April 12, 2007

I Remember That There Was A Lot Of Pointing And Grunting...

And speaking of 'Asshole,' we played that game at my house last Friday for the first time in a long time. It's a 'get rid of your cards and drink' game, slightly (SLIGHTLY) similar to The Great Dalmuti, where the order you get rid of your cards in one round determines your rank in the next. First one out is President, second is Vice President, all the way down through various respectful, semi-respectful, and insulting titles down to the last guy, who is the Asshole.

One of the things that makes this a 'hood game is that the President gets to make a rule, the violation of which results in the offender having to drink. We have a variety of standard rules, including one we call the 'DA' rule (no first names AND no swearing), named after DA who can be counted on to do this at least once per hand:
Anybody: "Whose turn is it?"
DA: "Joe's."
Anybody: "No first names. Drink one."
DA: "Dammit!"
Everybody: "No swearing. Drink two."

I had gotten people to sprain their tongues once by making the rule "No saying 'I,' 'me,' or 'you,' but I didn't go far enough. Lawn-boy's wife (who, now that I check my notes, never got her own nickname - I'll have to fix that), when 'elected,' made the rule "No pronouns."

I have never drank so much in a game of Asshole, ever. And neither had anybody else. We were all so accustomed to using pronouns instead of names that we all sounded like Bizarro Superman at the end. It only got worse when she got re-elected and got to add another rule. NOW she threw in "no first names," because by then we had kind of half adapted to using first names instead of pronouns.

Nobody remembers a whole lot about how the game went after that.

Posted by Chris at 04:10 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

October 16, 2006

What. A. Weekend.

A great sports weekend for me: the Tigers are going back to the World Series for the first time since I was in college, Michigan beat the living snot out of the State Penn offense on the road, the Lions actually won a game, and I won the football pool for the week!

    Not only that, I actually heard the following things said this weekend:
  • DA, after eating a chunk of bleu cheese: "I'm going to go home and say something to Dimples, and she's going to look at me like I just ate a sock."
  • Chumley: "'Vaginal Blood Farts' would be a good name for a punk band."
  • My son: "I dominated that toilet. Toilet = owned."

Posted by Chris at 09:10 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

September 26, 2006

As If We Needed A Reason To Throw A Party

I think my neighborhood will throw a party to celebrate this: Drug 'may reverse liver disease'

A cheap and readily available drug could reverse severe liver disease, even in patients who find it impossible to give up booze, research suggests.

Sulphasalazine is currently used to treat arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

But a University of Newcastle team has found that it can also reverse the scarring associated with cirrhosis of the liver.

Liver disease is the fifth highest cause of death in the UK.

It is estimated that up to 10% of the UK population have problems with their liver - and most are linked to lifestyle factors, such as heavy drinking and obesity.
I guess now I can chuck that light beer crap and start drinking Samuel Adams Triple Bock full-time!

Posted by Chris at 02:28 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 01, 2006

Field Expedient Corkscrew

BB brought a bottle of Asti to our Fridaily neighborhood gathering. I don't own a corkscrew.

What I do own is a power drill, a 2 1/2" drywall screw, and a pair of vise-grips:

Posted by Chris at 01:26 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

May 21, 2006

Just Don't Ask Me Where We Keep The Feminine Products

So after the Freedom game (about which more later, sadly), we had Rico and several of his friends over (including Clay Aiken and Keri Russell, or at least their stand-ins) for a low-key garage gathering. Along the way, not all the introductions had been made, as evidenced by the fact that eventually one of his friends asked me if I knew where the bathroom was.

I wish I had a picture of the look on her face when I replied, "I sure hope so; it's my house."

Posted by Chris at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

August 27, 2005

Full Moon, My Ass! Part III

[Part I is here. Part II is here. Remember the standard disclaimer: 60% of this story is 100% true, 20% of it is 50% true, and 20% of it is PIDOOMA.]

After several minutes of wandering drunkenly around the boat docks, we figured out where the sound was coming from - the stereo speakers of Wilford's boat!

Dude. Is. Snakebit!

There was some kind of electrical weirdness on his boat that was generating a quiet 'putt' noise every second or so - even though the boat was switched off with the keys out! For some unknown reason, turning on the lights made the sound go away, but nothing else short of pulling the battery cable would. DA and Kenny went to call Wilford and break the news to him, and I wandered back towards DA and Dimples' place, where I found Dimples sitting on their boat, looking none too pleased.

When I asked her what was up, she told me. "It's Full Moon Friday. I was under the impression there would be a Full Moon Cruise!"

I was about to tell her that since it was 1:30 in the morning, the odds weren't real good, when DA and flower_goddess came around the corner carrying a cooler. This perked Dimples up immediately, and within five minutes we were in the middle of the lake and had it all to ourselves.

A good Full Moon Cruise is a thing of beauty, and I highly recommend taking one if you ever get the chance. The wind and lake were as calm as I'd ever seen either, and the full moon and clear sky gave us enough light to navigate easily at idle speed. We passed through the channel to the big lake, and, when we were far enough from shore, saluted the full moon in the only really appropriate manner.

We completed our circuit of the big lake, much to the chagrin of the one party still going on the shore (where they signalled us so vigorously that I'd have thought them shipwrecked if I didn't know better), and headed back towards the channel and the smaller lake.

"Chris, could you run a lookout for me?" DA asked. "I'm not used to approaching from this direction at night."

I went forward and started watching the bottom for unpleasant surprises. Right as we got to the mouth of the channel, I saw a couple of big rocks way too close to the surface. Before I could even mention this to DA...

... we passed safely over the shoal and entered the channel.

Even though it was after two in the morning by now, we still encounted another pontoon boat coming the other way in the channel. As it passed us, its pilot drew himself up to full height and announced

"I lowered my cholesterol!"
which got a big laugh out of everybody.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, my brain ain't wired like most other peoples'. I've got this reptilian forebrain part that can take direct control of my mouth and force something out of it before my higher brain can stop it. Sometimes this power works for good; other times, not so much. I'll undoubtedly sprain my shoulder patting myself on the back for this, but tonight was one of the former. Within a second of the cholesterol remark, I blurted out

"I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO!"

DA laughed so hard he let go of the wheel. The rest of us laughed so hard we didn't notice that.

Or that our course had changed from "pass under the bridge" to "impact on the bridge."

Posted by Chris at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

August 26, 2005

Full Moon, My Ass! Part II

[Part I is here. Remember the standard disclaimer: 60% of this story is 100% true, 20% of it is 50% true, and 20% of it is PIDOOMA.]

There was an ozone tang in the air as Carmine, DA, Wilford, and I entered Carmine's house and went back to the utility room. You could actually see the flashes from the arcing wire connected to the breaker box without even having to open the box.

"Piece of cake," DA said. "All you have to do is switch off the main breaker."
"Uh, huh," Carmine replied. "Remember what happened last time you and I worked with electricity?"
"Don't look at me," I said. "That's a chips problem; I'm a salsa guy."

Everybody looked at Wilford. "It's probably my fault anyway," he said. "I walked by my A/C unit a couple of hours ago, and it made a horrible screaming grinding noise and quit. You got a broomstick?"

Carmine rummaged around in the closet and handed Wilford a broom.

With a metal stick.

"Are you trying to kill me?" Wilford asked.
"Sorry." A little more rummaging around produced a less lethal implement, and Wilford pried open the box door and hit the main breaker. The arcing stopped and the air started to clear.

While the three of them set about transferring refrigerator/freezer contents to working appliances, I went into town and got pizza for everybody. Something happened while I was gone - alien abduction, nuclear event evacuation, something - because when I came back, pretty much everybody had vanished except flower_goddess and me, DA and Dimples, and Kenny and Leen. Oh, well. More pizza for breakfast.

After dinner, we set up for night Jarts again (it is so much easier when you have the key to the field lights), and DA and Dimples beat Kenny and me three games to two. I think Kenny was spending more time complaining about the choice of Jarts (sliders rather than fixed-wing) and ruleset ('Hood Rules instead of Lake Rules) than he did about his throws.

'Cause, y'know, it couldn't have been my fault, despite the fact that all three losses came on my throw.

Couldn't have been me. Nope.

Sometime during the epic match, we started hearing what sounded like a small one-cylinder engine: "Putt. Putt. Putt. Putt." which we figured was just a little jon-boat creeping along, maybe frog-gigging or something. Eventually, it occurred to one of us that the sound had been going on for quite a while, was getting neither louder nor quieter, and was coming from the general direction of the boat docks up the shore about a hundred yards away.

"It's the full moon, folks," DA reminded us as we walked down the shore trying to identify the sound. "Could be anything."

Read Part III.

Posted by Chris at 03:51 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

August 23, 2005

Full Moon, My Ass! Part I

The weirdness started before we even made it out of town on Friday. We were sitting at the light, ready to turn onto the freeway, when a black-and-white Camaro pulled up next to us. And I don't mean a police Camaro, either. I mean white with big irregular black spots. Just to clear up any possible misinterpretations on the road, it had lettering on the door handles saying "Cow-maro."

I was so stunned that I didn't even lean out the window to ask "What. The. Fuck?"

Now, I can't read lips, but I'm certain that was exactly the question on the lips of the driver who saw the Cow-maro as he made a left turn off the ramp to our right and crossed in front of us.

It was good for a chuckle, not to mention a good bit of head-scratching, as we continued our journey to the Secure Undisclosed Location. The conclusion we came to was that Cow-maro Boy was the #1 area salesman for Gateway, and that was his prize, in much the same way as Mary Kay Cosmetics awards Pepto-Bismol-colored Cadillacs to their top shills.

We arrived to find The Usual Suspects deciding what to do with a used Yamaha golf cart that StitchMistress had recently bought. The plan started out with a fabric swatch for an upholstery upgrade, a paint sample (canary yellow) for the exterior, and the idea of stealing the 'M' off another cart's "Yamaha" emblem so the StitchMistressMobile would be emblemed "Yamama."

By the time The Usual Suspects were done brainstorming, we had blueprints that would add a kegerator, low-rider pneumatic suspension, new Hemi motor, aero package with spoiler, roll cage, five-point harness, air horn, plasma TV, laptop computer, and a TV deal for our new "Pimp My Cart" show. Within an hour, I had a MS Project plan put together to coordinate all the subcontractors. This, of course, would require an addition to Carmine and StitchMistress's garage to hold the StichMistressMobile while said work was done on it, a prospect that Carmine was quite enthusiastic about (in retrospect, it appears that that was his intention all along).

It was about this time that half the lights in Carmine and StichMistress's house went out.

Read Part II.

Posted by Chris at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 18, 2005

Less Like 'Ben Hur' Than 'Been Hurt'

[Part II of my Fourth of July story is here. Part I is here.]

We got back just in time for all the day-trippers to head back to the Fort, which left Gunner and Cover Girl in the position of being at the wrong location without their vehicle. Of course, if I'd known that what should have been a twenty-minute trip would have taken more than two hours, I would have left them at the IICNBIWDTSUL and let them drive themselves back. See what I mean when I say I have trouble with "X people traveling in Y vehicles to Z locations" problems? We got somebody to drop them off at the IICNBIWDTSUL on their way back to the Fort. At least I assume we did, because we didn't seem them after that. Maybe they walked. Who knows?

So to answer the burning question at the end of Part II ("I had gone almost two hours without beer on Fourth of July weekend. Somebody was going to have to pay."), who ended up paying?

Me, of course. I was gone long enough that everybody else drank all of my beer, and I had to go buy more.

Not long after I returned , Tater and Cueball came down the hill in their chariot, and when I say 'chariot' I mean "golf cart towing a wheelchair," to tell us it was time for the race. You think I'm kidding about that? Here's a picture from Memorial Day weekend, where Project Chariot completed its Concept Evaluation Phase (on a budget of 75 cents - 50 cents for the wheelchair at a garage sale, 25 cents for rope):

Project Chariot acceptance test

Since we only had one chariot, the race would have to be against the clock, on a mixed-terrain course laid out over the lowest level of the addition (Rogers told me they'd originally designed the course to run up the hill, and that part worked OK, but on the downhill return the wheelchair kept outpacing the golf cart). Since I was now going on three hours without a beer, I was far too sober to even consider participating, but I did volunteer to serve as official timekeeper. And quite a lucrative position it was, too, with bribes being offered from all directions. If I'd known this was going to happen, I wouldn't have needed to make the beer run in the first place!

About three contestants into the race, flower_goddess noted how self-appropriate the wheelchair was - the first person to seriously hurt himself would need it to get around afterwards! Fortunately, it didn't come to that, as the race ended without anything more serious than a spilled beer (although we did observe a moment of silence in memory of that). DA took first place - although there was some whining from the Kenny/Carmine Racing Team that DA had used illegal aerodynamics to gain an unfair advantage - but since we'd never really decided on a prize, we just dunked him in the lake.

It was dark by the time we finished dinner, but I was in the mood for Night Vision Jarts.
"Wouldn't you rather have the field lit up?" Dimples asked me. As I've said before, she's more or less the conscience of the neighborhood, which is an admirable position especially considering that keeping her husband DA out of trouble is a full-time job.
"Well, yeah, but you remember what happened on Memorial Day weekend." DA and Carmine had tried to use a slim jim to crack the lock to the box controlling the field lights, resulting in an impressive impromoptu fireworks display and a couple of new Napoleon Dynamite-style hairdos.
"Which is why I got the key from the association president."
"Game on!"

Before we could get the lights on, however, we saw a set of headlights coming down the hill. "I think that's psycho-ex-wife," Saint said. That got everybody's undivided attention, and we all dove behind DA and Dimple's place hoping she wouldn't see us, think nobody was home, and head out again.

A little background about psycho-ex-wife: the 'hood had finally convinced Saint to divorce her a few months before, after several years of increasingly bizarre behavior on her part. Case in point: on a previous trip to the sandbar, psycho-ex-wife accidentally knocked the ashtray off the floating bar into the water, then spent the next ten minutes berating Saint for having done it, despite the fact that he was fifteen feet away at the time of the incident and four other people had seen her do it! Anyway, the divorce was still fairly fresh, and nobody in the 'hood had the heart to tell psycho-ex-wife that Saint got all the friends in the divorce and she shouldn't come round no mo'. Yes, I realize that makes us bad people, but that's the way it is. Last we knew, she was living on a boat with a guy that we're pretty sure is gay (possibly explaining her lament that "nothing's happened between us yet"). But I digress.

Fortunately, it wasn't psycho-ex-wife, but Deej and Rusty, who stopped by to tell us about a potluck cookout they were having the next day. They joined us for a few games of Jarts under the lights (DA and I went undefeated in five games, thankyuhvurramuch), and I managed to get back to the proper point on the Beer Curve about the time everybody went to bed.

That'll teach me to play chauffeur on a holiday weekend.

Posted by Chris at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 17, 2005

The Lame Leading The Blonde

[Part I of my Fourth of July story is here. Recall that when we left our intrepid heroes, Saint, Gunner, Mountaineer, and myself were waiting at the sandbar for DA to return, and there was some question as to whether he would return at all.]

Right about the time I was sizing up Saint and determining whether I could overpower him and take his beer (conclusion: not only 'no,' but 'hell, no!'), DA came around the point with the rest of the group, and, far more importantly, the rest of the beer. And there was much rejoicing.

Gunner's and Cover Girl's daughters had stolen half of the floating bar and were using it as a makeshift diving platform, or at least a cannonball platform, when one of them got too close to the edge of it when she jumped and inadvertently demonstrated Newton's Third Law. Nobody wanted to chase the foam raft as it drifted back towards the shore, mainly because the bottom there was 50% sludge, 50% weeds, and 50% oh-God-what-was-that. I had my sport sandals on, so I went after it figuring I was OK.

Not so much.

I forget exactly where I gave up wading towards it ('mucking' would be a better word) - it may have been just after I saw the remains of Jimmy Hoffa - and swam the last twenty feet. Have you ever tried swimming in a foot and a half of water? It's quite an experience. Anyway, about the time I returned with the raft, BB started yelping and carrying on, saying that something kept biting at her ankle no matter where in the water she was standing. As she raised her leg up to show everbody, we saw she was wearing a shiny bangled bracelet.

"Well, no wonder," DA said. "You're wearing a damn spinner bait on your leg."

She took the bracelet off and put it on the boat; lo and behold, the fish stopped bothering her.

About that time, DA asked me if I felt like taking the jet-ski for a spin around the lake. I agreed, somewhat reluctantly, because I don't have much experience driving jet-skis and this was the busiest weekend the lake had seen all season.

So I stayed well clear of any traffic and made a leisurely quarter-throttle lap of the lake. Apparently, that one lap served as the check ride for my Jet-Ski Chauffeur's License, because the next thing I knew, I was taking Gunner and Cover Girl to the [DELETED] Inn (known henceforth as the Inn I Cannot Name Because It Would Disclose The Secure Undisclosed Location, or IICNBIWDTSUL), where they had reservations and had parked their truck but had not yet checked in.

The trip was uneventful until the fuel stop at one end of the channel connecting the two lakes we had to cross. Gunner and Cover Girl had even less jet-ski experience than I did, and I had to yell at them to stop them leaning away from every turn I was trying to make. The fuel stop itself was hilarious, and by 'hilarious' I mean 'funny to watch on "America's Stupidest Vacation Videos."' The guy manning the pumps got a kick out of it, though, and he assured us that as n00bish as we were, we weren't the worst he'd seen that day.

Five seconds later, we came within an inch of flipping the jet-ski. In front of three dozen boats in the channel and fifty people on the bridge. In two feet of water and at a dead stop. But we survived that and motored through the channel at idle speed, ready for a fast dash across the next lake to the IICNBIWDTSUL. We cleared the no-wake zone and I got on the throttle...

...and nothing much happened. The engine revved fine, but we couldn't get above three or four MPH. In retrospect, trudging on was probably not the best idea I've ever had, but eventually - including a rather harrowing crossing of one stretch where the lake narrows to about 200' and every boat in Indiana was trying to traverse it at once - we were able to make our way to the big sandbar right near the IICNBIWDTSUL.

Now, the big sandbar is a sight to behold on summer weekends, and that day it didn't disappoint. There were probably two hundred boats all crowded into a space half the size of a football field, and every one of those boats featured a fabulous pair of... floats. But I digress. Right about this time, I remembered just how a jet-ski works, and that a free-revving engine with minimal forward thrust was probably the fault of a clogged intake. Two seconds later, I was over the side and underneath to check things out.

Much to the chagrin of Gunner and Cover Girl. I had neglected to inform them of my plans.

A couple of minutes later, I'd pulled several tons of seaweed out of the intake, and the last quarter mile to the IICNBIWDTSUL was but a few moments' ride. I waited at the inn's dock while Gunner and Cover Girl checked in and unpacked; they wanted to ride back with me rather than drive back to DA's addition in their own truck, which was fine by me but introduced a potential 'X people traveling on Y vehicles to Z locations' problem of the type that I have a lot of trouble solving.

The return trip was much more agreeable. At one point in open water, I had the throttle at least half-open, and we were going so fast I thought if we hit a bump we'd actually make orbit. Then I looked down at the speedometer.

28 MPH.

My nephew has a trolling motor on his boat that can go faster than that.

We were gone so long that the rest of the group had pulled up stakes at the little sandbar and were headed back to DA's place by the time we got there.

I realized when we arrived that I had gone almost two hours without beer on Fourth of July weekend. Somebody was going to have to pay. And you'll find out who in Part III.

Posted by Chris at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 05, 2005

Stranded On The Sandbar

In much the same fashion as the Big Four parties here in the 'hood are flower_goddess's birthday, my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas, the Big Four parties at the Secure Undisclosed Location are Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Full Moon Friday, and Labor Day.

We arrived Sunday morning, leading Stiffy in her car via the Guaranteed Unreproducible Route, because she was cleared to be at the SUL but not cleared to know how to get there. We quickly got caught up with the other residents of SUL-ville, where we learned:

1. Kenny's boat is still a sore subject, because even though it's all fixed and running well now, he never got the drydock to own up to any responsibility for the problem. He ended up paying the whole tab himself - and he won't say how much it cost him.

2. Down the lane, Carmine's boat is running splendidly now that he's replaced the ignition system. However, you may recall the pattern where he fixes something, declares victory, uses the boat once, and breaks something else. So far, so good, but we shall see.

3. Some schmuck new to the addition had his boat out way too late and way too drunk the night before, and grounded it on the way back when he missed the channel approach. Since he was only about 40 feet out from the last pier, DA and Skunk-boy (who wisely passed up The Detective's margaritas this time, having learned his lesson last year) offered to toss a rope to him and help pull him off the sandbar. The offer was quite rudely and arrogantly rebuffed, so instead DA and Skunk-boy set up lawn chairs at the end of the channel and made fun of the schmuck as he spent the next half-hour extricating himself.

This is a variant of one of DA's pastimes: since his place is one down from the addition's boat launch, he gets a front-row seat as people try to put their boats in the water. Since most of them only do it once a year (every place in their addition gets their own slip, so they put in in mid May and take out in late September), they don't get a lot of practice. He will cheerfully help you get your boat in the water without breaking anything if you ask, but if you front that you know what you're doing when you in fact do not, it's open season for ridicule, and you're the one in feathers.

He wouldn't own up to that in so many words; he will admit only to wanting to make sure that nobody runs into his deck while putting their boat in the water.

Within the next hour, more day-trippers from the Fort arrived, including The Saint and BB and Mountaineer. Gunner and Cover Girl were already there, Gunner having participated in a shooting match at the nearby state park earlier that day (it occurs to me now that I never did ask him how he did). When we had enough people to load DA and Dimples' pontoon to 150% of rated capacity, we departed for a sandbar about 1/2 mile away around a point.

Just kidding. Actually, DA made two trips. Saint, Gunner, Mountaineer and I made the first run, to set up the floating bar. Unfortunately, the drunken schmuck from the previous night tied up his boat about as well as he drove it in the first place, and it had drifted far enough away from the dock to block the whole channel out. My simple suggestion for a semi-permanent solution - stick it right back on the sandbar he'd grounded it on last night - was overruled (and by 'overruled' I mean 'we couldn't find the keys') and we settled for having Mountaineer jump on board and pull it closer to the dock.

The sandbar where we hang out is only about thirty yards offshore from a pretty nice house whose owner is not too happy that the group from DA's addition tends to set up shop there. Once somebody explained that particular law to him - that he does not, in point of fact, own any part of the lake more than ten feet out from his share of shoreline - he pretty much stopped coming to his lake house altogether. Works for us. Anyway, once we got situated and the floating bar was set up, DA left to get the rest of the group.

When he had been gone long enough to make three round trips, Saint said "You know, DA pulls one trick per year. Maybe today is this year's trick, and he just left us here with one beer apiece while the rest of them drove to the Straits Tavern for the afternoon."

It's a damn shame he said that right after I drained my beer. Part II is here.

Posted by Chris at 06:43 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 02, 2005

It Depends. Can We Charge Rent?

Recall that Chumley is Rabbit's husband and Choley is their daughter. Like the rest of us, Chumley gets a little goofy when he's on the island, and it was after a particularly goofy incident that this conversation took place:

Rabbit: "You guys want to adopt a kid?"
Us: "Sure; Choley's practically our daughter anyway."
Rabbit: "I was talking about Chumley."

Posted by Chris at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Random Vacation Thoughts

May 09, 2005

Hitch 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out

The weather was glorious for BB and Mountaineer's wedding on Saturday (alluded to here): upper 70's with sun-and-clouds and a nice breeze. flower_goddess coordinated the event, and (per usual) had everything ready to go by W-10 minutes, including as many official pictures as we (by which I mean 'I') could take without prematurely colocating bride and groom.

Unfortunately, nobody briefed the Justice of the Peace on the importance of punctuality; he arrived at W+10.

Despite the personal satisfaction that would have been derived from reading the Riot Act to a judge (not to mention scoring 2300 Irony Points), we refrained from doing so because it's hard to coordinate a wedding from the county lockup. And this guy didn't look anything like any judge I've ever known: fiftyish with flowing blonde hair and a tanned, weather-worn face that made we wonder whether he'd spent the past thirty years on a longboard off Dana Point. I half-expected him to be wearing board shorts and Tevas under his robe, and for the ceremony to go something like this:

"Sistas and brahs, we're gathered here on this most excellent Saturday afternoon to hook up BB and Mountaineer. BB, do you take Mountaineer to be your dude?"
"Awesome. Mountaineer, do you take BB to be your emma?"
"Righteous. By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you Kahuna and Betty. Surf's up!"
But no. It was a fairly conventional outdoor civil service; the biggest surprise was unfortunate ground conditions that forced BB to abandon her shoes and go barefoot down the aisle (and her dress was long enough that nobody saw it).

The reception was excellent but uneventful by Neighborhood standards; despite the fact that the single police officer originally present was augmented by two compatriots as the night went on, nobody got a bracelet ride (at least as far as I know). We capped things off with the mandatory drunken circle-dance sing-along with 'Friends In Low Places.'

Posted by Chris at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

May 03, 2005

A 29th Birthday Party. 29 Hex, Yes, But 29 Nonetheless

flower_goddess's birthday party turned out to be a relatively nominal event, especially when compared to the standard of our other Big Four parties (my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas). I mean, nobody was caught by his wife making out with another neighbor's wife, nobody set their hair on fire, we didn't have a front-row seat for a dozen-car police response to a 911 call across the street, and none of Fort Wayne's finest showed up in our driveway. That's not to say that interesting things didn't happen, but they'll be below the fold.

For example, my son demonstrated an aptitude for home invasion by inadvertently (so he says) breaking down our front door while fleeing, well, never mind what he was fleeing. Personally, I think he was in cahoots with the pets, as all three immediately made a break for The World the moment he came through the door, splitting off in different directions at the end of our sidewalk. Fortunately, we had sprung for upgrades when we had the pets chipped. No pansy-ass commercial-grade ID microchips for us - we went mil-spec and got the 24 model with instant satellite tracking. One call to CTU and our pets were quickly corralled and returned. Now, the agents who returned the pets were attacked and killed once they left our house, but they didn't die on our property so my lawyer tells me it isn't our problem. A couple of drywall screws into the frame, and the door was good as new (or at least as good as Lowest Bidder Builders made it in the first place).

The nephews and niece-in-law were down for the occasion, so in their honor I cracked open the mini-keg of Molson's that somebody got me for my birthday last fall. I am pleased to report that it survived eight months in the fridge without any damage to the flavor. There may be some long-term health impacts from the rust, but who knows? I can say that we'll have at least five test subjects for the study if Johns Hopkins or any other research group is interested.

Of course, as described in Saturday's entry, the Tequila Train was making frequent stops at Dangerous Logic Galactic HQ. I told flower_goddess that she was under no obligation to attempt to drink all the gift tequila herself, but the next time she takes my advice will be the first time she takes my advice, so she learned her lesson the next day. Eventually, the group drink of choice became Jagerbombs, with more Jager than Bomb, if you know what I mean. Actually, you probably aren't sure what I mean, since that expression parses exactly opposite to reality. Perhaps I should rephrase it: "...the group drink became 'Jagerbombs, hold the Red Bull.'"

To top it all off, I spent a good chunk of Sunday morning bent over the toilet.

Fixing a broken lever arm in the tank.

All is not lost, though. flower_goddess's actual birthday is Wednesday, and by rule that means it's her birthday all week long. Tomorrow night we're headed to Draughts to see Truck Stop Cutie, a good local cover band (who should be better now that they've added a keyboard player), and since Wednesday is dollar beer night, and TSC has an... interesting... fan base (including at least one woman who is stalking both Mountaineer and, um, somebody else), it should be a good time. I expect to be sober again in time for BB and Mountaineer's wedding next weekend.*

* We had the rehersal for the wedding two weekends ago, outdoors at the Lakeside Park Rose Garden. Since it was 35 degrees with snow flurries and light sleet, BB laid it out more or less like this (events are described in real time): "Groomsmen over here, bridesmaids over here, meet up meet up meet up, picture picture picture, me down the aisle, Mountaineer in from this side, picture picture picture, blah blah blah husband and wife, turn, picture picture picture, back down the aisle, picture picture picture, done. Now let's get the hell out of here because my feet are freezing!"

It's not our fault she chose to wear capri pants and flip-flops.

Posted by Chris at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

April 30, 2005

She Who Will Be Honored

It's flower_goddess's birthday all weekend, so naturally the neighborhood is getting together. We were OK until the fourth bottle of tequila arrived:

Jose and his brothers

There will be a story on this.

Update: Bottle #5 has arrived. Set Condition T throughout the neighborhood.

Posted by Chris at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

March 19, 2005

It's That Time Again

So I'm driving home today with three cases of beer and two filled-up grill gas canisters in the back, and I'm thinking...

Yep, it's spring in my neighborhood.

Posted by Chris at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

February 26, 2005

Great Moments In Darts

It was an auspicious night here in the 'hood: I scored the first bullseye of the year from the 14-foot line, and Chumley had the first freestanding floor shot:

Chumley sticks one in the floor

Posted by Chris at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

September 27, 2004

There Are Two Kinds Of Boats On The Lake - Submarines And Targets

[Part I is here. Part II is here.]

After a while, we said our goodbyes to Jim-billy and Will-billy (although I'm not sure they noticed; they were encased in a cloud of batter dust from non-stop fish frying and probably couldn't see who we were) and headed over to a different part of the lake chain to visit Wilford's brother. When we got there, Wilford and Squeak were already there. As were Carmine and StitchMistress, in their pontoon boat. Which had a good ten-degree list to it.

Damn Russian subs.

Fortunately, we were able to maneuver Wilford's brother's boat out of his ShoreStation and Carmine's pontoon into it so we could hoist it up and see what was what. After pulling the plug so the pontoons could drain (it took a good twenty minutes for the torrent coming out of the left pontoon to slow to a trickle), we inspected the boat for torpedo damage and found none. Then Squeak noticed that the left drain plug hadn't been taped before insertion like the right plug was.

"Clever bastards, those Russians," I said. "They knew you'd see a torpedo wake in this shallow water, so they sent a frogman on a sled to pull your drain plug, take all the tape off, and put it back. They were probably hoping it would leak just slow enough to sink you in the middle of the lake on your way home."
"Fine," replied DA with a sigh. "I'll go update the threat profile on the depthfinder. Would a frogman on a sled show up more like a walleye or a pike?"
"Dammit, man! There's no time for that! They could be doing the same thing to your boat right now!"
"Good point. Honey?" DA called to his wife, who was still on their boat.
"Yes, dear?" Dimples replied.
"Are there any Russian frogmen lurking suspiciously around the bow of our - "
"Stern," I corrected.
"- stern of our boat?"

As Dimples started walking toward the bow, it occurred to me that I should have just kept my mouth shut.

"No frogmen, dear," she said after a look around, as if checking for suspicious underwater activity was just another part of Life On The Lake.
But we still hadn't answered the real question. "How about the other end?" I asked. Nothing there, either.

"Guess we dodged one this time," DA said.
"Unless they've already done it."
"No problem, guys," reassured Wilford's brother. "I deployed the sub nets as soon as you got here."

Our safety assured, we relaxed and had another beer, just as Kenny and Leen arrived. Actually, Carmine announced them as "Captain Crabby and the not-quite-Mrs." The question "Why did he call you Captain Crabby?" was out of my mouth before I could stop it (specifically, I remembered that morning's warning against bringing up the subject of his boat one ohnosecond too late), and I thought he was going to go nuclear on the spot.

My normal covering tactic in the event of a faux pas of this nature is to fake a seizure, but I wasn't sure I could get far enough into the routine to evoke sympathy before Kenny chucked me into the lake. Fortunately, flower_goddess bailed me out by offering Kenny a beer and a cigarette. Then everything was cool until the Girl With No Pants drove by on her Jet-Ski.

OK, so she wasn't really the Girl With No Pants. But when you're a Grade-A hottie wearing a two-piece swimsuit with a flesh-colored bottom part and driving a Jet-Ski at 40 knots, people are going to jump to conclusions. Actually, the collected masculinity present didn't so much jump to conclusions as we did drool to them. I think what tipped off the womenfolk that something was amiss was that we all simultaneously stopped talking in mid-sentence. They expressed their displeasure with our indiscretion by various methods; for instance, Dimples beaned DA with a waterball to the back of the head. As I was congratulating her for such a superb shot - from the boat 30 feet away, into the sun, with a crosswind, and without hitting Squeak (who stood between them), flower_goddess snatched the boonie hat from my head, filled it with lake water, and then replaced it. Squeak, Leen, and StitchMistress settled for withering glances directed at the appropriate Neanderthals, which told me that their Revenge Blue-Plate Specials would be cold dishes. It took several minutes of coughing, hacking, and gagging before I could clear my lungs of the pathogen-rich soup known as The Lake, and by then it was time to go home and get ready for the Mardi Gras party.

Yes, a Mardi Gras party. In September. They say that on the lake, you forget to count the days. But this is ridiculous.

Posted by Chris at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

September 23, 2004

I Said Fish Fry, Not Fish Face

[First installment is here.]

I awoke the next morning to a Category Two hangover: Shotgun Going Off Inside Head At Five Minute Intervals. I was trying to reconcile the previous night's consumption with my current state of mind, because it seemed like I was a lot more hung over than I expected to be. Then I realized that the shotgun was going off outside my head (what gave it away was the hail-like clatter of buckshot through the trees outside the house).

It was one of those psychological things, I guess. The moment I determined that there was no reason I should have a hangover, it went away.

Over breakfast, we caught up on what happened before we got there:

  • Don't ask Kenny what happened to his speedboat. The final verdict was a new motor - to the tune of 4 grand - and the drydock wouldn't even be able to start working on it for three weeks. Essentially that put his boat on the DL for the remainder of the season. Kenny is planning to consult a lawyer since he thinks the drydock (the same one) improperly winterized it last year, leading to the problems.
  • Don't ask Carmine what happened to his speedboat, because he didn't know why it crapped out - again - and this time Firestone wasn't around to bail him out.
  • Speaking of 'bailing out,' Cueball's boat was under water to the gunwales. We suspected a Soviet submarine.

Rico rolled a submarine watch on his jet-ski while the rest of us set about refloating Cueball's boat. By the time we finished, it was time to head off to Jim-billy and Will-billy's annual fish fry, where they gave back to the lake community what the lake gave to them all summer. And there was fish, too. Everybody who was in either's family, ever worked with them, had a beer with them, or could spell their name would be there, and that pretty much covered everyone within a ten-mile radius of SUL-ville. I manned the depthfinder on DA's boat on the trip over, and I thought I picked up the signature of an Akula-class, but I couldn't get a fix good enough for a firing solution. Fortunately, we made it all the way to Jim-billy's without hearing "Torpedo in the water!"

The fish fry featured a three-car-garage filled literally end-to-end with tables of food (I took some pride in noting that flower_goddess's antipasto squares disappeared in a matter of minutes), but the highlight was when I noticed DA holding his thumb at arm's length and squinting with one eye.

"Dude," I said, "I see you in a pose like that, I'm expecting to see a paintbrush in your other hand and an easel in front of you."
"Just look where I'm looking," he replied. "For your own protection, start from the ground and work up."

Some of the things DA does without issuing a safety warning scare the hell out of me, so I was inclined to listen. I stood behind him and looked over his shoulder in the proper direction. Working from bottom to top:

  1. Calf-high white patent-leather lace-up platform boots, size five (don't ask me how I know; it's a gift).
  2. Tan legs. About six miles worth.
  3. Impossibly tight denim micro-miniskirt, about the size of a headband.
  4. Pause for a few seconds.
  5. Hip-to-hip ass curtain.
  6. More tan.
  7. Skin-tight cropped white blouse restraining world-class breasts.
  8. Long, wavy, bleached a little harsher than I'd like - but that's OK - hair...
"Dude," DA said, "Just because she's got Minerva's face doesn't mean she can make you go blind. Here, drink this. And don't say I didn't warn you."
"It's Medusa."
"Who's Medusa?"
"Medusa, not Minerva, and she doesn't make you go blind, she turns you into stone. And what drink? I can't see anything."
"Crybaby." He pushed the drink into my hand and I managed to fire it down without spilling any or chipping a tooth. "OK, I'll talk you through it. What did you see?"
"I think I just saw the world champion Butterface. She must have used the same sprayer that applied her miniskirt to do her makeup."
"Didn't help, did it?"
"Not nearly enough. OK, I can sort of see light and colors out of one eye now."

Two drinks later, I could focus again. What did I see? Three other guys squinting through one eye over thumbs held at arms' length. And one guy rolling on the ground trying to claw his eyes out.

Continue with Part III here.

Posted by Chris at 02:46 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

September 07, 2004

The First Rule Of The Lake: Have The Phone Number Of A Good Bail Bondsman Accessible At All Times

I recommend tatooing it to the bottom of one foot; that way you have it on you even if you're arrested while naked. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning - actually, a bit before the beginning, as a large contingent of the Usual Suspects were already at the Secure Undisclosed Location before we got there...

It was a bad week for electricity at the SUL. First, Carmine and StitchMistress's water heater went tango uniform. Carmine took one look at the installer's estimate and said "Screw that, I'll put the new one in myself."

Later that day, with the new water heater...
Carmine: "DA, you sure the power's off?"
DA (at the other end of the house): "What'd you say?!?"
Carmine: "OK, let me just grab this wi- "
ZAP! [followed by the sound of circuit breakers popping and Carmine getting blown halfway down the hall]
Carmine: "*#$(!@$)#(! Dammit, DA, you said the power was off!"
DA: "What?!?"

They eventually managed to get the water heater installed without killing anybody. After all, the power damn sure was off after that incident.

Meanwhile, about the same time down at Kenny and Leen's place, Kenny was trying to replace a cracked fixture on his yard light.
Kenny: "Now, Dad, I need you to keep that photocell covered while I unscrew this fixture."
Kenny's Dad: "Um, are you sure that - "
Kenny: "OK, let me just grab this wi- "
ZAP! [followed by the sound of circuit breakers popping and Kenny getting blown halfway across the yard]
Kenny: "*#$(!@$)#(! Dammit, Dad, you were supposed to keep the photocell covered!"
Kenny's Dad: "Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure you're supposed to keep it UNcovered if you want an open circuit..."

All repair work was complete by the time flower_goddess and I arrived last Friday afternoon right about beer-thirty. A quick dinner of apple brats, burgers, and flower_goddess's criminally tasty caesar salad, and we were ready for the bar. We were planning on going to the Parrot-Dice Club, which may come as a surprise to regular readers of Tales Of My Neighborhood, given Deej and Rusty's experience on Memorial Day weekend (there's a reason they're called "The Two-Man Orange Alert"), but they were in Chicago this time. So DA, Dimples, flower_goddess, and I headed to the Parrot-Dice.

And saw the marquee: "This weekend: Shar-Pei Banshee."

And did a quick 180 and headed to the Channel Tavern.

I have had the misfortune of being unable to avoid hearing SPB once. I can only describe them as 'tear gas for the ears.' So we got to the Channel Tavern, and, after some discussion as to whether it was outside the Minimum Safe Distance of where SPB was playing, we decided it was OK to proceed.

Small world - we saw half the SUL crew there, including Kenny and Leen, Carmine and StitchMistress, Squeak and Wilford, and Kenny and Guido's folks (who rank right up there with Ward and June on the Cool-Parent-O-Meter). They'd just finished eating and were enjoying an after-dinner on the deck, so we pulled up a table and joined them.

[Just as an aside - you can't tell the players without a scorecard, so here's the scorecard, and yes it looks an awful lot like a game of Six Degrees:

  • DA and his wife Dimples are our next-door neighbors back in the Fort. They have a place on the lake at the Secure Undisclosed Location.
  • Kenny and his long-long-LONG-time girlfriend Leen have the place next to them, right on the water.
  • Kenny's brother Carmine and his wife StitchMistress live a few houses up the cul-de-sac from DA and Dimples.
  • Leen's sister Squeak and her husband Wilford live one street up the hill from the others in the same addition.
There are others, but that's enough for now.]

Right off the bat, Carmine demanded we do a group Jagerbomb. Under normal circumstances, this would require the use of the Group Drink Array (a ski with eight glasses fastened to it, so when it's filled and tipped sideways it's "drink it or wear it!"), but it was in use by another group dropping a SpongeBobBomb, so we were off the hook there and just did our Jagerbombing individually. I understand now why Red Bull is such a popular mixer with "the kids;" it covers the taste of alcohol very well (surprisingly well, in the case of a strong-flavored liquor like Jagermeister). It makes you think you're not drinking as heavily as you are and is an excellent way to get girl drink drunk.

After the Jagerbombing and a few volleys of conventional munitions, we returned to the cul-de-sac (just in time to miss sunset, great) and firewalled the beer throttle. Carmine was insistent in challenging me to a rematch in a game of Night Vision Jarts (on our previous visit to the SUL, DA and I shellacked Carmine and Kenny to the tune of 21-3, with a toe thrown in for style points), and I was good to go, but we couldn't find the delightful banned-in-all-fifty-states-and-half-of-Canada toys, which was probably a good thing considering our BAC at the time. Personally, I think Dimples hid them; she's got this bad habit of being the conscience of the neighborhood that DA can't break her of. We settled for starting a fire in the portable fireplace sitting on DA's deck.

Did you know you can scorch stained decking?

Well, it wasn't quite that bad, but it was close. We had to move the fireplace a few feet every twenty minutes or so to keep it from setting the deck on fire.

The weekend continues tomorrow. I mean - oh hell, you know what I mean (although I really really wish the weekend continued tomorrow).

Continue with Part II here.

Posted by Chris at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

September 03, 2004

Execute Evacuation Drill

Heading up to the lake for Labor Day weekend. My 40th birthday is Saturday. History indicates that I may need your prayers. Or maybe just bail money.

Posted by Chris at 08:21 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

August 13, 2004

An Hour Late And A Drachma Short

This being a Friday night, my neighborhood is doing its normal thing: drinking beer, throwing darts, and shooting the shit in my garage. Since we now have cable TV in the garage (long story; short version is "Thanks, Rabbit"), we're watching the Olympic opening ceremonies. It occurs to me now, halfway through, that our running commentary on stupid stuff (e.g., "Lime green blazers? Who the hell told the Brazilians that looked good?") would have made some funny liveblogging, especially since I have a video capture card with a CATV connection and I could grab screenshots to illustrate my point.

One thing that strikes me - it seems like all the Arab countries' flag-carriers have 'shooting' as their Olympic event. Just sayin'.

Posted by Chris at 08:32 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 12, 2004

So What's This? I Don't Care - I'm Eating It!

So my 'hood took its show on the road last weekend with a grilling party at Deej's. Fifty people, twelve grills, three smokers, and the collective menu included everything from grilled cabbage to grilled duck. Yard darts, frisbees, and weapons-grade fireworks were in use, and there was even a live band (OK, the band was actually playing the party on the other side of the lake, but we could hear it perfectly well so we're counting it). Yes, we have pictures. No, you can't see them until the Dangerous Logic legal department reviews them.

Does anybody know what the statute of limitations is on accidental arson?

Posted by Chris at 11:56 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

June 27, 2004

Scenes From A Vacation #1

SmokeEater: I bet you ten bucks I can juggle three jellyfish.
Me: Are you crazy? Those things will sting the living shit out of you!
SmokeEater: Not like those Man-O-War things - I mean the ones they have around here, with the little stubby tentacles. They're about the size of a softball, and if you keep them right-side-up you should be OK.


Me (sighing): OK, you're on. I'll go get my keys.

Twenty minutes later, in the ER at Dosher Memorial:

Dr. Larry: You tried to do what?!?

Posted by Chris at 11:00 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Random Vacation Thoughts

June 07, 2004

No Product Tie-In Too Weird

In the Harry Potter universe, there are these things called "Bertie Bott's Everyflavor Beans." When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor. These magical jellybeans have flavors ranging from orange to earwax; from licorice to dirt. There's no way to tell the beans apart by looking at them, so every time the user pops one in his mouth he's playing confectionery chicken. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this concept is being merchandised in the real world. Some of the more interesting flavors are booger, black pepper, earthworm, vomit, soap, sardine, and of course earwax and dirt.

Naturally, my neighborhood put its collective beer-fueled head together and came up with this possible list for the next series of beans:

  • Bleach
  • Feces
  • Drain Cleaner
  • Smegma
  • Menses
  • Paint Thinner
  • DDT
  • Motor Oil

Posted by Chris at 08:26 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

June 06, 2004

Weekends Are For Hoodblogging

In my neighborhood, we play Quarters differently than most people. For instance, here's Chumley after failing on a double-or-nothing:
Chumley fails on a double-or-nothing

If you didn't catch that, here's a closeup:
In yer eye!
It's tails! Chumley won the toss and elected to receive!

Posted by Chris at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

June 01, 2004

Let Me Tell You About MY Weekend (Part II)...

So the phone rang about noon Sunday. It was Deej, calling from the county lockup. I was in the process of hanging up (it being a firm policy of mine not to bail any but my absolute closest of friends out of jail*) when I heard him say he and Rusty were released on their own recognizance and just needed a ride back to the bar to retrieve his truck. What the hell, I figured, at least I'll get to hear how they ended up in the pokey. The Secure Undisclosed Location is close to the county seat, so it was the work of but a few minutes to pick them up and head back to the bar. Their story:

They got to the Parrot-Dice Club about ten the previous night, and the place was filled to capacity. The owner had heard a rumor that the fire marshal would be randomly checking occupancy limits that weekend, so the line that snaked around the corner wasn't moving at all except to let in n new people whenever n people left. Since The Unregistered Firearms were a local favorite, this didn't happen nearly often enough for the line's liking, and tempers were growing short. Rusty badly misjudged the boiling point of the guy behind him wearing a Red Wings jersey, asking him "Oh, are they still playing hockey now?"

It was on. The guy threw a haymaker at Rusty, who was sufficiently sober to duck, and the punch sailed past him. It would have caught Deej full in the face, except that he was bent over tying his shoe, so the next available target was the back of the head of next guy in line.

Sherriff's deputies don't take kindly to getting rabbit-punched, even if they're off duty. The deputy turned around in time to see Deej stand up and smile at him (having not seen the punch). Five seconds later, Deej had a face half full of pepper spray the other half full of asphalt. Rusty, in his haste to explain the actual situation, evidently said something the deputy didn't like (it didn't help that Wingsfan had apparently beamed back to Hockeytown, as he was nowhere to be seen) and quickly found himself face down next to Deej.

They were pretty confident they would be able to straighten out the situation (they had witnesses in the line, and Deej's knuckles weren't bruised like they would have been if he'd done it) without further legal inconvienience, but they thought it prudent to lay low for the rest of the weekend. Which was a shame, because Rusty is an avid golfer and would have enjoyed what happened about the time I got back.

Cueball and Rogers were trying to decide what to do with a bucket of range balls they'd liberated from a nearby country club. DA mentioned that he had his golf clubs at the trailer with him, and thirty seconds later the three of them were trying to hit balls across the south arm of the lake. It was a solid 280 yards straight across, so the boats and the house on the other side weren't in any real danger, especially since most of their early efforts looked more like skipping stones. Of course, there was betting involved, and alcohol as well, so by the time they neared the end of the supply of range balls, the deal was that the first guy to hit a ball all the way across would get a bottle of Patron Reposado courtesy of the other two.

With about a dozen balls left in the pile, Cueball really got a hold of one and drove it all the way to the cattails on the opposite side. There was some heated discussion as to whether this constituted 'across the lake,' but since nobody wanted to drive around and see if the cattails were actually up on shore or still in the water, it was agreed that the shot did constitute 'driving across the lake' in exchange for the prize being downgraded to a case of Budweiser. Then DA pointed out that since Cueball went first, he and Rogers should also have one last chance to force a tie. Rogers' shot was nothing special (frankly, he's a much better drinker than he is a golfer), so it was up to DA. He rosin'ed down, muscled up, and swung as hard as I've ever seen him. Unfortunately, he hit a vicious slice, damn near at a right angle to the intended path.

This wouldn't have been a problem, except about that time Owen came around the point driving Ward and June's pontoon boat. Everybody yelled 'Fore!', but let's face it. When you're driving on the lake, you're on the lookout for other boats, kids tubing, and morons on jet skis, not golf balls. The shot hit a pontoon with a mighty "KA-WHANNNNNNNNG!" and startled Owen so bad he almost dropped his beer (a lesser man undoubtedly would have, but we're all professionals here). He spun the boat around and headed out at flank speed, jinking randomly as all three golfers started salvoing at him. Rogers managed a miracle shot that landed on Owen's aft deck, but nobody got the head shot they were trying for.

While all this was going on, nobody noticed when Carmine put the new starter in his boat and drive off from the pier...

...and actually make it back in without requiring assistance. This time, the hearty toasts were well-warranted, as he was able to drive around the lake all day without incident, at least until the tornado warning. OK, so it was only the next county over, but when you're in a trailer park, a tornado warning gets your undivided attention. That got us to take a look at the radar channel (have I mentioned that I love the radar channel?), and flower_goddess and I were convinced that a quick departure was in order before the next line of storms hit both the SUL and Fort Wayne. We made it home without incident, about ten minutes before the storm hit.

(*) Oh, don't worry. I would have told Rabbit, and she would have bailed them out, them being siblings and all.

The Six Degrees solution? He got it. It was: Benji was in Benji with Patsy Garrett, who was in Room 222 with Karen Valentine, who was in Coffee, Tea, or Me with Louise Lasser, who was in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman with Martin Mull, who was in Roseanne with Roseanne.

Posted by Chris at 03:23 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

May 31, 2004

Let Me Tell You About MY Weekend...

With apologies to Douglas Adams, the following story is 60% 100-percent-true, 20% 50-percent-true, and 20% PIDOOMA. Names have been changed where necessary to protect the, well, nobody's really innocent in this story so let's refer to them as the 'less guilty.' With the legalities out of the way, let's proceed.

flower_goddess and I got to the Secure Undisclosed Location just in time to watch a cloudless sky go grayer than John F'in Kerry's charisma. Great. Third trip in a row to the SUL where the weather decided not to play nice. Nevertheless, it was basically a neighborhood party moved [censored] miles north, with water and a few different people. Between showers in the early afternoon, DA and I kibitzed while Firestone helped Carmine fix his alleged boat and confirmed money sink. This part of the summer ritual never changes: every year, Carmine would fix something different on his boat (apparently 'boat' is an acronym for 'Break Out Another Thousand') and declare victory, then promptly use said boat exactly once and break something else. Well, this year, with Firestone's extreme competence, they were able to fix where the replenerating frobnobdicator was impingizing on the Johnson rod (I think that's what Firestone said - it was all Greek to me because I'm a software guy and this was quite clearly a hardware problem), and Carmine once again declared victory. He managed to put the boat in the water without crunching the left side trailer light again (which story cannot be told until the Statute of Limitations expires), but he was hedging his bets since he had his son drive it away from the launch.

Celebratory beers were popped all over the cul-de-sac as Carmine Jr. accelerated out of the dock area and made a few high speed passes, but an uncomfortable hush spread over the assembled throng as he slowed to re-enter the no wake zone and the engine quit.

And wouldn't restart.

DA sent his son Rico out on the jet ski to tow him in, and Carmine and Firestone went back to work. After a while, they thought they had the problem isolated to a bad starter (although even I had to wonder why a bad starter would have caused the engine to stall in the first place). After much wailing and gnashing of wrenches, and a string of obscene invective that was most impressive but which decorum precludes me relating here, Carmine held the object of his torment (at least this time around): a starter with a completely seized shaft. Nobody had a replacement locally, which I thought kind of strange since the area has about a thousand lakes and each lake seems to have at least three marinas, and I'm told this is a very common kind of engine and an even more common kind of starter. Fortunately, Firestone knew a guy who knew a guy who'd arrested a guy in Fort Wayne who once may have seen a starter like Carmine needed. It wouldn't be until Sunday until he could get the part up to us at the Secure Undisclosed Location, though.

We all hammered a couple more beers with Carmine in sympathy for his latest setback [note to mlah: it was at this point where I drank the beer you requested me to], and soon it was time to get ready for dinner. DA and I wrestled with the charcoal grill and eventually prevailed (although I was convinced that Ashton Kutcher had personally replaced half our lighter fluid with water, and was filming us from the woods for an upcoming episode of Punk'd), doing up some primo coney dogs and buffalo wings. flower_goddess's pasta salad was very well received, as usual. Brief aside: back in the days before we started dating, I was pretty thin - being raised by parents whose idea of good home cooking was bologna tents and mock meatballs left me woefully unprepared for the culinary heaven that flower_goddess inflicts upon me to this very day. But I digress. Meanwhile, next door at Kenny and Leen's trailer, The Detective was grilling his way through fifteen pounds of fajita meat, which he claimed was dog but which I thought tasted more like cat or maybe fox, and there was major chowing down all around.

Not long after dinner, Deej and Rusty stopped by and asked if anybody was interested in going to the Parrot-Dice Club with them to see The Unregistered Firearms, an up-and-coming slam-jazz duo from a Shipshewana neighboorhood that the Amish try to pretend doesn't exist. By that time, though, we were locked in a high-stakes game of Six Degrees. Rabbit had just stuck Chumley with a combo of Benji (the dog) to Roseanne, and nobody wanted to leave until Chumley either got it or gave up. Besides, we were all so liquored up by then that nobody thought they could safely drive the mile-and-a-half to the club, and we damn sure weren't going to walk that far. So Deej and Rusty took off, and I'll pick up the story of what happened Sunday in tomorrow's entry.

Posted by Chris at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

April 25, 2004

Project Beeramid Cancelled

One of the problems with trying to stockpile beer in my neighborhood (in this case, for a party next weekend) is, well, my neighborhood.

We were on schedule/on budget as of Milestone 1:
Project Beeramid: Milestone 1

However, we experienced some unexpected overruns:
Project Beeramid: Cancelled

It was at this point that I issued a contract letter cancelling Project Beeramid.

Posted by Chris at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

April 18, 2004

They're Buying 'Em Faster Than We Can Drink 'Em

Project Beeramid continues on schedule:
Project Beeramid: Milestone 1

Posted by Chris at 06:12 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

April 10, 2004

If You're Feelin' Froggy, Son, Just Go Ahead And Jump

In case you're wondering why I generally don't post much on weekends, it's because the folks in my neighborhood like to, um, enjoy themselves. For instance, my neighbor Chumley's birthday was yesterday, and we hoisted a few in his honor. As a result, I now feel like this:
Chris the day after Chumley's birthday party

Posted by Chris at 11:52 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood