Well, I owe you all a little something about the bachelor party. It's almost too much to put down here; it'd be like me trying to wrap up the Punic Wars in a bumper sticker. For the full details, I'll refer all of you to the reports on file with the Shreveport, LA vice squad, the National Forest Service, and the Vatican's janitorial crew. I will say this: you know you're living right when the entire party passes out, drunk and poor, on the hotel room floor while watching Home Alone. I've had a lot of wild weekends, but I feel like after this one, I qualify as an honorary member of Motley Crue. That is good, since I didn't learn the glockenspiel parts to Dr. Feelgood for nothing.
There are some weekends where the pedal is pushed to the floor the entire time; those are good weekends. There are other weekends where not only is the pedal to the floor, but the car has fallen off a cliff. And then there is a final classification, where the pedal is to the floor, the car is off the cliff, and you're plummeting towards to earth so rapidly, you create a rift in the space-time continuum and find yourself taking musket fire from Napoleon's army. Without question, an awesome time, but it takes a little bit out of you.
It was so rocking, when I got home last night, I couldn't move. I just resigned myself to being an invalid for life. "From now on, it's nothing but diapers, oatmeal, and the Price Is Right," I thought. And you know, I couldn't really complain about that, if only because it'd be really, really hard to relive this weekend from a gurney in a rest home. From now on, if I wet my pants and begin weeping uncontrollably at the mere mention of the words "bachelor party", you will all know why.
A note to my friends: let's not do that again until mid February.
The Internet has ruined you all. I slave for tens of minutes yesterday, trying to produce up with a photo-realistic portrait of President Bush with a rubber chicken, and then when I'm finally done, not a single person leaves a comment. Julius said it first: Et tu, Goulash? The next time I feel the need to create an amusing picture, I'm leaving you guys out. Instead, I'll just email it to everyone in Antarctica, since to my knowledge, no one from there has ever visited the site. And so help me God, if I discover a reader of this site has moved to Antarctica specifically to receive that email, I will commandeer the nearest dog sled and come after you.
I'll be so mad, I won't even feed the dogs. I'll keep them hungry so that when they finally get us there, they can chase you around for a while. After a few days, the dogs will run you into a cave where you'll have two choices: face the dogs or become a polar bear's love slave. (For the particularly twisted, both is a possibility.) Just when you think the ordeal is all over, I'll unleash my second set of hungry sled dogs. As you frantically jab at your pursuers with an icicle, keep in mind that if you had only commented, you'd be at home, making French toast in your underwear, rather than in the midst of an Antarctic nightmare. Okay, I believe I covered that topic pretty well.
What else is there? Since Danza's bachelor party starts tomorrow night, none of you may ever hear from me again. If, by chance, someone finds a shred of evidence indicating that I may still be alive, then scour the port-o-potties in the Wal-Mart parking lot. That's usually where I go when I'm frightened. In conclusion, have a good weekend, stay out of trouble, and pray for the state of Louisiana.
People think it's all fun and games here at CodyPowell.com. Think again, chump. From time to time, we indulge in some real, ball-busting journalism. Take, for example, the following picture that I took at the President's news conference today.
I was going to do a regular entry, but have you ever tried to make it look like someone was holding a rubber chicken? Sweet Jesus, it takes forever!
In the long list of bad ideas that comprise my life experiences, I think that this weekend's bachelor party will really stand out. We're going because Danza's tying the knot soon, and it just didn't seem right to let him do that before he saw the glories of North Louisiana. Shreveport, to be specific. "Hey," a discerning reader may pipe up, "don't they have casinos in Shreveport?" Uhh, perhaps. "And didn't you like, lose your ass gambling in Vegas a couple of weeks ago?" Well, that all depends on the dollar amount it takes to really lose one's ass. As I see it, I came back with 2/5 of a butt cheek, and I'm determined to give that away at the tables in Shreveport.
Sadly, this completely insane logic doesn't just apply to me, but pretty much everyone going on this little trip. And that's why I think we all stand a chance of winning our money back. If I may adopt the mindset of a casino here, usually when a group of people gets taken for the amount we lost, they give up on gambling for a few years. Occasionally, the subject of Vegas will come up in that group, and someone will say, "Yowch, don't remind me," and everyone will nod in agreement. The sheer horror of that experience extinguishes any desire to gamble again. Of course, that's how it happens; that's how the casinos want you to think.
What the casinos didn't reckon for is that my friends and I operate a little differently. By all means, take all of our money in mid January and send us back home with our tails between our legs. However, when late January comes around, you better lay down a pallet on the floor because we're coming back. Yes, we'll probably be eating dog food the entire trip, but at the end, I'm confident we'll go home millionaires. What the gambling industry fails to recognize is that our spirits aren't quite broken. As I see it, the casinos must've worn themselves out with the excessive thrashing of us a few weeks ago; on Saturday, we summon our vigor, wind up, and sock them right in the nose, a la the Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope or the end of Rocky IV. Let's hope Dolph Lundgren is on the premises so you guys can commiserate. Even if it doesn't quite work that way, I still have high hopes. After all, what are the odds of everyone losing twice in a row? That's not how gambling works!
Around Austin, there's an restored, old-timey steam train on which people can ride for a nominal fee. On Saturday, an associate and I went for one of these rides and it was pretty cool. Being around all of that old equipment affected me in a strange way. A little while after we set out from the station, my cell phone began to ring. I pulled the tiny, buzzing object from my pocket and began to scratch my head. "What is this, a Jules Verne story?" I thought. Thinking it was a bomb planted by the kaiser, I threw the phone out the window and then dove for cover under a Chinese couple. A few moments later, I dislodged myself and went back to my seat, but not before telling the entire car that Calvin Coolidge could go to hell for all I care.
The train ride was fun, although it was lacking in one respect: no robbery. Every time I've seen a train in the movies, it was immediately robbed by desperados. What gives here, guys? All I'm asking is for a couple of guys to storm the train, shoot a crew member, and then ride off with a burlap sack that has a big $ painted on it. If they wanted to get elaborate, they could then try to round up a posse made up from the passengers. Give a few of us guns, horses, and a month: we'll get your burlap sack back!
Speaking of posses, the problem with the Old West, it seems to me, was that you could die from a paper cut. Imagine winning 100 gunfights in a row, and then going to the saloon for a celebratory shot of sasparilla. You get distracted for a second, only to look down and see you cut your finger on the napkin. It gets infected, and a few days later, you're puking blood all over the chuckwagon. The whole thing is insane, and it explains why the first person to invent a time machine should go back to the Old West with a box of Neosporin. He'd make Bill Gates look like a Haitian refugee.
Boxed wine is a very tricky proposition. It brings with it both great peaks and terrible valleys. Just a few drinks in, you realize what you have in your hands. "This, this is AWESOME," you wildly declare. Fast forward a couple of hours. Suddenly, you find yourself on the couch, your teeth red like a vampire's, a single tear running down your cheek as you watch a Rayven Simone music video on the Disney Channel. Much like climbing a mountain, it's not the trip up, but the descent that gets you. That is why, continuing with the mountain climbing analogy, you need a sherpa when undertaking such a tremendous act.
Okay, so what are the duties of a boxed wine sherpa? First, and most importantly, is spill clean-up. Spilling red wine on the carpet is bad enough. Spilling red wine that came from a box is particularly bad, since the wine will eat through the foundation of your house and into the crust of the earth. Suddenly, there's lava flowing all over your living room and a tectonic plate is crushing your loveseat. Not good, plus you just wasted like 14 cents of vino. A secondary responsibility for the sherpa is sawing your limbs off in case of frostbite.
Having identified the need for a boxed wine sherpa, where can these individuals be found? Well, much like Tibet with traditional sherpas, the train yard is literally crawling with qualified individuals. Just going around, poking these gentlemen in the back. When you find one with some meat on his bones, toss the box at him and say, "Saddle the yaks immediately and meet me at base camp. Tonight, we climb."
No one told me this, but apparently college has become much more difficult since 2003. I realized this last night, midway through my first homework assignment. What began as a mere set of 10 proofs slowly turned into an all-night hissyfit session. You see, in my memory of college courses, we had reference materials, like textbooks and articles. We would then refer back to these materials when we had a question about the class. Not so anymore. Instead, the professor cryptically told us the first day that we'd be coming up with our own textbooks. Let's not even get into the fact that I don't know how to work a printing press. Instead, let's focus on the fact that some of us are in class merely to sharpen up the mental butterknife, not necessarily to displace Doogie Howser as the intellectual luminary of our time. Nevertheless, I decided to give his method a shot.
The results were mixed. After a few hours of work, I had succeeded in disproving Pythagoras, Euclid, and the framers of the Constitution. Then, as the crowning glory, I proved that not only did I no longer exist, but if I did, I'd be a middle aged Kenyan woman. However, I did manage to finish all of the problems, more than could be said for any of my fellow students. Whether page after page of smiley faces and dinosaur cartoons constitutes finished in the professor's mind is another matter entirely.
Today in class, we had to present our work. As one might expect, it got ugly. So ugly, in fact, that I should've brought a ventriliquist dummy with me, just to take some of the heat off of me. It was a little too intense for a non-degree seeking student. Immediately after class, I made an executive decision. The course seemed really interesting, and the professor was great, but I needed something a little less conducive to me wetting the bed. And so, resolved to fight another day, I dropped that thing like a hot potato and began looking for a course more my style. Sadly, Intro to Pizza Parties was already full. I will live to learn another day.
Somehow, I neglected to mention that I picked up a hockey puck at the Ice Bats agame over the weekend. The Ice Bats are Austin's minor league hockey team, and my sworn enemy. I believe I already wrote about the source of my hatred for them (too lazy to search), but it stems from being assaulted by their mascot after a game last year. Apparently the Austin Ice Bats operate much like North Korea, in that if you share any sympathy with the opposing side, a goon dressed in a bat suit tries to engage you in a slightly-too-intense game of grab ass.
Following that incident, I made a pledge on Octopussy's litter box that the next time I went to one of their games, the disrespect would be repaid ten-fold: I would scream profanity at their players, spill my drink on those in neighboring seats, and take up two parking spots. I'd be like a viking berserker at that place, taking no prisoners and leaving nothing in my wake but debris and the sobs of my foes. I didn't act right away, though. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and I waited until Saturday to dish up a fat, icy chunk of it.
Adding insult to injury, not only did I engage in all of the above behavior, but I also took a puck home. I giggle just thinking about it. Not only will their inventory forever be one puck off, but I imagine they'll soon have to cancel the rest of the season due to lack of pucks. Oh, is the egg ever on the face of their mascot now! Please, Mr. Mascot, continue shooting breakdancing on the ice and shooting off your t-shirt cannon. However, once you put me in a headlock and then aggressively nuzzle me, a line has been crossed. You have then besmirched my masculinity and I will retaliate accordingly. Yes, that includes puck theft, Geneva Convention be damned. If you don't like that, you can stroll on down to Powell Manor and attempt to reason with me. Beware the flying puck, however.
Well, first day of class today. From this, I have two observations.
The first, and least earth-shattering, is that the people on the bus scare me. Before today, I don't believe I'd ever ridden on a city bus. Shuttles and school buses, you bet your sweet fanny, but I'd never paid money to sit next to a toothless man who reaked of urine and kept trying to put his feet in my lap. Not only are some of these people terrifying, but they seem to carry a lot of weight in the public transportation system. During my ride downtown today, one troubled man announced to the entire bus that all of the rabies babies should move to the back of the bus. Stunningly, people began to move to the back of the bus. Were these people just trying to prevent an incident, or were they actual rabies babies? I don't know; the blood tests came back inconclusive. Whatever the case, I fully expect to be maimed or forced into marriage on a capital metro bus in the near future.
The second observation is that working at a university must slowly drive you insane. I had to pick up a student ID today, and when I went into the student services building, there was a gentleman there directing people to the proper lines. When I went up and told him what I needed, he said, "How are you going to pay?" Being all about the bling bling, I said cash. With that, I fell right into his trap. He shrugged his shoulders and theatrically announced, "Well I don't know who you think you're going to give the money to!" He was definitely into it, like an audience member on the Maury Povich show trying to straighten out a teen crackhead. It was a weird little production, but nothing I'd call the cops over. However, after I got in line, I heard him do the exact same pitch-perfect, weinerbiscuit recitation of "Well I don't know who you think you're giving the money to!" to the next three people. In retrospect, I have no idea whether that guy actually worked there. However, I am sure of the odds of this man riding the bus: even.
My Vegas travelogue ends at our flight out there. I planned on paragraph after paragraph of patented Powell pratfalling, but Vegas took it to me so quickly, I soon realized that my goal for the trip should be survival, not capturing the essence of the moment for my ones of readers. This idea was reinforced soon after landing, when I saw a puppy sitting outside of the airport. I tried to pet him and he bit my hand off, as he turned out to be no puppy at all, but Cerberus. The trip was fun, yes, but the type of fun that, if I had to relive it, I'd need some rubber pants and a local anesthetic.
When I first moved to Austin, I wasn't living the sweet life that I currently enjoy. In an unfamiliar city with only a couple of friends, I spent far too much time in front of the TV. I realized I had a problem immediately after I mailed a Christmas card to Paulie Walnuts from the Sopranos. Anyway, one of the shows that I really got into was Carnivale on HBO. It's sort of an apocalyptic, David Lynch meets Flannery O'Connor thing. Being a weirdo who cabbages onto such things, I dug it while it was on, then life continued. When I saw the second season was starting up in January, I had a rush of nostalgia and vowed by Odin's raven to become a fanatic again. Well, I've watched the first episode of the new season and I now have conclusive proof that I'm getting dumber, because I have absolutely no idea what's going on. I spent the entire season premiere whispering to my cat, "Who's that guy again? Do you think he's bad? Is that a cursed banjo that he's holding?" Either this show needs to come with flowcharts, or I need a tv show tutor. Luckily, until I master the story, there's a bearded lady on the show for me to giggle at.
This week, I got my first little taste of what the Spring of Doom will feel like, as I try to balance work, school, and the responsibilities that come with a new set of walkie talkies. Let me say this now: it's a good thing I've set the standards for myself astoundingly low. Me wearing pants + falling asleep in class + getting locked in the bathroom at work = a winner of a day. Don't expect a whole heck of a lot from the 'lash until I get this schedule tamed. Oh who am I kidding, continue to expect everything from the 'lash. You get nothing but the best 15 minutes a day I can muster.
Before the forces of Las Vegas rose up in opposition against me and shredded any fragment of pride I ever possessed, I was making a little travelogue about the trip. Here's the beginning.
Time: 8:25 AM on January 9, 2005
Flight 890 takes off from DFW towards LFV
The morning starts with a surprise. Apparently, the Betik time zone is 15 minutes ahead of the Central, as I am awakened by a knock on the door. "You ready for Vegas?" a shadowy voice asks. "Who is that? I don't have any money for your kind!" I replied. Before I could get my taser charged, he stepped into the light. It was Paul, my loyal manservant. We had previously agreed that he would pick me up at 6 to hit the airport (no time is wasted with this group), but someone got a little antsy in the pantsy. Completely understandable, as I had been up all night playing blackjack against whoever was in the house. By the time he picked me up, I was down $400 to the blender.
We pick up Danza and Kristin, and head to the land of Indonesian security guards and $20 ham sandwiches. As we arrived at the airport, I realized that I had a cinnamon twist monkey on my back, and bad. The only way to get it off was with one last hit. I rose from my seat, just as a familiar figure emerged from the metal detector. "It's Santa!" I screamed. "Wait, that's Damon." "Ahh," I surveyed, "so it is. In a Santa suit." There is nothing better than a vacation surprise, particularly if it involves a little bit of Christmas magic. Sadly, Damon was travelling in his human form. "Saint Nick or not, that dude can fly with us," I declared with the airport personnel. Recognizing my weight in the airline industry, they immediately made it so. Before she could print up his ticket, though, I snuck around the counter and whispered into her ear, "But don't let him sit next to me; he likes to smell my hair."
Damon hadn't been slated to fly with us, although he had been the munitions expert on the original Vegas trip. When it was declared that he wouldn't be joining us, I didn't take the news well. I chased my cat into the garage, and cornered her behind the wall of pizza boxes. "You!" I screamed. "This is all your fault! You ruined Vegas!" It sounds irrational, but she is Damon's attorney and so she shares fault in any curious decision making. Immediately upon his arrival, I placed an apologetic phone call back to Powell Manor. Our party was set; I barely had time to dry my tears before we boarded the plane for Vegas and, perhaps, our fortunes.
What happens with Big Elvis, stays with Big Elvis.
A comprehensive write-up to follow.
Last night, I attended an Alumni Association function. This was not because I long for the company of once fellow students, but because I weaseled my way into the inner sanctum of the Alumni Association for reasons I can't recall. Now, not only am I supposed to attend these events, but I'm supposed to actually be sociable at them, as opposed to hiding under the sink in the bathroom with the cheese tray and a sixer of Dr. Pepper as I ordinarily would do. Usually it's not an issue if the event is fun, but I found last night to be lacking. It was a networking event for alums, where we were supposed to meet lots of new people in order to bestow/receive million dollar jobs offers, which traditionally include the use of a butler and the company-owned hover craft.
I'm not very good at networking. Whenever I have to speak with someone and I have a secret purpose in mind, I end up sputtering and panting like a Guatemalan luxury vehicle. It'd be completely possible for me to go on a job interview and end up hogtied in Guantanamo Bay with the terrorists; I'm just incapable of making a good impression when it comes to that stuff. That plus the fact that I already have a job meant I was less than engaged last night. Everyone there wanted to talk about career goals and life choices, and all I cared about was who had seen the Fat Albert movie (I know it's awful, but I hear it calling my name anyway).
And yet, with all of this being said, the people there still listened to me as if I were some sort of medicine man from the future. Being one of the poobahs of the organization, I had a name tag and an enormous flashy ribbon that went with it. Without that ribbon, I would've been treated like a hobo who'd wandered in from the dumpster. More than once, I'd start rambling to some stranger about the worst eggroll I've ever had, and their eyes would slowly begin to glaze over. Just as they nodded off, I'd cough and motion towards my ribbon. All of a sudden, they're fawning all over me like I'm mid 1980s Scott Baio. "TELL ME MORE ABOUT EGGROLLS!" they'd demand, as they stuffed my pockets full of money. It was phenomenal, and I'm keen to try it out in other social settings. So keen, in fact, that I'm having an entire suit made of fancy ribbon. I don't understand the power of the ribbon, but I am not afraid to use it.
I'm going to Vegas in a few days. In case you haven't noticed, I've been pounding this into the ground on the past few entries; that's because I can only concentrate on one thing per week. Anyway, here are a few casino do's and don'ts that I thought I, Maximillion von Vegaswertzer, high roller extraordinaire, would share with you.
Do take advantage of the free drinks offered while you're gambling at a table. Nothing tells the dealer you mean business like drinking chocolate milk from a swirly straw.
Don't stop the action on the table to learn the rules of the game. Instead, impress your fellow gamblers by announcing "I'm about to show you buttholes a thing or two," and then flinging all of your chips at the nearest spinning object.
Do remember that you are on vacation, and try to have fun with the whole thing. If you are European, this means you are well within your rights to gamble in the nude.
Don't forget your math while you're betting. Remember, high bets times high odds equals ENORMOUS PAYOUT!
Do assume that everyone you meet inside the casino is a prostitute. In the unlikely event you are incorrect, most people find it flattering when asked how much it is to fornicate with them.
Don't be scared to confront the pit boss if you think something is fishy. Remember, you're an AAA member and that means something around these parts.
First, someone please distribute the following message to the blackjack dealers in Vegas: you folks better have enough cards to play like 10 or 11 hands next week, because this high roller is hitting the tables.
Earlier this week, I flirted with the idea of growing a beard. It seemed like a wise precaution, since one of the pit bosses could see me and say, "Hey, isn't that the guy who took us for $40 back in June?" So, I went a few days without shaving, just to test the waters. When I woke up this morning, I looked like a creepy Croatian softball coach. I would almost certainly be shot by the National Guard if I tried to board a plane looking like that, so I shaved it off this morning.
I didn't shave it off all at a time, but in pieces. First, I made it so that I had mutton chops and a goatee. With such a look, I couldn't help but pretend I was selling cable descramblers out of my living room. For effect, I whispered to my cat, "You want the Disney channel?" When I tired of that, I shaved off the goatee part, leaving just the chops. I became a different character entirely with this look, a down-on-his-luck garbage man. I rolled the sleeves up on my shirt and began strutting around my apartment, saying, "I got a job working for the city, boy!"
By that time, I was already late for work, so I hastily shaved the rest off and went about my day. If I'm going to deceive anyone in Vegas with my appearance, I'm going to have to look as if I know what I'm doing.
Happy New Year everyone, except those of you who happened to cross the international date line at 11:59:59 PM on December 31st, thus skipping January 1 entirely. What do you do then? One moment, you're having a rip roaring New Year's Eve with your friends; the next, it's January 2nd and everyone is looking at you and thinking, "Man, I guess that lush didn't get enough on the 31st." There's no way you're winning on that one. But anyway, it appears to be a new Internet law that if you maintain a website (and notice I didn't say blog, which may be the most unappealing term ever), you must post something about New Year's Resolutions. Since one of my resolutions is to start obeying laws, I will follow suit.
First Resolution: get serious about buying food. A scene that plays out dozens of times each month is me standing in the middle of my kitchen, saying, "I really should buy some food." This is the year I make that a reality. Whether it's baby carrots or Hot Pockets, I vow to eat at least once in my apartment. Taco Cabana, please react to this news accordingly and lower your flags to half mast.
Second Resolution: clear out some of the contacts on my phone. Really, do I need to have myself on there? If I ever do happen to call myself, I'll have larger concerns than recognizing the number, such as, "Who the hell has cloned me?" and "Am I paying double for this call?"
Third Resolution: start using combative insults whenever someone asks if I'm getting married. This one will take some explanation. My cousin, who's a few years younger than I am, got engaged a few days ago (many congrats to her, by the way). My family is abuzz with excitement over this development. In case anyone gets a little too marriage-loony and starts giving me the business over my own future, I've decided to come up with a few vicious retorts that will inform the questioner just what I think of that query. For females, I'll say, "I'm getting married as soon as you shave your mustache." For males, I'm going with something about man boobs; I'm still working out the wording here. Hopefully, whatever I choose will reveal the real answer there, that I am forever wedded to my own idiocy.