Retro Relapse: Fuck You, I’m A Beer Snob

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

On the eve of the Fourth of July, I’ve already been freely handed a few beers by a few different people. I’ve had to decline because ultimately, I am a prick and an asshole. More correctly, I am a beer snob.

Sorry, amateurs. Even in the spirit of camaraderie, I just can’t get myself to physically touch a Coors Light, Bud Light, Mic Ultra or any other low calorie Yankee swill that broke ass dude bros chug while pretending they know something about soccer. Sorry, I’m also frustrated with the know-nothing World Cup cheerleaders who just so happen to be in every bar I’ve walked into in the last two weeks. Maybe I’ll write about that next.

Moving on, there is so much beer in the world. There are so many varieties, types and different nations with beer-making expertise. Even if you’re broke as shit, there is still affordable stuff out there. But these guys don’t want to experience anything new. They’re boring-as-fuck individuals that live boring-as-fuck lives and can’t stray too far from the norm because they’re way too comfortable being mediocre. They want their turkey sandwich for lunch everyday, they only fuck missionary style and they are more than content in a collared shirt and khakis picked out by their girlfriend. She’s boring-as-fuck too. She always wears capris and plain unflattering t-shirts. She took her hair out of a ponytail once but that was just because she had to change out her Stephanie Tanner scrunchie.

I don’t hate you people, I just hate your boringness. I hate that you are perfectly fine doing the same fucking thing everyday… for the rest of your lives. I don’t hate Budweiser but I hate the fact that it is goddamned Coca-Cola and it is the automatic default thing for “beer drinkers” to grab because it is the most recognizable. I hate that assholes drink up light beer while eating two dozen buffalo wings. It is a light beer because it is lower in calories. If that’s why you drink it, good for you – this may also make you a chick. But to those of you pounding a case of Bud Light every night while stuffing your face with fatty foods are ignorant fucking assholes. Ignorant fucking assholes with no taste buds, apparently.

Yeah, I’ll drink this shit too on occasion. For instance, one time I was doing manual labor in the Nevada desert and I was dying from the heat, was super parched and felt like I was going to collapse. A friend tossed me a Miller Lite. I popped that motherfucker open and it was the best goddamned thing I have ever drank. It serves a purpose: survival. Also, I’ll grab one of these American flagship beers when I’m at a baseball game and the vendor walks by because I’m too caught up in the game and too lazy to walk all the way to concessions to wait in a long ass line.

To all you hardcore IPA-drinking snobs jumping and cheering at my words, you guys can go fuck yourselves too. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good IPA but it isn’t the only thing out there. Also, many IPAs, by “many” I mean most of them, are way too hoppy. Yes, I also love hops but when it is so extreme that the beer becomes some bitter piece of floral shit, you can throw it in the goddamned dumpster for all I care. In the IPA department, I’m really enjoying Cigar City’s stuff right now: Jai Alai and Invasion to be specific.

Look, life is short. My point is, buy something besides the same crap. Expand your palate and your life experiences. The same goes for you goddamned Johnny Walker, Jameson, Jim and Jack drinkers. Stay away from the 4J’s and try some other whiskies.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. Celebrate your freedom by being free to choose something else in life.

And fuck your turkey sandwich.

Retro Relapse: Selling Out to Black Friday

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

I hate Black Friday.

Truthfully, everyone should loathe it. It is an awful day that shows commercially obsessed Americans behaving at their very worst.

You have people who camp out for a week on concrete in front of Best Buy – just to save $15 on a 12″ television set. You have insane people who will punch each other’s lights out over the last “jerk me off” Muppet doll. People get mauled, they get crushed and they get stomped to death in America’s version of the Running of the Bulls. Let’s call it the Running of the Fools.

The hysteria is only getting worse. Now stores open even earlier. In fact, some open up on Thanksgiving before people are even able to get to their second plate of gluttony. Trust the advertising, screw your family!

Americans watch football, stuff their faces and then shout for glee over every commercial that shows some insane Black Friday deal that you can only get if you drop your turkey right that second and rush out the door to beat the other psychos that sold out their family for a couple fifty cent pillow shams and a $30 phablet that can shit out espresso.

I hate you people; you are the absolute worst and I don’t shed a tear when I hear about your kind getting squished to death trying to grab a limited edition toaster designed by Beyoncé.

I have always refused to participate. Not because I don’t believe in capitalism, but because I believe in what Thanksgiving represents – enjoying time with those I care about and celebrating that time together and eating a fuck ton of food until I hate myself and then go on to eat even more.

Hell, I couldn’t participate in Black Friday if I tried, because I embrace Thanksgiving like a goddamned champion and because of that, don’t plan to move for at least 48-to-72 hours. Additionally, it forces my family and I to have to spend time together because we are all sprawled out all over the house like hibernating bears moaning loudly like cold winos with an empty bottle.

If any of us were to participate in Black Friday, we would lose this annual tradition and quality time with one another. In turn, we would be transformed to serial murderers trying to collect a bunch of pointless trophies we don’t need while throwing away money on them because someone else will acquire the pointless trophies if we don’t.

It’s like the whole point of Black Friday is to be able to say to your neighbors and friends, “Hey, look at me! I’ve got all this shit! I’m fucking broke but I’ve got the most shit! Haha! And I’m glad my children saw me kill a woman to get this Hello Kitty branded thimble! You’re all fucking losers! Ha!”

So after years of refusing to participate in this annual Purge event, I stepped outside of my house because I had to acquire something. No, not a pointless trophy and not just some shit. I had to acquire a four pack of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout.

I sold my soul to the commerce gods, I am aware of this. The payoff was worth it, however.

The thing is, what I sought wasn’t some super HD smart goggles or a smartphone that can make a sub or a limited release doll with a light-up asshole or a special edition hobo-scented candle. What I wanted to get was the very best stout that America has to offer. It is actually something that enhances and enriches life, as opposed to something that just drains it away.

This beer only comes out once a year and in very limited quantities. I hate that they tie it to Black Friday but since it is a Budweiser owned product, the fingers of evil are touching this majestic brew. Unfortunately for me, I could not deny myself the experience of drinking this annual release even though it is on Black Friday.

Reflecting on my decision and having now drank this year’s version of the beer, Bourbon County Stout not only lives up to the hype, it far exceeds it. I actually went into this with the utmost skepticism. I anticipated it being very good but I didn’t anticipate it being a five-star beer.

I’ve had many great stouts in my day but this one takes the cake.

There is a lot going on with this stout. There are slight nuances of barley, roasted grains, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, caramel, fig and charred wood. It is jet black with a thin khaki-colored head, as well as a thick and somewhat creamy body. It also packs a nice punch with its alcohol level but is still smooth as hell and not bitey.

It cost me around $24 for the four pack and even though I’m a bit broke this week, it was a wise purchase. This time next year, I am going to have some extra money set aside so that I can buy their other limited edition beers that also come out on Black Friday.

Now I don’t expect Budweiser to do anything not evil but if they cared about families and the real spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, they should release the Bourbon County beers before the holiday, not the day after. I would much rather stock up on as much as I could get and then share it with my appreciative family members and friends over our epic Thanksgiving dinner. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy this on the biggest day of the year to celebrate gluttonous behavior?

In fact, savoring this brew might make people slow down on Thanksgiving and savor their food more. Maybe they wouldn’t get as full so fast and they would eat less and thus, not hate themselves after going comatose in the third quarter of the Cowboys game.

If acquiring Bourbon County’s beers ever becomes as insane of a task as going to Wal-Mart on Black Friday, I won’t do it. The fact that I was able to walk into ABC Liquor and grab a four pack within ten minutes, made this Black Friday experience okay. If this beer generates psycho levels of hysteria and people will try to kill me for a place in line, I won’t be in that line.

The moral of the story is that people are often times stupid and crazy. This stout was worth taking the risk of having to traverse through a sea of psychos. Luckily for me, psychos don’t like good beer or at least the psychos in my town don’t have good palates.

Retro Relapse: 30 Christmas Gifts for the Grizzly Man

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

Christmas rules December like Hulk Hogan ruled the ring in the ’80s! It is the best holiday there ever was!

That being said, we all love getting presents and those of us who aren’t jerks, love giving presents. ‘Tis the season for giving and all that jazz.

So what should you get a manly grizzly man? If you are not sure, I have compiled a list of stuff. And there are things here that fit all price ranges and types of men.

Sure, it may be a little late but if you haven’t started shopping yet, get out there because this stuff may sell out, if it hasn’t already.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here is the list!

1. A fine cut of premium meat
2. A bottle of good scotch or bourbon
3. Cast iron cooking stuff
4. A stellar axe to cut firewood
5. A spacious tent
6. A sweet rifle
7. A good quality survival knife
8. A nice bow with arrows
9. A solid tomahawk made for throwing
10. A reliable fishing pole
11. Visually alluring flannel shirts
12. Attractive wood for crafting into manly furniture
13. Much needed tools
14. Stylish suspenders
15. A personalized baseball bat or hockey stick
16. A thoughtful item that you crafted by hand
17. A hefty meat carving board
18. Great literature such as books by Jack London or Louis L’Amour
19. A framed poster from a Clint Eastwood movie signed by Clint Eastwood
20. A top notch gas lantern
21. A box of premium cigars
22. Home brewing equipment
23. A big bag of beautiful coffee beans
24. An impressive array of cheeses
25. A pair of satisfactory hiking boots
26. A shiny new waffle maker
27. Exercise equipment or weights they may need
28. A well-kept collection of old baseball cards or stag mags
29. A manly cookbook
30. A musical instrument

Retro Relapse: The Legend of the Douchebag Brewer

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

This article is inspired by a few things I have witnessed or heard from friends in the craft beer industry that are too respectful to publicly speak their mind – contrary to those that this is about.

Many of us that travel in craft beer circles, at one point or another, have heard the Legend of the Douchebag Brewer. He’s the brewer that has gained a bit of small town fame around his place of origin. He has also built up a reputation of traveling around and being a complete dickhead when visiting other breweries or talking to other craft beer connoisseurs.

The douchebag brewer is high on his own bullshit and whether or not he is good at his craft, he perceives himself to be the best in the world. In fact, he has to make sure that everyone knows this by always talking up his beer, his secret process and how it is superior to everyone else, all while trashing other hardworking and passionate brewers in the process.

Some of these douchebag brewers like showing up in brewery taprooms when the other brewers have left for the day. They then cowardly trash the beer to the bar staff or to other patrons, most of which are loyal customers of the brewery that the douchebag is trashing.

Their inflated sense of worth must cloud reality because whenever I’ve encountered this character, I have made it a point to avoid his brewery and write him off as a piece of crap not deserving of my business or respect. And I am sure that other craft beer connoisseurs view this character the same way.

These douchebag brewers often times take their self-obsessed views to social media, using Twitter and Facebook to express their “expertise” in regards to how great they are, how much everyone else “doesn’t get it” and to sell their preferred beer styles as superior to every other. Their palate is God and we all must bow down! Trust in Beer Jesus or be damned to an eternity of poorly crafted Berliner Weisse!

Some of these idiots perpetuate whatever beefs they seem to have with other brewers, whether real or imaginary. It is like some old school rap beef but no one really cares except for the whiny self-important douchebag brewer and maybe one hardcore fanboy that still relishes in the fact that his buddy brewer gave him a free beer six months prior.

What these people fail to realize is that they are doing massive harm to the craft beer industry and to their own brand. People don’t like supporting assholes and more often than not, they won’t knowingly support a douchebag. And trashing others who do what you claim to love is counterproductive to the bigger picture.

The craft beer industry is competing with the macro beer industry, who have now felt the threat and upped the ante in attacking beer that is better than their mass produced adjunct-filled garbage. If the freedom fighters are preoccupied with in-fighting amongst themselves, the evil empire wins. If you are as passionate as you claim about craft beer and your product, you shouldn’t want the evil empire to win.

Craft breweries need to build each other up. With as large of a piece of the pie as macro breweries have, there is enough to go around for craft breweries. If you think there isn’t, than you simply don’t understand business, economics and what it is that you do.

Most of the breweries that I love and frequent, go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to helping out the other breweries around them. People share brewing tips, they help the new guys get off the ground, offer business advice and often times collaborate in new beers, which strengthens their bond and thus, strengthens the craft beer scene.

There is a kinship among brewers and breweries that doesn’t exist in most other industries. Most brewers have the respect for one another being that their passions are the same and that they are all small businesses trying to make it in a highly competitive industry in a country with an unreliable economy. Through hard work and passion, there is a respect between brewers.

The douchebag brewers apparently don’t understand that and are only out for their own gain regardless of how it effects the industry as a whole. You have to build and create, not trash and destroy.

Now assuming that some of these douchebag brewers are as good as they claim, why wouldn’t they want to use their knowledge and skill to make the industry a better place overall? Through collaborations and joint ventures, they can help educate newer and less experienced brewers. They could be business and brewing mentors to many of the brewers who are good but not yet great. Besides, isn’t the world a better place with more good beer than more shitty beer?

Most brewers out there are pretty good people that understand all of this. But with everything, there are always bad apples. I choose not to support them because they are actively working against something I love, as well as the livelihoods of others who feel the same as I do.

If you are the master of your craft, you have a responsibility of passing that craft on. If your craft doesn’t survive, future generations won’t give a shit about you anyway.

When Budweiser, the Coca Cola of shitty beer, feels compelled to attack craft beer in every ad, they are against a wall and threatened. When you’ve got the beast’s balls in your hand, you rip them off, you don’t just stand there arguing with the other hunters that you are the best at holding the beasts balls because that’s when the beast bites your head off.

Ego ruins everything. And brewing great beer shouldn’t be about ego, it should be about kinship and respect because ultimately, isn’t beer better when you are sharing it with your friends?

Retro Relapse: Men Who Can’t Handle One Cocktail

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

There isn’t a night where I go out that I don’t run into at least a few dudes who can’t seem to handle just one cocktail. You know you’ve seen them too. Hell, for all I know, you, the reader, could be one of these 5-star party animals that finds themselves crashing and burning after one Jägerbomb or even worse, one bottle of Bud Lite Lime.

You are the Mike’s Hard Lemonade drinker. The Smirnoff Ice sommelier. The ’90s poster boy for Zima, who considers a classic cocktail to be some swill manufactured by Bartles & Jaymes. The guy that doesn’t understand why people roll their eyes when you show up to a B.Y.O.B. with just one six pack. You show up the most gung ho, the most ready to throw down and often times the most obnoxious. You argue with bouncers about your shorts and trucker hat outside of a nice establishment. You have just one bowling shirt that you think is sufficient for dressing up when taking your significant other to a fancy anniversary dinner of Jack Daniel’s ribs at T.G.I. Friday’s. You probably get drunk on those Jack Daniel’s ribs. Hell, you probably still own a Korn t-shirt. You’re a self-described animal of the night that can go the distance and turn any shindig into an ultimate rager. The fact of the matter is, you’re the first one to fall in a room full of more suave party people.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can be fun and entertaining but after one round of shots, it isn’t fun to be holding you up against the bar, as you drool like a sloppy baby yelling out your ex-girlfriend’s name in front of your current girlfriend. I appreciate you buying me whatever the hell sweet and disgusting shot that was and I thank you for it, as it is still alcohol of some sort, but your response to my gratitude shouldn’t be puking and pissing on me while I’m trying to sit you down in a chair. Frankly, despite your inability to hang with us professional alcoholics, I’d like to spend more than fifteen minutes with you before 6 oz. of Popov and cranberry effect you like a Floyd Mayweather uppercut.

You’re not a bad person, you’re just not doing it right. You need help. You really need to train. You need to step your game up and learn how to control your shit. Maybe your DNA isn’t wired for drinking and if that’s the case, just stick to beer. However, when I say “beer”, I’m referring to something respectable. Nothing flavored, nothing clear and god forbid nothing low calorie! If you’re going to drink, just fucking drink. That is, unless you’re some dainty white girl who finds herself sitting around the house munching on SnackWells cookies because you can eat more of those than you can E.L. Fudge.

If you are a cocktail drinker, put down the energy drink mixers, pick a better vodka and for fuck’s sake, get to know some good whiskeys. There are a ton of badass cocktails that you can drink that have a ton more flavor and character than your disgusting concoction of Goldschläger and O.J. Hell, I made a list of my Top 10 Classic Cocktails (link no longer available). You should read it and start there.

It doesn’t end there though. You need to learn how to go the distance. If you crash early, pace yourself. Don’t start with a wimpy shot that will knock you on your ass immediately. Order a decent beer or a decent cocktail and take it easy. You don’t have to slam the fucking thing.

When starting out my alcoholic training regiment, I suggest that you limit yourself to just one drink per hour. When you get to a point where you don’t want to pass out in a pile of vomit within that time, up your intake to two drinks per hour. To be honest, I very rarely ever go beyond two-to-three alcoholic beverages in an hour. This is how I pace myself, still get seriously buzzed but don’t find myself hitting the floor like a tranquilized hippopotamus.

Now this may take some time to master and to get the hang of but I’ve had well over a decade to practice and I’ve got my shit together. I used to find myself overdoing it and honestly, sometimes on a rare occasion, I still do but for the most part, I keep it together, have a good time, get moderately inebriated and don’t find myself making bad decisions or becoming the burden of the party.

Class up your shit. This isn’t just drinking advice, it’s life advice. Maybe it is time to grow up because dude bros in their mid-thirties who still carry themselves in public like freshmen frat boys at their first kegger are just embarrassing themselves. Plus, you’ll never make a good impression on a potential life mate if you’re in the fetal position, soaked in piss.

And definitely don’t drink in front of bosses or co-workers until you can handle more than one cocktail.

I’m just trying to do my part. You’re welcome, America.

Retro Relapse: The 25 Lessons of New Orleans

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

I did a similar list to this for Las Vegas a few years back after my first trip there. You can see that list here. I wrote that for another blog I used to run.

However, after my recent trip to New Orleans, which was my third, I figured that I could produce a list of the twenty-five lessons I learned while there. I have had experiences with this town before but having seen a lot of this neon glowing urban bayou, I knew that I still hadn’t seen shit and had to delve even deeper. I’ve never experienced New Orleans and not walked away with something new each time.

So let me get right fucking to it!

1. Walking places is always an adventure and you will always find a dozen or so things to pleasantly distract you on the way to wherever you are going. Never go by a clock (unless you have dinner reservations), just do your thing at your own pace and soak up everything around you. Besides, the city truly never sleeps. Well, maybe from like 6 a.m to 8 a.m.

2. The muffaletta is the greatest sandwich ever concocted. The best one I had was from the Cochon Butcher, which is right next to Cochon in the warehouse district. I was told about the legendary muffaletta at Central Grocery but they were closed the two times I went by.

3. If a person walks up to you with some sort of riddle, it is a scam. A large man walked up to me trying to display his psychic prowess regarding where I got my shoes. He told me that I got them on my feet and then sprayed a bunch of dish soap on them in an effort to hustle me for ten bucks. Fuck that guy. This is the New Orleans version of the New York City hobo who spritzes windshields with soapy water. If a motherfucker has a riddle, keep on walking – it isn’t worth the hassle of trying to be a good person and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

4. The craft beer scene in New Orleans is alive and well. My most notable stop was the Courtyard Brewery. There are a lot of other local Louisiana beers on tap all over the city as well. The Bulldog on Magazine Street and d.b.a. on Frenchman Street both have stellar selections.

5. Local girls are usually a lot of fun but some are too trusting with strangers. They need to be a bit more discriminatory with people they haven’t known for more than a few hours in a bar. I’m also assuming that the ones passing out in bars on Bourbon Street are new to town.

6. You have to look hard to find a bad meal in New Orleans. In ten days, I never had a bad meal. Well, except for hotel breakfast and that was only on one of the ten days.

7. Street musicians will heckle you. If you tip them, they will call you out for being cheap because apparently that is a way to shame people into giving out more money. White people are especially gullible.

8. Harrah’s built a giant casino in the middle of town and it seems like the most boring thing in New Orleans because the city’s nightlife and culture is so much greater than staring at cherries spinning on a slot machine.

9. Strippers go way out of their way to pull you into their sultry lair and then try to hustle you. It would almost work if their aggressiveness wasn’t so off-putting and their prices weren’t so astronomically high. Although a blind eye is turned to just about every activity in these sultry lairs.

10. The best oysters in the entire world are in New Orleans. Go to Drago’s and order the chargrilled oysters. Just don’t murder the chef afterwards like Johnny Depp from that Mexican movie. Also, every other restaurant claims they have better oysters than Drago’s. Motherfuckers are full of shit.

11. New Orleans has horrible cosplayers. Well, at least at the anime convention that was in town. I couldn’t tell what 90 percent of the people were. Although I should give props to that guy that was Jubei from Ninja Scroll because he looked like a total fucking boss. He was the only one though.

12. Fried chicken has not been experienced until it is experienced in New Orleans. In fact, experience as much of it as you can. And yes, Popeye’s even tastes better in New Orleans.

13. Cab drivers will sometimes just drive by, even if they are on duty and empty. They will also have a bloody duel with one another if they think one cut them in line while picking people up at a cab stand. Uber works great in New Orleans, however certain parishes have banned them from picking you up. Although you can be dropped off anywhere once in an Uber car.

14. Not as many people scream “Who dat!” as you would think. Also, it wasn’t football season, so my beloved Saints weren’t playing yet.

15. It is the most spontaneous city I have ever been too. At one point, a small brass band was playing on a street corner and out of the blue, the intersection became an impromptu block party and one of the greatest live musical experiences I ever encountered. There is a raw musical energy in New Orleans and it is beyond infectious.

16. Lots of people try to panhandle random shit. I bought a Miami Vice soundtrack on tape for five bucks from a crackhead, who then handed me his entire tape collection and then bolted down the street with my five dollar bill, never to be seen again.

17. Voodoo is alive and well and it is awesome.

18. Kermit Ruffins is an American icon and a true master of the trumpet. “The Sleeping Giant” James Winfield is a hidden gem. If you haven’t seen either of them live, you haven’t lived. To see them both together, on the same stage, is a life-altering experience.

19. Only assholes and tourists throw beads off of balconies when it isn’t Mardi Gras.

20. The New Orleans Pelicans have an alternate part-time mascot that is a giant king cake baby. It is the most frightening mascot in sports history. Seriously, Google it.

21. Frenchman Street may be my favorite street in the world. It has the entirety of New Orleans culture packed in tight on just a few blocks. Bourbon Street is really just for tourists and less authentic. Although Bourbon Street is still pretty damn fun.

22. A drag show in New Orleans is way more fabulous than anywhere else I have been.

23. The people of New Orleans love their city like no other local people I have encountered anywhere else. Good times or bad, they have unrelenting pride in their city and community.

24. Jazz and blues aren’t just music genres in New Orleans, they are a way of life. You can’t walk ten yards in New Orleans without passing a place billowing out amazing music. And every musician is talented. It is amazing how musically versed the people of New Orleans are.

25. I had a long talk with a Mardi Gras Indian over whiskey. He shared some awesome stories about what they do and why. He then talked about adjusting to life post-Katrina. I learned that Mardi Gras Indians are probably the coolest motherfuckers in town.

Retro Relapse: The 25 Lessons of Las Vegas

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2011.

I recently got back from Las Vegas. In fact, this time last week I was still partying pretty hard in that damn town. I was there for work but it didn’t mean that I didn’t party like a raging mastodon. I entered the neon desert as a man and left as a more educated man. What knowledge did I gain during my exploits in this once mafia ruled party town? Well, here are twenty-five things, in no particular order, that I walked away with.

1. Japanese tourists cannot walk by snow globes without shaking them. When I went to the Walgreens attached to the Venetian, it was like walking into a foreign land. It was confusing; I wasn’t sure if I was in a Walgreens in Baghdad or Tokyo. It was a mixture of primarily Iraqi and Japanese tourists. I know the people in Muslim garb were Iraqi because one of them said, “There are a lot of us Iraqi in here, huh?” The Iraqis were pretty much grabbing knick knacks and slushies while the Japanese were thumbing through Vegas calendars and shaking literally every damn snow globe in the store. These snow globes were like crack to the Japanese tourists. I watched one walk by the display and he tried to fight the urge but ultimately gave in to his bullshit temptation and frantically shook three or four of them within a five second span! I swear I heard homeboy laugh maniacally when he did it too. Dude sounded like an anime villain after sniffing video head cleaner!

2. Birth control pills are often taken with alcohol. This came as a surprise to me but it probably shouldn’t have. I can’t tell you how many times I was at one of the many casino bars just hitting on some random chick and the girl got titillated enough to pop a birth control pill right in front of me. I have to admit, when they took a big sip of their cosmopolitan right after, I thought it was quite hot. In some cases it was hard for me to properly articulate my lustful feelings because in Vegas, my speech was ridiculously slurred.

3. There is never a free bench! This really pissed me off because I had to do a lot of walking from casino to casino. Just to give you an idea, if you’re familiar with the layout of Las Vegas, I had to walk from Treasure Island, across the Strip through the Venetian and all the way to the Sands Expo Center multiple times a day. My damn feet hurt! So all I wanted to do every now and again was to take a seat on a bench. However, no matter where I was, inside or outside, inconsiderate people were just sitting on benches with big ass “F.U.” smirks on their faces.

4. Strippers try and follow you home. Man, all I did with a few of my boys was walk by a strip club. Suddenly this half-dressed porn star wannabe was following us. I thought nothing of it as there are lots a big ass titties and people walking around in Vegas. Man, we went for blocks and blocks and split off in different directions. The last friend I was with wanted to go into the Venetian. We walked inside, went to the bar and this stripper sat next to us. The overly sultry lady was asking us if we wanted to bring her up to the room. We were hesitant as I didn’t need some pushy and shady trick jacking my MacBook Pro and my dirty underwear. After leaving the bar, she followed us for another twenty minutes and finally gave up. She caught an attitude when we refused to buy her a drink when she requested one. Buy me a drink bee-otch, I’m the one getting macked on!

5. Why buy a hooker when there are plenty of hot non-hookers willing to have sex with anything free of charge? Now I personally didn’t purchase a woman of the night but a few of my homies were game and were willing to spend some serious cheese. I thought to myself, “Man, there has to be an easier and cheaper way.” Well, there is. What I learned is that a lot of the people in Vegas on vacation just want to get their sex on and I mean hard – I’m talking about women too. I can’t tell you how many wanted to get pregnant with my seed every time I sat at any random bar and shot the shit. What I realized through this experience of aggressive flirtation and over-the-clothes genital rubs is that I need to move to Vegas and open up a condom store!

6. Gambling is the lamest thing to do (besides going to see the Blue Man Group). That’s about all I have to say on that.

7. Rita Rudner is never funny. This is a fact. I’m sure she is a nice lady but every time I walked by that theatre in the Venetian where they have the comedy shows, I was bombarded by videos of Rita Rudner telling her jokes. I’m assuming the two clips they run are her funniest moments, why promote her with her worst moments, right? Well, the clips weren’t funny. They were pretty awful actually. For a fifty-something chick, I’d hit it, but damn, she needs to not call her show “Now Funny”.

8. “Jackpot” isn’t just a gambling term. It is also slang for something involving a person’s head and man’s genitals. Well, at least according to this gay dude I met at Binion’s named Chip.

9. One’s comedic timing is enhanced (except Rita Rudner’s apparently). I noticed that, for whatever reason, my hilarity was at an all time high. My comebacks, insults, wittiness, general joking and tomfoolery were all at peak levels. I had myself in hysterics pretty much the entire trip. Some of this has to be attributed to the fact that I was drunk for nine straight days and I was feeling some elation from the oxygen being pumped into my room every night but goddamn! I was like Chris Rock buttfucking Carrot Top with Richard Pryor filming it and George Carlin holding the boom mic while Denis Leary was handing out disposable cameras and snacks.

10. Downtown trumps the Strip. I can’t really explain it but Downtown Vegas felt real while the Strip just felt like touristy bullshit. The style and the atmosphere were legit and I enjoyed walking around this area even though peeps kept hitting me up for change to buy beer or to have one more shot at winning it all back. Plus it was like ’80s night when I was there, not sure if it’s ’80s themed all the time but the DeLorean in front of one of the casinos mixed with the sounds of the Talking Heads gave me a serious boner.

11. Friends don’t let friends drink and pick prostitutes. I’m not getting into the details on the fiasco that taught me this lesson. You’re just going to have to trust your boy on this one and be thankful that none of us got cut by a crazy bitch lactating all over the goddamned casino. My stomach churns even thinking about it but I’m alive, no thanks to my friend’s stupidity and bad choice in seedy women. He actually, at one point, handed her his black AMEX to buy drinks.

12. Dennis Rodman digs my artwork. I found this to be a great honor because Rodman is the most stylistic cat in the history of the NBA. For him to give props on something I created was pretty badass.

13. C+ level food can be sold at A+ level prices if it is covered in enough B level sauce. Man, the food in Vegas is expensive but it isn’t as good as it looks and especially isn’t worth the price range, except for a few places. Out of all the meals I had in the nine days I was there, only two meals were all that memorable. Most of the food is mediocre and smeared in good sauces to cover up the lack of anything spectacular. Trevi in Caesars Palace provided the best meal I had in the neon desert.

14. Frankie’s Tiki Room is as good as it’ll ever get for anyone. I have to go on record and state that this is quite possibly the greatest bar or lounge I have ever been in. The place feels authentic as fuck. It’s like it has been sitting on some Vegas side street for 50 years, undiscovered. The truth is, the place was established in 2008! The music, the drinks, the atmosphere, everything is perfect. The bartender was cool as hell. I was so blown away by the awesomeness of this majestic place that I vowed to return home and open up a place as close to this as possible, except my Tiki Room will serve burgers and tots. I left this bar with a huge list of new bands to check out off of their jukebox. It was a surf rock and Tiki bar fan’s heavenly haven.

15. You can get a draft beer and a blowjob at Ellis Island for $41! I didn’t get to go to Ellis Island, which is one of my biggest regrets on this trip, but I did learn from multiple people that they have dollar drafts and one can easily get a blowjob for forty bucks behind the dumpster out back. Granted I wouldn’t want a blowjob from a forty dollar hoochie but I know a lot of people that would, so I am sharing this with you. Go get some sucky sucky, boys!

16. Supply and demand is a MFer in Las Vegas. I first realized this on my first day when I was thirsty as shit walking around the desert atmosphere. I went into a pizza place and grabbed two bottles of Aquafina. The cashier charged me $8.11! Talk about no condom shit-pushed-in prison rape! Then one of the more popular bars charged me $32 for two shots of Jameson! I quickly learned where not to buy stuff in Vegas.

17. People in Vegas believe that pirate ships had DJs. Well, at least the people who run the attractions and shows at Treasure Island believe this. I watched their pirate show and I was a bit perplexed at how they had a DJ on the pirate ship not to mention the fact that there is nowhere at sea to plug in an amp. Also, half the pirates were women which was against pirate code. Plus, these women obviously shop at Rave, which wasn’t around back then, and they danced and sung Pussycat Dolls sounding pop tunes. I guess historical accuracy isn’t important in Las Vegas.

18. The Bellagio and the Cosmopolitan are the only casinos with any real style. I stick by this statement, although the Tropicana, Bill’s and the Imperial Palace all had some unique shit. Everywhere else is exactly the same. I couldn’t tell which casino was which if I wasn’t in any of the ones already mentioned. The Bellagio is just off the charts and absolutely beautiful. The Cosmopolitan is on some next level shit. The lounge Bond in the front of the building was one of the coolest places I ever sat in while drinking a Pabst (although it was $7!). I also had a Tom Collins and a bourbon sour. The best part about Bond was that there were multiple go-go girls dancing over my head! Needless to say, I fell in love with both of these awesome casinos.

19. Celebrities are much cooler in Vegas. Well, at least the handful that I met were cool as balls. I won’t name them because I ain’t out to give free publicity and I’m not trying to wow anyone with a list of people who’s hands I shook. In any event, every celeb I saw was mad cordial and cool with shooting the shit for a few minutes. One celeb I got to hang out with at the casino bar for a good hour. He was a dope ass cat.

20. Cab drivers are the coolest dudes in town. That may sound crazy and you may think that they are all foreign dudes with little to no knowledge of the English language. In some cases this is true but the few who I really talked to were badass. One guy I met used to fight off elephant poachers in Africa. He was like the African Teddy Roosevelt. I should have got his autograph because my time with him trumped any of the celebrity bullshit. The conversation was well worth him “getting lost” and sticking me with a $78 cab bill.

21. Casino security won’t stop a pimp from hunting you down. This is a scary thing because when a friend of mine dissed a hoe, the pimp came hunting. When the pimp tried to follow him, security didn’t even attempt to stop the brute. Luckily for my friend, he got away safe. The lesson learned here though, is that pissing off a pimp in Vegas is a bad idea, especially when security isn’t going to protect you from getting a brick bounced off of your eye.

22. After 4 am, most high class prostitutes run 2-for-1 specials, as in you can get two hoes for the price of one hoe! Just don’t get swindled and make sure your important shit is in the safe before bringing these pro-sluts up to your room. Then again, you’re probably not getting sloppy seconds or treacherous thirds, you’re getting frothy fourths or filet-o-fish fifths (and we’re talking extra tarter sauce if ya feel me). So play it safe!

23. Blueberry pancakes and Mai Thais compliment each other like “whoa!” That is all. Just go try it! But you better have a hell of a sweet tooth and be inebriated beyond comprehension.

24. If a girl tells you that she has been drugged and that the couple who are buying her drinks are trying to have a threesome, she is probably trying to recruit you for an orgy full of old fat Canadians. I started to think this girl needed to be protected from these vile creatures but then instincts prevailed and I realized that it was a ploy to get my seed. Nope, not happening trollop!

25. Nine days in Las Vegas is probably too long because then you start seeing things you can’t unsee. Just a word to the wise.