January 04, 2005

...and ring in the new!

Happy New Year, everybody! I've recently returned from an extended trip to New York City, which included a really swell celebration on New Year's Eve. In short: it was a really fantastic three days and four nights. For a somewhat detailed look at my oh-so-exciting lifestyle, check the extended entry below.

So I took a shower today for the first time since Friday evening. That about sums up the extended weekend. I took the Fung Wah down to NYC at 10:00 AM last Thursday, and ended up getting to Lopez's apartment probably around 4:00 or so. Enrico and Scannell were already there, so we kicked it for a while until Cheese Abercrombie showed up and then we met up with Wonderland over at Kang Suh, a 24-hour Korean/Japanese restaurant at 1250 Broadway.

Enrico ordered up a big meal for us, including some meat that we cooked at the table, a sort of nutty curry rice bowl and various side dishes of exotic name and mysterious composition. Almost everything was quite tasty, with the squid-in-spicy-sauce winning the prize for best dish (in my opinion). We also got a couple bottles of Korean rice wine, which is very similar to sake. A tasty, filling, and entertaining meal, and not too pricey, considering the amount of food and the liquor.

After Kang Suh we headed over to some bar where Scannell met up with his coworkers and the rest of us milled around in the dimly lit downstairs area. Pints of Guinness kept appearing in my hand, and I wasn't complaining about it, although it seemed that Jameson was the drink of the night for the others in my party. After several rounds we decided to hightail it over to the Gaf to meet up with Aytch-feezy and the ladies. The Gaf is a bar close to D-Lo and the ladies, who frequent it.

Our party more or less took over the bar after many rounds, country music on the juke and line dancing, heel stomping and general revelry. We did squeeze in some quality tunes however, as well as some darts. I can barely play darts sober, and I'm absolutely atrocious when drunk. And by the time we started playing, I was not fit to be pregnant or operate heavy machinery. I dragged the Cheese-Lopez team into a tragic loss to the Hotfoot-Scannell duo. There was a good deal of merrymaking for a while and then things started sliding downhill. Several people had to evac, while others became victims of ethanol-induced romantic entanglements. Everyone split off and went his separate way. As for me, I just rolled back to D-Lo's pad and crashed on his couch.

Friday morning I opted out of brunch, due to hangover considerations. Rigs and Laurie rolled in at some point that afternoon, bringing with them several six packs of Doctor Goodbeers' best medicine as well as a box of Franzia Sunset Blush ('04 vintage I believe). Check. Everyone present save Lopez and Laurie then bought into an impromptu $10 no limit Texas Hold 'Em freezeout tournament, which was pretty fun. I busted out when I pushed in with AJs and Rigs instantly called me with AQo. There was a fairly drawn-out battle between Rigs and Footer, with Rigs ending up taking the prize pool and Footer getting his buy-in back.

Laurie sat out because she didn't know how to play (although she received a crash course later on) and Lopez sat out because he was cooking up a little pre-New Year's Eve party jam. On the menu were rice and black beans, tamales, and these little fingerlike dumpling things. I forget what they were called and stuffed with, but they were tasty. The rice and beans were especially good; well seasoned. The jam gave us a pretty good base for the boozing which we were to undertake in several hours. After several shower-and-shaves and an incomplete viewing of The Big Lebowski, the eight of us packed into two cabs and headed off to Alphabet City to our intended destination, Radio Perfecto. I transitioned from vaguely hungover and mildly grim to raring to drink and marginally sweet in twenty minutes.

Radio Perfecto is a pretty nice place. It's split into two main rooms, a front room with booths and tables and the bar room next to it. There's also a patio in the back, although I never actually checked it out. The staff there seemed nice and were working very hard to slake the thirst of open bar-goers and the hors d'oeuvres crew seemed to come around constantly. They had some pretty tasty food. The party itself was a guest list affair, with those on the list either prepaying or paying upon arrival at the bar. It was an interesting mix of people. There was a big crowd, and I'd guess between 75-100 people were there over the course of the night, although that's a pretty liberal estimate. I actually only knew a relatively small portion of them, as there were a lot of friends of friends who showed up in various random groups...I'm not sure of the number of Dartmouth people, but of the ones I know there weren't too many. Oh and Sakin had shown up with us and lectured me for a while at the bar. But he actually was right about what he said. Surprisingly.

Now an open bar by its very nature requires the drinker to adhere to a strict and specific strategy for maximum enjoyment and effective intoxication. Namely: 1) drink the most expensive liquor they have and 2) stick with the same drink. These apply whether you actually pay for the bar or someone else does, because in the former case you want to maximize your dollar, whereas in the second you want to maximize someone else's dollar. Beer is out right away - too pedestrian, cheap, and inefficient as a tool to get the job done. Low alcohol percentage, a slow inebriation curve and an unfavorable volume to alcohol ratio mean that you'll spend all night fighting to maintain your buzz against time spent evacuating your incessantly refilling bladder. Every drink you get requires time spent at the bar, which, obviously, is time spent not drinking. The open bar always has a press of eager boozehounds around it, and wait times can be rather long (although I must say that it was far easier at Radio Perfecto than I had anticipated. Cheers to the staff!). So beer is out right away for any sensible patron.

I'm of two minds about wine in general and champagne in particular. I never drink wine when I'm out as a personal choice - I find it more fitting for a dinner or home party beverage than a bar drink - it's somewhat classy, requires me to be in a certain mood and its alcohol percentage is too middling for a party of any reasonable festivity. I noticed several people ordering champagne on New Year's Eve, or some champagne drink. Personally I reserve champagne as a celebratory beverage only, and as such it should be drunk only at midnight or thereafter (or for a toast, etc. for a special event, such as a wedding or a Red Sox playoff victory). Thus while wine and champagne are more acceptable than beer due to their relative costs, I still frown upon the concept in general.

Where does that leave us? With liquor of course. As a general rule I am a beer drinker, both because I enjoy the taste of many types and it normally suits my mood better than liquor. I also don't really have a favorite drink...there are several I like and I go through stages of preferring Drink A over Drink B, but I don't have that one go-to drink upon which I usually rely when out at a watered establishment. Also, I find that oftentimes, drinks purchased at a bar are overpriced, and in general beer is a better value for one's money. There is a big difference between quality and cheap liquor, and I'd rather not pay through the nose for some substandard well booze if I can help it. In essence, I would rather have several beers over a couple drinks, even if only justifiable as an aesthetic preference.

Of course, I do enjoy hard alcohol now and again (and again), and when one can have as many drinks as one can consume in a given time period (9:00-1:00 in this case) for a fixed price, the numbers alone dictate that the only rational course of action is to order up and order many. The bonus here is not only that you can have as many as you can feasibly obtain, but also that you can compel the barkeep to serve you from the top shelf. Now of course, I imagine most establishments don't literally serve all their liquor as open, but you can definitely take a step up. If the barkeep is competent and the drinks are well made then you will be guaranteed an evening of tasty refreshment - and that same tasty refreshment packs a wallop like a sockful of pennies!

You get to enjoy quality alcohol, perhaps that which you wouldn't normally, and you are also able to set upon getting immodestly plastered with the efficiency of a scramjet! The overarching point here is that I decided (and you in the future should decide) to drink hard alcohol, and in this case gin and tonic was my beverage. Reliable, friendly, equally at home in both formal and informal settings, the G&T is a great go-to beverage in all situations because of its versatility, popularity and acceptability. It has a relatively neutral taste, so it works well with a variety of foods and doesn't overwhelm the taste buds with the cloying aftertaste of so many other drinks. The pleasant lime, quinine and juniper overtones also make a G&T work well as a simple hangout beverage. It is a simple drink, citric and sweet, and can alternately serve with equal facility one who wishes to surrender himself to the vicissitudes of near-comatose levels of intoxication. And of course once you select a drink, you should stick with it. Mixing alcohol types makes it more difficult for the body to process the poison, and extends and worsens the effects of the next morning's hangover. So, I stuck with the G&T's.

And it worked well. For a while. The Bombay and tonic flowed and I was able to keep my whistle adequately wet, what with generous friends and my own lack of trouble at the bar. Then I noticed that a couple gents among us - Steele and Hotfoot - were drinking Long Island Iced Teas. All of a sudden I wanted one. Immediately. I hadn't had one in a while and...well I decided to just go off my plan and switch to the LIIT's. I went from a sort of pleasurable inebriation to the beginnings of slurred voice and excessive charm. Then the champagne came out as the clock struck midnight, so I had some of the bubbly. Actually it all went off quite well, although it could have been disastrous had I drifted from the plan even moreso than I had. All in all it was a great party, at a nice bar with good friends and lots of pretty girls. And good cheer.

Saturday morning I woke up on a couch. After a hearty breakfast cooked mainly by Footer's sister, the Foot and I rolled back to Lopez's, where we began collecting the troops for the planned touch football game at Central Park. D-Lo lives conveniently nearby, on Third Ave, so it was just a few minutes' walk away. We ended up gathering enough people - 14 or so - and fired up a game in the quickly sinking late afternoon sun. It was a gorgeous day for January 1st, and hopefully a harbinger of the theme of the coming year. The Hangover Bowl was a lot of fun, and I had a decent fantasy football performance - 2 TD's and a pass defense (and maybe 15 yards?). It was chilly but definitely playable weather.

Saturday night was kind of a recovery period. We jammed some mammoth burgers at Jackson Hole, and I think they made everyone feel a bit ill. Not a good choice, despite Steelazzo's recommendation. Afterwards, Footer and Enrico went to a concert, and Lopez and I fired up a tube room soil and watched about 25 back-to-back episodes of the Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes on MTV. Sakin showed up and hung out for a while, but he predictably jetted before things got too fun and went back to his parents' house to be pampered and not hang out with his friends. Then I didn't buzz Steele in until he had rung the doorbell ten times at five in the morning.

Sunday was the original departure date of me, Rigs and LB, but because people were going to be around the three of us decided to stay. Rigs and LB saw a show that afternoon, and D-Lo, Footer, Enrico and I rolled over to the nearby Blondie's, which is a pretty sweet sports bar. The Pats beat the tragic 49ers (although the fact that they didn't demolish them despite playing their starters for three quarters is some cause for concern). None of the games for our teams mattered, with the Pats, Colts and Steelers firmly in the playoffs and the Dolphins, er, not. We had a few pitchers and some buffalo and honey BBQ wings (awesome) and spent about six hours there. Later on we were joined by Rigs and LB and kicked it over at Lopez's. Some BoW and Asshole caused severe revelry to occur. Calls were made, points were awarded, and the regiment suffered 100% casualties.

Monday was a long day of recovery, with a quick lunch at Tasty Dumpling before hopping the Fung Wah back to the People's Republic of Cambridge.

All in all it was a really great weekend. It's always fun to hang out with that crowd and several people I hadn't seen in a long time. This is actually the third really solid New Year's Eve bash in a row since graduation, and they seem to be getting better. This year's party was great, and even the surrounding days were a lot of fun. I basically had fun for four straight days. Great. New Year's is becoming my favorite holiday...so much celebration and promise. Hopefully 2005 will be, er, better than 2004. And if early '05 is any indication, things are looking up.

Thanks to everyone who hung out, organized everything, and especially those who, um, helped pick me up over the weekend. You've got a special place in the back waiting for you.

Below are some choice quotations from the final days of '04 and early '05, from what I remember. I've left out the names of the speakers in the interest of discretion, but most should be attributable to their sources by people in the know. Some are probably not very amusing out of context, but I think several people who read this will enjoy them. For the rest of you, they might be a tad off-color. And/or stupid. Anyway, here they are, and if anyone remembers any other good quotes or stories, let me know.

Anonymous 1: "Wow, you're looking quite fit. How do you do it?"
Anonymous 2: "Masturbation."

"Sorry, I'm going deaf. And I'm stupid."

A1: "Maybe you hooked up with her?"
A2: [sniffs two fingers] "Nope."

"Cheese looks like Christmas!"

"We're taking it back to the old school!"

"I just got shit on by a pigeon."

"I can handle any size."

"So then I told my boss to go fuck himself. Actually I didn't really say that."

"What do you know? You're wearing a Peyton Manning jersey! The guy throws more interceptions than touchdowns in New England!"

"I just talked to the bartender. They know who I am now. They know I'm the V.I.P. and I fronted the money for this."

A3: "What did you spend so much money on the last time you were in New York?"
A4: "Drugs."

Posted by MRhé at January 4, 2005 01:55 PM | TrackBack

what do they think this is, netflix?

Posted by: steele at January 5, 2005 05:16 AM

The full comment was, "Blockbuster doesn't pick up your videos; who the fuck do they think we are, netflix?"

Posted by: Rigs at January 5, 2005 09:33 AM

Also it wasn't "I told my boss to go fuck himself." It was something containing the word fuck and referring to his boss as stupid, because he thought 'cathartic' was a big dictionary word.

at least i dont think it was as written above.

Posted by: hotfoot at January 5, 2005 11:29 AM

Yes, I was paraphrasing, but I think the essence was captured.

Posted by: MRhé at January 5, 2005 11:44 AM

Sounds like you had a pretty sweet New Years. The highlight of my night was J-Malo bombing out the toilet at my friend's NYE party due to his rampant case of diarrhea. There were about 6 girls waiting to use the bathroom. Of course, Malo was so embarrassed we had to leave the party. Im glad someone had a good time on Friday night! KY

Posted by: ThugRhe at January 5, 2005 12:25 PM

mrhe and co,
sounds like you all ahd quite the time. sorry i missed it. looks like i should be back stateside in about 2 months..finally out of fallujah did x-mas in baghdad and new years here in my new home in a new area of baghdad...we will have to hit it up 45 style happy new years to all and i cant wait to get 2005 underway..2004 has been...educational...but 05 i the year promising to be hot shiznit- peaz and carrots- 45

Posted by: dundee at January 6, 2005 02:37 PM
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