June 30, 2004

Contingency Plans

You won't be able to reach me this evening; I'm too busy preparing for a little thing known as the Company Bake-Off, which occurs tomorrow. As such, for tonight only I'll be delegating most of my normal duties. To facilitate this, I've created a list of emergencies for which people normally call me, and the solution I would recommend. So, if you need something tonight, please just refer to the following. Thank you.

Your parents are suddenly very excited about this whole arranged marriage idea. First, procure a copy of my best-seller, "How Can I Marry Haji When I Don't Even Know Him?" Refer to Appendix B, "Arranging the Preemptive Deportation of your Future Mate". Once this has been accomplished, go back to whoring the town up.
Big Elvis is at your house. He refuses to return to the stage until someone fetches him a wheelbarrow full of bacon and then rubs his belly. Send an email to mysonisanobeseelvisimitator@hotmail.com with the subject, "He's at it again!! :(((((". For extra quick results, attach a nude picture of yourself. While this is going on, keep your hands away from Big E's mouth.
You suspect your neighbor is El Blanco Cacahuete, the kingpin of an international Pokemon card smuggling ring. You need someone to lead a sting operation. Call Interpol, and ask to speak to an Inspector Lazlo Machetepants. When he asks what this is regarding, tell him that the kitchen has run out of navy beans. Then, barricade yourself in your house and wait for an explosion. We never had this conversation.
You accidentally doused Octopussy with radioactive isotopes. She is now 100 feet tall, and is clawing and peeing the city to ruins. First, call Dr. Nichols at the North Austin Animal Clinic and make sure this isn't a side effect of her ear mite medicine. Second, call the National Guard.

Okay, I think that should pretty much cover everything. For anything else, just contact my manservant. If you happen to come over and find him asleep on the job, you may thrash him with the buggywhip hanging by the door.

Note: To see a true Big Elvis emergency, click Read More.

Here's me at Big E's show, searching in vain for the man himself.

Ironically, he is rather hard to miss.

Posted by Cody at 5:56 PM

June 29, 2004

The Weather Wars Rage On

Well, tonight I'm going to see Fahrenheit 9/11. I don't know much about it, but I am going to comment on it anyway. Our nation is bitterly divided right now, with each side attacking the other with fanatical fervor. This documentary is just another volley in an increasingly rancorous debate. In such a partisan and polarized climate, I have to wonder what Micheal Moore is trying to accomplish with an incendiary documentary about Daniel Fahrenheit, the creator of the thermometer. Surely Mr. Moore knows that, no matter how persuasive his movie is, the Celsius vs. Fahrenheit debate will never be resolved in our lifetimes; the differences are just too great between the positions. On an unrelated note, haven't we had enough meteorologist-related documentaries yet? I gave up on the genre after Dr. Doppler Returns: Barometers on Patrol.

Ha ha ha, aren't I quite the social satirist? Michael Moore came to Trinity right around September 11th, and Patrick, Will, and I went to see him. It was neat; he talked for a while, showed us some of his stuff, and answered a bunch of questions. Sadly, the program went awry at that part. The questions were intelligent enough at first, but after a while, people were just going up there to read haikus about their kitties. It was absurd, and it continued like that for hours.

Opening the mic to the public is always dangerous at a lecture. At another lecture I went to at Trinity (Desmond Tutu was speaking, if memory serves), this guy came in dressed in full Native American regalia. He had the head-dress, a fur jumpsuit, moccasins, the whole deal. He was a white guy. It was too weird not to notice, and I spent a great deal of the lecture just watching this guy, waiting for him to do something bizarre. And then, when Tutu finished speaking and the mics were opened for questions, the guy made his move. After waiting his turn in line, he took the mic in hand and proceeded to deliver a prayer/song thing, completely in gibberish. I was listening to the guy as closely as I could, and I recognized absolutely no words in his entire speech. Desmond was a little confused too. Well, not as much confused as terrified. Then, when the guy finally wrapped it up and stood there at the mic, waiting for his response, Desmond had to pull off a smile/shrug/"Woah, how about that?" gesture after it was done; it was truly high comedy.

And now, I come to my point. If Michael Moore stretches the truth a little bit in his latest movie, it's completely understandable; I'd be slightly deranged if I had to travel across the country and pretend as if I enjoyed kitty cat poetry and gibberish fake-Indian oratory. Let's keep that in mind before we get our panties in a bunch.

Posted by Cody at 5:37 PM

June 28, 2004

The Tale of the Velour Dragon

The buzz has been deafening. The paparazzi have swarmed me at every opportunity. All over the internet, TV, and the cooler parts of ham radio, people have wanted to know one thing: what I will be wearing to the Pipeline Compliance Developers Conference that we'll be hosting at work the rest of the week. As much as I'd love to tell you, I can't. Ever hear of a little thing called copycats? I put too much time, effort, and dubloons into my ensemble for some rogue (read: Patrick Lioi) to swoop in and scoop up all the glory. It's called a swoop and scoop, and it's an unfortunate fact of life for those of us who dress all fancy-like.

Okay, to temporarily placate the hordes, I will give you a few hints about my get-up. First, like everything I own, it will be made entirely of velour. Second, like everything I've ever wanted to own, it will be a complete dragon costume. Well, not complete, since I've disabled the fire-breathing option. Not only is it a fire hazard, but I'll be damned if I buy all that velour just for it to go up in flames the first time I buy it. Although I've only revealed part of my attire, you can correctly conclude it will be a stunner. Rest assured, when the Velour Dragon takes to the podium on Wednesday for his presentation on system resources, all in the room with be struck with equal parts fear and awe.

Okay, I'm not really going to dress like that. That would be stupid, stupid, stupid. The yards and yards of ruined velour, along with the dozens of dragon patterns I ordered overnight from Hong Kong and my anguished cries late in the night, lamenting how hard it is to sew dragon eyes: these were all red herrings. I wanted to make it look as if I were heavily invested into this whole velour dragon idea, to confuse and disorient my foes. After all, what kind of idiot would want to dress up like a velour dragon? Oh, that's right: only the kind of idiot who wishes to be the world's best dressed man. This title is mine come Wednesday.

Posted by Cody at 6:31 PM

June 27, 2004


I guide my life via wisdom accumulated from two sources: fortune cookies and traffy wrappers. In fact, this method has worked so well for me, I've tried to combine the two and create a taffy cookie from which I can learn the secrets of the universe. So far, I have been unsuccessful. This is bad for those who love knowledge, but good for the taffy makers of America, whom I would almost certainly drive out of business. In fact, these taffy makers are so terrified, they have resorted to extreme lengths to destroy my progress, going so far as to paying street people to give me wet willies whenever they see me passing by. It is extraordinarily unpleasant. However, not even the candy fat cats of this nation can dissuade me in my tireless pursuit of answers. Thus, I will continue my taffy cookie experiments until I create something that no longer induces uncontrollable bowel movements and religious hallucinations.

Anyway, until I sniff the intoxicating aroma of success, I am sticking with taffy wrappers and fortune cookies. The end result of this combo is that I can walk around town vaguely nauseated from all of the sugar, with a good head on my shoulders and two pockets full of wisdom. Now, I don't remember which of the two that the following phrase came from, but for me, it is one of the principles behind Powellosity. In fact, I feel so strongly about it, not only is it written on the elastic of all my underwear, but it is usually my sole defense when I am caught trying to steal something from a locker at the bus station. The phrase of which I speak is, of course: fortune favors the bold.

Okay, an interesting look into the mind of one Codewell Von Coderton, but what's the point? Well, fortune favors the bold was a line I uttered to myself roughly 10,000 times on Saturday. In light of monsoons, attempted drownings, me losing my favorite hat, clandestine slip and slide operations, and a car that got stuck on the railroad tracks, it was the only thing that kept me sane and on the path to righteousness this weekend. For those of you who don't obsess over my activities with stalker-like fanaticism, I am talking about the tubing trip we took this weekend. It was both fun and slightly terrifying, much like being the guy who must spoon-feed Marlon Brando his tapioca pudding each morning. And because I was drinking a bit throughout the whole thing, that's about the best way I can sum it up.

Posted by Cody at 6:28 PM

June 24, 2004

Come to Me, Britney

Okay, I had to work late, I'm starting to get very excited about this weekend, and I can't figure out what's happening with Mavericks. All of this is to say that anything I'd write here would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. However, I can't leave my ho's hanging here, and I have an announcement to make. It's come to my attention that I am the number 1 result on Google for Britney Spears Sex Stories. It just goes to show you that no matter how Ms. Spears discredits me in the tabloids, the people will make their way to the truth. Gag order, shmag order!

Posted by Cody at 7:43 PM

June 23, 2004

Haim vs. Feldman

I have a lot of bad habits: bed-wetting, petty thievery, my reliance on fish tranquilizers, etc. One of these bad habits is the fact that I giggle constantly. Maybe you are confused right now. You might be thinking, "But Cody, that makes you a ray of sunshine for everyone to bask in! Giggle on, my jovial friend, giggle on!" Sure, it can be a good thing, if I'm in some sort of light-hearted setting like an ice cream social or a transvestite burlesque show. However, it becomes a horrible liability whenever I'm doing something serious. For instance, I always get giggle fits during arguments. It could be a ferocious dispute about abortion rights, but I know that it'll only take me about 30 seconds before I think of a monkey wearing a cowboy hat, and then it's all over. This inability to keep a straight face is one of many reasons why the only allowed argument at Powell Manor is Haim vs. Feldman.

In case you're wondering, Haim vs. Feldman can go on for hours. It usually starts with something like, "Who was better in the Lost Boys?" and then moves on to the real issues, like who's dreamier (Haim) and who would be a better secretary of agriculture (Feldman). As far as I'm concerned, Haim vs. Feldman is the only universal argument, because everyone has an opinion and it's impossible to resolve. If you don't believe that, then just go up to Heaven, where I guarantee you Confucius and Socrates are battling it out as we speak, over this very issue. Not only that, but you don't have to worry about facts, figures, or rationality; all that matters is Coreyosity. In fact, I think we should make this debate the primary criterion for selecting the next president of the US. Sure, they can talk about medicare and social security for a while, but then dim the lights and get down to the real issues, like which Corey would you chose to address the UN.

I think the answer to this question would be very revealing. John Kerry would most likely deliver a nuanced, hour long response, nominating and then retracting his support for both Haim and Feldman. Bush would think for a second, say Corey Hart, and then start singing "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night". And this, friends, is why I will be writing in my candidate come November. I have not yet decided which Corey that will be.

Posted by Cody at 6:41 PM

June 22, 2004

Mr. River Explains It All

If you happen to be a fish in the Comal River, I suggest you throw yourself onto the bank now and die because this weekend may get unpleasant for you. Yes siree, on Saturday, I will be part of a large group of yahoos taking itw to the river for this year's tubing expedition. For my Belgian fans who may be unfamiliar with tubing, it's basically where you sit in an innertube and float down a river. What's the allure? Well, it combines three of my favorite things: sitting, drinking, and peeing without having to move. I should note I'm still waiting for all of that to be incorporated into an amusement park ride.

A tubing expedition isn't something you just stumble into. No, there needs to be a plan. For example, do you burst into fire when you come into contact with the sun? Then you'll need to bring a tarp to drape over yourself as you float along, or consider finding an indoor river. What about drinks? It's best to bring something in cans so you can employ a coozie; make extra sure they're canned beverages though and not canned food, since no one wants to drink pork and beans on a hot afternoon. And regarding ice chests, are you going to be filling with regular ice, or will you take the more dramatic step of dry ice? Also, have you looked into the snake situation? If that is a real risk, you may need to invest in a set of durable harpoons.

As you can see, there are a lot of variables here. In case you're getting flustered by them all, don't worry, there is help available. For a small fee, you can hire a river sherpa and a team of water yaks to safely guide you to the end. At some point in the near future, look for me to expand on all of this in my magnum opus, There's No Such Thing as the Water Yeti And 1000 Other Helpful Tips About Rivers, Lakes, Aqueducts, and Eddies.

I had a really rough day at work, so I am now going to fill my bathtub with jello and proceed to eat and splash around until I am evicted from my apartment. Good day, all.

Posted by Cody at 6:10 PM

June 21, 2004

An Unnecessary Announcement

Woah, Brendan has a secret writing project! Very cool. I think that writing on the web is a lot like being a junkie. When you start off, you do a little bit and you enjoy yourself. Soon, you get involved in the subculture, meet a few people, and decide, "Hmm, maybe this is where I belong." Then it escalates. You need to do it more and more, in bigger and bigger doses, until one day, you find yourself ransacking your grandmother's medicine cabinet so you can down her goiter medication. I can only assume this is what happened to Brendan, and I am here to to tell you that it's happening to me.

I've felt the itch for a while now, but I didn't know what to do with it. Having demonstrated how ill-suited I am for short fiction with the debacle that was CarlosJacott.com, I decided it would be something different, something longer. Slowly, the pieces began to fit together in my head, until it reached the point where I thought the only thing between me and a really great end result was a mere 80,000 words. I tried a few times to get started, but I had a hard time continuing with what I started; the task just seemed too daunting. Then, a couple of weeks ago, in a Fiddle Faddle inspired delirium, I decided to give it one more try. It started off well, as it usually does, but this time, I actually managed to keep it going.

It's been a little while now and I'm off to a good start. In fact, I'm secure enough in the progress I've made to open it up to the jackals of the Internet. Well, not right now. But soon! Some time, over the next couple of weeks, look for me to unleash the beginning of my masterpiece, Brown Fizzie. And to those of you with the gall to suggest the world has seen enough stories about a war between a bordertown mafioso and an aging Mexican wrestler, I can only wave my hands theatrically and make a mental note to burn your house down. Brown Fizzie! Coming soon! Sorry this entry wasn't funny! Blame Brendan!

Posted by Cody at 6:23 PM

June 20, 2004

Happy Birthday to Goulash

Let me guess what you were thinking when the page first loaded up. It was probably something along the lines of, "Hey, I'm used to Goulash looking slightly crappier than this!" Well, friends, it's called a make-over, and it's something I'm more than happy to give out when my #1 ho has a birthday. That's right, turkeys, Sweet Momma Goulash turned 1 on Saturday. In case you don't think this is a big whoop, let me put it into numbers for you.

1 year, 239 entries, 673 comments, 32879 confused people who came from Google, expecting to find recipes. Not too shabby, if I may say so myself.

I started this site when I first moved to Austin. Back then, I was catless, friendless, and rather homely. A mere 366 days later, not only have I made the cover of Cat Fancy magazine with my cat Octopussy, but I am now known throughout Austin as the premier man about town and bon vivant. Unfortunately, I remain rather homely; there are some things that even a great website cannot fix. It is my hope that over the course of the next year, Goulash will get even Goulashier, and we will succeed in our quest to abolish the Metric system. Failing that, then maybe this site can get me on a spanish soap opera. Eh, we'll see.

My point here is that year numero uno was a raging success. Anything coming after that is just gravy. That is, until another D list celebrity threatens to sue me. That will be significantly less gravylike, but still something you can dip your biscuits in. Anyway, thanks to all that have read the site, and then subsequently sent me your underwear; you are the true heroes. Back to rockin' tomorrow.

Posted by Cody at 5:46 PM

June 17, 2004

Cooking with the Pickle

Soon, at work, we'll be holding a dessert bake-off to determine who makes the best pies, cakes, and cookies. Since it wouldn't be fair for my coworkers if I were to bake all of these on my own, I am watering down my kitchen virtuosity by forming a team with the Paddington Bear and the newest member of our team at work. I've yet to give the new person a nickname, although I'm leaning towards Chewy, since that's what her last name sounds like and also because I've yet to find a young lady whose heart isn't warmed when she's likened to Chewbacca. But anyway, since we're a team, our first order of business is a team name. After a few seconds of thought, I suggested the Six Degrees of Cookie Bakin'.

Now, when written out like that, the name is beautiful. However, it is proving to be slightly problematic when said aloud, since the general response to it is, "What the hell is cookie bacon?" It almost makes me mad enough to lock myself in my laboratory until I create something that could pass for cookie bacon. But since I've been having some bunsen burner issues, it is a lot easier to just come up with a new name. Now, I'm a busy man. As much as I'd love to sit around and think up great bake-off team names, I can't; I have Liberace memorabilia to catalog. So, I put it to the people of Goulash. If anyone here can think up a name we can use, I promise to mail them some crap. Of course, if I happen to think up the winning entry, the would-be winner then has to mail me some crap; it's only fair that way. Leave your entries in the comments, or send them via email.

I think I am going to try to play some tennis this weekend. I was quite the Little Lord Fauntleroy of the courts when I was younger, but it's been a long while since I last played. Nevertheless, if Pete Sampras happens to find himself on the public courts of Austin this weekend, I promise to take his pride AND his shoes. Unlike the chumps at Wimbledon, I play for keepsies. I also need to get Octopussy's claws trimmed before she accidentally dismembers me in a fit of rage. She's like Shredder from Ninja Turtles with those things. Boy, isn't this paragraph an anti-climactic way to end an entry? It just reinforces the first rule of goulash: don't expect anything from goulash. Okay, I'm blowing this joint; have a good weekend, yo.

Posted by Cody at 6:13 PM

June 16, 2004

The Classics Never Die

Okay, I'm done talking about Vegas. I did want to talk about the 12 hour Mad Libs session we had going on the flight back, but the language we were throwing around that thing would make Redd Foxx blush. Obviously, the Mad Libs would first have to raise Mr. Foxx from the dead before he could start his blushing. This gets me to thinking: Mad Libs should put out a book of spells and curses. They could tie it in with Harry Potter or something and make a billion dollars. It'd also be the perfect way to capitalize on the burgeoning market of little pagan kids. Truth be told, I don't even know what pagans are. The only idea I have of them comes from that Dan Akroyd/Tom
Hanks movie, Dragnet. And if a Dan Akroyd character hates a religious group, then by God, so does Cody Wayne Maxwell Powell. Hopefully, we're all sufficiently confused now.

Okay, I started thinking about Dragnet and now I must heed to its siren song and blather incoherently about it. When we were growing up, my sister had this mania for watching certain movies over and over again. Not different movies, mind you, but a selection from a stable of roughly 6. I don't remember them all, but the major figures were Three Amigos, Sweet Dreams, and Cry Baby. Dragnet was one of the bit players in the rotation. Every evening for a two or three year stretch, she would watch at least one of those; she was like the kindergarten Cal Ripken Jr. of crappy cinema. Since I couldn't get any of my friends involved in my hobby of looking for rocks shaped like ex-presidents, I was often dragged into these viewing sessions, and thus I conservatively estimate that I've seen those movies 200 times each.

The end result was that, for years, I hated all of those movies with a passion. Carlos Jacott and all the possums of the world could've forged an alliance, and my loathing for their association would pale in comparison to my antipathy I felt towards Cry Baby. In fact, I hated those movies so much, I was convinced that they couldn't really exist; they must've been some sort of torture devises, created by my parents and inflicted upon me whenever I went a day without flossing. And then, one night a few years ago, I stumbled across Dragnet on TV, late at night. After so many years of separation, I could only stare at it, mouth agape, as if I had just discovered the Sasquatch in my underwear drawer. My friend who was there at the time noticed the change, and asked me what was the matter.

"Oh God," I said. "Pep and Joe are about to argue about chili dogs."

I only watched five minutes of the movie, but I gained a very valuable insight. I realized that if I were to ever, in a fit of anger, sell my sister off as a mail order bride, my sole defense could be to show Dragnet 50 times in a row. There's not a jury in this country that could be unsympathetic after that.

Posted by Cody at 6:18 PM

June 15, 2004

The Big E Chronicles, Part 2

Once I determined that Big Elvis was not a myth, but an obese reality, I became obsessed with seeing him. We had a few days to kill until his performance, so to keep him fresh in everyone's mind, I talked about him constantly. Here's a representative conversation.

Paul: "What do you guys want to eat tonight?"
Cody: "It doesn't matter to me, as long as it takes less than 16 hours. I have to go see Big Elvis tomorrow afternoon!"

Repeat ad nauseam, until my companions attacked me in my sleep with socks full of bars of soap. It takes more than a ruptured spleen and pulmonary embolism to deter me and my jabbering, though. When the time came for Big E to storm the stage, I had worked my travelling companions into an annoyed frenzy, where they couldn't help but want to TCB with me. And so, when the time of his first performance approached, we stormed down from our hotel room like a pack of ravenous hippos, ready to wallow in the impressively bizarre.

As we approached the front of the Barbary Coast, Big Elvis's venue, I heard something strange being piped through the PA. "Wow, that sounds a lot like Elvis," I thought, "except there's a lot more grunting and gasping involved." It sounded like some middle-aged man was being forced to haul an armoire up some stairs by himself, all the while belting out "Burnin' Love". My hopes were high.

We entered the casino, and sure enough, it was packed (let it never be said that the people of Las Vegas fail to recognize their virtuosos). I pushed my way up to the stage, and prepared myself to take in some splendor. I gazed upwards, ready to release a yelp of
triumph when I made visual contact. There was no yelp of triumph, though, only a sigh of disappointment. The stage was full of people, but no one stood out as Big Elvis. One guy was pretty fat, but he looked more like Big Midwestern Accounts Receivable Guy than Big Elvis. It was a good thing I left my punching gloves next to the bidet in the room.

I looked back at my companions and shrugged. Like so many other times in my life, my quest to find inexpensive, corpulent entertainment had led me to a dead end. It was at this point, my darkest moment in Vegas, that Paul spoke up.

"Oh man, I see him over at the edge of the stage, and he is HUGE."

I was positioned at an awkward angle to the stage, so I pushed more towards the center. After shoving aside a few Mormons, I finally saw the source of the commotion. There, impressively large in his white sequined jumpsuit, sitting in a folding chair at the edge of the stage, was Big Elvis. I threw up a quick raise the roof hand gesture and steeled myself for the show of a lifetime.

After roughly 30 seconds of entertainment, Big E stopped the music. Was he going to lead us in prayer? Or maybe dedicate a song to me? Unfortunately not.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm now going to take a quick break. I'll be back in 15 minutes."

I come all the way from Austin, annoy the hell out of my friends about the show, and physically assault several anonymous people so I can see him, and he leaves immediately; you play dirty pool, Big Elvis. Right before I launched into my murderous rage, my brain parsed the second part of his sentence, and I decided I would just wait. After all, I had already waited 23 years for this, 15 minutes wouldn't kill me. My friends were as intrigued as I was, so we camped out at the Rodney Dangerfield slot machines.

Fifteen minutes because twenty five, which soon stretched to fifty. Had someone not taken a tray of milkshakes to the backstage area midway through the wait, I would've sworn that Big E had passed away from the exertion. After several minutes of theatrical sighing directed towards the Big E team, a member of my party located Big E's mom (seriously) and asked when he'd be back on. Her response? "Oh, another 25 minutes."

Now, I do not fancy myself as the slightest bit insightful. Nevertheless, I can't help but think that maybe the reason no one will pay to see Big Elvis, who is one hell of a performer, is because he takes 75 minute breaks after only being on stage for 30 minutes. And mind you, the show was only 3 hours. I soon found myself storming out of the casino and back to the Flamingo, our base of operations for the week.

When I entered the ground floor casino of our hotel, I was struck with a great idea. While Big E was taking his break, I would amass a minor fortune here at the tables. Then, I would use my windfall to bankroll a fatter Elvis with a better work ethic. It was almost too good. Sadly, a potent combo of bad luck and general confusion regarding the rules conspired against me. Half an hour later, I slunk back to see Big E. He was sitting on stage, singing his heart out. I watched him do two songs, then he went on break again.

Posted by Cody at 6:09 PM

June 14, 2004

Big E

Yeehaw, let's get back to Vegas stories.

It seems to me that people go to Vegas for three reasons: gambling, prostitutes, shows. I've already covered my stunning ineptitude at the first of those, and I am way too neurotic to handle the second. Surely then, I was there to see some shows, right? Ehh, no. It seemed to me that the shows there were both ridiculous and expensive, which can be a potent combo, if done the right way. I'd gladly pay $50 to watch a tickle fight between Star Jones and Wilford Brimley. But three times that much just to see Wayne Newton sing? No way. Maybe if he were singing while fighting off a monster made of tacos, or something. For me, it's all about the absurdity to cost ratio, and I just didn't think Vegas could meet my threshold there. After a conversation with my uncle before I left, I changed my mind quickly and violently.

When you're going to Vegas, everyone wants to know which hotel you're staying at, presumably because these people know just which hookers are at which hotels and when. You people disgust me. But anyway, a few days before our departure, I found myself answering this question, and telling my uncle that I'd be at the Flamingo.

"The Flamingo? That's a good one." I nodded, realizing this as Vegas slang for 'it's very unlikely I'll find a dead Laotian tourist under my bed'. He was not done dispensing the wisdom.

"Also, there's a place next door with a 450 pound Elvis impersonator."

I didn't know how to respond to this. My first thought: knowing how to rock must be in our bloodlines. My second thought: I must find Fat Elvis and smuggle him in my luggage back to Texas. My third thought: this sounds a little too good to be true.

"Wow, I bet it's pretty expensive to go see him," I said, ready for my hopes to be dashed.

"Not quite. He's free, and he plays every day."

At this point, I bid a hasty farewell to my family and commandered a vehicle headed towards the airport. I had to wait a week until our flight departed, but it was worth it because I had some Fat Elvis scheming to do.

After a lot of thinking and a few dry runs, I hit Las Vegas, complete with a grappling hook and a big bottle of formaldehyde. As my first act of official business, I headed next door to the Barbary Coast to determine if there really could be something as beautiful as a free performance by a 450 pound Elvis impersonator. I didn't even have to step through the door to confirm it. Right there on the side of the building, next to a sign for $1.99 breakfast, I saw it: "Big Elvis, Mon-Fri, 1 - 4 PM." Serendipity strikes again! Less than 100 feet from my hotel, I had found a place in Vegas that catered to hungry cheapskates who love weird crap. It took all of my inner resolve not to pull an Archimedes and tear off down the strip, naked.

Tomorrow: our trip to see Big Elvis, who rocked us like a fat, lazy hurricane.

Posted by Cody at 6:12 PM

Bruiser Powell

Okay, so I had some computer problems last night and didn't get to doing Goulash. Rather than half-hearting something right before I leave for work, I'll just show you this, photographic proof from this weekend of my true nature.


I don't care how much like Shrek the thing looks, if a pinata needs a punchin', I'll give it out.

Posted by Cody at 9:04 AM

June 10, 2004

Donny Vegas

Well, I made it back from Vegas. How was it? It only seems fitting to summarize the trip in medical lingo: Dr. Powell paid a house visit to Mr. Vegas, and administered 100 cc's of TCB rectally. Yes, outstanding times were had, and I'll provide a lengthy write-up at some point in the near future. Right now though, I'm about as lively as a member of the undead so I am just going to share one anecdote and barricade myself in my bedroom.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not Donny Vegas. Not only am I unfamiliar with the gambling terminology, but I'm also pretty hazy as far as the games themselves go. For all I know, craps could just be Pin the Tail on the Donkey played on a fuzzy table. Due to this stupidity, I tried to stay away from all of the complicated games, and only play the ones I thought I understood. For instance, roulette. You just spin a ball, put some money on a number, and dance around like a fool when they bring out the wheelbarrows of dubloons, right? Ehh, kinda. Me not quite knowing how that game works is relevant fact #1 of this story.

If you're playing at a table and slinging some money around, cocktail waitresses come by frequently and offer free drinks. I could see that being a good strategy for the casinos, where you get the serious gamblers drunk so they start making foolish bets. However, if you have no judgement to begin with (eg, me), then it's kind of hard to impair the decision making process. In fact, I think drunkenness may be an asset in such a situation, because it changes your bets from predictably bad to unpredictably bizarre. Me being drunk is relevant fact #2 of this story.

Our last night there, I found myself separated from the group I had gone to Vegas with. Since I had to entertain myself, I went down to the casino floor and sat down at the roulette table. Sensing a kindrid spirit at the table, I began talking to an older Indian gentleman sitting next to me. We really got going with our jibber jabber during the game, and within a matter of minutes, he and I were going at the free drinks like Kirstie Alley robbing an ice cream factory. Around drink 10,000, I realized that neither of the two zeros on the board had come up on the board for a long time. I shared this insight with my new buddy, and he and I began to bet that a zero would soon come up. Turn after turn went without a zero, and we were getting pretty riled up. Things were shouted, fists were shaken, napkins were ripped in two: it was not a pretty sight.

Finally, it happened: we won. Even though we had only made $30 each due to all of our failed previous bets, we celebrated like trailer park lottery winners, high fiving and hugging and throwing our chips around the joint. On the next spin of the wheel, I decided that, since the 0 just came up, I could go back to playing regular spots on the board. My Indian friend would have none of that, resolved to ride the zero train until bankruptcy hit. I wasn't paying much attention when I heard the Indian fellow start screaming and slapping me on the back.

"AHHHHHH, ANOTHER ZERO," he bellowed, and then tried to lay out some high fives for me.

"Hey, good for you," I said, half-heartedly participating in the celebration, since I didn't win. He would have none of that. He was getting so excited, I was expecting him to strip and jump through a plate glass window. Not only was he really worked up, but he was making it clear that I should be too. I was having none of it.

"Why aren't you excited?" he said.

"Why on earth would I be excited? I just lost!" I said.

"What? Aren't those your chips out on the zero?"

I took a look down at the board. Yeah, those were definitely my chips, but I hadn't put them there. I took a look around the board to make sure I wasn't getting trickarooed.

"Man, I don't know what the hell is going on here; I didn't put those chips there," I slurred to everyone at the table.

"You know that if you win, they don't move your chips from the last bet, right?"

Do what now? After a few seconds of consideration, an "A-ha!" battled its way through the alcohol and the confusion: I had forgot to pick up my last bet. I had just won another $80, thanks due completely to inebriated incoherence.

Immediately after that, the other member of the double zero club and I cashed out and parted ways. I didn't bet again the entire trip, thinking that the second I laid some money on the table, a grand piano would crash through the ceiling and land on me as punishment for my good luck. After tiptoeing through all of the casinos on the way out, karma had the last laugh when it made me spend 12 hours at the airport yesterday. Just like Puff Daddy said, mo' money, mo' problems.

Posted by Cody at 6:27 PM

June 3, 2004

To Whom It May Concern

Hot diggity, I have internet at my house again! May the gaping mouth of the web again be filled with piping hot goulash, direct from my Soviet-era Goulatnik machine. Has it really taken me almost a year to start referring to my home computer as Goulatnik? Man, I must be losing the magic. And just to be clear, the ability to come up with words like Goulatnik is a pretty weak form of magic. It certainly pales in comparison to shooting lightening bolts out of a wand or turning my enemies into possums, but I takes what I can get.

Anyway, this will be the last update for the next week, as I'll be too busy approaching destitution at warp speed in Las Vegas to do any writing. Well, I probably will be writing, but it will take the form of letters to the editor. I'm thinking something along the lines of the following.

To Whom It May Concern,
I wish to make it known that the charitable, altruistic side of Las Vegas has been vastly overrated. Everywhere I turn, I encounter another claw reaching for my coin purse, like a kleptomaniac lobster. Even the very pillars of the local economy, blackjack dealers and prostitutes, have treated me shabbily when I informed them that I would not be paying for services rendered in American currency. It's not that I'm cheap (I have footed the bill for many a shrimp cocktail in my lifetime); I just expect some consideration, since I am the customer.

Case in point: a dealer in one of your lesser casinos. After putting my money on the board and buying into the game, the dealer steadfastly refused to show me his cards before I bet. I had never seen anything so absurd; it's like you actually want your customers to lose. I poked him in the ribs and said, "Hey jerk, ever heard of a little something called 'the customer is always right'?" Luckily for him, he called a brute to dispatch me before I could rally the people of the casino to my cause. Had he not, it would've only been a matter of time before we reduced that casino to a pile of ash and embers for this egregious transgression of etiquette.

I regret to inform you that until your city becomes a bit more customer-friendly, I shall avoid it like the plague. Additionally, I will do my damndest, as treasurer of the South Texas Model Train Enthusiasts, to see that our 3rd Annual Choo Choo Jamboree be held as far from your locale as possible. I hear Macon, Georgia is nice.

Cody Wayne Maxwell Powell
cc: Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Office of Wayne Newton, Dick Cheney.

Hopefully I will speak to all of you again next week. Stay alive, I will find you!

Posted by Cody at 6:12 PM

Rage at the Heavens

Maaan, my internet wouldn't work last night, thus no goulash. Since I have a minute before work, I will throw something up here.

Without sweet, sweet internet, it was like going back to the pioneer days. As such, I had to resort to an activity that was popular on many a wagon train, playing blackjack on my PDA. I just want to let the dealers of Vegas know that if that game is any indication of what's in store for me, it's going to take about 15 minutes for me to run through my life's savings. And that is with the advice turned on. Without that, the money I'm carrying around will probably explode immediately when I enter the casino. As long as it doesn't singe my nether regions, I'll maintain a good attitude about the whole thing.

Okay, time to go crack some heads down at the factory. I will try to do something elaborate tonight since it's the last goulash you'll be getting for a while. After that, you'll just have to go dig a hole out in the woods and cower for a week, waiting for my return.

Posted by Cody at 9:16 AM

June 1, 2004

More Like Cell Bone

For the past year, I have been fighting an unwinnable war with my cell phone. The son-of-a-weinerbiscuit won't ring if I'm at home or at work, leaving me to hold most of my conversations at Arby's or in the bathroom of the bingo parlor. It's completely understandable that the phone won't work at my office, since it's not so much of an office as it is a folding chair and some crayons in a drainage ditch. That's probably not prime cellular territory. But my apartment? I pay a lot of scrap metal to live in such a swankdified, hip-happenin' place. You'd think with the amount of handsome, rich people in the joint (including me, the maintenance dudes, and Octopussy), they'd move the coverage area just for us. Not only that, but the few times I have stumbled into a neighbor's place on accident, the inhabitants have made it very clear that their cell phones do indeed work, and that they won't hesitate to call the National Guard if I don't vacate the premises. I've called their bluffs enough times now to know that the service probably works here, and if anything is to blame, it is the phone that I made out of twigs and mucus.

Since I am poor and lazy, for the past year, I've had to make due. After trial and error, I came up with a system where I could almost use my phone. I discovered there was an 8 inch rectangle on my windowsill where the service was just strong enough that it might ring if someone were to call. I outlined that area with tape so that anytime I was inside my apartment, I could set the phone exactly inside the hallowed rectangle of reception. Then, once it rang, I would grab the phone and run for the parking lot, shoving aside all old ladies and children who got in my way. While this method was effective roughly 60% of the time, it was highly inconducive to my life of sloth and obesity, and thus needed to be replaced.

Last week, I finally reached my breaking point. After dropping yet another call from Carlos Jacott's attorneys, I karate chopped my phone in two and marched inside to order a new one. After a thorough search for what was cheapest on Sri Lankan eBay, I made my choice and sent in my bag of pennies. It just came in today. My new phone is much bigger, less cool, and doesn't have any Kenny Loggins ringtones, but I can almost sorta talk in my apartment with it. I can't tell you how excited this makes me. It's enough to make me want to run down the street testifying, but it's kinda muggy outside, so I may just save that for later. Nevertheless, you can now be sure that when you call and I don't answer, it's either because I dislike you or I fell down a well. Then, either start preparing the death threats or call the fire department immediately. Many thanks for your understanding.

Posted by Cody at 6:15 PM