Friday, January 3, 2014

TDDoC 2013: Day 12 Stats by Gman

Day Twelve Stats and Season Wrap-up

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly 
As I reflect on the this year’s TDDoC I can’t help but think of this old Clint Eastwood western (imagine that whistling sound and tumbleweeds rolling through a near empty town): The Good - On Day One seeing folks I have not seen in about 365 days - The Bordentown Pub Crawl - On Day Four I got to see the B&N crew - On Day Twelve good pizza, Sweet Baby Jesus - The Bartenders: Danielle and Gina (BF), and Courtney (Killarney’s) The Bad - The noises that my stomach makes every night because the acid in my stomach is constantly fighting the wings and beer and losing, fortunately for me, or any uni-kidneyed TDDoCer, the liver is processing the wings and beer. But it is sick of the abuse and every December the liver packs up and heads to Florida for the month. - Those who did not make it out this year. - Bartenders at The Tap Room The Ugly – Pods’ foiled attempt at buying Russ a beer with Russ’ money that turned into embezzlement (gotta like the Princeton Pub Crawl) - Trying to decide where to go that last Monday (Day Eleven) and futilely trying to get Eman to jump on the grenade, only to end up at Houlihan’s (which actually was not that bad)

Day Twelve has arrived. One might think that after the previous eleven days of drinking, storytelling, sleepless nights, headaches in morning, and tummy trouble in the afternoon, and then just to start it all over again in the evening, that these broken souls and busted relationships of the TDDoC would somehow slow this crew down… however, from the moment that we step into Wildflower’s, it was on and poppin’.

Gman and family (the aforementioned “spare parts”) are first to arrive and Gman orders a coke in an attempt to put out last night’s fire that is still smoldering from within. When Eman arrives and notices Gman sipping on soft drinks, he states “What are you doing? You do realize there are no points for that soda. Continue if you must but there will be no points. If you need to put that fire out, put it out with some Sierra Nevada!”. To which Gman sheepishly replies, “I just waiting for everyone, let’s start with the pitchers now.” Drinking begins, and the fire will soon turn into a three-alarm uncontrollable raging inferno.

Pizza arrives… More people arrive… more pitchers arrive… more pizza arrives

However, before the crowd grows too large, Su and Lisa are doing some sort of calculation using logarithms and long division to ensure that the tab gets settled properly. In years past this has been an issue, sticking the last unhappy souls with a fat bill. I am not sure what went into those calculations, but the bill was resolved without anyone having to take out a second mortgage on their home.

Bobo and Nick arrive. Bobo appears to be alternating sons - Ben last year and Nick this year. Bobo orders the tradish sausage, onion and garlic. Mosso orders an Astro Thermal Group favorite: sliced tomatoes and garlic (they used chopped tomatoes but still pretty good).

Reese sends a 12:30 text saying “In car, on way, there will be TROUBLE if I arrive and everyone is gone".

The return of Jamie Scugi… score… once the future of the franchise but she has since moved away and only home to see the parents for the holiday.

Corry and Michelle Paige make it to their first Day 12 luncheon.

After the $500 plus tab was settled there was nostalgic attempt to shift the party to Shop Rite Liquors on the other side of the circle. TDDoC veterans and historians know that the Pennington Circle Shop Rite Liquors was one of the TDDoC inaugural year locales (way) back in 1997. The TTDoC has not returned to Shop Rite since then, not because it sucks, simply because we have not. Well we still have not because those attempts came up empty as the duties of Xmas were too heavy. Or perhaps, the TDDoCer’s are actually getting tired of drinking -- nah, that can’t be it.


2013 Purple Moose Award (PMA) - Eman, Gman, Goettle, Reese, Ska, Tamp, and Yo. This coveted award goes out the TDDoCer’s that made it out to all 12 days. The winners get their names etched in super-secret invisible ink on the sacred chalice only decipherable by Tajny Komitet.

2013 Rookie of the Year (RotY) - Rita. This special award goes to a drinker who is relatively new to the TDDoC and who puts out a decent effort at attendance. Rita attended 6 days, so it seems fitting.

Comeback Drinker of the Year Award (CDotYA) - Benny. This award goes to a drinker that has a spike in attendance after a layoff period. After very weak attendance from 2010 – 2012 (1, 1, and 3), he stepped up his 2013 effort to 6 days.

Most Valuable Drinker (MVD) Award - Reese and Yo. This award goes to a drinker who shows consistent drinking effort, this was Yo’s first PMA and a couple times this year Reese was the first to show up to make the WHY??? call. It is also believed that Reese has the longest active streak attending every night beginning in 2010; the archivists are verifying this fact.

Big Lou Lameness Award (BLLA) - Pods. This dubious and not-so-coveted title goes to the drinker who claims the TDDoC and many of its participants are lame because the TDDoC does not provide sufficient entertainment to his/her life and while never asking “What value have I brought to the TDDoC?”

Most Gleeful Moment (MGM) - BB returns to the Ivy Tavern. BB's triumphant return to Ivy Tavern is now part of TDDoC lore. The story goes that he walked in and exclaimed “like MacArthur in the Philippines, I have returned and like Julius Caesar in Rome Veni, Vidi, Vici.”

Most Pathetic Display of Drinkmanship (MPDoD) - Gman and Su at the Princeton Pub Crawl. (Day Ten) At this event Gman and Su were in and out so fast that the slow bartenders at the Tap Room barely got an opportunity to completely ignore them. (Rumor has it that this award will be called the CPL award in the future, for obvious reasons.)

Most Coat/Scarf Wearing (MC/SW) - Ska. No matter the occasion, weather conditions, length of stay, or the indoor temperature, you could always look over at Ska wearing his coat and scarf. Well done, sir.

Moving on to 2014: WND participation The Wednesday Night Syndicate has decided that there are too many bars that we have not attended in the Greater Trenton Area resulting in a decision to try to attend them on the usual Wednesdays. An NCAA basketball bracket-like list of bars has been created, and the tournament is on. The Chimp will be gauging interest so you can let it be known if you want to be informed of the location of WND (an e-mail reply here or a note to Tajny Komitet will also suffice). WND could be at a bar near you.

TDDoC 2013: Day 11 Stats by Eman

For starters, I’d just like to ask if anyone knows why I wake up every morning with a stack of $1 bills next to my wallet. Do I have some secret adult dancing gig that I go to every night after the TDDoC, and I just don’t remember? Have I been knocking off the lady at the Salvation Army stand every night on the way home? Please help solve this mystery.

Houli’s? Who picked this place anyway? What an awful idea…..near the mall, with horrible traffic on route 1, really hard to find a parking spot. This is going to be miserable. Well, these at least were the thoughts in my head as I drove towards Houli’s. I found I was somewhat relishing the idea of having to suffer through this misery. As you have likely found out at family gatherings, old men seem to really like having something to complain about like that pain in your back, the price of a loaf of bread, or “kids these days”. As I drive up Route 1 finding very little traffic, and then pull into one of many parking spots near the front door of Houli’s, I find myself deeply disappointed that I encounter none of the envisioned trouble. What the heck? This is a huge bummer. My dreams of complaining about all of the logistical hassle have been shattered. This shouldn’t be easy….we should have to work for this!! Now all I have left to complain about is that there was no hassle.

I enter Houli’s, and am quickly reminded that there is something to complain about! The bartenders at Houli’s all wear shirts with a different action word on the back. In particular, tonight’s subject has the word “quench” on his back. Well, given the highly ornate font, I think that’s what it says. Maybe it is “clench” or “wench”. Regardless, what the #* is that all about? Is this some sort of seven dwarfs nomenclature? If so, shouldn’t his name be “Quenchy”? Quench feigns friendliness upon taking my initial order, but I can tell in his eyes that he knows I’m thinking to myself “Quench…what the #* is that all about?”. As the night continues on, I find that the Quenchman is very efficient at taking your empty glass when you are not looking, but not nearly as efficient at refilling that glass. He must get pay bonuses based upon frequency of glasses entering the dishwasher.

Benny rolls in with a dejected look on his face. He describes the disappointment of how easy it was to get to Houli’s,
when he was looking forward to being miserable. See, I told you! Benny is eagerly looking forward to a long drive down to Atlantic City after tonight’s festivities. He can hardly hide the glee in his eyes, and I think he might have even jumped up and kicked his heels together once. As I write this, Benny is probably enjoying a delicious breakfast feast while hanging with Donald Trump and Celine Dion.

Uji is in the house, making his first night of the year. Yo is there, too, and now it’s apparent that only an act of mother nature can keep him from a purple moose. Ditto for Reese, but then again, Reese is the Cal Ripken of the TDDoC (consecutive game streak, playing through pain and injury), so no surprise there. Pods indicates that Friday night’s Day Ten hangover just wore off about 15 minutes ago.

Russ reports having seen the new movie Saving Mr. Banks or Licking Mr. Pickle or whatever it is called. It’s that one with Tom Hanks, unlike all of those other movies with Tom Hanks. We discuss how Tom Hanks is the token white guy in so many films. When you need an old white guy, it’s Hanks. Seriously, do any other older white male actors even get roles anymore?

Speaking of pickles, Su presents the Emans with a pickle ornament. Apparently there is a tradition that dates from Germany, where one hides a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree, and the one who finds it gets a reward or other good fortune. If you look the tradition up on Urban Dictionary, you might find that the reward you get is not quite to your liking. However, let’s assume for a moment that it’s a desirable award. When I first heard of this tradition, I thought they were referring to an actual pickle, and tried to picture the delightful combination of evergreen and vinegar mixing together as the family gathered around the tree for Christmas carols. Anyway, no. The pickle is an ornament, and Tamps found it very interesting and looked at it closely. Yes, Tamps was touching my pickle. Note, this is not to be confused with hiding a pickle as defined in Urban Dictionary.

And now a word from the next generation of TDDoC:
I would first like to announce I brought out my girlfriend Annie for all those who did not meet her. This means that i have thoroughly invested in the future of the TDDoC, and it may be continued through me and Julian long after ya'll are hospitalized for liver damage. I arrived at the scene and it seemed like a good crowd was at the bar. I won't name any names because I have no clue who was there. Being the hungry teenager that I am, Annie and I quickly scuttled over to the family section with Su and the kids to order some food. Corey was also out and was using his magical ability to order alcoholic drinks. I hear there’s this thing called "21", but I blame the drinking fairies for not bestowing me with this power. Maybe Santa will pull through with this one -- my fingers are crossed.

Conversation quickly turned to how Gman only has one kidney. Interestingly enough, this led me to learn a valuable lesson. This is where I learned the true meaning of having kids. Kids are not there for enjoyment, love, slavery, or for telling their teacher that all their dad does is watch football and attend the Twelve Drinking Days of Christmas. Kids are there for spare parts. Corey is currently first in line to donate Gman one of his kidneys if his fails. Corey does not want to participate, but in the words of the Uni-kidney**, "You have to sleep at some point." Some sort of bathtub kidney removal will then take place, and Corey may never even notice the scar. Julian and Andrew may also want to start running now before Uni-kidney needs any of their bodily organs. I might have to run with them.

After Gman and family leave, we finish up and head over to the other side of the bar where only a few seasoned drinkers remain. Between Goettle, Eman, Ska, Tamps, Pods, and Russ, in their lifetime they have probably consumed an amount of alcohol that would fill the Pacific. But these are the men I look up to, and I respect their unique skills. Someone quickly notices I have not surpassed Goettle in height, even with my tall, poofy hair that could put the '80s to shame. We quickly find each other back to back with the others looking at how clearly Goettle has me beat. Or that’s how it may have seemed. We were actually saying goodbye the same way the ancient Babylonians would ceremoniously do, by touching their butts together to bid a safe farewell. So farewell to my biggest supporter, Mr. Peter Goettle, who pushed me night after night to write stats eventually. Until I see him the next day.

And now back to the old guy:
Once the crowd starts to thin, the remaining party leftovers decide it’s time to take this show on the road. Joe’s Crab Shack is a popular suggestion for where but cooler heads prevail. It’s off to The Blend in Hamilton, a place beloved by Goettle, who in the past has described it lovingly as “$ucking” (said without much conviction). Russ, Tamps, Ska, Goettle, and Eman make the trip. Several of us order the Southern Tier 2Xmas -- a fine choice. The Blend seems to be slightly more to the liking of some (Russ and I secretly love it there), and this may be because unlike last time there is no awful singer belting out “Hotel California” on some sort of keyboard karaoke device. It seems that most patrons are in their 20’s, which is clearly why some hated it last time. Suddenly, in rolls a potential future generation TDDoCer, Russ’s son Ryan. Russ jogs over to greet his son and his friends, who smile but quickly encourage Russ to beat it before the rest of the twenty-somethings see them talking to these dinosaurs. Dang, another dead end on the future TDDoC trail. It’s one and out at The Blend, and before I know it I’m home slapping down a stack of $1 bills next to my wallet for some unknown reason.

Editor's Note: The utility of this has expired but included for completeness:
Day 12 is at Wildflowers. The secret password to get in is “picklehider” said with a Russian accent. This lovely converted Orange Julius is a Christmas eve favorite for elf $ex offenders, human Christmas trees, and people who are missing some of their bodily organs. It features pizza math contests, the breaking of the wall sconce tradition, and “who didn’t pay enough for the pizza?!?!” debate clubs.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Day 10 Stats -- Stat Harder with a Vengeance

Random Thoughts from Goettle

Goettle had a fine duck dinner at the Tap Room. Duck breast cooked medium rare to medium over a bed of roots vegetables. Would've gone really well with a Cabernet, Amarone, or Brunello, but we're in the tap room, not my house. And I felt perversely satisfied that no one came by to see what I was eating, or my penchant for being nice and sharing would've kicked in. It was pretty tasty.

After one more tasty malted beverage it was time to move onto the worst microbrewery this side of Anheiser-Busch. Triumph should be called "Failumph." I've never had beer in there without wondering how they could make such crap that is always flat. And have always gotten a hangover, from even one – I'm sensitive that way. Your best bet in 'umph is the vodka, but this time i went with bourbon, made in America – it was a Manhattan made from Makers Mark.

For some reason our group became divided with the oldsters (minus me, who just crossed over to the north side of 50) up stairs and the youngsters – those under 35 – downstairs. Funny about being young – you seem to end up attracting/hanging with other young people. Or maybe the old people are just trying to avoid the stairs. But down those stairs, and "Oh, my" just doesn't do the crowd justice. It was like a modeling agency just dropped off a gaggle of good-looking people. And let me tell you, there were even some good-looking women downstairs, too. Maybe, 'umph, in an effort to cover up their sucky beer, has devised a brilliant marketing strategy. Perhaps, it will soon sweep the nation – good-looking people on TV and the Internet selling us cr@p we don't need or want. Keep your eye out for that.

One more note: this is how bad the 'umph beer is: our very own beer connoisseur extraordinaire, E-man, could not wait to flee after but one sip. This guy travels over the tri-state area in search of anyone with a tub and some hops who even mentions that he/she may someday brew a batch of suds. I think if you cut the dude, he would bleed IPA. In years past, he would run the board – that is, he would drink each beer the 'umph had to offer and beg the Masterbrewer to craft a few more for him to sample. But not this year. To this day no one is quite sure if the $hitty beer was just too much for him to handle or if Pods' rants about how he was ready to rumble, ready to eff some people up, and ready to crack some skulls, scared him off. Pods browbeat me, Reese, and Sean (sp?), Reese's friend, into covering his back. Me in a rumble? Sure, you can picture Reese knocking some heads around, and maybe Pods. But me? I've always been more of a lover than a fighter. I was praying that perhaps the fighting would turn into a debate – it is Princeton, after all.

It was getting late and the modeling agency had collected all of their pretty people and the 'umph beer was certainly not getting any better. We were down one G-man and one E-man, and Tamp was pulling chalks, too. It turns out that Tamp had a 9AM soccer game and he wanted to look and feel his best – sometimes I hate friggin' models. The fate of TDDoC Day 10 hung in the balance without these key players. We were in the middle of that Clash song – "Should We Stay or Should We Go". Who would do the heavy lifting when the chips were down? Would Day 10 end in an inglorious fizzle? A sound no one could hear.

But a voice beckoned us to continue, and it kinda went like this:

Bluto: Hey! What's all this laying around stuff? Why are you all still laying around here for? Stork: What the hell are we supposed to do, ya moron? We're all expelled. There's nothing to fight for anymore. D-Day: [to Bluto] Let it go. War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one. Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! Otter: [to Boon] Germans? Boon: Forget it, he's rolling. Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... [thinks hard of something to say] Bluto: The tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! [Bluto runs out, alone; then returns] Bluto: What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst. "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer... Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic... but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part! Bluto: We're just the guys to do it. D-Day: [stands up] Yeah, I agree. Let's go get 'em. Boon: Let's do it. Bluto: [shouting] "Let's do it"!

Well, after that rousing, most inspirational message, we were energized to trek onto the next bar and the next bar. First, it was the A&B – that's Alchemist and Barrister, to those who aren't in the know. It was loud and packed, but that didn't deter those who didn't wuss out after the 'umph. We order pretzels and dipped them in ultra-hot wasabi mustard – even CPL knows not to do this out of the fear of colon and rectum damage. Ska, Pods, and I have one Dogfish Head; BB stays with Red Wine (he is just so classy). Can't comment on the rest. And BB keeps mentioning – to the point of rubbing it in our face – how he will be hung over in a Nassau Inn bed, while we'll have to drive home, yack in our own toilets, and then CLEAN THEM UP. BB really knows how to a hit a man below the belt.

And did I mention that the A&B was packed when we got there at midnight? Well, I'm saying it again, then. And while the people were attractive, it wasn't quite up to the 'umph. If the 'umph were Playboy, A&B would be Penthouse. I hope that none of you are letting your children read these stats – really, you should know better.

We were one and done at A&B and ready to go home. NOT. Well, maybe there smart ones were. We gave Reese the obligatory walk up Witherspoon to not too far from where her car was parked and then headed North – to the Ivy Tavern, all the while reminiscing how cool BB used to be when he lived CPL $hitting distance from downtown P'ton. On the way, Pods is still juiced up and ready to rumble and to prove his point, almost drags Ska down to the ground for a beatdown. Cooler heads prevail and Pods sheepishly apologizes for the assault, but we understand – there is no shortage of D0uche Bags (DBs) in Princeton. At this time, it was BB, Pods, Ska, and Goettle (yes, Goettle) remaining. Sneakers O'toole was long gone. The rest of you were probably tucked in your beds dreaming about how cool BB was when he lived in P'ton. We got to actually hear about it – on the entire walk from Witherspoon to the Ivy Tavern. There was the time that Mick and Keith needed a place to crash and lucky for them, BB was there. And the time, back before Pearl Jam got famous and was pan–handling in Palmer Square, that BB threw two bits in their pathetic cup and told them to keep their chin up. Ah, yes. Those were indeed special days.

But they are far in the past, now that BB has gone all corporate on us. At the Ivy Tavern, it is loud – really loud. I don't even need my hearing aide. And it's a $3 cover to enter the joint. Despite all his charm and his storied past, BB cannot talk the toll collector into letting us in for a discount. And once inside, BB makes a bee-line for the pool table, leaving Pods, Ska, and I to fend for ourselves. If 'umph was Playboy and A&B Penthouse, the Ivy Tavern was Melrose Place (or maybe the OC, but certainly not Beverly Hills 90210). This place could one of the circles of heaven – for Pods. Young women drinking 16-oz tall boys of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon). Many were drinking the PBR pounders with EACH HAND. Holy Moly. And the music was straight out Rock 'n Roll from the '70s (1970s – were not that old). It was a very young crowd, there. The only folks older than us were in the band – and perhaps, only the drummer. We figured that was why he was sitting.

We wanted to spread the word of this place to BB, but despite our best reconnoitering efforts, we were not able to find him. It looked like he ditched us for a Nassau Inn bed. A beer for Pods, a beer for Ska, a beer and a coke for me, and lo and behold, out of the ether, appears BB - a beer for him too. The band winds up at around 1:30AM. The crowd thins out and so do we.

But are we done yet? Not with Hoagie Haven next door. Pods tries to clean the floor there with a bottled herbal tea and he and BB order some greasy concoction. Ska and I split a good ol' fashioned spicy hot cold-cut sub. We finish it on the benches outside and note that this year the Princeton Police force are not racing up and down Nassau Street looking for jaywalkers. We bid adieu – not AMF – to BB and Pods and head back down/up Nassua St to our cars. After some chit chat about how Secret Committee will no doubt overrule our desire to hold Day 11 at the Franklin Corner Tavern, Ska and I head our respective ways. But my bladder is a bit full and I'm feeling quite mad about the desertions of people who will remain nameless (but we all know who they are). God, sometimes P'ton pi$$es me off, so I did … around the car so no one would take note. We pulled out of P'ton after 2:15AM and I got home a bit after 3:00 AM. Oh, What A Night, In Late December Back in …

Day 10 Stats -- Stat Harder by Yo

Day 10 arrives, we are near the finish line.

Ah, my favorite night…the Princeton Pub Crawl ! A unusually warm, balmy night on hand, it seemed to bring out the most of the TDDoC family tree – a dysfunctional family at best, but we get along. – With Mrs. Yo coming out for her annual point (and my hopeful ride home), we immediate are confronted with the theme of this year’s Pub Crawl, “Massive Pub Crawl Confusion (hereby known as “MPCC”) – Triggering the MPCC was the unexpected closing down of the Princeton Sports Bar (aka the Annex), due, according to Reese’s unnamed church rumor network, to Massive Underage Drinking (MUD) and one underage klutz that fell down the stairwell, drink in hand, only to be tossed back up the stairwell on his head by the bouncer, leaving him no option other than to sue the place for $30M, shutter its doors, hence tossing the entire TDDoC into scheduling mayhem! This conflict was correctly forecasted by your’s truly during early Pton pub scouting report, however, no corrective action report (CAR) was initiated in time to resolve, other than Thursday’s night’s secret committee meeting at Killarney’s, which took place in parallel with flirting with the Jim Bean shot girls, hence the reason (and a legitimate one!) for the in-flight confusion. For the first time in TDDoC history, we are faced with not one, but TWO starting gates – JB Winberries or upscale Mediterra wine bar– a no-doubt about it, deliberate attempt to separate the snooty, affluent wine-lovers among us, from the grizzly TDDoC beer guzzlers, which is exactly why Mertz (according to rumor), was the only one at Winberries, with Cory wingman, saying “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY” ?? Wine over hops this year, brothers.

At Mediterra, wonderful conversation flowed along the elegant high-top tables, from the likes of Benny and Gman, discussing the flavor of next year’s Charm’s Blow-pop, to the all-female cycling committee, discussing how much salad, wine and water to consume prior to next year’s Charity rides. POD’s arrives with his Daytona jacket on, somehow sneaking in a few loaf’s from the bread-carving station at the entrance. A surprise appearance by Patty Noonan, who was no doubt forming a TDDoC all-Irish subcommittee as a back-up plan in case too many depart for Denver. Lisa Eman and Rita gladly offer up their Bread and Salad left-over’s to Mr. and Mrs. Yo, allowing us to donate that unspent money to the Christmas carolers that we ran into on the way out. Yes, we were “Caroled” to by a posse of teens from the Princeton High Choir (or at least that was their cover-up story), which REALLY brought on the cheer (and salad donations) as we crossed over busy Palmer Square to a crowded Yankee Doodle Room, once again occupied first by the local Outer Circle Ski Club (OCSC), which seemed to have reduced their membership by 50% due in no short order to last year’s over-crowding debacle with us, resulting in the heavy-manned TDDoC crew out-muscling the skinny OCSC membership away from any lingering bar-stools with a large offensive front, spearheaded by Mertz, Goettle and SKA. Great work dudes, we can count on some breathing room at this stop moving forward! Once again, the SAME bar tenders are there, who have remained employed as under-paid bar-tenders/waiter/waitress/table & puke cleaners at least since Pods was tossed out there in his high-school years for stealing too many bottles of JD and stolen muffins at the front desk. The Tap Room always seems to be the joyous “mother-lode” of all TDDoC stops…it’s full headcount, endless Christmas cheer, home of countless fabled and untold TDDoC stories. As we toss down the drafts, under the watch of Norman Rockwell’s priceless bar painting, I could not have felt any happier being there, surrounded in such great conversations on all sides. Martha and Marty join in the festivities, Skugi and Mrs. Skugi, Katherine, Janec, Russ and Lynn, all making their rounds…we are here in full force! Sandor bellies up next to us, scotch in hand, discussing his future holiday trip to South Carolina, where he is considering a new career teaching a class called “The Basics of Amazon Drone-Engineering, Followed by Drinks at My Place” at the local community college. A novel idea indeed. Erin and Ed are making their rounds, Rebecca, Tamps, SKA, Goettle, Gman, Su no doubt discussing the trials and tribulations of the future of TDDoC. Gman, who is finishing his grueling MBA, revealed that he has no plans to lead Lockheed to future Aegis technological world-domination, but did confess that he will use what he learned in his teamwork and scheduling classes to correct future TDDoC MPCC aberrations. Can’t think of a better executive choice to lead this pack!

We stumble over to Triumph Brewery, the prime “no-cover” choice to replace Princeton Sports bar, as we head down the ally way entrance and get situated with choice real-estate near the front entrance. Our lovely waitress “Amanda”, a tall, think dark haired beauty, immediately takes drink orders, as the rest of the crew pile in. I ask Cory about his “Tat” on the arm, to which he gave us detailed visual’s on, revealed a near-naked lady creature thing, replied in reference to its origins of some fabled gothic artist that was related to Lady Gaga, Rembrandt and a snake…I think…with a final quote to the effect of “I do whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want and however the hell I want to” …well because I still live at home..and oh, yeah, Mom didn’t really approve of the Tat!”, to which dad Mertz replied, in somewhat disheveled shoulder shrugging, eye-rolling gesture that clearly spelled “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!!” ?!! Ah, the joys of 20 something rebellions with Tats that drink with family and us during the you the warm fuzzies! As Pods and Rebecca wonder the upstairs and downstairs aimlessly, looking for anything but us, we start to ponder the nationality of our long locked “Amanda”…this begins with Al Janec calling her “Pocahontas”, to which she replies “close -very close.. but no cigar you stupid Ski-Cap-headed shithead…cause what I’m really made of is part Italian, mostly Dominican and a 5% of native American Indian…which YOU will never get to see, so now shove that down your throat with that Honey Blonde…and oh, May I get you another ?”. I’m in love already. She actually turns out to be one the nicest servers on the tour, even letting all of us touch and feel those native long, dark locks of hers (except for Janec of coarse). Later, as the buzz really starts to set in, Erin comes to me with her Chocolate Martini in hand, and asks ME to put it up for consignment, as she and hubby Ed are pondering an early exit, to which Rebecca spotted from a distance, snatching that martini from my hand like a lighting fast toad and says’ to Erin – “stay put Bitch...You ain’t going anywhere, cause you and me, cow-girl, we’re gonna get toasted!!” This didn’t go over too well with hubby Ed, who was now demoted to DD for the evening, with Erin realizing more Christmas shopping will be in order for hubby…at least this year.

Tamps & Rita return from a high-command ordered scouting trip to Witherspoon Grill (WG) and A&B (alchemist and barrister)…to which Rita (lead spy) say’s upon return “no doubt, it’s Witherspoon!”. So, Marty/Martha/Yo and Mrs. Yo make an early departure to secure seats at the partially empty, high-end WG bar, complete with a few scantily clad blonde party girls latched onto wealthy Pton men, to which my instincts on this lame scenario said to text Tamps – “we’re here, w/ stools (and some scenery)“ which a return text arrives, with a last second change order that it’s now A&B, hereby overruling lead spy Rita (Oh boy, paybacks will be a bitch). Ah, the MPCC saga continues! Bar order is cancelled, one last glance at the lacey blonde party girls, as we head out to secure a central table at A&B in the center of 21 something’s(?) tossing down cheap beer. Martha notices the orders of hot pretzels scattered about the wild revelers, and so it goes - we order a batch too, which turns out to be the “Massive Pub Crawl Hit of the Night” (MPCHoN)…many orders are flowing, complete with the nastiest nose-bleed hot mustard on this side of the Delaware! We’re toasted, surrounded by drunken comrades, Reese and Celeste sharing a seat next to me, eating the best damn fresh baked hot pretzels known to human kind…please tell me what could be better ?!! The rest of the crew takes up a strong-hold position between our table and the bar, forcing many ladies to “Twerk” their way through the entrenched encampment. Ah, the temperature is rising fast! Droid cameras are a buzz, Selfies are flying, Facebook’s uploads beaming across the overloaded WiFi network at A&B, abuzz, with pics of us drunken lads flying about cyber-space! Rumor has it Mark Zuckerberg was awakened at 2am to field a frantic phone call from his VP of Photo Surveillance – a quick Google search on this topic turns up evidence of BitCoin trace-feeds and nude photographic material…all linked to Pod’s mobile phone. This could well be the end for him.

I glance at Marty, who is working on finishing his high-octane shot of Cognac French Brandy…I take a few hits to help him… then begin to uncontrollably pound the table 4 times, to which Reese said “YO, you stupid lush, stop this behavior immediately before I smack you and bring SKA over here to fart”! I settled down immediately, the thought of that last piece too painful to imagine, but continued my reunion with the Cognac, trying very hard to control my auto-immune, spastic gag-reflux reaction to every sip of that rocket fuel. Life couldn’t be any better. We all devour the remnants of the hot pretzels, with Martha and Reese taking turns licking the bottom of the bowl, hoping for one last surviving crumb or two to savior until next year. Billy Bob is joyously soaking it all in, as he toasts to me from the corner, along with many other LMCO Newtowner’s, pondering a less than certain future, with whatever that future holds, we non and ex-Newtowner’s will take this moment to say “Thank You for your service, presence and contributions to this great establishment called TDDoC. May it never end! “ A memorable night was had by all !

Day 10 Stats by Reese

Princeton Pub Crawl

This year things were shaken up a little bit with a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure for the start of the evening. I loved those books as a kid. Mertz chose Winberies and then turned to the directed page to discover that he’d be sitting alone drinking Anchor Christmas Ale for hours.

I chose the Mediterra start, and was joined by Celeste. We get talked into a bottle of wine by the server. It was probably not the best strategy for a pub crawl, but hey, we picked our action and couldn’t turn back and choose again, that would be cheating. We order some food and Lisa, Eman, Rita, Tamp, and Benny arrive and join our community table. Mediterra has really good food. Cheese plates, falafel, veggies in a tagine, and fall off the bone lamb shank all arrive and are enjoyed by the Mediterra crew.

Mertz receives a text message, and chooses to open it, revealing a photo of the food the Mediterra crew is eating. He storms over to Mediterra and finds the large masses of our crew, but only two beers on tap. It later turns out that Sophia, Russ, and some others actually were at Winberries, but couldn’t fight their way through the friendly Westminster Choir men to get to Mertz at the bar, and retreated to the dining room for Stop 1.

Stop number two was the Yankee Doodle Tap room. The only night of the year that this place is ever crowded is the night of the TDDoC Pub Crawl. Regardless of date, the stars and planets align in a way only the Astro people can explain, the Princeton Ski Club appears in the Tap Room at the exact moment the TDDoC crew arrives. This causes the normally slow service at the bar to come to a standstill, as the bartenders stand agape at the crowds demanding drinks.

I wrestle my way to the bar and while waiting for my next drink I talk to Benny. We discover that we’ve been walking by each other every day for years in Princeton but didn’t recognize each other without the Twelve Drinking Days of Christmas Goggles (TDDoCG, not to be confused with Google Glass, Apple Antennae, or Samsung Sombreos). Our crew continues to fight for the attention of the bartenders, and once we’ve pushed the Ski Club out and taken over 51% of the bar, it’s announced that it is time to move on.

After much lamentation and gnashing of teeth over the controversial closure of the Annex/Sotto/PrincetonSportsBar, we descend upon Triumph Brewing Company as Stop 3. They have magnanimously forgone the cover charge that has prevented the TDDoC from visiting in years, which we all toasted with a Winter Warmer beer. Some of us hang out in the lower bar, where the Espresso Martinis are better than those made upstairs, and others stay in the in-between, greeting all who pass on the stairs.

In 2012, the Alchemist & Barrister sent a sentry ahead to discover the time of our arrival and then closed the kitchen just minutes before our drunken souls arrived demanding all the pretzels and nachos in the land. This year we thwarted the spy sent by the A&B and arrived promptly at 11. There are people everywhere – on both sides of the alley, filling the garden terrace, and smothering the bar. Yo and Adrian have secured a table in the middle of the inner bar. Hot pretzels with horseradish mustard arrive in a steady stream, a generous gift from Dionysus, approving our twelve nights of merriment and spirits. Such a feast only tastes this good after a night of much drinking.

We are all enjoying our bounty of pretzels when I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is a boy insisting that I’m in his seat. I blink at him confused, and when he offers that I could keep the seat if I sat on his lap, I quickly vacated and retreated to the bar. Celeste is glaring at the boy as he boasts of his rudeness and before we know what has happened, she has bumped into him, dumping ice cold water on him and “accidentally” clocking him with her fist in her attempt to regain her balance. A huge cheer erupts!

And thus, the time to leave A&B has arrived. They are definitely going to send better scouts next year. I part company with Pods, Ska, Goettle, and Billy Bob, who are on a mission to the Ivy and Hoagie Haven, determined to make it into a 5 stop crawl. I watch them fade into the distance, their shouts echoing through the darkness.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

TDDoC 2013: Day 9 Stats by Eman

Day Nine was at Killarney’s Publick House in scenic rural Hamilton, NJ. This scenic town was of course founded by a group of Irish immigrants, who moved to New Jersey to escape the persecution of the ruling class of Ireland, who insisted that every year residents must go to happy hours 12 days in a row before Christmas. Why the “k” in “Publick”? I just don’t know, but then again, why is there a “k” in “know”?

The Publick House has come a long way from its roots. Today, this charming adult coffee shop serves up delicious dishes made from wild game, extinct birds of prey, and reptile roadkill. If you’re looking for some delicious Irish nachos, well then you’re going to need to go back to Day 1 and visit the Firkin Tavern. Its distinct Irish style was seen clearly in the plate after plate of hamburgers, nachos, wings, and quesadillas that were delivered to the TDDoC contingent. Without nachos and wings, the Irish clearly would not have been able to survive the famine of 1740.

The attendees are clearly mostly confused. Why? No stats have been published from the previous night. Why? WWHHHHHHYYYYYY???? Apparently some person impersonating Pods had volunteered to do the previous day’s stats, but in fact Pods’ email had been hacked and it was not him. The NSA is still investigating this security breach. There is scant evidence to find the perpetrator, but the one piece of evidence that officials have is that apparently the imposter also said something about the TDDoC being lame. Initial suspicions lead back to a certain former member of the TDDoC who went by a code name using all capital letters, but investigations continue. #mo

The attendees have huddled around a table in front of the bar, instead of the usual bullpen area behind the bar. The bullpen area is of course traditionally favored since it offers optimal viewing of the mayor of Killarney’s drinking more and more, and getting dangerously closer every moment to falling to the ground. A sighting of the mayor does occur later though, as he pushes and shoves his way through the TDDoC crowd to get out the front door, with a clear look of “I’m going to heave” on his face.

Plate after plate of food is ordered. Sandor has a huge plate of appetizers and is bravely battling through them. However, in the end, just like Monday at JoJo’s with the nacho plate, Sandor comes up short. “I’m not the man I used to be” was his summary of the experience. Trent is also soundly defeated by a plate of “mac and pork”, which is like a complete pork sandwich over top of a big wad of mac and cheese. Eman orders the death/body bag/carcass/cadaver burger, which is a hamburger with cheese steak, bacon, pork roll, and an egg on top. Not to be missed, unless you plan on living past the age of 50. Amato makes his first appearance of the year. The waitress comes up to him and says “Is there anything I can get for you Ron?”. When asked about his familiarity with the waitress, Ron offers only “I get around”. The bar has Sweet Baby Jesus on tap, which is a peanut butter porter. Nice, although it quickly kicks. In the “that’s not news” department, Su mentions that she hates the TDDoC.

It looks like the Rookie of the Year competition may come down to Rose’s daughter Kim, or potentially Rita if the Comite Secreto runs the analytics and determines that her Rookie status has not been voided due to occasional past year outings. Ska continues his quest to win the Warmest Man competition. During most nights he has kept on his jacket (fully zipped) and scarf, with not a hint of sweat. This as opposed to Gman, who becomes drenched at the mere sight of a chicken wing.

Eman suddenly realizes that Reese has not yet shown, giving him the opportunity to potentially take over the longest current TDDoC attendance streak title from her. He vows to keep an eye out for her in the parking lot, and going “Tanya Harding” on her legs to keep her from entering and getting a point. Of course a few moments later Eman has completely forgotten this devious plan and Reese walks in. Eman does confess the plan to her, and Reese shows her fascination with the plan by sharing “thanks for not beating me up.” Eman looks up and finds this creepy man across the way giving him a disturbing stare. Oh, wait, it’s Cole, and he’s not creepy. Well, for the most part he’s not. The look certainly was, though. It’s the look of “I’m going to kill someone in this bar, and I don’t know who yet, and…oh wait, it’s that guy over there”. Fortunately it was Cole, and not Mike the Homicidal Maniac, because if it were Mike tHM, he would have had the look AND that thought. Earlier in the day Sophia had expressed deep disappointment that Mike tHM had not been at the LEB the night before. Sophia didn’t show up tonight, so perhaps that was the only reason she was coming to the TDDoC.

Ska has met some new women…wait, it’s just the Jim Beam Honey shot girls doing a little marketing for the new Jim Beam Honey. They offer up free shots for several members of the crew, and they all report that it tastes delightful….ly awful. Whose idea was this mess? It tastes like Winnie the Pooh spilled a little bourbon in his honeypot. Now hopquila….that’s an idea. Yo engages the Honey girls in some banter on the latest David Blaine magic show and they are mesmerized. If Yo actually knew how to pull off the magic tricks himself, he’d be on the cover of People magazine.

Mertz shows up and regales the crew with stories of shopping at Victoria’s Secret with this wife. I had him pegged as more of a tighty whitey guy than silk and lace. Reese expresses disappointment that Mertz has chosen not to wear his Santa suit. He probably has something red and lacey and silky on underneath though.

TDDoC 2013: Day 8 Stats by Hacked Pods

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