The first Presidental Debate is tonight. I don't know about you guys, but I'm look forward to 90 minutes of both candidates constantly repeating, "You call that Vietnam service?". The problem with these events is that there's much more to lose in a debate than there is to gain. For example, if John Kerry comes out tonight and debates his ass off, presenting a multitude of insightful points with dignity and intelligence, he'll impress maybe 5 people. However, if he gets caught up in the moment and starts humping the leg of George W. Bush, he'll horrify millions. As a result, the entire thing is going to be incredibly boring to watch, with both candidates trying to be as homogenized and inoffensive as possible. That's not a debate, that's a wet willie in democracy's ear.
As one might expect, I have a plan to correct this. First, the debate would include a lot more people than the two major party candidates. Sure, they'd still be there, but there would also be the two craziest third party candidates, as determined by yours truly. And by craziest, I don't mean the Libertarians or the Green Party, but the people who show up on no ballots and campaign exclusively under the idea of compulsory rectal examinations each time you go to the post office. Each major party candidate would have to team up with a crazy third party guy, and then they'd switch off in the middle of the questions. I see that leading to exchanges like the following:
Moderator: What are your plans for the war on terror?
GWB: America is facing a stark moral crisis right now, at war with a force of great evil. Unlike wars of the past, though, our opposition has no public face, base of headquarters, or organized force. Due to this, the only way we can proceed is to...
Bush's partner, Gravy Boat Jackson of the Crazy Guy at the Bus Station party, then tags himself in to finish the question.
GBJ: The only way we can proceed is to use the Mexicans as human shields. When we run out of them, we'll go to Canadians. Next question, please.
Also, I think there should be a soapbox derby should be incorporated in there somehow. Screw reasoning; I want a President who can fly down the side of a hill in a wooden car of his creation. I'd like to see the whole process here. We'd start with design, watching Bush, lying on the floor of the Oval Office, sketch the whole thing out with some Magic Markers on a sheet of manilla paper. Then we'd go to building the car; we see Kerry glue his hands together when he can't decide which wheel goes where. After that, we'd go to decoration, and see Bush staying up all night trying to paint the perfect set of flames on his vehicle. Following that, we'd see some test runs, where Kerry narrowly avoids crashing into a trash can while adjusting his beret-shaped helmet. I'm not foolhardy enough to predict the winner of the race, but I can predict the result for democracy: a buttload of interested voters.
Okay, last post before the Tricentennial! My house, around 8-ish on Saturday, bring your drinking pants or, at the very least, your alcohol absorbing pants.
Well, well, a private rocket ship went up into space today, in an attempt to win a $10 million prize. Luckily, they have to do this another time before the money is theirs. I say luckily there because I'm determined to win that prize for myself. If you doubt that, I encourage you to peek inside my garage and take a look at the gasoline and the safety helmet that I've purchased in preparation. While you're at it, why not inspect the reams upon reams of space plans that I've artfully drawn with map colors in my official 3 ring Lunar Binder? Not exactly the work of a astronautical novice, if you ask me. Now that most of the preparation has been done, I believe I'll be able to make both trips on Saturday morning before it's Tricentennial time. That's assuming favorable weather conditions, of course.
The beauty of my outer space strategy is its simplicity. All I'm going to do is fill a trashcan with leaves and gas, sit on top of it, and then light that baby up. Since the whole prize money thing is a race, I tried to focus on getting to space with as little complexity as possible. That means no steering on my rocket. In fact, I don't even understand why you'd need steering. Space is straight up, right? Also, that means no fancy parachute system for my descent. Instead, I'm just going to try to land in some grass or maybe an abandoned mattress. In case the landing gets a little tricky, I will also be bringing a pillow along with me.
According to that article I linked to, I've got to reach 62 miles in altitude to win the money. That's slightly higher than I expected; I'll probably have to make some allowances for aerodynamics. I was planning on wearing a tin foil jumpsuit to make me look more like an astronaut; there's no way I'm getting 62 miles high in one of those things. Instead, I'll either wear one of those full-body swimmer suits like they had in the Olympics, or just grease myself down with Crisco. Also, Octopussy can't ride shotgun as planned, since all that fur would slow me down. Rather than joining me, I'll give her a walkie talkie and let her be mission control. Someone please stay near her to make sure she's plotting my course correctly and advising me of incoming asteroids.
Okay, I think I've covered it. If you've got anything you'd like me to shout into outer space, please make a note of it in the comments.
Stop the presses: I'm an idiot. Today, when I was checking how far away I was from entry 300, I discovered that I had in fact already published entry 300. Rather than the blockbuster interview with Big Elvis that I had planned for the milestone, the good people of Goulashedonia were instead treated to a treatise on building my own submarine. Woops. In my own defense, I'm not very smart. So really, if we're going to point the finger at anyone, I say we point it at whoever convinced my mom to eat all of those paint chips while she was pregnant with me.
To appease you, I present the following image of the party dinosaur I've crafted as mascot for the Tricentennial (note that he's brought his own supplies):
I had a long entry all cooked up, but it just couldn't compete with that image. Tricentennial Saturday night! Don't bring drinks, as we'll again be kegging it. Let's attempt to drink some of it this time before we start drinking the dish washer detergent.
I just got off the phone with the Justice of the Peace out in Cisco, Texas, where I recently received a speeding ticket, and the whole situation has officially been resolved. Let that be a lesson to all of the other crappy towns out there in the middle of nowhere. If you hide an overzealous cop out in a junior college parking lot so he can stick it to me as I drive past, you're not getting one cent more than $215 from me. Perhaps I should note that the $215 doesn't include the elaborate floral bouquets I sent to the judge, along with cards featuring a sad teddy bear and the caption, "I'm too weak for prison! They throw cups of pee at guys like me!"
Now that I have dealt with that, I can get back to putting my money in the causes I believe in, namely my attempts to locate the lost city of Atlantis. I don't claim to be entirely certain, but my research implies that the entire thing is down there at the bottom of Lake Austin. I've made numerous trips to the site, equipped only with my flippers and a little shovel, and I feel I can safely declare that the time for an excavation is now. The conditions are perfect; if I don't raise it soon, someone is going to beat me to it and make me look stupid. Luckily, now that the ticket fiasco is over, I can start devoting my income to getting my vessel out of lay away down at the submarine store.
To answer a commonly asked question, yes, I did try to build my own submarine at first. I called it the USS Awesome. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a porthole? That's not even the hard part! I still have air purification systems and robot arms to construct after that. Then, aside from all of that, my hands were pretty much ruined from all of the crazy glue and balsa wood. Perhaps those weren't the smartest choices for building materials, but I didn't see anyone offering to give me some sheets of titanium along with welding lessons. I had to go with what I knew. In the end, it did not work. I am slightly saddened by the fact that I'll be excavating Atlantis in a craft without flames on the side or a built in snow cone machine. I'd certainly trade those amenties to make a single trip without getting covered in splinters. Ahh, the USS Awesome, she could've used some sanding.
Okay, I don't understand how it happens, but I keep finding my way into these cigarette company promotional events. A few weeks ago, we had the Marlboro Cowboy breakfast, and then this weekend, I rocked the Camel Speakeasy Tour. It's my opinion that the only reason they called it the Speakeasy Tour was because Roaring 20s Whorehouse Tour wouldn't fit on the marquee out in front. They did a pretty good job on the theme with all of the dancing hoochies and whatnot, but they lost definite points when the waitresses refused to fight me over Warren G. Harding or what a travesty those talkies are. The crowd consisted of 30 confused people who were there to see Stellastarr, and then 300 chain smoking older folks who wanted that racket shut up pronto so they could get back to talking about their upcoming tracheotomies and the best places to buy those voice buzzers.
In all fairness to the estate of Joe Camel, I wasn't invited to this one and I'm not really sure how I even got in. All I can think is that Corporate America is slowly cottoning to the fact that I am the voice of the cigarette smoking public. Yes, it's true I've smoked maybe 5 cigarettes in my lifetime and all of these made me dry heave and then collapse in a heap on my laundry hamper. I have, however, eaten a lot of candy cigarettes. In fact, if you count those, I've got a 3 pack a day habit that could rage out of control at any moment. Anyway, I'm hoping the chewing tobaccy companies will get on board too so I can get a VIP pass to Spitoon Fest. I can see it now: me and Robert Duvall sitting around a barrel, playing gin rummy and muttering about those damn liberals. And to answer a question that will surely come up then: no, I would not like any ABC tobaccy, Mr. Duvall.
So, is everyone clear that on Saturday night, you should leave your valuables in your wall safe and make it on over to my place for some libations, a veggie tray (with ranch dip, holla!), and an allnight game of Uno? Wait, I didn't mean Uno, I meant Drunko, which is not so much a game as it is a philosophical movement and a compelling reason to wet your pants. I'm getting off track. The Tricentennial is on Saturday at my house in Austin. You can come if you promise not to stab me or sell any footage from the evening to Fat Dudes Gone Wild; email for directions. Okay, we've got a big week coming up, so let's keep our wits about us and save any law enforcement altercations for this weekend, where a large crowd of drunk people can only make the situation safer.
When I first moved to Austin some time ago, I was a little worried about finding my place. Sure, I'd fit right in if I spent most of my time travelling on a Segway between Indian restaurants and bong shops, but that's not how I get down. Instead, I posted flyers all over town, looking for similar minded folks who'd like to eat vienna sausages and drink moonshine with me until we pass out inside a car wash. No luck whatsoever there, and for many a night, my tears were my only companion. However, over the past couple of weeks, I think I'm slowly finding my comfort zone. I've found a place where I can spend one morning a week reading the NRA magazine, then getting weighed and talking about melanoma. No, I'm not talking about heaven, I'm talking about la doctora's office, fools.
I hadn't been to the doctor for quite some time. This was largely for two reasons. First, I have it on good authority that I'm invincible. For those of you who need proof of this, consider the fact that I've been eating my own cooking for two years now with nary a bout of pants pooping (the few exceptions shall be treated as statistical anomalies). Second, I couldn't find a doctor who'd barter with me for medical services. When presented with the option of money or a personally knitted beret, they would always opt for the money. "I'm not made of money, I'm made of yarn! You seriously think money makes your head look more sophisticated than a beret? I don't believe you're a doctor if you actually think that," I'd holler into their answering machines, but it did no good. I went untreated.
A few weeks ago, though, I'd had enough; I decided to pony up a few Mr. Lincolns for the copayment to see how much damage I'd been doing myself since I started up Beer-and-Fatty-Food-apalooza some years back. The results of the examination? I'm as strong as a bull and thrice as virile. The whole thing was kind of fun. In fact, I got so into the check-up, I've been going back to get other things looked at. At first, my reasons for seeing him were valid, but this week, I had nothing so I just tore out an article on menopause from Ladies Home Journal and asked him what he thought the implications were for me. I can only hope he grows tired of this charade before deciding to give me a prostate exam.
PS: If, by the grace of God, the Rangers go on to steal first from the A's, I'm never wearing pants again. It has been spoken!
Can you believe the US presidential election is only a month and a half away? You mean we only have 6 more weeks to collectively freak-out about the validity of Purple Hearts and the implications of proportional spacing on National Guard memos? And while we're processing all of that crap, we also must deal with Macaulay Culkin getting arrested for wacky tobaccy possession and Britney Spears getting married to the night manager of the Dairy Queen? It's just too much! There is only so much attention to go around! I, for one, long for that gray November morn when I can walk in to my closest polling place, write in Andre the Giant for every office, and put this whole thing behind me.
I guess my deal is that I don't understand all of the zealotry that's surrounding this election. To me, the Kerry versus Bush decision is like being kidnapped by a gang of sexual deviants and then being forced to choose whether I'd like to be violated by a butternut squash or a roto-tiller; even if I get the slightly more appealing option, I'll still need sedatives and a happy place to get through it all. That is not to say the last election, or any other in recent memory, was different. At least then, things were less scary, and so the incompetence on display was kind of cute, in the little-kid-trying-to-put-on-his-own-Halloween-makeup way. I could just sit on the couch then and say, "So you're supposed to be the President of the United States? Awww... get the little guy some Baby Ruths."
It's tougher to do that this year, mainly because everyone involved is completely insane. Not insane as in pleasantly eccentric and fun to laugh at, but insane as in you better check your shoes for your poop if you happen to disagree with them over Medicare. Even more than that, the world is completely insane. I'm pretty sure the Israelis and Palestinians would see the Corey Haim v. Corey Feldman argument as complete justification to bomb the hell out of each other. It's complicated, and I think most of us on the periphery of this debacle have no idea what to do; I know I certainly don't.
Still, no matter what happens, there's still hope. There have to be at least thirty people in this country who've yet to mess their britches from Republican/Democrat mania; even if we all vote Andre the Giant this year, I have to believe that we'll get noticed eventually. Sure, our actions will probably be interpreted as a mandate for more bushy-haired giants in huge tunics, but I say we take what we can get.
As I alluded to in the comments to yesterday's entry, something intriguing happened last night that was related to this site. Before I can really document it, I think I should explain a little bit about the psychology behind running a personal website.
If you can compare to it anything, I'd say doing your own site is like being in a local band. In both cases, you devote a lot of energy to something that is, in all likelihood, not very cool; there are tons of bands, even more websites, and almost all of them suck. To only suck a little bit (my goal here) is a definite victory. You slowly become used to spending a great deal of your life on something that causes most of your friends to roll their eyes and sigh. Nevertheless, once you get out there for a while, a few people become slightly interested, and that makes it fun. Matt Dillon's character in Singles describes it best when he's responding to charges that his band isn't very successful, and he says, "We are loved in Belgium and Italy!" Last night, I had my record break in Belgium, so to speak.
So, it's Monday night at Powell Manor, and I'm going to town on a chicken sammich while playing Pinball. There's a good chance I'm in my underwear. In the midst of all of this, I hear that I've received email. Anxiously awaiting the opportunity to rescue the fortune of a Nigerian diplomat on hard times, I switch over to Outlook Express to see what the message is. It's one of those emails I get whenever sends me a comment. I read it over, and while it looks like it could be spam, I'm not really sure; it's decidedly less penis centric than most of the spam. I read through it again, and the gist is that someone likes my site and they're currently talking about it on a show of some sort. I go to the website linked on the comment, locate the chatroom, and quickly proceed to berate the people in there until someone explains what's going on.
Answers start to emerge. Apparently, there's a web tv channel called Mania TV, and someone on one of their shows was spreading the gospel of Goulash. To me, it stinks of scamaroo. I start up the webcast to see how I'm getting bamboozled, only to see something vaguely legitimate. Apparently, there's a studio, cameras, and everything. Not only are the hosts speaking English, but they have their clothes on! Now I'm definitely intrigued. I turn my attention back to the chatroom and begin to holler that since I missed whatever happened, they need to do it again or else I'd unleash my army of Lady Sasquatch on their studios. After a few minutes of less than dignified pleading, the powers that be got on the trolley and commanded the hosts to do whatever it took to shut me the hell up. What followed was the most surreal web-related experience since Jacott threatened the lawsuit.
I'm watching the stream, and they're showing music videos. I'm kind of confused at this point, like a slow-witted monkey trying to figure out the Franchise features of Madden 05. After a bit, the videos stop and the hosts come back. One of them, Tre, says, "Welcome back to Mania TV, where we're all about the best in entertainment. That includes great music videos and great websites, like codypowell.com". Let me tell you now, there's nothing stranger than to be sitting at home in your undies, watching some strange dude in a studio somewhere talking about your website. For a minute there, I was convinced I was in the middle of something like that Michael Douglas movie, The Game. Clearly, my emotionally unstable sibling had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on concocting a scheme to freak me out and teach me a lesson. Whether this is the truth or not, no one in my family is getting any Christmas presents this year.
Eventually, it all got to be sensory overload. I hurled my computer into the parking lot, and then locked myself in my closet with nothing but a bucket and a bottle of Yoohoo until the shakes subsided. Looking back on it now, the whole thing was pretty cool. It certainly wasn't a featurette on Paul Harvey's radio show, but I takes what I can get. And the next time anyone gets mouthy about the site, I'll slap them across the face and say, "That ain't what Mania TV says, honey!"
The Tricentennial is less than two weeks away, and all I want to do is dance. However, that ain't happening since my ankles are all swollen up from a scorpion attack that occurred last night. Let there be no doubt that I will defend my Perfect Strangers tapes against all threats: animal, insect, and fungi.
I guess the summer is coming to an end. Living in Texas, one wouldn't think so, since it's still roughly five zillion degrees Celsius. I've talked to people from other locations though, and they assure me that the weather does indeed change around this time of year. In describing these changes, they've used words completely unfamiliar to me, words like "autumn", "wind", and "long underwear". I responded with typical disbelief, saying, "Oh, and I suppose the Abominable Snowman presides over this carnival of seasons? And I can only assume it's his magical slobber that causes all of the leaves to change colors. You are an idiot and a liar, and if I ever hear such rubbish coming from your mouth again, I will light all of your cherished possessions on fire." It has come to my attention that the previous statement may've been out of line. For that, I apologize.
But anyway, in the event that the summer does come to an end soon, I feel like it should be commemorated somehow, considering how good it was. Vegas, two beach trips, a little Mexican fandango, numerous near drownings out on the river, then ACL last weekend: it all constituted shenanigans worthy of a light-hearted teen sex romp. As a fitting tribute, I'm leaning towards a statue of Darth Vader in his bath suit. I'm not sure how complicated it is to commission a statue like that, and I really have no idea where to start with importing all of the marble it's going to take to complete the thing. However, if it takes my last breath, I will see to it that this summer is honored. Summer of Cody, represent!
Maaaaan, this weekend was the ACL Festival, and it was truly a humdinger. Eric summed it up best when he said, "I woke up this morning feeling like I just got back from Mexico." I'm a little too worn out to summarize this in a compelling fashion, so here are a few messages that I expect everyone here to pass around.
To Heineken: Stay away from me for two weeks.
To Calexico: Sorry I missed your show. For an explanation, please refer to my message for Heineken.
To the guy who was in front of me at the Pixies show: You are the lamest dude ever. If you weren't much bigger than me, I would've pulled your pants down in front of everyone.
To Modest Mouse: Let me guess the conversation before you guys went out. "Hmm, since it's roughly 80 bajillion degrees out here and people have spent hours trying to crowd in to get a good view, I say we call it quits after 40 minutes and go get some sherbet. Who's with me?!" You suck.
To Dashboard Confessional: You suck extra hard. I thought I'd spontaneously begin to menstruate while listening to you cry babies.
To Elvis Costello: Now THAT'S a damn encore. You made my Sunday.
To the dude in the sarong that first day: Everyone could see your weiner.
To the girl who stood in front of me at the Sloan show: You are hairier than a Lady Sasquatch.
To the Pixies: After Saturday's show, you guys could come over, urinate on all my belongings, and then turn me into my apartment complex for not paying a pet deposit, and I'd still call you guys the Grand Marshalls of the Awesome Parade.
To Zilker Park: Next time, I'm wearing a bathing suit so I can pee without getting up. See you next September.
The week of music-centric gobbledygook continues! However, writing about a single song, like I've done the past two days, just isn't working for this hombre on this humid-as-a-wookie's-butt Wednesday evening. Instead, I vote we spread it out and take this bus to List Town. Uhh, we'll say a list of best songs for certain situations. Who's wants to ride shotgun?!
Best song to make omelettes to: "Calistan", Frank Black
Best song to eat omelettes to, if you think that the eggs you used were expired and death could well be at hand: "Groundhog Blues", John Lee Hooker
Best song to play when you sense the only thing keeping you from beating Super Macho Man on Punch Out is low morale: "Rise Above", Black Flag
Best song to put on repeat when your neighbors launch into another marathon sexual session: The entire "Purple Rain" soundtrack, Prince
Best song to clean to, after you've eaten too many pickles and now find yourself in a brine-fueled mania: "White Man's Bourbon", Robbie Fulks
Best song to write letters to Corey Haim to: "Shake Your Love", Debbie Gibson
Best song to open mail to, when you're trying to act like you're not expecting a
response from Corey even though you know it's totally possible: "Walking After Midnight", Patsy Cline
Best song to play when you come up short at the cash register of a buffet, and are subsequently forced to wash dishes for an hour in the back with a dude from El Salvador who has a tattoo on his gums: "Ballad of the Alamo", Marty Robbins
Best song to hastily dig a ditch to, when you discover it's a not a statue, but an actual bald eagle that you've been throwing whiskey bottles at: "I Am a Tree", Guided by Voices
Best song to console Hulk Hogan to, when Christopher Lloyd tells him to shove his idea for "Suburban Commando 2" right up his butt: "Don't Cry, Baby", Etta James
Best song to defend your loved ones to, in the event of a platypus uprising: "Boy Named Sue", Johnny Cash
Best song to play at your trial, after the head platypus busts down the door, strips you of your steak knives and toy boomerang, and takes you into custody: "Watching the Detectives", Elvis Costello
Best song to plan an escape from platypus prison to: "For Those About to Rock, We Salute You", AC/DC
Best song to deliver an impassioned speech to your fellow prisoners to, where you say that the whole tunnel idea was yours and as such, you demand to be lead digger: "Death or Glory", The Clash
Best song to seduce a lady platypus guard to, after the tunnel collapses and you must fall back on Plan B: "Turn Off the Lights", Teddy Pendergrass
Best song to hide your plaintive weeping to, when the lady platypus guard takes it the wrong way and wants to know when things are going to get serious: "What Have I Done", Jimmie Rodgers
Best song to sing at subsequent wedding to lady platypus guard, who, in all honesty, ain't all that bad in the sack and is one hell of a good cook: "You Were Meant for Me", Jewel
One of the great things about being a teenager is that it's your duty to spend your money as absurdly as possible. With no rent, food, or utilities to pay for, it's the one time of your life when spending your entire net worth on Andre the Giant memorabilia can be construed as a good idea. When I was 17, I wasn't just aware of that fact, I embraced it. In fact, I embraced it to the point of joining a cheese club with my friend at the local Kroger's. Maybe it wasn't a club, in that we didn't have meetings or officers or monogrammed jackets, but we did have membership cards that entitled to a special selection of fromage each week. Oh, how I long for the days when my only financial responsibility was my cheese club dues.
In addition to joining that organization, I also made an unspoken oath to the Gods of Rock to buy, at least once a week, a CD I'd never heard of. I'd go up to Whorehouse Music and browse the stacks until I found something that tickled my fancy. Usually, these decisions were based on either reading something good about the artist in question, or seeing a naked lady on the cover of a CD. I don't remember which of those reasons was the impetus for me buying "Doolittle" by the Pixies, but I'll just guess and say a bit of both.
Now, whenever I bought one of those CDs, I had a little routine I had to perform. First step: make the purchase without crying in front of the cashier (daunting enough). Second step: sit on the bumper of my car and read the liner notes. Third step: drive back home while listening to the new CD. I must've done that several dozen times from the ages of 16-18, but the only instance of it that sticks out in my mind was immediately after buying Doolittle.
The purchase was made, the liner notes were read, and I was zooming towards my house, trying to digest what I was hearing. I was flipping through the tracks, and I came to one that interested me immediately: Crackity Jones. Like many of my favorites at the time, it was loud, fast, and partly in Spanish. As Frank Black wailed through the chorus and I banged along in agreement with the whiteboy head nod, I glanced across the highway, towards the oncoming traffic. There, I saw a car that looked exactly like my grandmother's, zooming between lanes and hauling ass across the median, followed by several police cars.
Worried that what I was actually hearing was some sort of voodoo incantation, I paused the song and pulled over the side of the road. I took a deep breath and looked back, only to see the presumed escapee pull a 180 and drive down the side of the highway. The police followed quickly, but I just sat there and hyperventilated over what this could do to my grandmother's insurance rates. When I got home, I verified that all was well with the family, then shut myself in my room and promptly proceeded to freak out.
In the years since I turned 16, I've spent a lot of time driving vehicles. Cars, trucks, stagecoaches, submarines, space shuttles: they're all pretty much the same when I'm behind the wheel. However, over all of the hours since that I've operated a vehicle, I have never, ever seen anything like the scene I witnessed coming home from the music store on that day. That's a good thing; I don't know if I could handle it.
In fact, I'm so sure I couldn't handle it, that I've sinced burned myself a copy of Doolittle that's missing Crackity Jones (one of my all-time favorite songs), specifically so I can listen to it while driving without fear of another incident. I don't know how much sense it is to blame the Pixies for the whole thing, but I have. Not only will I not listen to to Crackity Jones ever again in my car, but I've made it my own mission to see that the same applies for my grandmother. Letters have been written to the Pixies and their manager, begging them never to play Abilene. Hungers strikes were staged until the Wal Mart in her town agreed never to stock Doolittle, or any other release starting with a D. And just for good sure, I ripped out the CD player in her car and replaced it with a phonograph. If the roadways of Texas are still unsafe, it's not because I didn't try.
Okay, with the highly anticipated Austin City Limits music festival starting this Friday, the elders of Goulash have mandated that I write about music this week. With Octopussy as my witness, I will rise to the challenge. So, until Friday, I'll be writing about a song a day. If you don't like it, you can feed it to the bulldog.
The year is 1995. I'm living one of those summers that only a 14 year old can appreciate, where I stay up all night playing NBA Jam, eating Hot Pockets, and watching Telemundo. At this tender age, I'd made up my mind about a lot of different things. Monty Python: awesome, girls: intriguing but terrifying, Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat: unstoppable. I was still getting music sorted out, though. Everyone could agree then on Nirvana, but where did you go from there? Bryan Adams? Madonna? TLC? In retrospect, it's a minor miracle that any males emerged from that era as heterosexuals.
One night in the middle of that summer, I was up late, most likely doing something dorky. My radio was turned to the only station in Dallas that served as a middle ground between Motley Crue and Boyz II Men: 94.5 the Edge. The radio was on a lot that summer, but I paid very little attention, figuring they were playing Pearl Jam's latest song about manic depressive rural transexual bartenders. This particular evening, something came on that caught my attention. It was distorted, sloppy, and hard to follow, just like the rest of the lame bastard music that was so unavoidable during those years, but there was something else there. The song was ... toe tappin'.
It came on again later that night, and I learned then the name of the song and the man responsible for it; it was "Sick of Myself" by Matthew Sweet. None of that rung any bells with me, but some quick household reconaissance revealed that my dad already had one of his CDs. I took it back to my room and played it nonstop for a few days, like some sort of cult initiation rite. When I emerged, I was disheveled, foul-smelling, and bordering on hallucinatory, but also invigorated because I had finally found something cool all by myself. You need things like that when you're 14, stuck in the suburbs, and convinced that you've been sentenced to an eternity in the company of weinerbiscuits.
In the years since, there've been a thousand subsequent discoveries, most of which followed that blue print. A random snippet leads to a frenzied search, which yields something great. Well, not always great (I'm looking at you, Gipsy Kings), but interesting and unfamiliar. For showing this to me, Matthew Sweet has earned the dubious distinction of appearing on more of my mix CDs than anyone outside of Color Me Badd. Granted, you miss part of the Matthew Sweet experience without a Super Nintendo controller and a plate of Pizza Pockets, but some things are best left to the 14 year olds.
The thematic terror that I spoke of on Thursday will start tomorrow. Today, I shall recount the Cowboy Breakfast and the subsequent celebratory kidnapping.
My friend Danza has the awesome fortune of having his birthday on the merriest of days, September 11th. Definitely not cool for him, but his girlfriend Kristin and I have decided that no national tragedy shall dim the glory of the anniversary of his escape from the birth canal. Last year, we had a surprise party at her house, that is notable solely for the fact that I showed up way too early, then had to hide in her closet and pray my bladder didn't explode while they talked in the next room. Fun was definitely in the forecast that evening. This year, faced with the prospect of topping that, we had our work cut out for us. While I consider myself the world's greatest schemer, the well was dry the first several times I tried to bring up some genius. Weeks stretched, and it began to look like this thing was not going to go down. My inability to come up with something awesome dragged me into a funk that threatened all of Powelldom. And then, last week, inspiration came in the form of a letter from Marlboro.
It was for something called a Cowboy Breakfast, being held downtown at a fancy steakhouse. I realized there was a possibility here, and slowly, the wheels began turning. Kristin and I pow wowed via email for a few days, before we finally struck gold. Danza didn't get to make the last tubing trip, so how about while he's at the Cowboy Breakfast, a bunch of people can show up at his place so we can all kidnap him and take him to the river? A kidnapping plan slowly took shape (code name Furious Platypus) and by Saturday morn, it was all planned out. Yes, a faux kidnapping on September 11th in the middle of downtown Austin; this had good idea written all over it.
I picked him up bright and early Saturday morning to head to the Breakfast Boondoggle. After filling out a few surveys that ought to ensure a lifetime supply of Virginia Slims coupons for yours truly, we sat down and dined like tobacco barons. I give a tip of the cap to the waitstaff, whose cowboy attire made me want to weep in sympathy. Midway through the meal, I pulled the old "Ohhhh, I don't feel so good" routine and ran outside to call my comrades and let them know to get ready. It struck me midway through the call to make it memorable; if this thing went badly, I wanted something to reminisce over in Guantanmo Bay. After it wrapped up, I went back inside and we finished up our meals. As we left, a representative from Marlboro threw me a barbecue set in a desperate attempt to earn some consumer loyalty, like a pathetic obese woman. I gave the set timidly to Danza, in the hopes he wouldn't turn my own tools against me in the heat of the moment.
We got in the car and headed back to his place. When we pulled into the parking lot, he sensed something afoot, much like cows do right before an earthquake. Taking a look at the cars assembled there, he declared, "There's a surprise going down!" I whipped out a water gun and barked, "Get inside, before I pistol whip you!" He marched in, and was met with a truly terrifying sight: a man dressed in camoflague and a ski mask, running towards him with a bag of zip ties and a pillow case. In short order, lead kidnapper Boj had hogtied Danza and peppered him with insults. We put him in the back of the car and booked it to the river.
What followed was 7 hours of tawdry aquatic fun. I'd recount it in all of its sleazy glory, but some things are just a little too majestic to be express throughed words. Also, the whole trip got a little hazy two hours into it. Good times were all, and I fully expect Danza to shake in fear when he thinks to what may be in store for him on his next birthday. On Saturday, we truly proved the old saying, "One man's day of mourning is another man's cause for lighthearted capital offenses." Mazeltov!
How many times must I say this? The Tricentennial, an event to celebrate the 300th post on Goulash, will be Saturday, October 2nd, in the dungeon below my apartment. You, the humble reader, are invited to come if you can make it to Austin, are older than 15, and promise not to stab me. Oh, also you shouldn't be my mom. I had to throw that one in there because I know if I didn't, I could count on her showing up that day with a horseshoe set in hand. Now I have no problems with a horseshoe hootenanny with the fam, but some nights must be devoted to staying up all night, drinking and setting crap on fire. Actually, I can imagine those activities playing a large role in the Powell Family Christmas this year, but I'm still going to lay down the "No Mommy" rule anyway. And in case she gets any ideas, I'll be checking for disguises at the door.
Few events are as filled with mystery as my parties. As such, I have put together the following list of frequenly asked questions to let you, the party goer, understand what's in store.
Q: What exactly will occur at the Tricentennial?
A: Kinda tough to answer this one. If things go according to plan, the night will begin with a tasteful game of charades. After that, I have Danza slated to play a few concertos on the clavicle. Following his second encore, we will adjourn to the lecture hall, where I will present one barnburner of a oratory, presumptively titled, "From Plato to Bjork: Lessons Learned from History's Famous Lesbian Vampires". At this point, we will adjourn to our cabins and prepare for the triathlon that begins at 4 AM Sunday morning.
Q: What's the traditional Tricentennial gift to the host?
A: A corsage.
Q: Am I allowed to bring a date?
A: Yes, provided that your date isn't neither rabid nor one of those devil dogs from Ghostbusters.
Q: What if my date happens to be your mom?
A: That's a dilemma, since I already put the no mom rule out there for everyone to see. But then who am I to stand in the way of love? I guess if you're escorting her about town for the evening and you want to stop in, the two of you can stand in front of my patio with a walkie talkie. Inside is strictly prohibited.
Q: And what about these rumors I keep hearing about capturing the Sasquatch who lives in the woods behind your apartment?
A: It's no rumor. We've stocked up on machetes, nets, and Lady Sasquatch pee to lure it in. This time, he's going in my garage; we ride at dusk.
I don't mean to get everybody's panties in a bunch, but I'm thinking of doing a run of themed entries soon. My first idea for a theme: the lost classics of Chilean erotica. The only problem is that subject is a little too broad for one website to cover, no matter how many entries I devoted. So, I'm going to be doing something next week that ties in to the upcoming Austin City Limits music festival. It's going to be so sweet, it'll give you a cavity, leading to the following awkward conversation.
Dentist: Good gravy, I've never seen such rotten teeth! Have you been brushing your teeth with cake frosting?
You: No, but I've been living on Goulash for the past year.
Dentist: That's disgusting.
You: No, it's a website, you see.
Dentist: A web-what? Are you a witch? Nurse, bring me some rope, a buttload of wood, and a barrel of holy water!
Author's note: it's highly doubtful that such an individual could successfully operate a dental practice, but I like to get creative with these things.
For some reason, Marlboro invited me to a Cowboy Breakfast thing they're having in town on Saturday. Not being one to hog all the fun, I have elected to drag Eric to this, as it will be his birthday. There a lot of questions related to this event, the two foremost being "What the hell is a cowboy breakfast?" and "How did I get invited to one?" From what I can figure, a cowboy breakfast is a chance for a group of manly men to sit around eating omelettes from a dead bull's skull and talking about tobaccy. And I have absolutely no idea how I got invited to this, since I'm not a smoker, a cowboy, or a breakfast eater. All I can think is that Marlboro got their hands on the tasteful series of nude sketches I made of the Marlboro Man, and said, "We want to be in the Cody Powell business!"
More than all of that though, I have to wonder how far we're going to go with this cowboy thing. Am I allowed to engage the waiter in a shoot out if he doesn't bring my orange juice quick enough? If I happen to kill a Comanche in the bathroom, will I be encouraged or disdained? And for the love of god, what's their stance on cattle rustling? This cowpoke demands answers.
Man, what is going on with the comment spam on this site? I hate to be the one to break it to the folks using the comments to advertise, but most people come to this site for Britney Spears sex stories, not for herbal bust enhancers. Even if you people were here to get your boobs biggified, would you respond to the pitches these fools are using? Here's an example, copied verbatim from the most recent spam in the comments:
"Contrary to popular belief, penguins are not the salvation of modern technology. Neither do they throw parties for the urban proletariat." prozac
Exactly what is being sold there: crazy penguin anecdotes, or prozac? Maybe it's a bundle deal, or prozac for people who love crazy penguin anecdotes. Whatever the case, if this gent really wants to supplant the cashier at the bus terminal as my favorite dealer of anti-depressants, he's going to have to come up with something a little better than whatever that was. Working along the same lines, here's what I formulated.
"Contrary to popular belief, penguins are not the salvation of modern technology. In fact, I bet a penguin would have a pretty tough time even figuring out how to turn a computer on, unless it's quack enabled. The same statement can be applied to microwaves, Tivos, and electric dulceimers: all useless without a quack-enabler. In light of this, you have to wonder, 'How can I, the timid penguin of corporate America, quack enable the WORLD?' Let me tell you, it gets a lot easier with your new best friend, prozac."
Bang, instant millions! Coincidentally, I get an email everytime someone comments on the site, so my email has been weinerbiscuited to Warsaw and back over the past few days because of all these comments. Rather than come up with some complicated scheme to fix that, I've taken to just deleting all of the email I receive. Yes, I put a lot of thought into that one. Anyway, if you've sent me something important over the past week and I haven't responded, please resend, then blame the deranged penguin sedaters of the internet.
My enemy list is rather lengthy. If I've ever met you in real life, the odds are pretty good your name is on there. Anything from looking at me cock-eyed to hogging all of the midget pickles will assure you of a spot, but it takes some real doing to get to the top of the list. If you were to burn my house down, that'd probably move you to the top. If you were to pee in a cup and throw it at me, that would also move you to the top of the list. Finally, if you were to sit outside of Cisco Junior College, right where the speed limit changes, and wait for fancy city slickers like Cody Wayne Maxwell Powell to drive by, so you can pull them over and write them a ticket for an exorbitant amount of money, the #1 spot would be all yours. In case you're not putting the pieces together, allow me to state definitively that I have found my mortal foes in the Police Department of Cisco, Texas.
I don't want to get into the story; it's still too painful. All I can say is, $140 for 58 in a 45? I hope the citizens of Cisco enjoy the city's new retractable dome roof to which I apparently will soon be making the first payment. For that kind of dough, you guys also better be getting Def Leppard to play at the opening ceremonies. And when Def Leppard sees the amount of money involved, they'll say, "For that kind of dough, we'll play naked." The mayor of Cisco will be intrigued for a moment, then say, "Nah, that's not necessary." Def Leppard will nod in agreement, all the while thinking, "Screw it, we're doing it anyway!" So really, this story has a happy ending.
Dean Zyvarb had his going away party on Saturday, and as one might expect, I made my presence known. I think I came up with a pretty good rule of thumb for determining how drunk a person is: the drunker you are, the more fascinating you find conspiracy theories. In case you doubt that, I'd like to point out that I used a control for that little experiment, so the whole thing is scientifically valid. In this instance, the control were all of the people on Saturday who looked at me and then said, "What the hell is that idiot yelling about?" If that little gem doesn't get the Nobel Committee's attention, then the Illuminati really ARE behind everything.
Today, after lunch at the Mexican joint next to the karate school, Patrick and I got into a wreck in his car. For once, I was glad he never took me up on the motorcycle/sidecar idea I'm constantly proposing. That's really the only drawback to the sidecar, instant smushification in case of an accident. I guess one must balance that against all the chicks you'll pick up riding shotgun in that thing. Anyway, it was a minor fender bender, and the Paddington Bear took it in stride. I, on the other hand, instantaneously voided my bowels and began to speak in tongues. "How does that differ from any other car ride with you?" you ask; I really wish I had an answer there.
By my count, I've now been in 4 wrecks. Only once was I driving. From this, I gather that when I'm in someone else's car, I transform into some sort of vehicular voodoo doll. My theory is that shortly after birth, some sort of shaman/wizard snuck into the Methodist hospital in Dallas and cursed me and my ability to ride with others. He probably also cursed my success with women and my ability to go long periods of time without having to urinate. (I'm no magic afficionado, but that's a pretty good spell.) I much prefer the sorcerer explanation to the more obvious one, my affinity for ticklefights with whoever happens to be driving me around.
Is there a lesson here? Well, it's certainly not to stop giving me rides, since I'm expecting my car to burst into flames any day now. If anything, it's to carefully examine each car on the road to make sure I'm not in the passenger side. If you happen to see me sitting there, do yourself a favor and immediately drive into a telephone pole. At least that way, you'll save yourself some time and spare me the risk of bodily injury. It's the little things like this that make you guys the best.
Major props to Paul for pointing me to this article, detailing the events behind Hungary destroying 60 tons of tainted paprika. Holy crap, that's a lot of paprika. If you were to measure the amount of paprika I've consumed in my life, it's not even close to half of 60 tons. Aside from the insane amount of paprika involved, this story is a whizbanger because paprika is an essential ingredient in goulash, the nation's national dish. In light of all of this, prepare for the great goulash famine of 04, people of Hungary. I feel qualified to speak with authority on that, since I used to be the world's #1 expert with regards to goulash, according to google. That's no longer the case, and I beg all of you to never bring this up in person, lest I begin to weep uncontrollably.
I don't know who here is on the Trinity Alumni email newsletter (random guess: me and Darby), but the next edition will feature the world's greatest sentence. Along with the aforementioned Darby, I am in charge of the Happy Hour occasions for the Austin Alumni chapter. Last night, we had to write the invitation for the first of these events. After several hours of drafts and rewrites, we came up with something I'd like to have engraved on my sarcophagus: "The Austin Chapter of the Trinity University Alumni Association invites you to join us for some microbrews and macro-schmooze!" I thought it'd be impossible to top the first line ("Class is in for Trinity Brewniversity!"), but like a hopped-up Polish track star, the bar was raised, we soared over it, and then we threw our underwear into the crowd in celebration.
On our tubing trip last week, I spent a large amount of time getting thrown from my tube and clinging on to random debris for my life. As I flailed all over the place during these stints, the sharp rocks at the bottom of the river had their way with me. As a result, for the past few days, my posterior has looked like it received the spanking of a lifetime. I'm going to guess here someone would have to steal a whole factory of candy bars to get a butt that bruised. Not only was it painful, but it was very tense there for a while. I thought to myself, "If I can't put my caboose out there, how am I going to put food on the table? My cat don't eat sympathy!" Luckily, my supersonic booty has healed itself, enough to the point that I can now walk around pantsless and draw only screams of delight. People of Austin, please continue to pinch my butt with reckless abandon.