Saturday, December 31, 2005

Velvet Rope Deception
Kreblog pretty much nailed the description of the Makers Mark event held at the Element Bar in Manchester. The experience certainly didn't match what I had anticipated. I figured it would be a moment of upscale adultness. Something along the lines of a cool night out akin to those tv commercials of casinos where everyone is dressed up and partying like it was 1999. I shouldn't have been so naive.

The first tipoff came immediately upon entering the bar. The place is small! It clearly was once a shoestore or hobby shop - if you listen careful you can still hear the Lionel trains puttering around their tracks. Somewhere along the line the previous business(es) failed (not hard to imagine given that this is Manch Vegas we're talking about) leading eventually to what is there today. That thought aside, we picked up our complimentary drink coupon for a Makers and ice.

Kreblog has posted before how awesome the whole marketing angle Makers has going for itself. Clearly membership as a Makers Mark Ambassador is to be accepted into an elite club of sophisticated drinkers who care about the ingredients, craftsmanship, history, allure, and pedigree of a quality bourbon. I pondered my Makers and headed toward the VIP lounge, excited to meet the other members of the diplomatic corps. However, as I quickly learned much to my horror, the group included:

Captain Stubing: A gentleman and a thief, except not so gentlemanly when slapping his companion's ass in public.
Bowling League Champs: A tagteam duo of sound and fury. She incredibly drunk; He ready to make off with the big flat screen TV hanging above him.
Billy Connolly: Spitting image of the white hair mulleted Irish comedian. He was trying his best to woo the lassies but only one charmed was the female half of the Bowling League champs.
Ficus Tree Zombies: Zoned duo pushed up against a potted tree. The appearance of the cocktail shrimp released them from their stupor.
Extras from Cocoon: A collection of mature folks - hammered, stuffed on cheese and Wheat Thins, and making off with the prize cigars.
Drunk Girl and Friends: Seeking their revenge from all the times they got junk stolen from their sorority/frat houses during parties - they were gunning for the Makers prize football and would not be easily deterred.

Certainly a motley lot. Where were the people in nice clothes? Where was the crystal glassware, the evening wear, the tasteful jazz, the class???? Was this it??

The velvet rope is the biggest scam around. The mere sight of it suggests exclusivity. You think you're heading in to attend and experience high-brow entertainments. Oh how wrong you are.

I quickly reappraised the situation and concluded that the most appropriate thing to do was belt out a series of loud guttural groans up and out over the seated crowd. The place was a zoo anyway so why not add to the squealing, shrieking, and guffawing. It was sort of necessary in a way - oftentimes members of a country's diplomatic corps behave quite badly when out and about in the host country. They'll hit on the locals, drive drunk, and generally act rude. Clearly as Ambassadors, our collective was engaging in what was expected of us anyway.

While I do enjoy the taste and flavor of Makers, the shots that the "Demo Bunnies" (Kreblog's term) passed around were truly terrible. Waves of nausea coursed through my body upon the first sip of each. And then out came some bourbon soaked cherries whose taste achieved jaw-dropping heights of wretchedness. Were these treats being served up or wayward stool samples missing from the local hospital? Ughh. Extremely hellacious.

At some point, all jokes must come to an end. I can't say I had a bad time. In fact, I had a great time. But I don't think it was the time Makers had intended me to have. Or was it? Perhaps being an Ambassador means they never have to say their sorry.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bad Morning America
Man, the morning network news shows are pure insidiousness. They spare no effort in browbeating you into submission; to accept their worldview or be damned. They're afraid that having woken up, you'll have forgotten the previous day's efforts at thought control. So on comes a steaming cup of news brewed in the starkest terms. The disembodied newscasters remind you with each story that there are people you must accept as Saints and that there are people you must accept as Sinners - lest you forget! Make sure to let the Gallup pollsters know which is which when they come a-callin'.

Soylient Green is made from people - and it's served up with a big toothy Charlie Gibson shit-eating grin.

Expiration Date
In this post, Contagious mentions an interesting aside - the feeling that 30 year-olds get that they're just not cool anymore. I sort of bristle at the notion that the high school/college years were billed as "the best years of my life". I remember hearing this all the time. I mean, yeah sure I had less responsibility back then and had extra time to dwell on all aspects of "being cool" but I also had barely any money, was nauseous and hungover half the time and had little idea what was beyond the campus cocoon. I think 30 is way cooler than any previous age. You have by far more means to be who you want to be and do what you want to do than at any age previous. To me that's the ultimate cool. Those younger guys wearing the foam-and-mesh and pounding PBR like Cristal? Forget it. They're having to mooch rides from their friends and scavenge for insect infested couches left by the curbside on junk day. Thinking those days were cool is just trying to put a fancy coat of polish on times of poverty and Top Ramen.

Village Idiot on Skis
Like Kreblog, I didn't go to work on Friday. I dropped my car off at the dealership for some new tires for the car. Rather than wait in their dull waiting room (leafing through tattered copies of Women's Day and US News & World Report) I snapped in to skis that I brought with me and went cross-country through the snowy streets of Dover. I received at least 10 comments from people I passed who were amazed at my chosen mode of transportation. Seriously, people were transfixed at the sight of me gliding by on sidewalks and such - like I was some wild moose trotting through town.