Two Parrots Two Pounder

If you meet anyone at a hostel, chances are they’re not the type of person to half-arse things. They’re not staying there for the comfort. You can guarantee that they’re not the type of person that will have ‘a couple of beers’; they’ll have a couple of beers for breakfast, then a bottle of bourbon for brunch. They won’t sit and have a cigarette with you; they’ll have a packet of cigarettes with you (probably your cigarettes because we’re all poor, and probably another bottle of bourbon ’cause we’re mostly all alcoholics). So when a fellow Samesun resident announced – presumably drunkenly – that he was going to try and eat the 2-pound burger at the Two Parrots, it was less of a surprise and more of a group mission. A mission that would involve one person attempting to eat a stupid amount of food while another two ordered a plate of fries and four pints each to watch. I was one of the brave souls that stood down and courageously drank beers, making humorous observations and mentally documenting what was happening with the hopes of personal gain in the future. That time has arrived.

First of all, unless you’re a giant fatty, you have no real way to accurately estimate how big the burger will be so you’ll need to prepare. For this, our brave comrade skipped both dinner the night before and breakfast on the day of the big event, then went for a several-hours long walk around restaurant heavy parts of town.

Second of all, when they say ‘two pound burger’, that’s two pounds of meat alone – there’s also a mushroom field, a loaf of bread, about 400 tomatoes, several kilos of cheese and a lot more that I can’t remember*.

* slight exaggeration may have been used when describing quantities.

We met at 2:30 and were seated somewhere in the back, near the window and with a good view of the TV to keep his mind off the literal shit-tonne of food that he was about to try and stomach. It would take me no less than 1000 words to describe the monstrosity they brought out, so this photo will have to do.

I’m not even sure which one is doing the eating.

If you have never seen someone eat a disgustingly large portion of food before, think of that mopey friend you have that gets sad and doesn’t say much when you go out for beers. He just sort of flops around drunkenly, bringing little to the table and just letting all your taunts and ridicules bead off like the sweat on his stupid sweaty face. That’s not really an accurate description of being food drunk (frunk?), but it does sort of touch on how it is. The person will stop saying anything. They will get bloated and just sort of look around aimlessly. They will even start to stumble like a drunk. And, like a drinker, they’ll attempt to carry on past what their body can handle.

He sat like this most of the time, refusing to look at the two full meals left on the plate.

He went on to eat about another half of what’s in that photo. He didn’t get right to the end but it was a valiant effort and lead to an hilariously wobbly walk back to the hostel. Before he went to sleep it off though, he wanted to try one more thing. He’d heard about a trick whereby if you drink a whole bunch of milk really quickly, you’ll spew. Perfect. Just throw a litre of milk on top of the roughly 6 kilos of food in your stomach. He wouldn’t be swayed so we rushed over to 7Eleven and got him a carton. I’m sketchy on the details from here but suffice it to say a lot of the milk got drank and a lot of the food came out.

Now I’ve known me for a while and I know that if I’d been in his situation, I’d be bed-ridden for the next two days. This guy is not me. This guy decided to walk it off. He left the hostel the next day and ambled on over to Stanley Park, moseyed on over the bridge and through North Vancouver to Grouse Mountain. Then did the Grouse Grind in less than an hour. At the very least, that’s 21 minutes faster than the average time. And he did it after walking there from the freakin’ hostel!

So like I said: generally not the types to half-arse it.

Advertisements

Whistler Wonderland

Neither of us had ever been downhill mountain-biking before but we’d be damned if that would stop us.

Look at that enthusiasm.

Manoeuvring the bike around the tracks is completely counter-intuitive; you need to tell your brain that the safest thing to do is not squeeze the shit out of the brakes and to lean into turns. Leaning so far you’re pretty much touching the ground.

I was really keen to give it a whirl, but you should have seen Josh’s excitem…

Oh, right.

We set off in the morning and got all the necessary equipment – almost laughing the sales assistant out of the room when he asked if we wanted insurance. No. Thanks. The first run down was predictably slow and steady but still enjoyable (less enjoyable for anyone behind me who would have spent 45 minutes going down a 15 minute run, seeing nothing but my butt-crack over the top of my pants). We went back up for the second run feeling more confident and ready to get down to business.

It started off so well. We were hitting jumps, launching off ridges, and generally hooning – really getting some speed up. Then it happened. We came out of a steep and windy trail into a flat clearing with one sharp little jump in the middle. It was a small jump but so sudden that the air you got was immediate and huge. Josh was in front of me and when he saw it he started peddling hard, heading toward the jump at an incredible speed (to be fair, it was probably quite a credible speed to anyone that has done mountain biking before). He hit the jump and was launched into the air and back down without incident. After a few metres though, his bike started giving him death wobbles. A few more metres saw him lose control of the bike, push himself away from it and fly (bike-less) through the air, completely horizontal but only about two feet off the ground. He flew about a metre before hitting one tree with his left hip, spinning him one way into another tree which caught his right shoulder, sending him the other way.

Artist’s interpretation.

He’d fallen into some shrubs nearby and was completely out of sight. I didn’t know what to do if he didn’t get up. Do I wait for someone else to come past? Do I go for help? Do I finish my run? Luckily he did get up. Bounced up almost immediately in fact. He seemed ok but was walking with a limp and had a big graze on his forearm which had a small but pronounced lump right in the middle. I looked at the lump and then at Josh. He looked at the lump and back at me. Then he said ‘I think it’s a bone. Can you poke it and tell me if it’s a bone?’ Oof. I reached over and gave the – still bloody – wound a little poke. Soft and fleshy. Not a bone.

We walked the bikes back down and got Josh bandaged up.

Trooper.

We were very lucky that the guy at the store didn’t hear the squeak of the bent front brakes – oh, and also that Josh was ok I s’pose – because we would have presumably had to pay. It cut our biking short a few hours, but it’s worth it for the story (also, I was injury free so that was good).

Sleeping in Seattle

Busses can be scary places. You’re essentially trapped in an enclosed space with – let’s be honest – mostly a bunch of freaks who usually smell bad for reasons I’m not able to explain. Then there’s the almost unreadable timetables; I’m sure that most people find one bus that gets them where they need to be and continue to take that bus for the rest of their lives, even if there is another, more frequent, more direct route to take. It’s a god-damn nightmare and you need to be operating at a high level to make sure you simultaneously make it look like the seat next to you is undesirable, while keeping an eye out to make sure you don’t miss your stop. At least, those were the thoughts running through my head when I woke up at the last stop of bus 26 in Seattle.

Josh and I had both fallen asleep without the other noticing. Neither of us wanted to acknowledge that we were tired so we fell asleep with our heads facing opposite directions because, for all Josh knows, that’s just how I sit on busses.

Once we realised what had happened we were both embarrassed and knew we had to make up for it like grown-ups. After the fourth beer at the bar across from the bus-stop, we threw that plan out the window and decided to order food with our next drink. At one point, while I was in the toilet, Josh decided he needed photo evidence of the fact that he finished his drink.

Drink killah.

Eventually we got on another bus that had a stop roughly 15 minutes walk from where we were staying. On the way from the bus stop to our hostel we flew into a bar for one quick drink and a pee – an in-and-out mission. While Josh was in the toilet, I made the mistake of asking the guy next to me what the standard tip for a drink is (I was still struggling with the concept of tipping for adequate service). This guy obviously misheard what I said; in fact, he must have heard ‘come be weird near us for the rest of the night’. I’m a mumbler so maybe that’s what it sounded like?

He ended up coming with us to every bar we went to (even drunk drove us back to the suburb we were in) and, due to his general weirdness, got us denied entry to a few places we’d been to many times before. Every person we met he would introduce himself as Australian and put on the the most horrendous Aussie accent I’ve ever heard. He was carrying a switch blade for Christ’s sake. He kept pulling it out and trying to flick it open (spoiler: he didn’t know how to so he kept saying that he’d ‘better not’ because apparently they’re illegal.) This is the sort of dude we were hanging with.

After a while he got way too hammered and decided he’d better go home. In his car. Which he was going to drive. While incredibly drunk. We attempted to talk him out of it but there’s only so far I’ll try to influence a guy who carries a god-damn knife in his pocket. Luckily we were men enough to give him a fake number and hide our faces when walking past the sushi shop where he worked (which was one block away from where we were staying and right at the only bus-stop that would take us into town) so we didn’t have to see him ever again. We’ve never been so happy to be rid of someone.

You can’t tell from this angle but Josh is grinning like a cheshire cat.

Going Home(less) to San Francisco

If you’ve never heard of duelling pianos, look up the nearest bar that has this immediately. It’s a terrific night out and if you get good performers, you’ll be laughing your arse off and singing along all night. Basically, it’s two pianos facing each other and you can give a song request and tip to whichever pianist you want to play your song. They take turns and occasionally do an impromptu freestyle using someone from the audience. Brilliant concept (one which we abused by having them play shit-loads of Bon Jovi).

Around the corner from the hostel we stayed at in San Francisco there is a little Irish bar called Johnny Foley’s which has duelling pianos in the basement over the weekend. Having never even heard of this phenomenon before, Josh and I were mega keen to check it out. There was one older dude taking care of the crooning and a younger guy filling in as the comic relief. It was a great combo.

Because of my almost non-existent will power and susceptibility to peer pressure, I was getting hammered at an astronomical rate, beaten only by Josh’s incredible ability to imbibe. Below is a video I hoped would remain secret – so I’ll hide it here in this completely public forum!

We heard some outstanding renditions of classic hip-hop songs, golden-oldies, top 40 piece of shit songs done ironically and even this, which pretty much made my night.

I don’t want other people to take care of the comedy for me, but I’m happy to just let that video speak for its self because it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever witnessed. For those of you who didn’t watch it, it’s the duelling pianists doing ‘Dick in a Box’. Also, fuck you for not watching.

Another thing we found in San Francisco was audacious homeless. At the risk of sounding like I’m insensitive to their struggle – which is not the case – I have to say, there were some that I just really really wanted to just punch in the face. These aren’t run-of-the-mill homeless (as to even suggest that such a thing exists shows a lack of basic human empathy, so I’ll just go ahead and not say that). They grab and yell, and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, even if you genuinely have nothing you can give them. Here’s a rough transcription of one encounter.

Homeless Dude: ‘I have HIV and if you don’t give me a penny then I will die and then my kids, who all have scurvy’ *pulls out photos of kids* ‘will certainly also die and their mother will surely die of grief, if the pneumonia doesn’t get her first. So like I said, I need some change.’

Me: ‘Wow, holy shit. Um, sorry dude, I just came down for a cigarette and didn’t bring any change.’

HD: ‘DON’T TALK TO ME LIKE I’M A RETARD! I’ll just grab a cigarette then.’

Me: ‘I only brought this one down.’

HD: ‘That one will do.’

Me: ‘Umm….’

HD: *Reaches for ciggie*

…and so on.

There were some touching moments (diners giving out free plates of food, homeless giving each other tips about where to find a big stash of empty cans) but then there were some touching moments (poking fingers, insistent hand-shakes). At one point a woman who was quite obviously high had hold of my arm and was shaking me, when I asked her to stop she said “I’m not touching you.” How do you deal with that?

We eventually learned how to handle it – they’re usually denied entry to pubs! – but it was certainly eye opening. In fact, the whole San Francisco leg of the journey was eye-opening. Nothing like what I expected (though I was sure I was going to walk right into 1960’s San Francisco; apparently no man – or city – is immune to time).

Vague as in Vegas

Alcoholism is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that should be closely monitored and treated immediately if detected. How would I know?

I’m a professional.

Las Vegas has no ’emergency exit’; there’s no ‘off’ button; there is no quiet area where you can relax and take it in; there is no down-time to be had, unless you count the few hours sleep you (sometimes) get between binges. The problem is that once you leave your hotel room, you walk into loud music, bars and a bunch of drunk people being drunk which is hard to just walk past without getting on board. This should be news to no one.

I’d love to have a specific story to tell about Vegas but it has all sort of melded together into one long hangover. Instead I’ll just break it up into a few different stories that I can remember. All of these occurred in a state of drunkenness that no one should ever be.

1) Hookah bar

On the ground floor of The Mirage you can find a little hookah (shisha) bar with an ok view of the volcano eruption thing that everyone gathers around to see. It’s fairly pricey but they make good cocktails and you can get free refills of whatever flavour of hookah you bought.

Josh and I were hanging out there having drinks, hookahing like it was going out of fashion (it arguably is) and just having a laugh. I’ve put together this clever little gif to demonstrate – also to get Josh back for taking all these ridiculous photos with my phone.

We were there for an hour(ish) before two stunningly attractive girls came and sat with us. Now, I’m spoken for, but no one can deny that hanging out with good-looking people, especially models (did I mention they were models?) rocks, and these girls were actually charming company with sharp wit. I initially thought that, being Vegas, they would be club promoters or some such but they didn’t try to sell us anything or urge us to go to any clubs, in fact, they seemed loathe to recommend anything at all. That’s essentially where this story ends; we got pizza and went to a different club. I guess I’m telling that story for self-validation purposes only but still, hanging out with models, fuck yeah!

2) Worst club in the world

Clubs in Vegas can be hit-and-miss from what I’ve found. But the Chateau in the Paris is miss-and-shit*. We rocked up and were looked up-and-down by two bouncers who said to each other ‘only let them in if they’re foreign’. I angrily (politely) scowled (smiled) as I walked through so he knew who he was dealing with.

Inside we found a club that appeared to cater entirely to frumpy, dissatisfied 25-35 year-olds who looked like they would like to be somewhere else. Even the dance floor was depressing and slow, despite the loud dubstep playing. It was like walking into an accounting firm’s Christmas in July party. We also had a bouncer hovering around behind us for a lot of the night, presumably keeping an eye on the fun-levels which were to remain at zero. Again, this story doesn’t really go anywhere but I feel like I need to get the anger and disappointment off my chest and the negative Yelp review just didn’t cut it.

*This is based on serious research I conducted on the one night I went there for a little while.

3) I’m bringing sweaty back

Las Vegas is hot. I was there in August and, as a sweaty dude anyway, my shirts were instantly damp any time I left the air-conditioned hotel, making for some pretty outrageous attempts to conceal my large sweat patches. Things like using the paper towel in the toilets to pat myself down, leaving a piece of that paper towel inside my armpit as a barrier, mid-day shirt swaps. I’m disgusting. But at least those are hideable offences – there is no way to hide a sweaty back.

Trust me.

So when I was sitting in the outside area of Carlos and Charlies (awesome bar) in the Flamingo and started to become hyper-aware of the back of my shirt, I knew something was up. I asked Josh to confirm if there was a sweat patch and, once he’d finished throwing up into a puddle of his own tears, he gave me the ‘it looks like you’re wearing black singlet over your shirt’ nod and I had to slip into the toilet to do some repair work.

Of course, at this particular toilet there was no paper towel and the hand-dryer was one of those super powered ones that hits your hands from both sides so I couldn’t use that, even for my shirt. I decided that I could give toilet paper a go – what’s the worst that could happen?

I will tell you.

There was only one urinal and one actual toilet so obviously I had to lock myself in and get to business. Almost immediately someone else walked in and just stood there waiting for me to finish up. I hadn’t even sat down, I’d just taken my shirt off and was wiping down, so I did what any adult would do: dropped my pants and sat down to pretend I was in there under different circumstances (taking a deuce). So I’m completely naked at this point, pretending to be using the toilet while wiping the sweat off my back and trying to air out my shirt. I’m disgusting.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have used toilet paper. It stuck to my back and balled up when wet. I also shouldn’t have said “I’d give it a minute” to the gentleman waiting, I was only pretending after all.

Meanwhile, outside, this was happening:

I was underwhelmed with my ‘surprise’ which was a tequila shot.

But, in my defence, in the first story I was hanging out with models!

A Night at the Beanery

It’s generally agreed that putting too much into how you look and what you wear is a sign of conceit. Self-awareness is the foundation for a good and productive human being, but some people misrepresent that and assume that meticulously going over everything they wear, how they do their hair, how high their g-string rises over the top of their Levi’s etc. equates to a strong sense of self. This is bullshit. However, I will concede that you need to have some perception about these things; below is a cautionary tale of where complete ignorance of this type of egotism might go wrong.

After a full day of touristing (mostly just going to Hooters and taking photos with stars on Hollywood Boulevard) Josh and I were playing pool in a small bar in L.A and getting pretty drunk. It was right at the start of the trip so we were excited and energetic and ready to meet some people. I was feeling large and in charge (drunk) so I told Josh to sit back and I’ll handle the talking. I introduced myself to a bunch of people at a table nearby and convinced them to come play doubles. We had more drinks and laughs and generally had a good time. At one point, this happened:

Then right before we left (after bailing on the first group for reasons explained below), this happened:

So yeah, you can see what level we were on. Eventually another group of guys that were friends with the people we were with came and sat at another table nearby. They were stand-offish and seemed kind of douchey, the way a lot of L.A locals tend to be. They were looking over at us and snickering, even flat out laughing at one point. ‘What a bunch of pricks’ we thought, then said aloud several times. We were mostly confused but a little angry about this – what sort of cockbags come to a bar and don’t drink, just sit around laughing at tourists? Presumably it was a defence mechanism that kicked in when they realised how ball-bustingly good at pool we are. Happens all the time.

We decided we’d had enough and went to meet other people. After maybe an hour of hanging out with a different crew, we left, having forgotten about the other group and their lack of composure around two strapping young lads.

The next day we checked out of the hotel we were staying at and, being hungover and late, I threw on the same clothes I was wearing the night before. On the way out, Josh noticed a rather large tear in the back of my shorts. Mortified, I swapped into another pair and tried to piece together when it could have happened. Surely right at the end of the night.

Bingo, had to be here:

Just look at that pose.

Now, if you watch that video again (you’ll need to watch it in HD) and skip to the 25 second mark while keeping an eye on the arse of my shorts, you can see a laser pointer right where the split was. Fuck. Someone had noticed and was showing it to another person. With a laser. Rocking out to that busker was not a high point in my life but knowing the truth about my shorts has made it even worse. Also, as that happened earlier than the above photo, the splitting must have too. That’s what the group was laughing at. Double fuck. But then how early did it happen? Scrolling back through the photos we found this gem. Taken at roughly 11… am…

 

I had split my pants. In public. Before noon. Then played pool. While there was a goddamn tear right down the back of my pants. Surely I don’t have to explain the frequency with which a person playing pool bends at the waist.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t judge a book by the integrity of its shorts?