observations on getting really, really drunk

alright, everyone, it’s now time for an intense moment of clarity – there are basically three things that i’m really good at: getting rip-roaringly rip-rockingly drunk, cracking jokes that are intensely (and i hate busting out the word ‘intense’ again already in this piece, but there it is) dependent on the circumstance in which the joke is being told, and rocking the dance gift that Our Father In Heaven gave to the white man, the Robot. even if my Robot does look suspiciously like your Robot. fuck off, alright, i’m the most original dude of all time!

anyway, so while the latter two points might be clear, the first might not be, not least because it smacks of that 17-year-old moron, “i was the MAN in high school,” getting-drunk-just-to-be-drunk mentality. i acknowledge the apparent weakness of the thesis, but hey, there it is: i have survived some rough times with the help of my good friend Alcohol and i have survived some rough times CAUSED by my good friend Alcohol with what i can only term as a combination of basic Boy Scouts preparedness and a little something i like to call a “Swiss Army Knife.” you might have heard of them, they’re great, they have, like, spoons and scissors and shit in them.

ANYWAY, while consuming a large amount of alcohol (i refrain from calling it “my good friend Alcohol” here to avoid the homoeroticism that personification would slam me with, whatever), i have learned some things. and i would like to share these things with you.

also, DISCLAIMER FOR FUTURE EMPLOYERS: yeah, i know this isn’t the kind of thing one is supposed to talk about on the internet, but a) we’re talking years-ago-in-college shit, and South Park tells me it’s okay to go nuts in college and then clean your act up, and b) i already work for TSA. so if you do a background check on me and discover that i work for a non-respected, mocked-constantly, dildo-swabbing agency, i mean, what the fuck, it’s going to make it WORSE that i drank some alcohol like it was my job and my second job at the same time? seriously? i mean, fuck, i have a degree in ENGLISH. you know i HAD to drink to make that happen.

and now, the wisdom:

dragonfruit, the delicious taste of victory
while i assure you that the Power-C Vitamin Water will do you no wrong either going up or coming down…

Power-C Vitamin Water tastes just as good coming up as it does going down
i discovered this completely inadvertently after drinking a large amount of beers, not actually being drunk, drinking a bottle of Power-C, going to sleep, and then waking up because i felt a little ill (for obvious reasons) and then throwing up off a deck. it was pretty unpleasant, all things considered. and yet, what i realized during the vomiting was this: that Vitamin Water REALLY TASTED THE SAME COMING BACK UP. i don’t know if this is good (because of the pleasant taste) or bad (because of the creepiness of Vitamin Water’s chemicals resisting the nature of my stomach and its associated acids in order to retain flavor), but either way, isn’t that awesome?

head butting isn’t painfully, but instead, it’s totally awesome!
this actually came from a combination of sober advice on how to “correctly” head butt people (as in, where a head butt hurts and where it doesn’t, both in terms of where it’s delivered and what part of the head is used to strike) and a combination of a St. Patrick’s Day outing with an Irish sidekick of mine. did we drink? well, yeah, he’s Irish and i’m part Irish and if there’s one thing an Irishman knows how to do, it’s drink and drink and REGRET NOTHING. and before this St. Patrick’s Day went horribly wrong, we did spend a fun part of the day getting tuned up and then head butting the HELL out of each other in a bar. and it was pretty painless! side note: people shouldn’t go drink on St. Patrick’s Day, because it’s strictly amateur hour, just like New Year’s Eve. let’s make St. David’s Day our new drinking holiday!

Hank Williams (or whatever C&W artist you like) is a motherfucking GENIUS
when i feel bad and then drink to cheer myself up (which always works, though in a temporary way, of course), it’s always like that episode of King Of The Hill where Bobby breaks up with Marie (voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar) and then proceeds to be depressed and lie on the floor of the living room in jeans and no shirt while listening to country and western music (or maybe blues, whatever). and then Hank Hill says “well, at least the boy’s taste in music has improved.” granted, i don’t wear jeans (they’re not comfortable!) and i try to always keep a shirt on (i’m not Right Said Fred!), but i DO notice that when you’re really sad and you’re knocking back the drinks to forget about it … well, Hank Williams is making all kinds of sense he never made before. that’s all i’m saying. though, to be fair, i’m more of a Johnny Cash/Steve Earle/Townes Van Zandt man myself. it’s just that none of THEM made songs with all-too-appropriate titles like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

tequila, the delicious taste of ...hellfire
…i make you no such promises about the liquid of Satan himself known as tequila.

don’t drink tequila
all i know about this liquid that i assume is composed of 10% agave and 91% devil’s blood (yeah, yeah, my math is fucked, but, well, listen, supernatural drinks don’t have to abide by the laws of nature, okay?) is that if you drink it for any reason, at any time, in any amount, evil shit will happen. like, stuff i don’t even want to attempt to describe, mainly because i’m not sure it all actually happened and if it DIDN’T, i’m going to look completely ridiculous talking about this time that a six-legged goat manifested itself to me in a clearing in the woods and promised to reveal to me all the secrets of the modern world, and that when i rejected it’s alluring-but-clearly-demonic offer, it attempted to fight me … BUT WAS DEFEATED IN HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT AND BANISHED TO HELL! really! come on, you really don’t think that happened? fuck. but that means that what i ALSO learned while getting really, really drunk was:

it’s easy to make up totally awesome stories!
unless you believed that devil-goat thing. in which case, uh, this one is a joke. yeah. let’s keep it moving.

in conclusion, let’s not look down on this “wisdom gained through drinking” concept, you sober internet lovers! Dylan Thomas would TOTALLY have my back on this one! and who’s going to tell a Welshman who drinks like it’s his job that he’s wrong, you? because i’m certainly not going to!

time is not money if you’re not rocking out in some manner that makes that money

since i work for the federal government, it’s often occurred to me that i might need to become one of those guys who has a hobby that can be used to a) make him some money on the side, and b) make him some additional money on the side. i was kicking some ideas around, thinking of stuff that i can do while working, and most of the ideas i had didn’t come to much. i did think of a couple of decent ones, like knitting premium sweaters and making minature furniture for resale, but the latter’s too derivative of the Wire’s Lester Freamon (and i am nothing if not 113% original) and the former … well, let’s be serious here, i’m not really much of a knitter, and i’m not sure who’d want to buy my half-assed bargain-bin sweaters. “hey, you don’t know me, but i made this lopsided pink sweater with a pony on it, would you like to buy it for $100?” i don’t see this going well.

HOWEVER, it occurs to me that if there’s one thing i am good at, it’s rocking, as in, i rock and there has to be some way to turn that into money. but then you’re required to either sing some bitchin’ rock vocals (which i’m not going to do on the grounds that listening to my voice might cause people to die, or at least kill each other) or learn an instrument, which i don’t see going too well either. i grant you that i might have played a little awesome clarinet back in my youth (like 3rd or 4th grade or some shit like that), but let’s not delude ourselves about that translating into something more “rock-oriented.”

…so, logicially, the way to work around this is for me to learn to play an instrument that is so awesome that people won’t notice that a) i’m not very good at playing it or making those faces that indicate how difficult but AWESOME it is for me to play it and b) that they’re giving me all their money because i’m rocking them so hard! and i have narrowed it down to three options:

guitars that are, you know, DOUBLE guitars
this dude looks about as uncool as a man could possible be… but there’s no denying that his guitar rocks

double guitar
you know those guitars that are, like, double guitars? well, Otto does and so do i. but on closer inspection, while they double the neck-related goodness of your average electric guitar, they’re also probably a lot more complicated for me to play than, say, a “normal” guitar, which makes this a risky proposition.

keytar fever
this guy doesn’t appear to be having enough fun to cause a sensual eruption, but he still appears to be rockin’

the lack of strings makes this option appealing, but at the same time, Snoop Dogg’s out there running this keytar concept into the ground faster than 13000 hipsters in fedoras and tight shirts ever could. (side note: Snoop Dogg rocking a keytar in the “Sensual Eruption” video is either the worst thing ever in a video or the BEST thing ever in a video.) and i even know a guy that plays the keytar and, i presume, owns one to go along with playing it. so i’m going to pass on the grounds that keytarring is unoriginal and maybe played out a little.

electric banjo
is this man the coolest man ever? you know the answer is a resounding “HELL YES”

electric banjo
ah, here we go. someone decided that a banjo – the sainted instrument of gifted, inbred yokel children everywhere – wasn’t awesome enough cranking out tunes about how “my fat baby loves to eat (loves to eaaat)” in the deep South and cranked it up to 11 by electrifying it. i see some of myself in this instrument: we’re both electric personalities from the South and … uh … actually, that’s it. but further, i have often talked about a mostly fictional band called the Nikolai Tesla Experience that was based around the concept of myself and a team of others getting electric banjos and making a band out of the whole deal. we might have even thought they weren’t real at the time, who knows.

so, electric banjo it is! i’d better get one of these and learn to play it ASAP so that all the bands that need electric banjoneers will be beating a path to my door. but how to learn to play the banjo… well, i could just play some Rock band. the kids tell me that it’ll teach you to play instruments in REAL LIFE!

listen carefully … because it’s almost over, and too soon

so, the new (and final, unfortunately) season of the Wire has started, and while i wanted to recap my favorite moments from the past four years before it did… well, here we go with them right now!

you say the Wire’s going off the air for good after only 10 more episodes? SHEEEIIITTT!

13. “you’ve got to… this America, man.”
(opening scene, season one, episode 1, “The Target”)
i love it to death when the Wire references things from past Simon books like Homicide and the Corner, or real-word anecdotes about Baltimore and/or Maryland, and this is a great example AND a great way to start the series: with an anecdote that’s lifted from Homcide and gives us some nice dark humor – hey, if Baltimore’s going to be bloody and fucked-up, we might as well get some laughs in there. it’s one of my favorite moments in the book (along with “yo Santa. this is Baltimore. watch your back.”) and the character actor they got to play the scene does a great job. it really kicks the series off right.

12. “thieving motherfuckers will steal anything.”
(Carver and Greggs photographing Frog’s crew, season two, episode 5, “Undertow”)
sometimes, the Wire is just funny, and one of those times is Carver looking at the white boys like Frog doing their best to call each other the n-bomb and act as black as possible. it’s a much better indictment than the later lecture that Nick gives to Frog, i can tell you that, unless you’re like me, and you dislike Nick and see THAT scene as proof he’s a dumbass. that’s the major reason i like it, anyway…

11. “LAWYER.”
(Bodie gets interrogated by Norris and Cole, season two, episode 9, “Stray Rounds”)
we see this kind of thing throughout the series – much like in real life in real Baltimore, the smart criminals know to call a lawyer, not fall for police tricks, and above all, keep their mouths shut – but this scene is my favorite of all of the above because you have two cops (Cole and Norris) overplaying their hand because they can’t fathom that a corner boy like Bodie would see through their tactic (and you’d really think they’d know HE’D know what gun he used, so perhaps they’re just trying to save their bluff from being called). just a fun moment.

10. “i’ve got the shotgun; you’ve got the briefcase.”
(the Bird trial, season two, episode 6, “All Prologue”)
Omar’s pretty hilarious throughout the show – such as in the cases of his season one and season four robberies – but he may be at his most hilarious in court in season two with his ridiculous tie (and the rest of the outfit as a unit, i suppose) and his sass back to Morris Levy (who’s easily one of the most reprehensible characters on the show, period) in which he flat out states that Levy’s no better than he is, what with feeding off the crime and misery the drug trade engenders and all. Omar’s easy to like because he’s the kind of Robin Hood criminal who makes it a point to rob and steal from drug dealers and their ilk … but it doesn’t help that he’s pretty amusing verbally as well.

09. “if it’s a lie, then we fight on that lie.”
(Slim Charles tells it to Avon, season three, episode 12, “Mission Accomplished”)
with the name of the episode and the commentary in it, you know, it’s supposed to be a clever commentary on the Iraq War (or something), and maybe it even is … but one point that seems to get missed sometimes is Slim Charles pointing out that lie or not, whatever the truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter once we have a situation that needs to be resolved. i’m just sayin’. plus, you know, i have to have a healthy dose of Slim Charles on this list.

08. “one man, one vote.”
(Ott tears down his election flyer, season two, episode 12, “Port In A Storm”)
in season two, it’s all about the docks being the bastard child of whoever needs them – the business community, the drug smugglers and dealers, the FBI trying to make a case – and them always hearing what’ll get done for them and always getting fucked over by the association in the end. the season ends on such a note with Ott taking a stand that doesn’t benefit him personally, or his demographic of the dock workers, or even the dock workers in general, what with the FBI shutting their doors and all. but if you’re going to getting fucked over for 12 episodes, well, sometimes it’s nice to give a “fuck you” back.

fuck you, motherfuckers, i ain't afraid!
little-known fact: Kenard is seriously THE saltiest character ever to be on television.

07. “we all know something… unpleasant happened here Friday…”
(classroom box cutter attack, season four, episode 3, “Home Rooms”)
i feel like i’m shorting season four a little bit here, because it’s got a lot of good stuff about schools and politics (both in Baltimore, but i’m sure at least the latter applies in a lot of places) and i only have about two scenes for all that here (and more on the politics later), but this is a great, shocking moment that i’m sure a lot of people can’t even fathom taking place in the local schools their kids go to. which is a good thing, obvious.

06. tie: “hoppers be turning the signs to fuck with y’all”/”shots fired, shots fired, officers need assistance”
(the Greggs shooting, season one, episode 10, “The Cost”) and (the 2 AM high-rise scene, season one, episode 2, “The Detail”)
throughout the show, there’s often the atmosphere that the cops may get annoyed and disappointed, but still remain the side that can kick the other side’s ass and get away with it … but not always, and sometimes it’s clear that even being police won’t keep you safe everywhere, as evidenced by Herc, Carver and Prez narrowly escaping a high-rise confrontation they start, as well as the ominous scene that Orlando and Greggs find themselves in when it’s clear something’s going bad … but before the shooting starts.

05. “…we had us a community”
(Bunk lectures Omar, season three, episode 6, “Homecoming”)
throughout the Wire, there’s a lot of “things aren’t what they used to be, and that sucks,” whether it be the neighborhoods or the port or the dope game or policing or whatever (and, hell, i think this was even the note the show everyone cares about, the Sopranos, started on as well). but really, in a city like Baltimore, it’s much more the case than it is for, say, the New Jersey mafia, and so on. Bunk gives a nice monologue about how his neighborhood was hard, but still was a neighborhood in which even the bad dudes (who were probably not bad enough dudes to rescue the president) gave a shit. there’s always some counterpoints being made in the show – i especially enjoy Poot’s sarcastic talk about “these kids being animals and what not” – but i think we all end up agreeing that yeah, Bunk’s right, shit used to be better.

04. “they ALWAYS disappoint. closer you get, more you look. all of ’em.”
(Norman wallows in Carcetti-caused misery, season four, episode 13, “Final Grades”)
and now, the politics. i hold a special animosity for Carcetti on this show because he’s the fictional version of one of the politicians i most despise – Martin O’Malley, former Baltimore mayor, current Maryland governor, and douchebag extraordinaire – so i admit that i hated him from the jump. still, while he’s sort of well-meaning in season three, season four has him take this slide from well-meaning to just another asshole more about playing politics than actually giving a shit about his city. you see him sliding into the hands of Clay Davis and the smarmy, disgusting comptroller that’s all about votes and away from Norman, who’s pretty hilarious and energetic all season … only to end up at the bar commiserating with Royce’s chief of staff (who was probably more like Norman once himself, you might think). no one’s surprised, just … sad. and all Carcetti and his comptroller can see is political revenge, not citizens and children and the like. good thing it’s not like Baltimore was run this way!

03. “live the life, leave the life, ain’t no big thing. he used to talk that shit all the time, and he believed it, you know what i’m saying?. what’s up, baby, talk that shit now.”
(Avon and D’Angelo visit Avon’s uncle, season one, episode 4, “Old Cases”)
one of the reasons that Avon grows on me (and Stringer doesn’t) is that while Avon’s generally just a pretty cold-hearted gangster and aspires to nothing more, he also KNOWS he’s just a cold-hearted gangster, and it does allow for some moments of reflection, such as admitting as much to Stringer … and having the scene with his brother in season one. we get a lot of the respect for Barksdale’s discipline in the show, and much of that is about the simple fact of being good at selling drugs… but some of it has to do with his being scared of being “a little slow, a little late” just one time. and you see what can happen that’s even worse than jail or death in this scene.

02. “you fought the good fight.”
(Bunny and the deacon chat, season three, episode 2, “All Due Respect”)
this might just be my favorite episode, because it’s made the list twice. and with good reason: there’s a great scene with the Deacon (former drug kingpin Little Melvin Williams acting it up) and Bunny (who’s one of the few untainted characters in the show), with Bunny pouring out his sadness over, really, being a great police and accomplishing less than nothing in terms of improving his neighborhoods and district and city. the quote’s a good Biblical reference as far as Bunny goes – for you heathens, it’s shades of a little 2 Timothy 4: “i have fought a good fight, i have finished my course, i have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” – but is that kind of thing really going to make Bunny, or anyone like him, feel better about their real-world successes and failures? probably not.

you're a soldier, Bodie.
i would say “goodnight, sweet prince,” but i don’t think that has a rugged enough sound for Bodie.

01. “Bodie been there, Bodie hung tough…”
(Bodie flips over Little Kevin’s death, talks to McNulty… and dies, season four, episode 13, “Final Grades”)
Bodie’s my favorite character, and he’s definitely the gangster version of Carver: both men are young and relatively unschooled at the start of the show’s run, both make missteps, and both redeem themselves (as far as their worlds go, anyway) by learning and developing into “good” characters. both end up clearly upset at the end for the way their systems don’t give a shit about the people it should protect (Little Kevin and Randy/Miss Anna, respectively). but i have soft spot for Bodie (i watched Williams play Kenny on OZ for many years too, after all) and the trio of scenes where he rages at Little Kevin’s end to Poot, then pours out his sadness to McNulty, and then dies are pretty sad. but it’s still a victory of sorts – Bodie doesn’t walk himself up into an abandoned and LET Chris shoot him; he dies on his corner on his terms (as they are) after a season of people just accepting their murders. there’s always an ebb and flow of big events from season to season, but i will miss the hell out of Bodie come season five. (as in, uh, a few days ago.)

so, seriously, people, watch this show. it’s awesome. you’re missing out if you don’t.

also, honorable mentions: “so y’all go to the movies” (Herc and Carver run into Bodie and Poot at the movies) and pretty much anything coming out of Method Man’s mouth. that guy always cracks me up.

the wisdom of random dudes i work with: solid gold?

next week on house of hate… the Wire: still the best show on television for another ten episodes
since we’re about to lose said best show ever after a mere ten more episodes (and, sadly, David Simon had to argue for that up from the mere eight episodes HBO was going to send it off with, the bastards), i was going to punch up a little “13 best moments from the Wire” on the pretense that the internet cares (yeah, yeah, yeah), what with the network broadcast (not counting the skipping-ahead On Demand people) coming on January 6th. but i’m a little behind on all that and so i think we’re going to have to wait another week for that one. but watch the Wire anyway! watch all five years! i will convince you in one week! anyway…

this week on house of hate… the wit and wisdom of some of my current co-workers
now, over the years i’ve gleened some valuable insights from random people in the world; the top words of wisdom are probably still those of a bearded colleague of my father who pointed out to me that “life … is not fair.” whatever else that guy thinks, well, he was pretty much on the ball with that one. but now that i work in the bowels of an airport with a totally random team of guys who have about one thing in common – the inability to get a better job – i find that some of these guys have wisdom they’d like to impart to the world at large. here is some of it.

the teenage advice of Diddy
Diddy’s not terribly old and he has a flowing Hanson-like mane of hair, but on occasion he comes up with a gem or two that he thinks might help you with your life. so let’s check a couple of them out.

“don’t try and act hard on MySpace.”
if i recall correctly, this was the result of a fellow teenager starting a fight with him via MySpace shit-talking, and then getting into said fight in an incredibly improbably Outsiders-esque circle of car headlights. casualities: one man beaten up by Diddy, and Diddy’s prized Captain America t-shirt being torn. so i’d have to verify this as sound advice, because if nothing else, you should feel a little pathetic as you talk tough on MySpace. the addendum i would make is “don’t wear your favorite Captain America t-shirt to a fight.”

girls don't like hentai!
right now, somewhere in America, some underwashed, overweight men are jerking off to this.

“girls don’t want to hear about anime porno!”
caused by a tale wherein two guys he knew were talking about the “incredible hotness” of anime porno (or hentai or whatever the hell you call it) in front of a female colleague, prompting Diddy to tell them it was completely retarded for them to talk about said anime porno in that context, prompting THEM to grill her (in what i would call a “creepy-sad fashion”) about whether or not she’d find anime porno hot. seriously, i think we can all tell this is one of the worst ideas of all time, and only major consumers of, well, anime porno would disagree. in the words of Diddy: “hey, i’m a huge nerd too, but i want to get laid sometimes!” indeed.

the ancient wisdom of the Reverend
unlike Diddy, the Reverend is an older, possibly middle-aged man (depending on what you call “middle-aged,” i guess) who also wants us to benefit from his words of wisdom. so let’s see what he’s got.

get yourself a bottle of HENNESSY!
Hennessy: the nudity-enhancement beverage of choice for the Reverend

“if you get yourself a prostitute in Singapore, check down below, so you know you didn’t rent yourself a pretty man.”
i doubt that there will ever be a situation wherein this advice will get checked out by me, but it seems, you know, reasonable. and if the Reverend’s tales abotu screaming, naked, beyond surprised colleagues are anything to go by, well, i would advise all of you in similiar Singaporean situations to, well, “check down below.”

“a bottle of Hennessy will make black girls get NAKED!”
since i don’t drink Hennessy (or otherwise purchase it), i have to take the Reverend’s word on this one, and i have to tell you, he seems ADAMANT about the whole thing. so… yeah… maybe that’s about it for the Reverend’s advice. still, if you’re looking to get some black girls naked, try Hennessy?