Tag Archives: drinking

Beale Street, Memphis, TN

Beale Street, Memphis, TN - Beale Street is a less popular version of Bourbon Street in that there are no open container laws, there are a lot of flashing lights, and plenty of intoxicated out-of-towners drinking too much. The crowd on a Wednesday night is primarily middle aged, unattractive, and under the influence of various controlled substances. Like most such streets in America visiting is highly recommended.

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NOLA

This is New Orleans

How is it that the guys can love a dirty disgusting city so much? As you drive into the God-forsaken town you immediately notice how dirty it is. The streets are lined with houses that should have been condemned and bulldozed years ago after hurricane Katrina.

There is a contrast – a distinct smell of tourist piss and vomit on many corners of the French Quarter, but a block over a tear may come to your eye from amazement of all the local culture and art.

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Many parts of the town reek of tourist hell. Areas like Bourbon Street are so dirty and disgusting that the city has to literally wash the streets with soap and water every mornting – what else can they do when every tourist takes a giant metaphorical (sometimes literal) dump on the city in an alcohol induced rage until 4am before finally packing their bags and heading home?

I think that’s all part of the glorious dichotomy that is NOLA. It’s dirty, grimy, trashy, largely broken, touristy, but amazing. We still love New Orleans like almost no other place – and you should too!

It really is a unique experience to walk down a street and witness a full-grown man singing his heart out like no one but God himself is listening. Then there are the local bakeries and eateries – the local bakers and cooks gossiping in a southern/Cajun twang making it uniquely New Orleans. Everyone loves their craft and the tourist just pass through on their way to Bourbon street sometimes giving little recognition.

It’s the bartender who has lived in the city his entire life and can handle anything a drunken tourist can throw his way. It’s the artist that should have their art in a museum, but sells it on the street because that’s just what they do. It’s the conglomerate of artists, tourists, and a city of poverty and opportunity all living and working together – one barely acknowledging the other’s existence.

Tips to Avoid being just another tourist

I won’t lie or pretend that drinking, enjoying the sites, and gawking at street performers isn’t all part of the experience, but there are a few things you can do to make your trip to NOLA all the more satisfying – and maybe even absorbing a little extra culture along the way.

1. Absorb the local art

The local art may be my single favorite part of New Orleans. I may even go as far as to say that the French quarter and surrounding area might be the most artistic place in the United States per square foot. If you are a smart tourist you will kindly purchase an authentic piece of street art (for pennies compared to department store prices)!

The best place to buy an authentic piece of street art is off Jackson square. There are literally dozens of people sitting around selling their works. The best part is that most of the art is extremely affordable and high quality.

Helpful tip: generally, avoid the art shops off Royal Street. The art is essentially the same as what is in Jackson square, but with “you didn’t buy it on the street” prices. Most of the shops commission the local artists to put their work in the shops anyways. So it really is the same thing, just in a setting for rich people with too much cash.

2. Street Performers

Maybe this tip is a little cliché and not a best kept secret, but the street performers during the day on Royal Street are amazing. If you are lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of a wedding procession coming through too.

Royal Street is expensive, so keep your cash in hand and spend it a little further out like on Frenchmen St. where the atmosphere is a bit more authentic and affordable.

3. Find some Authentic NOLA style cuisine

For a place with such good food I don’t think I have ever had such a hard time finding a decent restaurant. Most of the places around the French quarter come right out of tourist trap hell with tourist trap prices to boot. In general, avoid most of them.

A good rule of thumb is the further you get from Bourbon Street the more authentic and less expensive the food becomes. Shane and I found a couple of great restaurants on Frenchman street called Maison, and The Praline Connection, and another across the river in Algiers called the Dry Dock Cafe (take the free fairy across the river).

4. Get Wasted, Responsibly

If you came to New Orleans to party – you came to the right place. Sheer supply and demand has driven prices down on drinks. You can generally get a “Huge Ass Beer”, Hurricane, or hand grenade almost anywhere. Don’t forget to try a Bloody Mary and the local beer too. If you are looking to party, of course the best place to do that is on Bourbon Street.

Be prepared, however, for belligerence, nudity, vomit, and crowds. This is not a street that you would like to take your family to – not at any time or any day. There are a plethora of strip clubs, intoxicated tourists, and women willing to expose their breast for the mere cost of a string of beads. If you aren’t looking to binge drink or if you are looking for the “real” New Orleans – then you probably want to stay clear of Bourbon Street. You have been forewarned!

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Ireland: The Pub

I spent the last week exploring Ireland. It wasn’t a place too different from the United States – much of the culture I found almost indistinguishable from our own.  That’s not to say Ireland wasn’t unique though – not by a long shot.

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The Irish – more-so than any culture I’ve experienced – are a hard bunch to dissect. They have a soul of iron that is almost impossible to pierce. The hundreds of years of British occupation, the civil wars, the bad economy – but nothing about any of this is revealed too easily. The Irish are layered. They don’t live with the hearts on their sleeves – and to a tourist you almost miss entirely who the people. It’s complex and maybe that is the real distinction between Ireland and America – a thousand years of history have made things a little more complicated.

But if you want to understand any of this you have to understand the heartbeat of Irish culture – the pub. The pub isn’t a place to dance your ass off and fist pump until you puke all over your friend’s shoes – the pub is proper. It’s a meeting place where you discuss the goings on of the world: politics, religion, life, and love. If you can see the pub as more than just a place to grab a beer you can start to uncover what it means to be Irish.

Here are few bars I crossed paths with:

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Death and Tijuana

I woke up. 6:30am. Fuck. I just fell asleep three hours ago. My mouth is dry as hell and I feel some sense of urgency to get out of here. Not out of this hotel. Out of this country. Out of Tijuana. Out.

I don’t even want to take a shower. I am packing my bag and checking my pockets. My ID and passport are here, thank God. Holden insists I shower. I hop in and rinse the filth off from last night. What I can remember of last night anyways. I put on some clean clothes. My hands are shaking a little – dehydrated. We eat the mediocre hotel breakfast, drink three bottles of water, and we book it.

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Holden and I don’t say a word. We know what happened last night can’t be mentioned. My visa card is missing; my cell phone is gone too. Thank God I locked everything else in the safe. Holden still has his cell – I dial my bank and cancel everything. A replacement phone will have to wait.

Holden and I try to fill in the gaps from last night. Neither of us want to remember what the other has to offer. We leave it at that. Thankful for forgotten memories. That’s how it will stay.

It hits me. We have to come back tomorrow. I’ve never felt such dread from having to return to a place. We’re on foot by this point heading back to the US/Mexico border. We get in a cab – $1 each. That’s when I see it – the busiest boarder on earth. 300,000 daily crossers hustling in both directions.

I think back briefly – the whole night was a blur. I remember beautiful Mexican women – they were on us like a bunch of tweens at a Justin Beiber concert. We saw them do things I can’t believe. Beautiful amazing things. The beer, the tequila, too cheap. We took advice from a taxi driver and a stranger – that might have cost us. I see two American guys – they hand me a rum and coke. I drink. I drink. Drink.

They kick us out. Holden and I aren’t willing to pay for sex – the other two guys do. We leave. That’s when I woke up in the hotel. That’s why I have to get the hell out of here. My memory is destroyed. The only thing I can recall is bits and pieces of shit I wish I couldn’t.

The border again. Focus. It’s packed. We pay some guy $5 to get us to the front of the line. I’m still a little drunk. We get into a van. I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do. Are we being robbed? No. There are normal people in here, good.

Thirty minutes later we are across the border. Long trolley ride back to San Diego – I have to come back tonight. For now I want coffee – I want air I can breathe. We get to San Diego and I feel better – a good taco helps my mind and my stomach smooth things over with last night.

Two Bachelor Parties, Two Days

“Legendary-ish Stories” is a series I plan to write occasionally in which I describe actual incidents that happened in my life. These incidents often involve alcohol and at times immorality – neither of which I necessarily condone. With these stories I hope to add a touch of humor and display human imperfection while simultaneously eroding my credibility. Enjoy.

If you are curious about what the quickest way to develop cirrhosis of the liver is I can tell you.  Plan and attend two bachelor parties over the course of two consecutive days.

Right now I feel filthy.  I have ingested more alcohol than I care to consume in the next 6 months, I have witnessed more whores undress for singles than I have in my entire life, and I’ve seen enough vomit on cream colored carpet to last a lifetime.

Since my memory is too foggy to tell a decent story about what happened I figured a few highlights would suffice.

1. Shot and beer guzzling at friends house. I have procured moonshine from a local distillery. We realize moonshine does in fact put hair on your chest.
2. Binge eating of meat products at one of the best BBQ joints in the South. I manage to get the local band playing to give our bachelor a shout out. The crowd cheers and we quickly realize this was a great idea due to multiple patrons buying us alcohol and encouraging binge drinking.
3. More beers and shots at the local pub. Realize a gay bar is next door and what could be more tempting to a bunch of gay guys than a bachelor?
4. Gay guy hits on me.  I’m flattered.
5. Drunk.  Go to strip club to reaffirm our manliness.
6. Become more interested in the type of people who frequent strip clubs than the actual strippers themselves. Try to carry on “real” conversations with strippers and quickly realize she only wants my singles. I do not want a lap dance – neither does anyone else – I become disappointed because I really wanted to write about an entry on this blog entitle “this hoes life”.
7. Bachelor goes shirtless in probably the most crowded street in Atlanta. Arrest seems likely.
8. The Bachelor, who is a literal and certified genius, can no longer remember basic tax code nor add 3 digit numbers. He begins rambling incoherently about “what’s happening to me.” We ignore his complaints and continue force feeding him alcoholic beverages mixed with energy drinks. Bad idea in retrospect.
9. Take taxi back to house. Bachelor passes out. Wakes up briefly and vomits all over the floor. Success.

I wish I could go into more detail about what happened, but I think that’s against the bachelor party code of ethics – especially when the grooms in question are business professionals.  I’ll just leave it at this – everyone survived and the wedding is still on.  That’s good enough for anyone.

Forget Vegas – What Happens in Chicago STAYS in Chicago

“Legendary-ish Stories” is a series I plan to write occasionally in which I describe actual incidents that happened in my life. These incidents often involve alcohol and at times immorality – neither of which I necessarily condone. With these stories I hope to add a touch of humor and display human imperfection while simultaneously eroding my credibility. Enjoy.

What I did was despicable, terrible, accidental, unplanned, unforgivable, and also memorable. What I did is something no one should ever do and no I do not commend my actions. If anything I discourage them, but as this blog is about being human, about the truth, I will shamefully tell it anyway – however hesitantly I proceed.

Let me start out by saying being a young man in a bar with your closest work friends (who have become personal friends) with an unlimited bar tab and tables that have taps of limitless beer and liquor – is a recipe for disaster and mistakes to be made. Even by a man like me who prides himself on having integrity. A word I can barely write at the moment.

The night started out innocently and unplanned enough. Of course we planned on drinking as much as possible on the company dime – who wouldn’t. However, when the bar closed at 1am and we had ingested an untold number of beers and two older women were hitting on me continuously – what was I to do? Resist?

I’m a young guy in my mid-20s. I am married, so I’m not proud of what happened. My conversation with the women started of completely innocent. I talked about my time in the city, asked for suggestions, and even talked about my wife and their husbands. It was a blur, I will admit, but to my knowledge I was completely forth-coming and polite – yet it seems that older women with husbands really, really like younger men with wives.

Upon blackout a friend of mine (also attached) and I teleport to their hotel room. I don’t remember leaving the bar, making the decision to follow them, nor arriving to the hotel.

Let me stop right here though and say that I was strong. Stronger than most in this position. I resisted their constant propositions. However, that did not stop them from undressing and that did not stop me from looking. I’m not proud. I shouldn’t have put myself in such a situation and how I resisted the desire to take full advantage I may never know.  Still, I deserve a kick to the testicles if nothing else.

Now this is where the story gets funny because if you know me than you would completely understand that this is something I would do. In the middle of all of this “excitement” somehow we get on the subject of politics. (Me being from the South they joked that I hated Obama) That’s when, in my drunken stupor, my mind went from thinking about sex like a 14 year old – to politics. I started in on all of my beliefs and proofs – many of which you have read in this blog. I think the fact that I subconsciously care more about economics and politics than a naked women is clearly more shameful than being in the room with two naked women while I’m married.

In the end I convinced two very liberal women that Ron Paul is an excellent choice for president and that many of my “pseudo-socialist-libertarian-naturalist” viewpoints are incredibly valid. This made me feel AWESOME since both of these women were clearly well educated executive types. They could have very well been my boss. To make matters worse I went on a rant about integrity (while ironically showing no integrity at all).

That’s about the point I felt completely disgusted with myself and realized I was about to force myself to leave and take a very expensive cab ride back to the hotel, alone. So I excused myself and took the walk of shame down to the hotel lobby and shook my head when I noticed the sun was coming up.

I hailed a cab, cringed at how much it cost, drank a lot of water and coffee, took a shower to rinse the disgust off of my body, and went back to work. Now I’m just trying to forget these memories of blatant idiocracy on my part. The shit I feel right now in the form of a massive hang-over, the credibility I may lose from all my “many” readers, and any negative consequences that come from what happened – I deserve.

I’ll leave you with a the most memorable quote from the night (please excuse the language): “You are an impressive young guy. I would hire you and I would fuck you, but not necessarily in that order.” How do you forget something like that?

She dumped WHAT over your head?

“Legendary-ish Stories” is a series I plan to write occasionally in which I describe actual incidents that happened in my life. These incidents often involve alcohol and at times immorality – neither of which I necessarily condone. With these stories I hope to add a touch of humor and display human imperfection while simultaneously eroding my credibility. Enjoy.

A few months back I went to New Orleans to celebrate the New Year.  It was the second straight year my best friend and our wives had made the journey.  We love the great food, the music, and the cheap drinks so it usually makes for a good time.  The only problem with New Orleans is that going there always turns into a shit show.  I’m not sure if it’s the combination of loud music, energy, women exposing their breasts, and alcohol – or what – but inevitably something goes wrong.  Too much sin, I guess.

One thing you have to understand is that my best friend and his wife have two kids.  They are little demons from hell so no one, not even me, will babysit. The two of them never get out under normal circumstances so when they do it’s kind of like letting a lion out of the cage with a bunch of antelope after feeding him vegan dog food for the last few months.  Substitute antelope for tequila shots and Bloody Mary’s and you have the some understanding of the situation in question.  Looking back on it now I realize the problem was that we were over-zealous and over-ambitious.  We started drinking at about 4pm and actually expected to make it until midnight.  Rookie mistake.

Being a bunch of cheap-asses we started drinking in the hotel room.  I guess $3 drinks weren’t cheap enough.  I distinctly remember my friend’s wife guzzling a concoction that would run my car and feeling like I was going to puke just watching.  In the back of my mind I knew we were screwed from the start.

After an hour of boozing in the hotel room like a bunch of frat boys we hit the first bar – which was conveniently located next door to the hotel.  We drank $3 Bloody Mary’s for dinner.  For a while we thought about staying there all night, but for some reason we decided relocating would amplify our fun.  So we found ourselves at a more crowded, shittier, bar on Bourbon Street.  This part of the story starts moving so fast in real life that I have trouble describing it now.

Soon enough the only thing I can remember is it being dark outside and admiring a nice pair of fake breast expertly implanted and evenly proportional.  I remember examining them more out of curiosity than perverse enjoyment.  My wife was next to me and neither of us having touched a pair theorized on the density and texture of said breasts.  We came to no consensus.

I also remember complaining that fake breast bother me.  This made my wife happy. A few flashes later and I have a “huge ass beer” in my hand and we are listening to a white guy rap on stage.  It was mediocre.  I do remember wishing for a second I was rapping on stage, but even in my drunken stupor a white-man two step jig was all I could manage.

I remember eating a slice of pizza and saying to myself “you’ll be running that off tomorrow” – for some reason I wasn’t concerned about the empty calories from all the beer I was consuming.  At this point I also had about 5lbs of beads around my neck that I am not certain how I acquired.  I was only marginally concerned later the next morning  that they smelled like puke – especially since I had not vomited that night.

Next I remember seeing my friend.  He was soaked and furious.  “She dumped a $10 drink on my FUCKING head!”  I remember being more concerned at the wasted $10 than my soaked friend.  Apparently his wife and he had an argument brought on by cheap booze and loose women. She had dumped a giant mixture of vodka and juice over his head.

His shirt was stained cranberry red and everyone in the immediate area could only stop and stare in amazement wondering what might happen next. My friend stormed off and we didn’t find him until well after midnight and New Years Eve had ended.

I remember sipping my beer while all this was going down thinking “this is a real shit show”.  His wife started crying and I pretended not to acknowledge her existence.  We had become those people with the crying lady in public.  No amount of booze could make up for what had just happened.  It’s the first time in my adult life I remember looking at someone I care about and thinking “you deserve to cry.”

sorority party in college: POOH STEW

“Legendary-ish Stories” is a series I plan to write occasionally in which I describe actual incidents that happened in my life. These incidents often involve alcohol and at times immorality – neither of which I necessarily condone. With these stories I hope to add a touch of humor and display human imperfection while simultaneously eroding my credibility. Enjoy.

When I was in college my wife (then girlfriend) spent a brief stint in a sorority.  I will say that there are certain social benefits one gets from being part of any organisation – in this case I found myself invited to quite a few parties and retreats with free alcohol.  On one particular occasion the sorority decided it would be a great idea to throw a cabin themed event.  So a few weeks later I found myself 2 hours from the nearest town in a giant cabin with about 40 or so other college aged people – with more alcohol than is healthy for any group of individuals isolated in the woods to have in their possession.

On the last night in the cabin was the “big blow out” event.  It was the expectation that everyone would binge drink and leave not a drop of alcoholic beverage on the property.  So I guess that is where my story really begins.

I was scoping out the attendees of the party – trying to find someone who would be willing to consume gratuitous amounts of alcohol with me.  That’s when I saw Charley.  He was a chubby guy drinking a Guiness at a table with his date.  I could tell by the look of him he had the energy needed to take us through a night of binge drinking.  I mean who drinks a Guiness that can’t hold their weight when it comes to alcohol?

The next thing I knew we were throwing back shots of free vodka, chugging beers, and drinking booze at a rate that is dangerous because you drink faster than you feel the effects.  At some point during our binge drinking glory Charley went missing.  Gone.  No where to be found.  I was drunk so I didn’t think much of it – hell I barely knew where I was!  That’s when Charley’s date came running down the stairs in a panic.  By the drunken look of panic in her face I assumed that someone had died – or she had lost her make-up bag.

“Charley locked himself in the bathroom, I heard him fall, and the door is locked – he’s not responding and I can’t get the door open!”

To add to our little situation we found out that the bath tube was running – which made it highly likely that Charley was about to drown while passed out in the tube.  Had I been sober I may have responded more rationally, but under the intoxicated circumstance I decided that I was the obvious choice to save Charley – so I went up the stairs to investigate.

I knocked on the door, but of course there was no response.  We decided it would be best to unlock the door just in case poor Charley was choking on vomit and bath water.  Eventually someone a little more clear headed was able to open the door – but the sight we saw was more horrible than I or anyone else could have EVER imagined.

There Charley sat, in his own shit, naked.  His fat belly was smeared with the foulest smelling human excrement I had ever experienced. There is modest penis lay, not proud and shriveled for all of the sorority sisters to see.  He opened his eyes and without a word noticed we were looking, but not concerned, fell into the bath tub.  We thought we had found a stroke of luck until his clumsy foot closed the drain.  The water started to rise.

A few moments later Charley was chest deep in his own pooh water.  A soup of his own shit where he was the main ingredient.  I started to scream at Charley – there was no way I was going to put my hand in the tainted water to open that drain and it wasn’t an option to let the water flood the cabin.  Finally he complied and the tub emptied.  What was left was a ring of shit that covered the previously pearly white bathroom.  The fesses cover his body too – like a fresh spray on tan – if that spray happened to be shit stew.

To make matters even worse I noticed there was a police officer standing next to me.  He was in as much disbelief as me.  We couldn’t believe the sad sight before us.  Apparently in the panic someone had called 9-1-1.  The police came to “save” poor Charley from alcohol poisoning.

Since there was a large amount of alcohol involved the police officer decided to check each of our IDs.  Luckily everyone who had consumed alcohol was 21 – that is almost everyone.  Our poor pooh covered friend was a mere 20 years old.  So to add to the fact that he was covered in a brown film – he was also going to jail.  The police officers loaded him in the police car and took him to the station.  That’s also when it began to snow.

It kept snowing for 2 days.  It was a blizzard in Georgia.  That may not seem like a big deal to you, but in Georgia when it snows the state shuts down.  No one drives because we can’t clear the roads.  That means that poor Charley was destined to a jail cell in the south Georgia countryside for 3 days and nights – a nice lesson for a guy who shat himself.

Me?  Well I learned a lot that night.  One – just because a guy is drinking a Guiness doesn’t make him a good drinking partner and Two – never shit yourself.