Monday, June 27, 2011

Anatomy of a chunder session

"You know how many emails I've sent in my life? Maybe eight."

My old friend Woody said that to me in all seriousness while we were sipping cocktails during the afternoon at Morning Star Beach. I laughed at first but I could tell he wasn't joking.

That's why I'm sure he will never see these photos. Well, he would never fall upon them. Someone in our circle is bound to tell him. He may get mad for a second and then he'll laugh. Then, he won't talk to me for like 2 years. It's all good.

OK, so let's begin...

Here's a nice shot of Woody sipping on some whiskey while we hung out on the balcony from Tavern on the Waterfront. A friend was bartending and she was pouring some stiff drinks. By the way, it's Woody's birthday. He was turning 30.

Later on in the night, my old friend decides he wants to lively up the joint at Caribbean Saloon so he proceeds to shotgun a can of Red Bull. I have never seen this attempted before. Remember, the man is turning 30 and he insisted to be at the bar at midnight to celebrate.

So we made it to Iggies Beach Bar and there's really no one out at this point. It's approaching midnight on a Tuesday night. We're sipping drinks and no one really wants to take a shot at midnight but Woody continues to battle.

Now we've all seen this before. After taking back a tall shot of warm Jameson, he straightens up and hopes the Irish whiskey will comfortably find a home in his belly. This man is a drinking veteran. Will his 30-year-old body hold up?

Another tactic I've seen used before. So the shot didn't go down the right pipe, huh? Go ahead and take a swig from your other liquor drink for a chaser. That will surely help.

And we have liftoff! Woody finally gives in and starts to puke in an empty plastic cup. His girlfriend puts her hand on his back to comfort him and shield him from bartender ridicule. I screamed for him to "Puke on the bar! Do it!!!" so every patron was now looking at this 30-year-old man celebrate his birthday with a midnight shot.

It sounds gross but he didn't actually blow chuncks. Basically, the Jameson shot found its way back up. The bartenders heard my rant and yelled for Woody to puke on the beach and not on the bar. He desperately walked over to the beach with his girlfriend in tow but didn't give the dramatic chunder performance everyone had hoped for.

Since he managed to keep the rest of his stomach's contents in his body, he walked back to bar with his hands raised like he had prevailed. The applause was minimal.

Happy 21st -- ehh, I mean 30th -- Birthday, Woody. You are, indeed, a king among men.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No power, no fun

There's something very eerie about driving around a dark island under the clarity of a full moon.

Had some drinks with an old friend for his bday and made it back home at a reasonable hour. But I wake up in the middle if the night because the power went out and the comfortable buzz of the AC unit in my room went deafly silent.

I tried not to think about it. Sweat started to bead on my forehead. This is impossible.

Before I knew it, I was clothed and walking out the door to my car. The plan was to drive down the hill to my office, enjoy the AC from a generator and blog about last weekend's hike to Mermaid's Chair. Incredible photos; amazing time.

When I arrive at office -- the same place we waited out a Hurricane last year because of the generator -- it was pitch black and only my boss' car was in driveway. Was he in there? Can he see me?

I walk up to front door but the power is off because I can push the front door wide open and instead of generator lights illuminating the lobby, there's nothing. Darkness. No security system. Very strange.

I get in car and crank AC. It feels nice. I feel like I'm cheating. Where to next?

After a short cruise down the street, I find the 24-hour gas station is lit up and open for business. You know what, I feel like getting some pizza from a 24-hour gas station so I pull up.

The place is packed. No luting, just packed. Black people talking about how it's hot and they can't sleep. See, I'm not alone. Others can't put up with a sweltering, breezeless night. Just like me.

After I walk out with crap pizza, another islander approaches quickly and asks if I want to buy bootleg CDs. Then he asked if I had jumper cables. I told him I did not have jumper cables but I really did. I offer him a piece if pizza, he declines and I get into my car. Awee, AC.

Can't stay here. They'll eat me alive here. So I start to drive. Through a powerless night under the full moon.

After I park in front of my house, I heard gun shots in the distance. It came from a nearby project. Frustration. I want the power to be turned back on, too. Do you want some pizza?

Another long, hot Caribbean night. I may sleep in my car.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Full moon party?

So there was some rumblings about a possible visit from an old friend. Tim "Woody" Woodward is a high-powered mutant of some sort not even considered for mass production. He's too weird to live and he's too rare to die.

I haven't spoke to Woody since Christmas but I got a voicemail from him last week. He was intoxicated and he must have called me from the middle of a packed club because I barely made out what he said.

"Urn, it's Woody. I'm coming to St. Thomas with my girl. I arrive Tuesday and that Wednesday is my birthday. Call me back."

That was it. That was the entire message. Haven't talked to the guy in months but I guess that's how old friends operate.

So I was at Shipwreck Tavern last night watching Dirk and the Mavs stick to the Big 3. My friend Ross asked me if I wanted to go to the BVIs for the full moon party next week. Now I've heard of these festivities but have never participated.

Once a month, there's a full moon (just learned that last night) and in the Caribbean, it's another reason to get in a boat and act like rock stars under the magic of the moonlight.

Ross is leaving for Dallas soon so he can be closer to Dirk Nowitzki and the full moon party will be a good chance to hang with my buddy. Turns out, the full moon next week is on the same day as Woody's birthday. Sounds like trouble.

I texted him from the bar to confirm the date of his birthday and in keeping with the "no chit-chat" vibe we were working with, I didn't explain my celebration plans for him and his girl.

"Just bring your passports" is all I texted back. Quick. To the point.

Should be a good time. And after such a freakout, be sure to check back with the blog to get an in-depth and comprehensive report on all the lunacy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Hersh

It's summer time on the island and for some odd reason, the people on the fence about leaving Rock City for good, usually pick this time to pack up their shit and hitch a ride to the airport.

It's not a bad thing. Friends come and go. It just seems like on St. Thomas, an island saturated with misfits and money-makers, the time in between "I've decided to leave" and "Peace out" is usually very small.

Take this fine gentleman for example...

I took this hilarious photo while we were waiting for the car ferry on St. John. Of course, we had already had a few. His name is Jesse "The Hersh" Hershberger and he was also responsible for a little mishap in the BVIs I don't like to talk about.

We had dinner and drinks on a Thursday at the Pie Whole in Frenchtown and we were talking about his plans to travel to New Zealand next year and what kind of "Lord Of The Rings" chicks he may meet there.

The next day, Friday, he calls me around 10 p.m.

Hersh: "Dude, come to Fat Turtle, we have to talk."

Me: "Dude, I just got off work, I'm exhausted and the game is on...what's up? Trouble?"

Hersh: "No, not trouble. But stress. Definite stress."

Me: "Don't worry, I'm sure there are plenty of beautiful women in New Zealand. I heard The Hobbit pulls some serious ass there."

Hersh: "No, no, no. I think I'm leaving island. Like on Monday. For good."

Me: "Whaa, whaa, whaaaaa?"

I still didn't meet him out for drinks because we had planned to go hiking the next morning and because I was lazy and the game was on. But I later found out that he was offered a job at his old restaurant -- he's a chef or a cook or a guy in the kitchen with sharp blades ... you get the idea -- but that he had to come right now.

By the way, the job was in Alaska and it was supposed to pay him double. Sort of like Ice Road Truckers.

So just like that, I was hanging with my bro, sucking down a few Belgian beers (the Pie Whole is amazing) and within 48 hours, he was gone. Forever. I've been crying myself to sleep every night.

There wasn't even time to throw a "Leaving Island" party. Those festivities tend to get very rowdy. When the cops show up, you just tell them that you're friend is leaving island tomorrow and they usually leave you alone. I mean, who really wants to do paperwork for someone that will be out of the hair in less than a day?

The best is to throw a "Leaving Island" party like a week before you actually leave. Then, for the rest of that week, people keep asking, "Isn't he supposed to be in Alaska or something? Did he lie to me just so I would buy him shots?"

Anyway, like the dude said, he was on a plane that Monday. Made it to Chicago for a day and now he's in Alaska. Since he's left, he's sent me a few photos.

One was of the speedometer in his car and it was clocked well over 100 mph and the other pictures were of Taco Bell burritos. Need for speed and bad Mexican food. The man knows me well. A true friend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Swimming with friends

The other day, one of our prized copy desk editors at the V.I. Daily News informed me that a shirtless photograph of me has been published in our fine publication twice in the last year.

I can only assume that's above average among past sports writers at the paper. That's just a guess though.

I competed in the 8th annual Beach-to-Beach Power Swim on St. John this past weekend and as soon as my plans to swim it went public, the top brass wanted me to do a first-person perspective story.

Please forgive our amazing copy desk editors, they forgot to attach a headline to the online version but the photos were awesome and I'd like to think the content was just OK. Here's a link to the story.