delivery was perfect, and he undoubtedly inspired an entire generation of comedic actors. "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." Classic. What's up with flash mobs? I need to start organizing some shit. 250 people singing WASP's "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" at a mall or some sort of plaza or a zoo, everyone dancing suggestively and throwing raw meat all over the fucking place. The trick will be hiding the meat. Maybe a zoo won't work. A couple weeks ago, some dude in Wisconsin was so pissed off that Bristol Palin made the finals of Dancing With the Stars that he shot his TV with a shotgun. This is yet another reason Hollywood should stop making reality shows involving dancing. Further down the road in Gurnee, Illinois, some goblin attacked a cop with a dildo. Thanks to Hess for the link. What amazes me is that I had no idea Falcor and Mama Fratelli had a love child. I figured he was sterile. Jimmy Fallon does a pretty awesome Neil Young impression.

Here is a sweet article about Def Leppard and the designing of their album artwork by the guy who did it. Thanks to Greg Weeser* for the link. He sent it to me in March. It's a good read for any Def Leppard fan. IU's next head football coach looks like it will be Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Godspeed, Kevin. Don't fuck this up for me. Here's a video about Talking to Your Kids About Star Wars (thanks again to Greg Weeser* for the link).

You’re watching Talking to Your Kids About Star Wars. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video

Finally, AC sent me what has the potential to be the story of century on Broadway. There is an American Psycho musical in the works. I can only hope that there are songs about axes to the face, lunch meetings with Cliff Huxtable, Ed Gein, returning video tapes, failing to get reservations at Dorsia, bone-colored business cards, feeding stray cats to ATMs, and, of course, the rousing final number: "Don't Just Stare At It, Eat It!"

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thursday Texts - 12/2/10

I have been stockpiling. Enjoy.

773: Just want to let you know that according to my phone you have a WiFi network in your hood called "fuckingandpunching"

708: Dude. Literally hitting on Brian Urlachers ex wife. I think I may creature her.

646: Do they even know you're gay?
937: I think you have the wrong number

949: W ur beautiful bride. Am trying to convince her to have cee cee devilles next child. Hope this is copisetic
937: Of course it is
949: Nice. Can make the love child have a tribute band called every Derrick rose has a thorn
937: Or a cooking show called Nothing But a Good Thyme
949: What about talk Goethe to me

847: Just saw my cat has a pink sock.... Must have been a huge shit!

773: Bob guccione died. conceivably this means his son longer has to be pissed off because his dad gets more pussy than him

773: Just thought you should know that Gwar is on Jimmy Fallon tonight

937: If purdue and indiana pull off incredible upsets today and a big windstorm kills everyone at notre dame, would this be the greatest day ever in the history of football in the state of indiana?

310: Every time I hear Pour Some Sugar On Me on the 'classic rock' station, its worse than finding a gray ball-hair.

937 (1): I just texted gordon gee and told him to shut the fuck up
937 (2): Good call. That was a weird thing to say out of nowhere.
937 (1): Especially from a guy who knows nothing about football and who would prefer that colleges have no athletics at all. he should stick to watching Glee

937 (1): When did the jumping up and hitting hips become popular for male athletes after making a good play?
937 (2): Right after jersey popping went away
937 (1): I'd prefer they take a dump and grunt rather than do this gay stuff.

As I said in the initial Thursday Texts post, I invite you to email hilarious texts that you send or receive to gmyhblog@yahoo.com, and I will post them accordingly. All texts will be anonymous, identified only by their area code. Or, I also strongly encourage people to post texts as comments to the Thursday Text posts. I will not approve any comments that contain last names. I love you all.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

American Werewolves in Munich: Wednesday 9/22

The "Alarm_Antelope" tone on the Blackberry will forever remind me of Munich, as that is the sound that has shaken me from slumber right into the DTs, both in 2007 and this year. I hate it and love it at the same time. When it went off Wednesday morning, I couldn't be too pissed off because it meant that it was tent time.

Tuesday night at the Hofbraubaus, I had given strict instructions for everyone to meet in front of the hotel by 9:30 Wednesday morning. (I think I previously told you it was 10, but I tend to make things up. Sometimes I levitate.) My brood obliged. Everyone was there, ready and eager to make some noise. Waiting for the train, it was like warriors readying themselves mentally for battle.
We had reservations at the Hippodrom (the same place we had reservations last time), but our reservations weren't until 3:30. We headed there from the outset, though, to get some of the unreserved seats until 3:30. By the way, it is completely reasonable to start drinking at 10:30 on a Wednesday morning in Munich.
When we arrived, some German dude sat us in some seats that were unreserved in the morning. We asked for English menus, because we're dicks like that. We were surprised and a little bit concerned about the following three menu items:
Poor horseradish. I can only imagine the terrifyingly weird scene in the kitchen. Then again, it couldn't have been more weird than the hill outside the back of the Hippodrom, aka "The Killing Floor," where people went to pass out and/or die, bodies strewn about like a scene from Saving Private Ryan, but not as funny.
While at the Hippodrom that morning, the discovery of the trip was made. A couple tables over, we happened to witness a twentysomething fraulein in a dirndl getting her picture taken. She was holding a giant pretzel in front of her bosom. And, thus, Tit Pretzel was born. RPTre, Kellie, and I immediately began plans for titpretzel.com -- a website devoted entirely to pictures of pretzels in front of boobs. There would be both PG-13 and adults-only sections. We made it our goal to take as many pictures of tit pretzels as possible over the next several days. RPTre and I would be the Tit Masters. Probably Chandler too. The Pretzel Master would probably be someone who's good at crunching numbers, maybe Timothy Geinther. Kellie would be the Creep Master, in charge of going up to unsuspecting German women and convincing them to get their pictures taken with a giant pretzel in front of their cans, since we figured guys have less of a chance of successfully doing the same thing. Fear not, I will have an entire post dedicated to our Tit Pretzel pictures. The Creep Master was very good at her job.

Over the course of the week, we came up with the following additional possible websites:

Speaking of boobs, the Hippodrom is where the celebrities are known to hang out, and boy were we in for a treat. Kim Kardashian and her mom Kris -- two of the most talented, uh, whatever they are -- graced the Hippodrom with their presence for approximately 55 minutes, which was exactly enough time for Gregerson to creep them out. We should have sent the Creep Master. If any of these pictures look blurry, it's because that's just how Germany looks.
Speaking of Gregerson, at some point in the early afternoon, he went outside to have a smoke (smoking is no longer allowed in the tents, at least not until late at night after everyone gets really drunk). When he attempted to reenter the tent, the guy at the door wouldn't let him back in because of his "gypsy eyes." It takes more than that to keep a Michigan grad down. He turned his shirt inside-out, put sunglasses on, and just went to another entrance and walked back in.

No worries. He was back for the reservations, which were up in the balcony, giving us a great view of the crowd below and, of course, of Simmisamma, the Hippodrom's house band. Their set was mostly traditional German, mixed with '70s country.
We all enjoyed our German meal of food. I've never had a better half chicken than at the Hippodrom. Then we spent the next couple hours drinking liters of beer.
Here is a shot of the giant Spaten sign inside the Hippodrom. Loosely translated, it means "If the last deer is rotten, drink Spaten." After our reservation was over, we dispersed in order to infiltrate Munich. Reed, Ben, Colt, and Laura went to another tent. Gregerson, Daniel, Mirka, and Chandler disappeared. RPTre, Kellie, Shane, Derrick, Bonham, Alex, Emily, and I went to the Augustiner beer hall for some dinner. I kept a pretzel with me to use, not only as the pretzel part of the tit pretzel, but also as a beacon for those following me through the crowds. When in doubt, look for the jackass holding his arm in the air with a giant pretzel.
Dinner at the Augustiner allowed us to sober up by drinking half-liters of beer instead of full liters. We sat out in the beer garden, which is surrounded by four walls that go up three stories and has a bunch of nooks and crannies. RPTre and Kellie called it an early evening after ordering goulash. It turned out to be a bad move. Soon thereafter, we bought our sixtysomething waiter a half-liter of beer. Technically, he's not allowed to drink on the job, so he did what any good German waiter does. He made sure no one was looking, stood behind a giant post, and slammed the beer in about five seconds. Here's a pictures of Bonham and Alex in the aftermath.
That got him sauced enough that we immediately ditched out on the bill, and headed to the Lotter Leben, the bar a couple blocks from our hotel. On our walk back, we saw this business sign. By this time, it was probably 9 or 10. We had assumed Gregerson had been stabbed at this point, but we were wrong. He was alive, well, and drinking at the Lotter Leben, along with Daniel, Mirka, and Chandler. Meanwhile, there was a chicken on a rotisserie on one of the TVs in the Lotter Leben. Germans are weird.
Several of us grabbed a couple tables on the sidewalk and a liter, while the others drank inside. We were sitting there getting elegantly wasted, when two cars pulled up. The street is busy during the day, but not that busy during the night. The car in the front had apparently died. None of the five people in the first car got out at first. Then a guy in the second car, who I assume was a gypsy, gets out of the car and starts kicking the back right fender of the first car. No one in the second car did anything. We watched, confused, as the scene unfolded. The big gypsy was more pissed off about the dead car than the people in the dead car, and they didn't seem to mind when he resorted to physical violence against the car. Eventually, they pull the second car (a Mercedes station wagon) in front of the other car (some maroon, vaguely Slavic-looking car). These people obviously had knives, so they decided on the following course of action: cut a seat belt out of the maroon car and use that to tow it behind the Mercedes. A more brilliant plan could not have been concocted. It took them about four tries before they secured it enough to go half a block. Thankfully, by that time, it was no longer our problem. Fucking pikeys.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, Colt, Laura, and Reed showed up, but there was no sign of Ben. We learned that the four of them had been at another tent. Ben shattered a liter glass, which is pretty hard to do. Feeling empowered, Ben apparently decided to try it again. From what I have come to understand, in one motion, he managed to break another stein, fall down off of a bench, and fall onto the broken glass, thus cutting his hand and arm, causing profuse bleeding. He then voluntarily went to the Oktoberfest infirmary. It wouldn't be Oktoberfest without someone in our group going to the infirmary.

A little while later, Ben plundered through the market across the street from the Lotter Leben and reappeared triumphantly with a couple band-aids on his hands and arms, and then quickly fell asleep in his own bloody hands. Laura put a flag in her boobs, thus birthing titflag.com.
Energized, Alex, Daniel, Shane, Derrick, Gregerson, Bonham, Emily, Mirka, and I did the only thing we could do: dance our asses off. I didn't want Ben to feel alone, so I whipped my now-stale pretzel into the air and attempted to catch it. This is what very hard salt does to one's wrist. We went to a club we call the Mall of America. I have no idea what it is actually called. Several people on the trip back in 2007 discovered it and went there several nights. Somehow, I never went to it on the first trip. It's called the Mall of America because it's basically a giant showroom converted into one hell of a good Bavarian time.

When we arrived, we all grabbed some beers with their own hinged tops. Some band was playing, and the dance floor was relatively tame. Gregerson couldn't deal with that, so he headed back to the hotel in a rage. However, when the band would take a break, a DJ would come on, and people would half-heartedly head to the dance floor. Needing a boost, we decided it was a good idea to do Jager shots. I nearly vomited anticipatorily when I saw the barfrau pour warm Jager into shot glasses. Thankfully, she dropped a single ice cube into each shot glass. These proved to be exceptionally good -- even better than a standard cold Jager shot. Something about the Jager over there was a little bit smoother than the stuff we have in the States.

That kind of did the trick. The band was still playing, and people generally weren't reacting positively. Then the band stopped, the DJ came back on, and it happened. Within the first several bars of Miami Sound Machine's "Conga," everyone stopped what they were doing and went fucking nuts. Beer bottles were dropped, tables were thrown, and caution was thrown to the wind as people rushed to the dance floor.
From then on, it was bedlam. '80s songs were played with reckless abandon, as we slipped into oblivion.
At some point, someone broke a few bottles on the dance floor. Not wanting Ben and I to feel alone, Shane fell to the floor and washed his hands in glass and spilt marzen bier.
Of course, this didn't stop him (or any of us) from continuing to work ourselves into a Jager, beer, and Journey filled frenzy. I don't know if it was the blood or what, but a German bear soon began to stalk Shane. This dude followed Shane around and tried to dance with Shane for a good half hour before finally getting the point that Shane was not into overweight hirsute dudes in lederhosen. The best part is that Shane was completely unaware that there was a bear trying to make him into horseradish.

After a couple hours, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel. Outside of the Mall of America, Emily started laughing at something -- probably a joke -- and she could not stop. All of a sudden, she was laughing so hard she was starting to hee haw like Eddie Murphy. That started me laughing at her laughing, which only made her laugh harder, which only made me laugh harder. This lasted for just about the entire walk home.

When we arrived at the hotel, Mirka was determined to stay out, despite the fact that it was already 4 a.m. She noticed a storefront sign across the street that was lit, and said, "Oh! There's a bar!" We all looked across the street to see the sign, which read "Apotheke." I explained, "That's a pharmacy. And it's closed." Not even that would stop Mirka on her quest. She saw a cab parked on the street and asked the cabbie if any bars were still open. He said yes. We all said no, since German cab drivers are notorious liars.

For our own good, we all just headed up to our respective rooms and passed the fuck out. I love Oktoberfest.