Diary of the 4th Annual Austin Bar Crawl

- wadE, Wade, Alex

Welcome one and all to the 4th Annual Austin Bar Crawl!

If you are unfamiliar with the ABC, please jump over and read the two previous recaps from 2002 and 2003.

The participants this year were nearly the same as last year: (from l-r above) Dan, Jason, wadE, Alex, and Wade; with the exception of Matty who foolishly chose to attend a bachelor party over spending the weekend in wonderful Austin Minnesota!!! :-D

Even without Matty, a good time was had by all and thankfully another year has passed without anyone dying. Joining me again in recounting the fun will be Alex and Wade.

Hey, how's it goin'? In that picture of us up there it looks like if Wade grew his hair out he could grow a bitchin' Eddie Munster front curl.

YOU RANG??? Wait, wrong Munster.

There were plans in place this year to drive to Grand Meadow (an even smaller southern Minnesota town) and have the traditional Friday night dinner because the Sportt's Bar no longer subscribes to NTN trivia. However, those plans were dashed when a tornado warning went off for our county and the hazardous weather closed in on Grand Meadow. So we once again patronized Sportt's.

I really enjoyed watching the local coverage of the super kill storm. The ABC station had a "storm spotter" who was, in actuality, a rambling senior citizen, and a news van that apparently drove through the storm and got in *front* of it somehow. Great work, guys. On top of that, the weather radar display between the ABC and NBC stations differed by at least 15 minutes, if not half an hour. Fun times.

Jason and I spent the zero hour at his parents' place, parked in front of the TV. We passed the time wondering if meteorology was one of those degrees you can get from Sally Struthers commercials.

After last year's painful consumption of the infamous Sportt's Bar SuperSumo Burger, I chose to turn the dial back down from 11, to a more suitable level and only attempt the Sumo Burger. Alex was very tempted to join me. Also tempting was the All You Can Eat Fish Fry special.

Jason and Wade chose to not reattempt the Sumo after their own painful experience from last year. Dan had to work late and the inclement weather prevented him from joining us.

Once was enough. Can I blame that one meal for the 15 pounds I've put on since then? Oh, and I can't believe Al let wadE get away with a phrase like "chose to not reattempt..."

It's a perfectly cromulent phrase.

To scale back last year’s blow-by-blow reexamination of the grueling battle with the SuperSumo, let's just say we all were a little surprised when the Sumo came out. It seems to have shrunk over the years. What originally was listed as 20 oz. of ground beef looked to be less than a pound. There was no struggle to speak of, and while fulfilling, I didn't even feel full when done. However, this year's T-shirt was actually tasteful, and well worth the price tag ($11 for burger, fries, and shirt).

wadE's meat allegory is down to 89 words this year, down from 470 from last year. Please note that the "less is more" theme does not apply to the rest of the weekend in any way. See 5:45 for evidence on how great Wades think alike.

Afterwards we retired to Jason's parents' house and actually got Jason to watch 30 minutes of the movie Jaws; which has to be a personal record for him. I completely expected him to pee his pants at any given moment. Of course I shouldn't make fun of him too much, next year they might try and force me to watch Goonies.

The next morning we reconvened, sans Dan, at Holiday Park...better known as the simple descriptive name, Par 3. The reason we weren't returning to the fabulous Meadow Greens is that there were not one, but TWO tournaments being played that day at Meadow Greens.

The Par 3 is the place where I played my very first round of golf ever. I was 10. I bet you're all glad to know that about me.

"I'll take Alex's Personal History for $400... um... Alex."

The sign just says it all

After a wonderful morning of swatting mosquitoes, biting flies, and golf balls golf we met up with Dan at Wade's parents' house for the obligatory BBQ before Home Run Derby.

You forgot to mention the fact that there was no truly dry ground anywhere on the course. My first shot plugged in the ground about 10 yards short of the green, and it took me 10 minutes to find the damn thing. If I recall correctly, Jason beat me by a stroke in the end, and then it was wadE, and Wade rounding out the scoring.

I suck at golf in any weather.

In a miraculous display of restraint, Wade's mom only had enough food for a dozen people instead of the usual 50 people. It looks like we won't have a reoccurrence of last year's bloat factor.

I think I hurt her feelings when I asked for the meal to be scaled back a couple of notches this year. However, after I showed her a picture of Al from last year's crawl, she needed no more convincing.

No garlic bread left on the grill this year...

According to our t-shirts, Wade is a big Dogs fan, Al likes the D-Rays, wadE drinks Coke, and Jason and Dan have logos too small to read.

I'm sure Jason's is advertising tuna in some fashion.

After a tasty meal it is off to Home Run Derby...but yet again our plans are foiled. There are actually people at Sherman Park! (also known as Skunk Hollow to long time Austin inhabitants) Not to be denied we drive to the south part of down and find a field in the area known as the "Bustad addition".

Skunk Hollow? Never heard that one before.

wadE's turning into Abe Simpson. "So I got a ferry ticket to Morganville, which was what we called Shelbyville at that time..."

When we arrived it appeared that there was a large group of kids playing basketball on the courts that are just beyond left field...upon closer inspection it turned out to be about half kids, and half hispanic men playing basketball in 88 degree weather while wearing long sleeved shirts and jeans.

88 in Minnesota is a lot cooler than 115 and humid in Mexico City.

With the basketball courts easily within striking distance we decided to go ahead and play, and if a ball headed towards them, we'd yell "head's up" or "dios mio"!

Ay, mi cabeza!

Fortunately for all involved any home runs that landed on the court missed hitting someone. The closest was at least 15 feet from the nearest person. After a couple of rounds Alex and Jason tied with 7.

wadE sure was happy that he didn't hit an Hispanic man with a softball. Really, though, I was concerned that we were going to brain someone (cabeza someone?) Probably most concerned because I was playing left field and would likely be the first one to get knifed. Can I say that?

Jason and I also both came seriously close to knocking a homerun off the port-a-john, which is appropriate for the two of us.

Now that we were all sweaty and tired, it was time to clean up and rest up to head out on the town.

Which is probably the biggest reason why we stand out from the rest of the bar inhabitants on the crawl. (The cleaning up part, that is.)

5:34 - We are underway on the Bar Crawl. Wade's parents were kind/foolish enough to let us borrow their minivan yet again and just like last year the far back seats are not in, so one of us will be sitting on the floor at any given time. We actually would have been underway about 15 minutes earlier but it took me that long to find a small flip notebook to use. The new Sterling Drug (which is the old Elden's IGA, which is the old something else, but all of which lived in the Sterling Shopping Center)
("I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time"), is horribly confusing. It's part supermarket, part knick-knack store, part drug store, and part craft store. So notebooks aren't with the rest of the stationary and paper. They are in their own section that is in the supermarket portion of the store.
Many of us in the van were concerned that you had slipped on a wet floor and thrown out your back, and might not be found until next Tuesday. If you hadn't come out soon we might have sent a search party. Then again, we might have left without you.
Anyway, we are on our way to the Mapleview Lounge. Changes from last year: 1) No Torge's... why? Because it was dead, because it doesn't fit in with the other bars, and a pitcher cost us nine bucks. 2) No pitchers!... why? Because pitchers led to more than a beer at a single establishment which lead to very bad things at the end of the night when you've racked up about 33% more beers than you intended to drink. Wade and I grew up being taught by our mothers that you should always take the best deal. While a pitcher is a better liquor value, it is sometimes better to get what you really want vs. what makes the best economic sense; which we all learned the hard way last year.

5:35 - We spot what appears to be one of Jason's old cars, affectionately referred to as "The Turd", or more formally, "The Brown Turd". Jason lets us know that it can't be "The Turd" because he sold it for $35 when he lived in Illinois.

We also referred to that car as "Danny Bell." It was big and brown and smelled odd and didn't run very well, so it seemed like a perfect fit. No word on whether Jason's car played the tuba or not.

Or whether or not it dressed up as McBunny for Easter.

5:35 - Mr. Big on the radio... there is much singing.


5:40 - Arrive at Mapleview Lounge. Just as dank as ever.

5:43 - 5 pints of beer, $10. A little more pricey than last years 6 beers for $6.10. But that wasn't refrigerated pint glasses, that was smaller room temperature glasses. Still quality liquor value! As the bartender is filling each pint, she accidentally pours some beer on her hand. Without taking her eyes off the pouring she reaches to the side and somewhat behind her and absently flicks her hand to get rid of the excess beer on it... unfortunately, she flicks it all right on me. Fortunately this probably won't be the last time beer ends up on my shirt this evening.

Call me crazy, but I don't mind starting out at the lounge. Quiet, cool... Plus it's the sense of excitement and optimism, kinda what the afternoon of Christmas Eve represented to me growing up. Just replace opening presents with binge drinking.

5:44 - Wade asks no one in particular, "Do you guys want Steve's Meat Stick?". There is a small sign advertising "Steve's Meat Stick - $1.00"

5:45 - Jason: "It's all about moderation..." in referring to eating too much before starting the crawl. We all find the statement somewhat ironic since we are embarking on a bar crawl that will have us visit 15 bars and drink more than 15 drinks when it's all said and done.

5:46 - I notice that our pints say "Diana - LuAnn - Merry" on them, for no apparent reason.

I remember being the one who noticed that... but as we'll see later, my memory of the evening may be a bit murky.

One beer and I'm already acting like an idiot...

5:59 - Out the door and on our way to the next establishment. In the car Jason gets upset with Wade for turning the radio while an ABBA song is on.

How dare he turn Dancing Queen!!!
I like the fact that we're clearly on the Interstate there.
At least it's after the first bar instead of the sixth.

6:00 - All is forgiven when John Garabedian comes on the radio welcoming us to Open House Party! I can't even believe that radio show is still on. How old is John Garabedian? At any rate it gives me fond memories of cruising in Austin listening to his show play hits from great artists like Color Me Badd... oy!

Ahh, Open House Party. John Garabedian ushered me through most of my teenage Saturday nights. If it weren't for that show, I'd bet that "Baby Baby" by Amy Grant, "Rush Rush" by Paula Abdul, and "More Than Words" by Extreme wouldn't be permanently burned into my brain. And, yes, I hope I got you singing at least one of those songs right now.

6:05 - Looks like rain as we arrive at the Twister Lounge (presented by Echo Lanes)... and there are actually some cars in the parking lot for once! And people bowling! 5 beers in frosty mugs, $5.

What with the inclement weather, and the memory of last night's super kill storm fresh in his mind, Jason toasts this round to "Not Dying at Danny's". And while none of us died at Danny's, as you'll soon see I did my damndest to die while wearing a Danny's hat.

I must admit, this was easily the best-tasting beer of the night.

6:10 - Jason being dumb.

6:15 - A kid walks in wearing an Austin High School '04 signature shirt (basically inside the numbers 0 and 4 on the T-shirt they put everyone's signature... I still have mine from '93... and now we feel incredibly old).

That sign looks worse every year.

6:21 - It's officially raining... I suppose our run of good weather couldn't have lasted...especially this year when it rained all but 3 days in June. Wade says, "This'll blow over." Hopefully he hasn't sealed our doom. We arrive at Danny's...who has remodeled the outside of his bar?!? It has new vinyl siding on it, and a new sign!
However it is still Danny's... to keep the water from coming in the front door there is a layer of sandbags outside the front door that you have to hop over to get inside. One word, "Classy!"

We should also mention the new tablecloths on the picnic tables... inside the bar.

Yeah, wouldn't want any water to get inside on that shit-stained
rotting carpet that's duct taped to the floor

6:27 - 5 beers all in slightly differing frozen glasses, $10. We decide to slowly drink our beers and ride out the rain, so we start to explore the area that I've described in the past as "someone's basement". We find a series of picture collages featuring what appear to be Danny’s regulars. Several strippers... one male stripper is spotted, and also what appears to be the oldest stripper ever.

All of these things are not like the others... c'mon you know the song!

6:37 - We settle in and watch Wheel Of Fortune Seattle with the bartender (yet again, it's a woman...no Danny). We are currently under a severe t-storm warning...and Wheel Of Fortune is brought to us by Zatarain's. Anyone ever heard of Zatarain's before?

Zatarain's invites you to "Jazz Up Dinner Tonight!". Of the things I've found on this site, there are several things that concern me. I can't decide which of Zatarain's Root Beer Extract, Zatarain's Fine Cut Chow Chow, Zatarain's Crab and Shrimp Boil - Liquid Concentrate, or Zatarain's Mossy Oak Creole Seasoning Gone Wild disturbs me the most. It's probably a dead heat.

If I remember, I guessed the Wheel of Fortune puzzle first, and fairly early on. This gift is genetic, my Grandma could whup anyone on that show. (I may just be making that up though.) (The first sentence, not the second one.) (Nevermind.)

6:41 - A John Kerry commercial comes on and Al coins his now famous bumper sticker idea, "John Kerry - Because I Have To"

I'd vote for four years of President Pauly Shore if I had to at this point, folks. "It's President Wee- ... ... sal, buddy!"

Oooh. Could Brendan Fraser be his running mate?

6:42 - Jason strikes up a conversation with the bartender her asking if Danny's is ever busy. She says sometimes it is, but not often. Sometimes she'll close up before 11 if no one is there. Jason asks if she ever drinks while working, she says that she'll sometimes start at 8:30 or 9:00. Considering the first time we showed up it was about 6:00 and Danny was pouring himself glasses of whiskey right from the bottle, I don't think he minds his employees drinking on the job. We then get confirmation from her of the long suspected belief, Danny does in fact live in the back of the bar.


6:49 - Alex makes a decision that will change his life forever...he decides to buy a Danny's foamy meshback hat. Now Danny isn't riding the Ashton Kutcher wave of bringing the foamy meshback into style... the bartender actually had to shake the dust off the hat before giving it to Alex.

I'd like to quote myself from the 2003 bar crawl, if I could.
"I really wanted to buy a green Danny's foamy meshback hat. Thankfully, sanity prevailed."
Obviously, sanity did not prevail this year. Sanity had very little to do with this year's crawl, in fact. I think the main selling point this year was the price. I recall it last year as being somewhere near $20, but this year... a mere six bucks! Depreciation's a bitch. It's a good thing I got this one before the model year 2005 Danny's hats came out.

And let me tell you, this hat... stank! Still does, actually. I smelled the thing the next day (of course I didn't notice anything the night of the bar crawl, c'mon) and it just about made me barf. So I left it under a pile of sweaty clothes at home for three weeks, and that kinda negated the original stench. Hey, at least it looks good.

I can't tell if he's being serious about that last sentence or not.

Jason models the proper way to wear a foamy meshback.
OR... Jason doing an impression of what he'll look like in 60 years.

6:52 - Our beers are empty and the rain is slowing...time to leave. As we leave I say, "This place has to be a front for Danny making Meth." It just has to be... there is never anyone there and he just put new siding on and bought a new sign. Of course if he lives there as well as works there, that really cuts his expenses down. So who knows. All I know is I would love to be there sometime when the place is full of Danny's regulars who are in those collages.

Call me cynical, wadE, but I'm pretty sure none of the Danny's regulars are going to collage. Sheesh.

That Meth money will sure buy you some nice siding!
Compare to last year.

6:53 - Wade says he still feels ok to drive. Alex says "don't worry, the blood alcohol limit in Austin is fourteen." Jason says, "Yeah, not point fourteen, just fourteen."

We both were serious.

6:54 - Arrive at B&J. 5 Primos, $5. New seating at the B&J, very nice hightop tables. Again, the nicest real bar in all of Austin. Again, no sign of either of my uncles. Someday we'll run into them there.

6:55 - Al says, "I'm a little worried there's a parasite in this hat".

That would explain SO much of what's happened to me since the moment I put that thing on.

Al closes his eyes, plugs his nose, and chugs a Primo

6:56 - Dan says, "This beer tastes like soup". Which is fair...after drinking Coors Light, Bud Light, and Miller Lite, switching over to a real beer like Primo is a bit of a gearshift.

A... "real beer"...? Primo? I know you're a fan, wadE, but c'mon.

7:00 - Jason asks, "Are we the loud assholes who come into a bar?" As we get the stink-eye from a couple regulars who are sitting at the bar.

If you know Jason, you know that the "we" in that sentence is misdirected.

7:05 - While chatting with the waitress about our bar crawl we find out that since last year the Alaskan had reopened as something else...but has since shut down once again. Probably for the best. It'll take years for the stench of all of those stuffed and mounted animal heads to leave that place.

Our waitron was really chatty at the B&J. She seemed pretty interested in our planned exploits.

She's a former employee of the Austin Auto Truck Plaza / Watts Cookin'. The force is strong with her.

Still raining...

7:13 - Smitty's.... wait, Smitty's has a fishtank behind the bar? How did I not notice this in the past few years? Smitty is eating quietly at the bar...seeming quite sober...or catatonic. 5 beers = $7.50. Off sale sign says that a 6 pack of Bud/MGD/Miller is $7.50... not outstanding liquor value.

That's how Smitty goes fishin' these days. He's got a pocket fisherman.

7:18 - We realize that Smitty is sitting at the bar eating, and watching the TV Guide Channel.

7:25 - Jason breaks out the "rockin' and rollin' with your mom" jokes.

7:27 - Jason has never seen "The Littles" cartoon, but knows everything about "The Land Of The Lost"...and won't shut up about Sleestacks. Jason then comments that Smitty must have sold his soul to Milhouse.

7:28 - Smitty says as we leave, "Have a good night boys"... he sounds drunk...or he just had a stroke. It really could be either. Regardless it was a sad and quiet visit to Smitty's.

I'm not sure if it was the rain or the sober Smitty, but I left that place feeling pretty depressed.

Just not the same without a drunken old man in the picture...

7:32 - Arrive at the East Side bars. We are leaving the minivan behind and Wade's parents will be picking it up. Enter Lefty's. 5 beers = $6.25

7:35 - The table we sit at is cracked on top and collapsing. Would you really expect anything less in Austin?

AND... no freaking band. I'm ticked. Five years ago no fewer than four bars featured live music every Friday and Saturday night in town. Now the best you can get is karaoke (see below.) What in the name of Chad Apold is going on in the town of the Gear Daddies? I want answers! (Although, everyone else is probably happy to not have to listen to Jason and me critique whoever is playing...)

7:36 - Woman at bar is calling the Windrift Lounge to find out what it used to be called to settle a bet. Turns out it has always been called the Windrift...the woman is not happy to lose the bet.

7:40 - Lefty's is pretty quiet. We ponder returning to Danny's and propositioning the bartender. (I think it's official...we're drunk)

"Propositioning" was not the word that Jason used. Then again, I don't think you can print the word he used. :)

7:41-7:54 - We discuss relationships.

One of the funnier conversations we've had in a long time. And again, completely unprintable.

Some people would call that overcompensation...
Would you like a free ticket to the gun show!!??! Wait...

7:55 - Arrive Charley's Lounge... this year's happy hour crock pot has wieners in it...of all different kinds. Some look like hot dogs, some look like small bratwurst, some are speckled, some are solid in color. All of them are disgusting. So in the past 4 years we've had fish, BBQ mini hotdogs, some indescribable hot dish, and now reg. wieners in the happy hour crockpot. 5 beers = $5

7:59 - After briefly separating to buy the beer/go to the bathroom/grab out usual spot in Charley's, Jason mistakes Alex in his Danny's foamy meshback for an Austin regular. Alex should be insulted.

8:05 - Jason attempts two very pitiful backspins on Charley's floor. I again suggest he burns his shirt.

I give you Exhibit A...

...and Exhibit B.

8:15 - Arrive at the Hiawatha Bar. We are the youngest people in the bar by 20+ years. As usual Dan heads straight to the pull-tabs (wins $115, but spent $80), the rest of us head to the Naked Lady Photo Hunt game. Even with four of us playing together we don't even crack the top ten. Which is probably a good thing.

What's not a good thing is that I recognized several of the photographs from previous years. When is Naked Lady Hunt '05 gonna come out?

And will they have a Naked Lady Hunt '05 Tournament like they do for Golden Tee? I'd like to see wadE be against that...

Some of you may be wondering who took this picture. It's a mystery, isn't it?

8:35 - On our way to Bobee Jo's, a group of girls walks inside in front of us, one of them grabbing at her boob saying, "I'm saggin'!!!". We'll find out later that this girl's name is Nicole.

I missed this. I vaguely remember Jason riding "piggyback" on me, but that may be from a prior pub crawl.

8:39 - It's Karaoke night at Bobee Jo's (there seems to be a complete lack of live music tonight in Austin). We grab the book. Oddly enough there is a listing for "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" and "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay". Apparently two completely different songs...yet by the same artist.

8:40 - Three bridesmaids and a girl in sweatshorts and a halter-top come in. I suddenly realize that Bobee Jo's has installed disco lights, and they are on full blast.

Seriously, was I there? Was I speaking in tongues or anything? Maybe my eyes took a while to adjust to the light. And anyway, how did you know these girls were bridesmaids?

Well Wade, I guess I figured out they were bridesmaids when they walked in wearing 3 identical Periwinkle colored dresses. There is no mistaking a bridesmaid dress...the right mix of plain looking but obnoxiously colored dress that will allow a woman to never ever wear it again. Makes me very glad I'm a guy. So to answer you question... yes you were there, and I'm glad you were no longer driving.

8:41 - Dan purchases 5 beers ($7.50) and 5 Jell-O shots ($5). Never a good idea. These won't be the only Jell-O shots consumed at Bobee Jo's.

8:42 - Jason chokes on his Jell-O shot.

Hilarious, really. You'd think the guy had never sucked a Jell-O shot before. Wait, did I say that out loud?

Give him a break, he went to a state school in Wisconsin. Although you'd think that would make him a better drinker than us.

8:43 - We all start flirting with the 40+ year old waitress. Motch mentions that she smells like stripper.

8:44 - We notice that the karaoke book has as many Bon Jovi songs as Weird Al Yankovic songs (1). Dead or Alive vs. Eat It.

8:45 - One of the bridesmaids and the girl in the halter top attempt to sing a Kid Rock song. Jason heckles, "Sing it sister!!!" The bridesmaid is not very good...in fact she's quite bad. The halter-top girl is actually quite good.

"Good" is relative. (See my final comment from 7:35.)

8:46 - Someone writes in my diary, "She's not good looking, but she can sing."

8:47 - Guy with "Beer is my life" T-shirt walks in.

It'd have been funnier if it said "Beer Life My Is". ... and if the shirt yelled "Matlock!" and gave everyone the finger.

8:50 - Next year I'm going to document the price of hats at each bar.
Danny's - $6
Lefty's - $15
Bobee Jo's - $10

8:51 - Nicole (saggin' boob girl) sings Sweet Home Alabama...the karaoke DJ cranks up the smoke machine. Either her mic isn't turned up to cover the vocals on the song, or she sounds like a man.

At some point she and some random guy sang the Peabo Bryson/Imelda Marcos duet "Somewhere Out There", a song that I inexplicably think of every time I hear Our Lady Peace's song "Somewhere Out There", even though the two songs sound nothing alike. Yes, I know it's actually a Linda Ronstadt/James Ingram duet, I just happen to like my initial thought better. And yes, in fact, I am quite drunk at this point.

During the crawl, or while writing that?

8:55 - Danny Stefani sighting!!!... oh wait... it's actually just a wanna-be trying to steal Danny's look. Which is sad on so many levels.

We knew he was faux Stephani (Splenda Stephani?) when we dropped a quarter by him and he didn't hit the deck trying to find it. Mean, perhaps. But this is the same guy who asked Sara what she was doing with two losers (Jason and me) at Spanky's several years back.

8:56 - I'm off to the bathroom someone else takes over. Wang chung sings "Candle In The Wind". Dan asks "is this his coming-out party?" and remarks that he is a little "Gary without the 'R'."

That guy was bad. But he was putting his all into it.

8:58 - Jason does an impression of a rodeo roper attempting to order another round from the MILF waitress

At least he didn't say "individuals."

9:05 - Our waitress tells us she just made $200 bucks so she can get her brakes done. I'm not sure if she made that all in one night, or she just reached that plateau this evening. Either way, more than one of us thinks about asking if she needs a little extra cash for an oil change.
While this is all going on, a guy is singing some reggae-sounding tune called "Piece Of Shit Car". He's brining down the house.
While heading to the back for the bathroom, I noticed that Bobee Jo's has a security camera at their back door. $100 says it isn't connected to anything.
Songs have been picked in my absence, we are waiting to sing.

Weeks later I've found out that "Piece Of Shit Car" is an Adam Sandler song. I'm quite happy I did not know that.

9:10 - Some bleach blonde dude sings Jack and Diane... just awful. Jason dubs him, "Tool-o-rama"

9:15 - Jason says to Alex, "Al, I would have sex with you wearing that hat." I believe Jason is "in his prime." Although I'm unclear in this scenario who is wearing that hat. Alex or Jason?

Does it really matter?

9:16 - Drum Solo!!! (Jack and Diane) Wade says, "I could do that and I ain't got rhythm." Dan asks Jason to "kick him in the balls" because karaoke is so bad.

I didn't know if he wanted Jason to kick the singer in the balls, or for Jason to kick him in the balls.

9:18 - A guy who looks like Mike Holmgren brings the tray of Jell-O shots to the table for us to buy. Jason says, "shouldn't you be wearing a tube top?" I yell, "Show me your tits!" Jason has finished his beer while Dan was in the bathroom so he steals half of Dan's beer. Jason then says, "What?... We're all gonna make out later at some point anyways... right?"

9:25 - MILF waitress sings some random country song. Not bad...not bad at all. And the singing was good too. (yes, the beer is talking)

9:30 - Jason and Wade are up to sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", joined shortly by Alex for support. Jason swings his mic and hits Wade in the crotch, he then sings to Wade's crotch. Then "sings" the guitar solo. High comedy! Meanwhile, at the table, more Jell-O shots are ordered by Dan.

(shaking head)

I can't resist the high harmony line in Every Rose... it sucks me in like... like... Jason sucking down a Jell-O shot. Umm... or something.

And Iiiiiiiiiiiiiii will always love youuuuuuuuu ohhhhhhhhh!

9:35 - Alex and I sing "Wanted Dead Or Alive". We have no idea how we sound because you can't hear anything when you are up there. They might want to consider getting a monitor. But hey... I'm the only one who hasn't been in a band, what do I know!

No, no, wadE, you were great. Reminded me of when you used to sing "Rape Me" for Plack.

I could hear myself, but that was about it. From the sounds of it, I was the only one in the house who could hear me.

I especially like the neon around the ceiling fan.

9:45 - We start the walk downtown. The rain has mercifully ceased.

For some reason, Jason and I decide to go into full sprint. I lost. Daah. I could take him in a 5K.

9:50 - Jason pees in the Ohman's yard. (doubt they'll ever read this) I was writing in the dark and apparently wrote "J - the only things better than straight nachos... party nachos" Maybe you just had to be there...

We were getting hungry and were discussing eats options. One offered forth was the portable food trailer outside "Knife Fighters," the..er, an Hispanic bar downtown. I asked about Fiesta Nachos, which Jason translated into "Party Nachos," and hilarity ensued. Okay, maybe you did have to be there.

I believe Wade is referring to El Palacio De Cumbia, which we have never been to since they have a cover charge.

10:10 - Arrive Park Plaza... wow... this place really really sucks. And considering the places we've been to already, that's saying something. We leave without getting a drink. Time for late night snack. Fortunately (or unfortunately) in the past year Hardees' has closed their original Austin location. ("...and back then nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Five bees for a quarter, you'd say...") I suppose with the high school moving to a closed campus they weren't raking in the profits like they once had. And with Taco Bell leaving town, that leaves Taco John's (I'm still in shock that Taco John's beat out Taco Bell...although in my opinion Taco John's is the better of the two...but again, that isn't saying much).

I actually saw two sober people in Taco John's. You never would have seen that in T-Bell after 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday. (And relax, the sober people were not the people behind the counter.)

10:40 - Refreshed and ready for some hot downtown action, we hit The Bakery, which is extremely packed. Someone has written what looks to be "Pegla Pean on tap" in my notebook, no idea what that means. 5 Black Velvet and cokes = $15. We settle in the back of the bar and take some time to soak in the Austin crowd. This all makes us feel much better about ourselves in the same way that watching an episode of Jerry Springer does.

A Google search for "Pegla Pean" turns up nothing, in case you were wondering.

We're now guessing that Dan was attempting to write "Pigs Eye Lean". But the world will never know...

10:50 - Alex has taken a liking to one of the bartenders. She is cute...who would think that Alex and I would agree on a girl. She is also one of maybe 3 good looking women in the place. Angie?

I think her name was Jody (or Jodi, depending on the vagaries of name spelling). And for the record, that brings our total of cute agreeance to Franka Potente, and a bartender from Austin. wadE and I don't agree on much.

My vote is Jodii, with small hearts dotting the i's.

11:00 - Arrive at Rube's... er, Tropical Nites, umm... Paradise Island, or whatever it's now called. As usually, it's a pretty sad scene. The diary seems to be pretty sporadic at this point (about as sporadic as my memory is). 5 drinks = $17.50

11:05 - I don't make the same mistake last year of sitting anywhere near the stage (and the strippers in the place aren't about to tempt me in the least), so we find a quiet spot near the front entrance where an older stripper is sitting and flirting with an old man. The scene is sad on so many levels, not the least of which is that the stripper has a huge burn scar on her leg.

11:08 - Alex has to go to the bathroom and decides to head back to the Bakery. Wade decides to risk Rube's bathroom. When he comes back he says Alex made the right decision.

Hey, I may be a drunken idiot, but sometimes I make wise choices.

I've been in worse bathrooms, but not many. I'm not even sure I would have peed in the sink in that place.

In the great Austin tradition, it'll always be "Hey Rube's" to me!

11:15 - Make our way over to The Brown Derby. We've skipped over Margaritaville, er, "The Ville" (more on that later), because we want to save it for last. I'm not even sure Wade and Jason go to the Derby, if so, they walked in, walked out, and went to Thirsty's. We'll meet up with them later. 3 drinks = $10.50 Dan, Alex, and I are accosted by this guy who looks like a skater dude and his very slutty looking companion. He asks us if we're from around here. Well, sort of, we were born here. So he explains that him and his woman have bought the Derby and are looking to make it a higher class place. I neglect to tell him that at this point in Austin The Brown Derby IS the high-class place. They should be careful not to class themselves out of the market. Anyway, he gives us his card. The new name: Showgirl Saloon. His woman used to strip (which isn't surprising by looking at her), but she'll be running the place. At least now I know how they got enough money to buy the place. She wasn't hot, but as far as Austin stripper standards, she was in the 90th percentile.

We didn't go in to the Derby/Saloon/festering pit. I'm not convinced the STDs in that place aren't developed enough to jump off the walls and land on you.

Is it sad that both wadE and I saved this to scan in for the article?

And hold on a minute... "for booking"? "This year's Hormel Employees Banquet will be held at... ... Showgirl Saloon? Am I reading that right? Bob?" Or does that mean in the event that you are "talent" and want to be "booked", as they say...

Booked. Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

11:20 - Dan is intrigued by the dancer on stage and moves in for a seat on sniffer's row. I join him to get away from the chatty new owners and some old drunken guy who starts talking to Alex.

Lord. He comes up to me and says "Danny's! What's that?!". I tried to explain to him where it was, and he knew where Trimble's was (which is practically across the street!), but he didn't know Danny's. Hopefully I drummed up some business in that hat.

11:25 - I think Dan is slightly bitter that he's thrown down a couple of 5's and hasn't got much in return for it. I tossed down a couple of singles and got smacked in the face with a boob. At this point we're pretty much just chatting with the stripper because we are the only ones in the place who are sitting up front. She seems nice... fairly dumb, but I suppose that goes without saying. She is cute, but not really stripper material.

This is where I broke off from the group, more or less. I went over to Thirsty's and had a drink with Wade and Jason. I have a fuzzy memory of Jason doing a shot of something, but at the same time it could've also been some completely random dude. I have no idea, really. Skater Dude and The Chick from The Derby approach me, then realize that they've just talked to me ten minutes ago, and leave me alone.

I finish my drink, and decide to find wadE and Dan. I either miraculously miss them in transit back to the Derby, or fail to see them inside, at which point I realize that it's time to pee for the 143rd time in the night. Deciding yet again to decline the lavatory services of a strip joint, I head back to the Bakery, my Downtown Pee Spot. Naturally, I spy the cute bartender, and decide that further motion is for chumps. Especially since she's cute, and she'll provide me with beer in exchange for this green paper stuff that I seem to have. I know, I know, I'm a genius. Back to wadE's recap, where this'll all fit-in in a second...

11:30 - Her set is over, and Dan and I move next door to find Jason and Wade at Thirsty's. Wade and Jason are sitting with some drunk guy (doesn't everyone in downtown Austin qualify as "some drunk guy") who won't shut up. As soon as I sit down and order a drink ($2.75), Wade and Jason tell me they can't take this guy anymore and are busting a move for the exit. Fortunately for me, when they get up, he zeroes in on Dan. I slam my drink back and tell Dan that I'm making a move as well, so slam your drink and meet me outside.

The drunk guy cornered Jason and was talking to him about how Jason was trying to come into the bar and take away all of the hot (ahem) women. This apparently evolved into a stumbling metaphor about old bulls and new bulls. Ask Jason to tell you about it sometime.

11:40 - Everything goes according to plan and we find ourselves at Margaritaville...wait, I mean "The Ville". It seems that Jimmy Buffet spends his spare time going around the country and suing bars and restaurants that use the name "Margaritaville." Apparently our favorite local establishment was discovered, and forced to change their name. I officially hate Jimmy Buffet. I'm sure a crummy little bar in Austin MN was really cutting in on his profits. On the other hand, if he actually saw Margaritaville, it's understandable that he wouldn't want the place associated with him or his song.
Anyway, it gets worse. We enter The Ville and something horrible has happened. All of the tables and booths have been ripped out. Even our beloved thatch booth is gone. The thatch is still there, but under it is some crappy DJ who is playing music which no one is dancing to. As opposed to last year when the place was packed, there are about 7 people in the place. It also explains why the Bakery was even busier than usual. Dan decides the place is dank, and heads out to find Alex. Wade and Jason start playing a pinball machine they find by the front door.

The pinball machine was based on Lethal Weapon 3. Which spawned a whole host of "I'm gettin' too old for this shit" and "Am I a clown to you" jokes. (And I know that last one is actually from Good Fellas-- just because I don't watch hobbit movies doesn't mean I'm completely out of it.)

11:51 - An older black woman walks in and I recognize her as a friend of the bartender from the Bakery that Alex had a shine for. So I start chatting with her to get some information.

11:55 - We head back to the Bakery where we find Alex and Dan...not sitting together. They probably haven't even realized that they are in the same bar. I belly up next to Dan at the bar while Jason and Wade go find the jukebox.

Like bees to honey. Have you seen these new jukeboxes? You can play songs from entire CDs, they have touchscreens, video graphics... And this one had an evil feature, for another quarter you could make the song you chose play next, regardless of how long the queue was. I splurged for this on "Alcohol" by Barenaked Ladies. It seemed too appropriate to not do.

We were rather tame with the music this year, no Motley Crue or Neil Diamond.

Can you smell what The Wade is cookin'!?!?!

12:00 - I start calling the bartender by name, which totally freaks her out because she has no idea who I am or how I know who she is. I buy her and Alex and drink and tell her to take it down to the brooding young man at the end of the bar and say hello.

12:15 - Some older drunk guy across the bar stars yelling at me to come over. I head to the other side and he says to me. "Hey.... I know you and your friends are making fun of me.... I ain't stupid.... I ain't dumb... I know you're making fun of me...." I calmly explain that I don't know who he is, and we certainly weren't making fun of him, we were making fun of the bartender, and he must have mistaken that for making fun of him. My first mistake was trying to reason with a drunk man in Austin. "Hey! I ain't dumb... I ain't stupid!" This is the beginning of a 5-minute tirade where the guy says in various ways, "I know you and your friends are making fun of me.... I ain't stupid.... I ain't dumb!" After a few minutes his buddy steps in and says, "Hey man, I know you weren't making fun of him... he's just drunk, don't worry about it. It's cool. No need to kick his ass. And if he tries to start something, I'll kick his ass."

At some point in this general vicinity, I realize that everyone has come back to the Bakery. Shortly thereafter, a completely random girl (not the bartender), approaches me and tries to pick me up. I say "Dear God, no!", in perhaps those exact words, and she leaves. Fun times. I realize that I have gone beyond extremely drunk, and am hanging out somewhere in the neighborhood of "abbislutely fitshaced".

Jason and I spent this time period leaning against the fake wood-paneled wall and soaking it all in. The scene, I mean, not the booze. Although we soaked that in too.

12:20 - I let Wade and Jason know what is up...esp. since drunk guy starts talking to other people and points me out to them. Jason says he talked to drunk guys buddy earlier in the night and he's cool. Either way, they'll watch my back.

Don't worry, we're your guardian angels. Jason has his brown belt, and I've got my cutting wit. And, as we have proven before, we're able to run after drinking.

12:25 - I continue to harass the bartender trying to see if she's interested in Alex, and generally just give her a hard time because I won't tell her how I know who she is and all this info about her (which I've completely forgotten at this point...but I think her name was Angie).

12:30 - I vaguely recall getting up and walking around for a bit. I have written down, "Punched in the junk by Dan. Alex... still missing." I don't remember when Alex went missing, but I do know we couldn't find him for about 45 minutes.

This timeline has become amusing, because at this point I've probably been in the Bakery for an hour, and you guys have been there for half an hour. Whee! At any rate, it's right around here that I realize that the cute bartender is standing next to me and saying "Hey, so what's your name anyway?". My first two attempts to pronounce my name come out something like "Abbilebsssk". After a brief moment of panic that I may be speaking in tongues, I pull it together and state my name. Despite this, and despite the fact that I'm a shitfaced jackass wearing a Danny's foamy meshback, we have a short conversation, and then she understandably leaves. There's a lesson to be learned about moderation, here, because she may have been interested, but I was in no condition to be charming. There's also a lesson to be learned here about getting shitfaced, because no matter how cute, I'm not sure I'm really interested in a bartender from Austin. So say it with me, folks:

"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!"

1:18 - Dan and I are kicked out of the Bakery. We finally find Alex. He says he's gonna wait around for a bit. Dan and I are wiped out, we make the walk back to my parents house. We also haven't seen Wade and Jason for about 30 minutes.

As we're waiting for the rest of the jackholes to make it out of the bar, two girls (probably 14ish) emerge from a building, and ask if we would mind walking them back to their parents' place five blocks away. My newfound paternal instinct kicks in. In my stupidity, I remember this thought: if Sophie were ever out at 1 a.m. and needed to walk through a place like downtown Austin to get home, I'd appreciate someone accompanying her to ensure her safety.

Sobriety and time have led me to think, though, about what my reaction would be when I'd look out the window and see my teenage daughter with a drunken 27-year-old stumbling up the sidewalk. Probably not good. Anyway, the girls smoked and had cell phones, they're headed for trouble anyway.

On the way back it somehow made sense for Jason to go sit in the entryway of one of the new old folks' buildings downtown. I have no idea why this seemed logical.

Waiting for the bus.

1:30 - Arrive home. Instantly pass out.

I think it was at about this time that I left downtown. I ambled from downtown to wadE's street corner, where I stood around for a while. I was lucid enough to know that things would be very bad if I passed out right then. So I walked back downtown, bought a Coke from a vending machine at Midtown Auto (I think), and walked back to wadE's. On the way back, I ran into Wade, randomly, who was walking home. He was still trashed, because the next morning he reported seeing me without the giant red Danny's hat that was still sitting on my head. Finally, at probably close to 2:30 or 3, I walked home and passed out. No puking, though. In hindsight, I wished I would have.

I could swear he wasn't wearing the hat. Of course, I also remember him wearing a toga and carrying around a framed photo of Sherman Helmsley, so my memory could be a bit suspect.

The next morning isn't pretty. Dan, Jason, Wade, and I are there. No idea what happened to Alex at this point in the day. Everyone except for Wade is in pretty sorry shape. Worst of all is Dan. While we stuck strong to our rule of no pitchers, we totally broke the other rule which is one drink at each establishment. If we had stuck to one drink, it would have averaged out to 1 drink per half-hour, which is completely within tolerance levels.

Mornin' Skippy!

Ohhhh...I shouldn't have had those last seven drinks...

No peetchers ple..*BARF*

Breakfast is eaten in waves. For some reason my mom decided not to break out the large pans for cooking. So she can only make enough eggs for one person at a time. Eventually we all eat, and start to worry about Alex. Finally at noon I call his house and chat with his dad who says that Alex is still sleeping. We think Alex could actually be dead, and he might want to check on him. An hour later I finally hear from Alex, he is alive. We all start to pull ourselves together to make the trip home.

I came back over to wadE's the next morning. I've heard too much about this breakfast feast to miss it yet another year. Although I'm not sure we should try it again next year-- wadE's parents sounded like they were about to start whipping frozen sausages at each other while cooking in the kitchen. At one point I considered asking wadE to go out there to calm them down-- and then realized that was the first time in my life I thought that adding wadE to a situation would actually decrease the tension. :)

"Alive" is a very relative term. I didn't end up eating anything until about 7PM, when I had a sudden craving for Popeye's chicken. See what drinking does to you, kids?

Wow... what a weekend. You'd think after 4 years we'd figure out how to pull these off without serious blowback the next morning. But we're only 1 for 4 in that regard. I'm sure a year from now we'll actually be excited about doing this again, but I'm not sure any of us feel that way right now. There is some discussion about cutting out some of the bars next year and just focusing on the ones that we enjoy the most. That way we can spend more than 20 minutes at one particular place. Maybe make the 5th Annual ABC a "Best Of" event... or would that be "Worst Of"?

Yeah, this sounded like a great idea two days after the crawl, but if we did it again this weekend I'd be all for going all out. My short attention span is a gift sometimes.

Me? I'd be okay with scaling back next year. But ask me that in eleven months and I'll probably answer differently. Eventful or not, pub crawl '04 was good times.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone's parents for allowing us to partake in their households at various points during the weekend. And thanks to Wade, Alex, Jason, and Dan for a great weekend and for making the 4th Annual Austin Bar Crawl a success!

- 07/19/2004

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