Tag Archives: drinking

something to do with your hands

instead of gesticulating, gesturing,
balancing akimbo, crossed along the chest
or thrust deep into pockets, fingering
the holes and fiddling with change
or sticking lint beneath the nails;
an alternative tic that keeps the time
ticking while you await your turn
to speak, and so you lift and sniff
and sip and swallow, let the glass
drop slowly to the table, listen,
rinse, repeat.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Break

Twas the night before Christmas break, when all through the web.
Not a tweeter was tweeting, not even your Aunt Deb.
The blog posts were scheduled to autopost with care
In hopes that the readership soon would be there.

The college kids were passed out all drunk in their beds,
while visions of potential high school hook ups danced in their heads.
And mama implores them to help her with chores,
but they’d rather sit around the whole month and be bored.

The news cycle trickles out with hardly a clatter
And we habitually check Facebook to see what really matters.
But everyone posts the same holiday status
of seasonal greetings and some New Years gladness.

The impending threat of the first-fallen snow
gives a nostalgic glimmer to objects below.
And then once it snows, what instead should be appear
But wet muddy roads that make it hard to steer

For every little drink driver, so lively and thick —
but really, you should have had a DD, you dick.
How rapid you spun when to black ice you came
but you’ll come out unscathed, and still find someone to blame.

“Well yeah but so maybe I had a few beers.
I was just fine to drive, there was nothing to fear.
I was typing a text to see who else was home
when I don’t know, man, I just swerved on the road.”

And the mornings you spend with your family feel quaint
but by mid-afternoon, it’s clear that they ain’t.
Your parents have so many answers to seek
when they don’t realize that you just want to sleep.

But you’re still looking forward to seeing old friends —
forgetting, of course, their own holiday plans.
So you look back to Facebook, but nothing is new,
so then you check twitter to find something to do.

But your parents have cable, so hey, that’s still cool!
With eight thousand channels, and you feel like a fool
for watching some network crap you don’t like
but that’s better than just surfing channels all night.

Then you see an old ex on the way to the store,
And she’s fat, or he’s married to that old high school whore.
And the comfort is fleeting, but at least now you’ve seen
that your life didn’t peak when you’d just turned eighteen.

So you get drunk with dad and discuss politics
and realize that hey, maybe he’s not such a prick,
and wine works much faster than cheap, shitty beer
so you start to rethink your plans for New Years.

Then you remember your plans for a productive week,
and the things that you wanted to watch, write, and read.
But instead you fall down a Wikipedia hole
and learn all about the agricultural benefits of voles.

And you watch with your parents an childhood great
which washes over you with a sentimental wave
and those annual plans you had made with your friends
are now spent at home with more emails to send,

checking twitter, and updates on Facebook for news;
you find nothing, and so open a new bottle of booze.
But when the time comes to leave, you drive off with a grin
because you can’t wait ’til next year to do it again.

Why I Hate Journey (the band)

I get asked this question all the time, so I think it’s important for me to finally come clean and set the record straight: why do I hate the band Journey so much?

‘Cause they fuckin’ suck, dude.

Okay no but seriously, there’s actually a number of legitimate reasons for this. And it’s not their entire catalog (that lick from “Anyway You Want It” is pretty good, even if the song goes on too long), so I don’t hate the band themselves per se. It’s mostly “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And it’s not just because I’m trying to be contrary or anything — there are plenty of other equally popular pop songs that I do enjoy with no shame at all. In my mind, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the most hackneyed, cliched, and derivative anthemic pop/rock song of all time, like someone mashed the parts of every other rock anthem into a calculator, stripped out the emotions, found the mathematical mean, and then put it on the radio. It doesn’t help that people ascribe way too much personal meaning (in my humble opinion) to the song when they’re shitfaced at last call and screaming out nonsense about “Streetlight People,” whatever the hell that means. The lyrics are generic meaningless drivel disguised (very poorly, I might add) as poetry, when in fact, they say nothing at all. Nothing but, “Don’t Stop Believin'” which sure, okay, fine, that’s a good message. I guess. But does it actually mean anything?

My good friend Layne was also a huge Journey fan, and this served as a major point of contention throughout the entire tenure of our friendship. Still, as a friend, I was always willing to overlook her shortcomings. We all have flaws, we all make mistakes. Hers was Journey (to say nothing of her N*SYNC obsession, which I was totally okay with).

Layne passed away a few days after her birthday in April, 2011. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday and I had just finished speaking at an event at Emerson College, our alma mater, so I slipped into Sweetwater Tavern for a beer with a few other alumni friends. I received a phone call from our friend Eric, who was always particularly close to Layne. I stepped outside so I could hear him better, and that’s when he delivered the news.

I went back into the bar and sat at the table with my other friends, the color drained from my face. They asked what was wrong and I told them, insisting that we keep drinking and not really talk about it right now, because I was still processing it. I slammed back the rest of my beer, and I realized that “Don’t Stop Believin'” was playing over the speakers in the bar. For a brief moment, I swear I could have seen Layne’s ghostly visage sticking her tongue out at me and waving her fingers, teasing and taunting as if to say “Gotcha, motherfucker! I win!” (which, to be fair, is something she would totally do, especially in a posthumous state).

So that’s why I don’t like Journey. Plus, you know, they suck.

Haiku Beer Review #3: Winter Beer Summit 2012

6:10pm

Trinity Brewing Company Flo IPA
There’s not too much “I”
But a whole lot of “PA.”
A crisp, simple brew.

6:13pm 

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (8.4% ABV)
Pale, light body, with
all the taste of a bourbon…
but without the burn?

Crispin Cho-Tokkyu Cider (6.5% ABV)
Made with sake yeast
and rice syrup; so Bud Lite
mixed with apple juice.

Lagunitas Our Own Bavarian-Styled Dopple Weizen (9% ABV)
Rich, full-bodied wheat
beer. Slight clove/banana notes;
not cloying like most.

6:31

Paper City Brewing Blonde Hop Monster (8.5% ABV)
Light, crisp malt flavor
with a strong presence of dry,
bitter hops. Not bad!

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project Our Finest Regards Barleywine (13.5% ABV)
Is it *their* finest
regards, or *mine*, now that I’m
drinking it? Syntax!

6:45pm

Cody Brewing Company Honey Ginger Ale
It’s like…ginger ale
(the soft drink), but a beer (but
not like Ginger Beer) .

Cody Brewing Company SOS Belgian IPA (5.7% ABV)
I didn’t really
pay attention to this one;
but I enjoyed it!

6:58pm

Ommegang Adoration Winter Ale (10% ABV)
Too tart, too funky,
too malty, way too spicy;
it’s all just too much.

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (10% ABV)
Chocolate taste up front
that swiftly fades to tart, malty
notes. I’ve had better.

Staropramen Lager
My German friend says
it doesn’t taste this sweet back
in the Vaterland.

Bay State Beer Company Time Traveller Maibock (7.5% ABV)
A big, golden malt
taste, but still temporally
linear; ah well.

7:13pm

Sam Adams Whitewater IPA (5.8% ABV)
Crisp, fresh citrus hops
up front, with a lingering
bitterness. Awesome!

7:25pm

Paper City Brewing Imperial Coffee Stout
Tastes artificial,
but without that sweetness; too
much roasty coffee.

7:34pm

Kennebec River Brewery IPA (5.9% ABV)
Much more bitter than
the body or aroma
let on; grapefruit-y.

B. Nektar Zombie Killer Cherry Ciser (5.5% ABV)
Dude! It’s called fucking
ZOMBIE KILLER! That’s awesome!
Light, sweet, and deadly!

8:01pm

Old Burnside Brewery Ten Penny Ale Reserve (9.6% ABV)
Big-bodied Scotch Ale;
caramel/toffee flavors
with a smooth finish.

Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale (7.7% ABV)
Both full-bodied and
full-flavored. A perfect brew
to warm your winter.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale (7.5% ABV)
Fantastic blend of
rich, aromatic hops and
tasty malt. Pirates!

Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout (8% ABV)
A strong, savory
stout that goes down smooth. Also,
Pirates Oh Em Gee!

8:35pm

Jack’s Abbey Hoponius Union India Pale Lager (6.7% ABV)
Crisp, easy lager
balanced by grapefruit hops notes;
now I have to pee.

8:54pm

Woodchuck Crisp Hard Cider
Well. Okay then. That is
most certainly crisp. Pretty
much just apple juice!

Baxter Brewing Stowaway IPA (6.9% ABV)
Almost all bitter
hops; very assertive, but
still enjoyable.

Beer Review Haiku Part Two

These brews were all originally tasted at the Mass Brewer’s Fest at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston on September 2, 2011

Blue Hills Brewery Antimatter (4.8% ABV)
Like an explosion
of atomic biscuits in
a flower bouquet.

Blue Hills Brewery Watermelon Wheat
This just tastes like NERDS.
You know, the candy? There is
nothing else to say.

Blue Hills Brewery OktoBrau
Malty, but without
being sweet. Tastes rather
green and unaged.

Samuel Adams Brewery Harvest Pumpkin Ale (5.7% ABV)
A better pumpkin
offering, but still spicy
with strong clove flavors.

Cape Cod Brewery IPA (6.0% ABV)
With dominating
pine and citrus tones, this tastes
almost tingly.

Jack’s Abbey Brewing Hoponious Union IPL (6.7% ABV)
An India Pale
LAGER? Sounds like crazy talk!
Oh wow that’s hoppy…

Wachusett Brewery Imperial Pumpkin Ale (8.0% ABV)
Hot alcohol taste
right up front. It’s basically
BOOZE BOOZE spices BOOZE.

Cisco Brewery Pumple Drumpkin (6.0% ABV)
You know how pumpkin
beers don’t actually taste like
pumpkin? This one does.

Pretty Things Jack D’or (6.5% ABV)
Distinct Belgian taste
of cloves and spice, with a dry
hoppy bitterness.

Ipswich Brewery Castle Hill Summer Barleywine
Thick, chewy body
with sharp molasses tang — and
yet, still summer-y.

The Alchemist Magic Carpet Rye
This beer tastes
almost exactly like a
pancake, but a beer.

Haverhill Brewery India Schwarzbier
Not so much hoppy,
more with the roasty flavors;
a resounding “meh.”

Northampton Conundrum Beer
Like great iced coffee —
no cream, no sugar, with a
splash of caramel.

Watch City Brewery BeeJezus Belgian Botanical Ale (8.0% ABV)
A beer with no hops?!
Very herbal; not bad, but
I want beer, not tea.

Haverhill California Poms American Wheat Ale with Pomegranate
Oh wait, I’m sorry,
this was supposed to have a
flavor? I missed that.

Wormtown Pumpkin Ale (4.3% ABV)
Lightly spiced, with some
actual pumpkin flavor;
simple, but solid.

Harpoon Brewery Uncle Fester Wild Dark Ale
Weird funky wild yeast
taste, but still sweet, smoky, and
spicy all at once.

My First Bar Friend

Sometimes I see him on the street, and our eyes will meet briefly before darting away, the way you look at that girl you hooked up with that one time and it was totally weird and you never talked to her again. “Do I say something? Do I wave?” you wonder. “Does he even remember me? Does he know my name?”

I think of all times we spent on barstools at the local pub. He was always there when I was, and one day, we just struck up a conversation. I think he asked about the book that was I reading, then he bought me a round, and we started talking about girls and bands and everything else that guys talk about once they’ve had a couple beers. It’s not all that unusual, at a bar like that. His name was Paul, and at the time, he had just recently moved to the neighborhood. A former Navy SEAL, he was going back to UMass Boston to finish his degree in Anthropology. Said he was part of the team that took down those Somali pirates. I told him I was impressed with the shot they made over alternating waves; he said the shot was easy, anyone could have done it, and he was a little irked that he was on the shift before the one got the shot, because those guys got all the glory.

I don’t know why I remember that. I don’t even know if he was telling me the truth. I’m not even sure what I might have told him about myself, or what he remembers of it. Other times, we’d both be at the bar with our friends. We’d shout “Hey!” and high five, introduced our friends to one another in hopes of triggering the other one to remind of his name: “Hey, this is my buddy Chris” “How’s it goin’, I’m Paul” and so on. We’d get excited every time the blonde behind the bar would put on London Calling — as if it was such a rare coincidence that we both liked The Clash — then we’d turn and watch the Sox game in silence, only turning to each other to say obligatory things like, “Youk was in a funk, but man, he’s got it back,” or “Beckett’s gotta sit for a few more games, they should pull him out and get Papelbon back out there,” and of course, “Let’s go, Papi!” If the game went well, then he might buy a round of PBRs for my friends as well as his. We’d shoot the shit some more, then say good night like we’d been bros for the longest time.

I don’t even think we’re Facebook friends.

But in those hazy, drunken moments in the low, musty lighting of the bar, you’d swear we were the best of friends, and at the time, perhaps we were. So when I see him now, I can’t help but feel some strange sense of camaraderie, fueled by nostalgia for nights that I hardly can remember.

Automatic Teller

The entranceway was a net, designed to capture the sunlight before it contaminated the pub inside. Kevin had forgotten that it was still daytime. He stutter-stepped as he pushed past the door and a wave of light crashed over him, splashing across the walls and floor and burning his heavily dilated eyes.

He waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the sun, then scanned the small foyer, past the dilapidated racks of free periodicals, until he found the ATM sitting in the corner to the left of the door through which he had just exited the bar. It looked like a tired old man, leaning up against the wall with its knees up against its chest. There was ribbed plastic tubing resembling arms on either side, bent up into L-shapes at what appeared to be the elbow, and its body was more of a boxy metal trash can with worn, rounded edges that were clearly intended to make it look sleek. It had a pixelated monitor in place of a swinging lid, with a numeric keypad goatee and two scars across its chin — one for consuming the cards, the other for dispensing cash. Presently, the monitor displayed a digitized face with a sardonic, bitmapped smile.

Kevin inserted his card into the appropriate slot/scar and punched in his secret code. A voice spoke: “Ten twen-ty.three. Let.me.guess — hYour birth-Day? Ha. Ha. Ver-ee oar-idgenal,” it said, with a mechanical inflection. Kevin took a step back, being careful to keep one foot by the machine in case someone tried to rob him. He looked around the room frantically, but couldn’t see anyone. “Wuh-who said that? H-how did you know?” he said.

“Ha. Of.course. Fuh-king tip.ee.cull. Seer-heously, did.you.hwant.some-one.to.steal-hyour.i-den-ti-ty Be-cuz hyou are just.ask-ing? for.it mis-ter,” the voice responded. Kevin looked down at the ATM display in bewilderment and noticed that it was rolling its pixel-cluster eyes at him. Its bitmapped mouth was dropped open in disgust. Once it noticed him staring, it returned to its default expression of indifference. “Sorry,” it said. “hWould you like.to.make. A-deposit, or-A. hwith-drawal.”

“Uhh…withdrawl, please?” Kevin responded nervously.

“Let me-guess,” responded the machine. “hYou did-not re-uh-lies that.it-was.a cash. only-bar. Good-fuh.king-job.dumb-ass. En-ee way.how-much-would. hYou. like?”

“I’ll take eighty, please.”

“Ay-tee. Doll-ers? Gee-zus. Christ.man. How much.did-hyou drink?”

“I haven’t had anything yet. Just give me the cash!” At this point, Kevin was frustrated. Why couldn’t he just got his cash and be gone? He had always hated artificial intelligent, ever since the soda machine at work had started giving him Diet Coke “for his own good.”

The machine let out an exasperated digital sigh. “All. rite-man. Calm. down. Don’t have-a. cow. I’m-just. Try-ing.to.help. hOne-moment.please.” Kevin listened to the harddrive whirring inside and felt a sudden urge to rip it out and smash it on the street.

After about a minute, he heard gears begin to grind, and a taped-together five-dollar bill came out of the slot. Kevin waited for a few more seconds, but nothing followed, and soon the digitized emoticon face had disappeared. He smacked the machine on the side of its boxy head and yelled, “Hey! Where’s the rest of my money?”

The digital face returned with a blip wearing a straight expression. “Sar-ee, bud.ee. I’ve seen-hyour. Cred.it.Card-bill this month. I’m-just. Try.ing.to-help.Good!bye.”

Kevin stormed back into the bar, ordered a shot of whiskey, and left without giving the bartender a tip.