Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Childhood Realizations: Clearly, I am destined for success

The following tale is one I have heard many times, with ever changing details, but always with the same ending: I was born.  I know, for those that know me, the idea of my birth, and therefore my existence, is quite repulsive.  No offense.  None taken.  But an anonymous reader commented in a previous post that more explanation was necessary regarding the day the exterminator drove me Mum to the hospital.

The fact that an exterminator, and their van, was Mother’s transportation to the hospital is excellent foreshadowing to the fact that I was born with bug eyes and cricket legs.  Luckily, cricket legs can be corrected with metal baby shoes.  Poor decisions during my college years have de-bugged my eyes.

The year is the late seventies.  The location is the American Southwest.  It is summer and it is hot as a motherfucker.  My mother, a former college homecoming queen, and my father, a rogue salesman, are on the run - presumably from my maternal Grandfather, the sniper. 

It’s a Saturday and Mother is at their apartment complex, poolside in a bikini soaking up some well deserved ultra violet rays - she was ten and half months pregnant, after all, and still working 12 hour days at the battery factory.  Father is at traffic school trying to keep a valid driver’s license. 

While rubbing baby oil (a gift that she got at an AA meeting/Baby shower) on her stomach, essentially the roof of my infant pueblo, Mother felt a slight pinch.  Her plan is working.  The title of her plan is “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”  It was officially 182 degrees in her uterus and I needed to get the fuck out. 

She smiled, gave her belly the middle finger, put out her cigarette, and calmly ear-marked her page in the gun catalog she was perusing.  She picked up her bloody mary, dialed it like a phone, and tried to call my father at Traffic School. 

“Goddamn phone company and their shitty service.”

(My parents had no actual telephone.)

Mother, always the resourceful one, got up, walked to the Laundromat on the corner, stole some clothes out of a dryer to put on over her bathing suit and started to walk the 17 blocks to the hospital. 

Five blocks into her birthing odyssey, her water broke and it smelled like shit.  So she turned around and walked back to the apartment complex, determined to steal a car from the parking lot.

Luckily for Mother and her criminal record, there happened to be an exterminator at the complex spraying for roaches.  Classy place. 

The exterminator heard Mother screaming expletives, the likes of which no human had ever heard before (I would rather endure a tornado touching down on my pee hole than even imagine the tapestry of language that Mother would have been weaving at this point in her labor), and offered to take her to the hospital.  So she climbed into the back of the van and laid down among the chemicals.

I believe it was at this point, sensing the 3-ring shit circus I was on the verge of being born into, that I began to slowly work the umbilical cord around my neck.

Father arrived home to find a note that read: “Took your wife to the hospital - the Exterminator.”  (That detail is 100% accurate.)

Father cracked a beer and toked the weed bowl and then headed to the hospital.

Hey, it was the late seventies - it could have been much worse.

While my parents may be displayed in a rather unflattering light above, they did get their shit together and turned out to be pretty great.

Monday, August 1, 2011

IPA's and anniversaries

I recently celebrated the anniversary of my birth along with the anniversary of my union with Wife.  I rented a Cadillac.  And a guy from Montenegro to drive it.  He did an outstanding job. 

Wife and I had some overdone shrimp cocktail at a roof top bar in a bad part of town on the hottest night of the year.  Nothing pisses me off more than overdone shrimp cocktail.

If your going to serve shitty shrimp cocktail you might as well vandalize a baby Jesus manger scene on Christmas Eve.  Or crap your pants while riding overcrowded public transportation.

Is it really vandalism if all you do is surround the baby Jesus with potato salad?  The three kings gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Some other guy decided to give him potato salad.  Lots of it.  Seems thoughtful enough.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Listen, it‘s all part of a process, an f-ing artistic process, sometimes I know where it‘s going, sometimes I don‘t.  Sometimes my computer makes backward apostrophes and I can’t figure that shit out either.  Sometimes you smell poop and wings and all I smell is wings.  Explain that.  Everybody makes mistakes.  I‘m done apologizing.”

By the way, frankincense and myrrh are both dried tree sap used for making incense.  Myrrh also makes an excellent glue.  I found this out by googling “gifts for baby Jesus”. 

Over the weekend, in celebration of the day the exterminator drove my mother to the hospital (true story), I tried some different IPA’s and Double IPA’s.  A Double IPA is exactly what it sounds like - a more intense IPA.  Sometimes this is awesome, sometimes it is alright, sometimes it is just too much.  Pretty much every beer I sampled fell in the category of alright, with a few leaning toward awesome. 

My problem with some Double IPA’s is not the hops but more of the extra sweetness and maltiness that goes into it to balance it out.  When done right, at least in my eyes, this can make for a very balanced, delicious beer.  Sometimes, it makes for a very interesting and complex drink that makes you go back for another taste and another and so on.  Sometimes it makes you make a face and think its alright, I have drink it, I don’t hate it, etc. 

Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton is one that falls in the category of interesting and complex.  I’m a big fan of it and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before.  The balance is great but it has alot going on so I’m putting it in the interesting and complex category.

Port Brewing’s Mongo IPA is very close to being in that awesome category of very balanced, delicious, and very hoppy - in a bright citrus way.  It has a pretty powerful bite at the end that might turn some people off.  It kept me from ordering a second one when there were other options to try.  In hindsight, I should have stuck with this for the night.

Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster was one that lands in the alright category for me because the sweet malt part of this beer was a bit too much.  I would try it again because it wasn’t bad - it actually had a pretty unique hop flavor to it - kind of tropical but bitter.  Wife liked it.

Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA was a single IPA I tried the next day and it was pretty darn good.  Again, a bit too much of a sweet malt taste for I’ve been in the mood for lately but very good and would certainly try this again, but not outside on a 90 degree day. 

It would be safe to say that these IPAs and DIPAs with more of sweet malt flavor to them aren’t exactly ideal for the dog days of summer.  Maybe it’s the copper color usually associated with these malt heavy hop bombs that turns me off when it is 90 plus outside.  Or maybe I’m just partial to beers that are bright yellow regardless of climate.  This explains my fascination with lemon lime Gatorade, urine, the bright yellow house across the street, post-it notes, legal pads (yellow ones), and Uranus.

“I didn’t know Uranus was bright yellow…”

“Like a f-ing highlighter, baby, like a f-ing highlighter.”

Click the links for more detailed info about the beers mentioned.