Friday, July 30, 2004

Waterbury's here!

Already the dude is totally amazing! I told him about how we usually throw a pretty good dig at my place on Fridays, and he arranged an entire plan for tonight! We got a swing band, with some instructors around to give folks lessons beforehand...he's got a dude outside carvin' a big ice sculpture for the raw oyster bar, a sommelier keepin' court in front of some top-flight wines from Dimitri's private cellar (I ain't never seen a dude get on so well with Dimitri, who can be a pretty rough Russian if you know what I mean - it turns out Waterbury speaks Russian though and they're practically pals now!)...he's a real class act. He even set out a perfect outfit for me on this new dressing table he picked up at Battori's, that Italian menswear shop down in the Underground, and polished up my brown Kenneths!

And tonight ain't even the limit of it. Real quick after he arrived he poured me a whisky and soda, offered me a Nat Sherman from a silver case, and hovered over me as he asked questions about things like what hour I like to rise, what I take for breakfast, how and where I like to receive guests, etc. This guy is totally putting his best foot forward. I even tipped him a twenty and he accepted it perfectly, with a gracious nod of the head and a "Thank you, sir" in his clean English accent. It's nice he has that accent. That is so classy.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Everybody Pants!

Ha haaaaaaa! Man, I am so glad I found this old Dress Me Up Ken Doll! I had a heap of paperwork to deal with today, old Sony contract renewals and stuff, and every so often I'd put down my pen, squint at Ken, and go like "Eet ees your pantss, ameego!" and just pants him without mercy. Man, I think I'm gonna start carryin' him around in like a holster or something, I can't tell you how relieving it is to attack the little guy and pull his pants down. It's grounding, you know. Like how some folks rub worry stones around in their hands, but way more funny. I can't explain it.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I found an old childhood game

Well, it ain't really a game per se, it's more like one of those dress-up Ken dolls that you can put shirts and pants and stuff on. Actually, it is a dress-up Ken doll. My weird old uncle Aloysius mailed it to me for a birthday present a long time ago. Aloysius was kind of nuts, and I'm not even sure if he's still alive. Anyhow, I found the doll in this old box of stuff I had stored in the garage. I set him up on his little stand and pantsed him a few times, just like I used to do. It brought back a lot of good old memories, so I think I'm gonna keep him out for a while and pants him whenever I'm feelin' bored or blue.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

UNH! Yeah, you heard me!

Man, I knew it was bound to happen. I got my old game back, I found my form! Here's the story of Ray, the Comeback Kid:

Old Cornelius came over Friday night a little kicked and insisted on playin' a bit of 8-ball. I could tell he was a little slowed down but I don't like to disappoint a guest, particularly when he challenges my authority at the pool table.

Now, I'll admit, he's been havin' a lucky streak lately, and I'm down a buck or two. But you got to look at games like this as cyclical, being as luck changes from better to worse to better over time. Friday night was finally my "better" point in the cycle, and everything just clicked. Poor dude would go for too complicated of a shot, miss it, and then I'd just cook. I had some mad runs, and soon he was peelin' off skins! Yeah, I was in it. I even had mind games on: after he'd try a tricky shot and miss by like just an inch, I'd be all "Oh, dude! Next time! Next time!" and he would keep trying (and missing) tricky shots.

Man, I am ultra-plussed. I'm gonna have him over tonight for more ball. I got to restore my rep!

Friday, July 23, 2004

Who cares if this week sucked!

...because it's a Chochacho Night Friday! I got Dimitri all lined up to bring over a NASCAR party! I thought NASCAR would be a fun theme, all with kegs of Natty Lite and downmarket Cuervo shots/Mr. T. Margarita mix, etc. For food we're hella slummin' with like thirty-two Domino's pizzas showin' up around 8. Appetizers are hot dog rounds on toothpicks with cheese dip, and Frito pie. I even got these mad-cool NASCAR pit crew jumpsuits for whoever wants to wear one. I hope Pat puts one on. He's doin' kind of a vest thing right now and bringin' down the party with his whole 70s intellectual thing. People are gonna think I'm havin' some kind of vegan party where we just eat raw green beans outta a box.

Oh, and based on Smacks Peel's baby shower I decided to come up with a party game. I got this piece of paper and drew a diagram of the yard, but then I couldn't think of anything so I set up all these different heights of glasses for quarters. That's kind of a game that NASCAR people play, right? Oh, I got to get down to the Sam Goody and get a bunch of country CDs. What country is good? I don't know much about it. I guess I'll just try to get stuff by guys named like Tanner Skye and Cody Flint, and they have a short beard on the CD cover.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Oh. Damn.

I was talkin' to Téodor today and I got a little more insight into why Conchita quit. You see, I like to make up Mexican words. It's a fun and harmless thing I do, you know? Anyhow, what are the chances that I would make up a word that turned out to be really offensive? I guess I finally made up enough words that I found an offensive one, though...and I had been calling my maid that offensive word for the last year or so.

Okay, quick language lesson for everybody:

Concha: "pussy"
Conchita: "tiny pussy"

So every time I said "Thank you, Conchita!" it was like I was this rich man in a bed calling a servant woman of a different race a...well, I've done my damage. Today ain't a proud day around the Smuckles household.

I'm serious about gettin' a butler, though.

Conchita quit!

What the hell, people?! So this morning she brings me in my bloody mary and calamari, and real nice I go "thank you, Conchita!" She snaps, tears off her little paper tiara and apron, and yells "I quit for you! I no take this anymore!" Then she storms out. A little while later after I finish my breakfast and do a little light reading, I go down to her quarters to see what was goin' on and she's completely cleared out! All she left was that paper tiara, crumpled in the wastebasket.  

Fine, then! She's been real on edge lately anyhow, it was makin' me kind of uncomfortable. She would get especially mad when I would try to be polite to her and speak a little Spanish. I guess she thought my attempts to use her language were insulting! A sample conversation would go something like this, tell me if you can figure out what her problem was:

RAY: Hola, Conchita! Como te toto polopo!

CONCHITA: Hola, Señor Ray.

RAY: [smiling, beaming nicely] Thanks de the sausages, Conchita!

CONCHITA: [purses lips] nada.
[Conchita turns and walks stiffly out before I can ask her to make me eggs]

See what I mean? Just all kinds of on edge. She's a little bit older, maybe she was goin' through the Change. Anyhow, I don't have time for that. I'm thinkin' of getting me a butler anyhow, that would be rad. Dude could lay all my clothes out on a dressing table, have guests ("callers") wait for me in the parlor (I should build a parlor!), all of that butler stuff. I think a dude needs a butler, not a maid. It's more masculine. A confidant. Maybe I'll call Bono and see how he does it.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Kind of a burner Sunday

I got this friend from way back on the grounds, you know, Smacks Peel. He got his wife all in the family way recently and I offered up the old Smuckles support style in throwing the baby shower. We had a good five dozen over this afternoon, prowling the cold cuts I ordered from Lucchesi's while slapping their brats on the head and wiping noses, etc. I put out a mean spread, even trying my hand at making tomato roses with the vegetable peeler (like Chinese dudes do). I have to say it turned out pretty well.

Smacks is a real kind guy with a good heart and he got this idea into his head that a fun shower game would be if the dudes had to wear this heavy backpack on their fronts, filled with water bottles, and run a timed course. First the dude would don the backpack on his front side, then tie his untied shoe, then run up a flight of stairs and down again, then eat either a pickle or a prune and show his tongue when it was done. After the stopwatch stopped he would choose a hand-written card from a deck and it would either add or subtract seconds from his time ("Constipation! +20 Seconds!"). (The cards had pregnant lady problems on them.)

I had originally recused myself from the event since I was hosting the shower, but you know as these things go I was pretty quickly goaded into participating. Bad thing was, I had asked Conchita to get me up way too early to start organizing the shower and I had been in a pretty ucky way from the night before. I guess I cracked my first Chimay around 9am, just easing into the day, you know. By the time the crew cheered me into the Pregnancy Simulator apparatus I was pretty far gone and thin on the inside. I was wheezing as I tied the shoe, and barely stood up again to run for the stairs. When I did run for the stairs I felt like someone was pressure-shooting Whip-Its into my ears. Fortunately no one was following me so when I got halfway up the stairs I fell into a heap and barfed kind of a light mealy substance.

After a short bit I heard someone coming to check on me so I sort of weakly scrambled up the stairs and hid in the laundry room.

I was passed out in there until just a few hours ago, and when I looked around it seemed that everyone from the shower had left. Fine, good. There was even this huge pile of gift wrap in the middle of the living room that I guess Conchita will have to clean up. Anyhow, I ought to e-mail Smacks in a few and see how it went. I'm guessing I didn't win, but you never know.

Friday, July 16, 2004

It's a Chochacho Night Friday.

...and that means old Ray has scared up a mess of fine ideas for his guests! That sushi counter I rented last week was a big hit, so this week I got one of those Mongolian BBQ stations. You ever been to Mongolian BBQ? You go down this line and put all kinds of chilled meats and vegetables into a bowl, then you make a sauce out of like seven possible ingredients, and you give all that to the cook, who has this huge hot cast-iron drum with a flat grill top, and he dumps all that stuff on there and hits it with these wooden swords and works it all around until it's cooked. Usually they got egg rolls, too. Anyhow, I had the guys at Colonel Li's set one of those up and send over their best cook tonight. He's down there right now gettin' the thing hot and seasoned.
Also Dimitri came by with a flat of 24s of Heinie (it's fun to hold the bigger bottle, instead of those little 12s that warm up so fast), and just a simple top-shelf spread of Tanq, Ketel, Jim, Jose, Don, etc. I made sure to get some Orangina and limes to go with the vodka so that Téodor can mix us up some of those delicious Voginas.   

Thursday, July 15, 2004

A Dream.

I had this dream last night that I was playing pool with all these Italians in this weird circus-painted room, with lots of long heavy drapes and all these different sized fancy globes everywhere. In the dream I had total mastery of the game and it was like I could think six shots ahead...when I looked at the table a map with dotted lines would just emerge before my eyes. I had this ancient cue stick, which was like a semi-transparent frosty green glass with a carved ivory grip. I think there might have been runes on it? The Italian men weren't really paying attention to me, even the guy I was playing. I remember not liking the music, which was that French accordion street stuff, but with the sound of big ocean waves crashing included.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Oh yeah!

I just checked my e-mail and there are all kinds of questions in there for my advice column! Sorry I ain't got around to this in a while. I just got all of the Police Academy movies on DVD (1-7) and have been all James Lipton in my home theater. I even got blue note cards like he uses, but I didn't end up filling any of them out. I'm not even sure why I got them, really. I guess they make nice disposable coasters.

I can not get enough of Hightower, he stone brings the ice. And Larvell, man, I used to spend days trying to get that good at making sounds with my mouth. No one does a better squeaky door or lock-pick than him.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

What the hell, man?

Man, last night was a hell of a burn! I thought I had my game all figured out: use the behind the back shot more often. Why? Because it's a more stable shot. I've always said this. Think about it: you got three stabilizing points of contact for the cue (two hands and a back) to totally keep it steady and shoot true. I guess I should have practiced it more before the match (Braveheart was on all afternoon, though) because I ended up losing a bit more moolah than I care to mention. I even fell down and hit my face on the table at one point. Jesus. Today my cheek and eye are all puffy.

I'm gonna look around on-line and see if there are any heavy-immersion type training camps I can attend. My faith in my game is pretty shaken after last night.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I don't think too much of that dude down at Clancy's.

It must have been their fill-in kid giving the lessons today, because he wasn't too great of an instructor. He kept trying to get me to play like a little old lady. When the situation called for me to shoot with the cue behind my back he was all "WHOAH WHOAH WHOAH just use the bridge!" Yeah, right. I don't touch the crutch.

I just needed a little fine tuning here and there, not a total rebuild of my already solid style! Heck of annoying. Anyhow, not a good way to spend $75, getting a lesson from the dweeb down at Clancy's. While he was mincing around the table with his carpal tunnel wrist thing on, I got to thinking about what I might be doing wrong and I think I'm ready for a little action with Cornelius tonight. Time to even the score!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I got to improve my game!

Daaamn, I invited Cornelius over for some pool tonight (I discovered that he likes to play over a couple Hoegaardens yesterday) and he cleaned my clock! He had some pretty lucky runs last night, and I sent a couple bucks his way, but I figured I'd make it all back today, you know. Old Ray knows one end of the cue stick from the other, and has made some mighty shots in his day.

So C. shows up and since it's pretty early on (not like last night) we're on a level playing field and all of that, and I'm feelin' pretty sharp. Right away I start noticing a couple things I hadn't seen before.

First of all, his break is insane. He doesn't move too much or put too much heave into it, but damn if every single one of the balls doesn't make one full trip around the table! They end up dispersed pretty nicely, and he starts pickin' them off one by one, always having a real good leave for the next shot. Then he'll like sneeze and miss a shot, and I get to lay into it, but I'm usually in a pretty bad spot and can't do too much. Then he goes on another run. But it's like, he's just as amazed at his own good luck as I am at my bad luck! We're just hell of congratulating each other every time we sink or miss a shot.

Overall, I think I lost a cool $1300 tonight. I got to stone-bone study my rhythm. I'm gonna spend a few hours down at Clancy's Billiards And More, they got a resident pro and this video camera system that tapes you from all angles, so you can know what you're doing wrong. I can't believe I didn't sink a single ball tonight. I'm gonna get the table checked out too, it can get kind of humid in that room.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

What a damn fine day.

Feelin' good today. Since Molly and Beef stayed over last night I had Conchita make us some eggs benedict and home fries. That plus a tasty bloody mary had me on my feet and ready to take a big bite outta the day, which is sunny and warm and just generally damn fine. I think I'll get the clubs and head on down to the Hidden Hills driving range, maybe see if Paul can squeeze me in for a lesson.

Friday, July 09, 2004

It's Friday Night at Ray's!

Man, did we set us up a good one today! Dimitri came by with some new stuff he's carryin' at the distributorship, including this hella delicious white beer called Hoegaarden (got us a keg of that), and a bunch of nice old vine zinfandels that are sweet and fine to drink all by themselves. Not that they won't go real well with these fly Michael Chiarello mail-order ribs I ordered outta his website, plus some insane pierogi that Téodor's workin' up down in the kitchen. He loves comin' over to cook since we got that whole stainless steel viking setup, 20,000 BTU burners, double deep fryers, the works. I don't let him do the meats, though. Meats are my territory, no one cooks meat at my house but me. You can cook smaller side dishes which incorporate meat at my house, but you cannot cook larger meats, such as entrée portions. You can cook a hot dog, sure, I don't care about that, but you cannot cook tri-tip or roast a bird. That is my job. I cook the meats at my house. Téodor can put beef or crumbled sausage in his pierogi, but he cannot for example grill whole sausages and present them to guests. I do that, me. I cook all meats over three ounces and above a certain level of quality.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Ken the Jeopardy Champion!

Man, they got this dude named Ken Jenkins on Jeopardy these days and he is like a 26-day champion, winning over eight hundred grand so far! $800,000 of the flattest! This has never even come CLOSE to happening on Jeopardy before. Amazing. The dude has great strategy and timing, but he also just knows every damn fact in the world, from old sports questions to foreign politicians to like The History Of The Patent Office. Incredible. I usually play along with Jeopardy before dinner and hit a few streaks myself but this guy has such a pattern, no one can even touch him once Double Jeopardy starts. He usually wins by five figures.

Funny thing though, 'cause he's Mormon he has to give 10% of his winnings to the church, 50% to old Govvy-D, and then he can't even have any Scotch while he laments their cuts (whiskeys are the best liquor for when you're cold lamenting, ain't they!). In fact, he always gets all alcohol-related questions wrong. I was thinking I could take this guy if the categories were like:

* Scotch Producing Regions
* Bar Measurements
* The "Proof"'s In the Potable (knowing %s of various types of liquor)
* Country of Origin (where was it brewed/distilled/vinted)
* Blind Tasting (they pass around shots and you name them, kind of a new thing)

And instead of the Daily Double they could call it "Make it a Double For a Dollar!" You know, like you see at airport bars.

OK, Ken's on! Got to hustle.

UPDATE: Ken got 4 of 5 liquor-category questions right tonight. I guess he's been boning up on the cocktail menu at the Chili's in his Radisson.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Do I want to go camping?

I ain't much of a camper, I got to admit. I don't like it if I can't take a shower right after I wake up, and I got all kinds of problems with campground outhouses/no outhouses at all. But camping is a different kind of thing, you know? You are out under the sky and there is a small square barbecue for each campground, and you and your friends just act differently because it's a totally different environment. It can be pretty wild, seeing how folks come outta the woodwork in various ways. Last time we went camping this really drunk guy wandered over to our beach bonfire and kept repeating how many bottles of wine he had drunk (2 or 3, something like that). I wanted to ditch out and maybe throw a log at him but Beef just played along with his rambling, and at one point helped him back up to the campground to his spot while consoling him on his recent divorce. Weird how some cats are.

Anyhow, I can see the appeal if you got all kinds of North Face and REI stuff all kicked and crunked, just zipped and velcroed and worked down tight, total gear pro. Then you can be comfortable, all with some fine leather Nike hiking booties and black tights to cut down wind resistance, plus a ripstop wool skullcap that covers the ears, maybe with some fun dangly ear cords for pulling it down. Like Sting would have. You can look hell of sexy in some camping gear. Maybe I'll get one of those Thule roof racks for the Escalade.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

That douche.

Okay, so what Pat wanted was to tell me that he just got his driver's license renewed and wants to take me along with him to the DMV headquarters in Sacramento so that he can lodge a formal complaint about something in person. Talk about your five hour round trips in Pat's hinge old Mustang that he thinks is so precious. Plus, I would never want to do that. I don't know why he thought that would be a treat for me. I told him I had a late afternoon tee time down at Seven Pines, and he said we could go tomorrow, and I said that I had standing tee times at all golf courses for as long as he was mad at the DMV. He managed to turn my comment into a two-minute blister about how the state is going down the tubes because guys like me sit around in robes and accept the status quo. Then he left. That was nice of him.

What a nice afternoon.

It is such a great day around here. It is completely sunny with a nice breeze, the grass was just mowed and edged so it is all beautiful and perfect, and the spa is bubbling away all cheerily to itself. I'm still wearing that Ritz Carlton robe, which is keeping me at just the perfect temperature. I had some Pappardelle con Gamberoni from Luigi's for lunch, and it didn't sit too heavy at all. I'm having a cold Amstel Light right now and am just ten kinds of blissed. I wonder how long this perfect feeling can last.

Answer: about three seconds, because I just saw Pat walk up my driveway. Crap, there's the doorbell and his knocking. Why does he always knock AND ring the doorbell at the same time, it really gets on my nerves.

The Dude.

I try to watch Big Lebowski about a couple times a year and today was my summer cram. I had Conchita set me up a tray of Ketel, cheap-ass Half and Half, Kahlua, and ice, all with a lousy little cheap glass, and I roached up a nice J using my fingernail clippers. I was set. I even wore this old pair of sunglasses that I found in the street, and a robe that I lifted from that B-list Ritz-Carlton in Scottsdale.

Man, I just had the greatest old time. Big Lebowski is so funny. I had such a great time.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Ray's Sex In The City Night With The Ladies

Well, no dice on that “finding a cool group of women, like the Sex and the City women, to hang out with” thing. I’ll tell you how it went down if you really want to know.

So this afternoon I flipped through my mental black book and I remembered that Brittney, Amber, and a whole other slew of other mall girls get off work at 8pm on Saturdays and go get outta control at S.C.T!.’s (S.C.T. stands for “Saturday’s Cool Too!” which is kind of in response to that TGI Friday’s chain. From what I’d heard, the founders are doing pretty well with that idea, warming people up to the thought that Saturday can be a pretty good day of the week in addition to Friday). Anyhow, I thought I’d spice myself up with one of my monogrammed shirts, open at the collar, a few splashes of Polo Extreme Sport (kind of a fun weekend cologne), and my new chunky silver chain bracelet before heading over to S.C.T.’s and joining them for their first few rounds, while they were still pretty clear-headed and most likely to be sophisticated and witty.

So I was looking pretty dapper, all with my mug just trimmed three days before so it didn’t look too fresh and in fact was in its prime, all with some low-rise boot cut new GAP jeans on, thick black Gucci belt, etc. I was straight up Clooneying. Anyhow, I pulled into that place around 8:20 and none of the girls were there yet. I sort of cooled it and read the kids’ menu and stuff, just waiting in the little entranceway on a bench. It was quieter than I had expected--there were just a few families here and there, finishing up meals with their young kids. That’s cool, they’d clear out soon enough and my brichichas would be scootin’ into booths, filling the air with strong, sassy girl talk. I couldn’t wait. I was gettin’ pretty excited so I went to the bar in the corner and sized myself up for a margarita.

Only problem was, there was no bartender. None of the lights behind the bar had even been turned on, and the little credit card slider was off. Man, that blew, so I stopped one of the waitresses and asked if I could get a drink. She said the bar was closed and I was all like “yeah I see that but what can you do for me” and pretty soon she came back with this paper cup that had some marsala cooking wine in it. I sort of sadly gave her a fiver and sat and nipped at the nasty stuff for a while, flipping through the kids’ menu and waitin’ for the ladies.

By 9:30 not a single new person had come into the restaurant except for a family on a road trip whose kid had crapped in his pants, so I hit Brittney up on my cell.

RAY: Hey, delicious! What you doin’ tonight?
BRITTNEY: [loud background party music] Ray? Is that you?
R: Some kid just crapped in his pants! (I had had a few more cups of the marsala by then and was kind of addle-brained, I thought it would be really funny to say that)
B: What? Ray?
R: Seriously! Where you guys at tonight? I’m all up in S.C.T.’s and bringin’ the damage!
B: Uh, look, I got to go, Ray.
[hangs up]

Long story short, S.C.T.’s had lost its liquor license about a year back and no one went there anymore. I must have sounded pretty insane, like I was hanging out blasted at an unpopular family restaurant and calling women to come join me. No wonder she didn’t tell me where she was.

At any rate, I’m gonna look on the Internet about how to make a Hot Toddy. I bet I got all the right ingredients.

Sex in the City DVDs

So I ain't never watched too much Sex in the City until I got Netflix and I accidentally ordered the DVDS (thought I was getting something with Holly Body, kind of drunk, didn't read too closely). These discs are pretty funny! There are the main four women who are like a prude, a dork, a hussy and another dork/nerd. They have some problems, but generally there is a cosmo or martini or two to go round. I could definitely hang with ladies like that. I'm gonna try to find some ladies who tell it like it is and like to throw one back, preferably a small group of them.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Nobody around?

Damn, where is everybody? It's a friday night and this place is a graveyard! I was thinkin' of spinning some mellow old Police and maybe just keeping low court in the spa for a couple hours, followed by some 9-ball and Manhattans and Comedy Central, but damned if a dude can scare a dude up. I even called Pat, who fortunately wasn't around. Ain't nothin' lamer than hanging out with Pat and only Pat. If it's just the two of us he always insists on trying to teach me various Kanji and the tricks he has for remembering them. Why does the dude figure I need to learn some Chinese.

A new kind of rum!

Dang, Chris emailed me about this new kind of rum he found today and I went and picked up a bottle! It's like hell of old pirate rum, not clarified or anything, and it looks almost exactly like Sam Adams but without the bubbles. It's got good nose and it's almost spiced like a cognac. It's aged in old bourbon barrels, the label says, and I ten kinds of believe it. I think what I'm gonna do is decant this action into a plain, clear bottle with no labels and just have it be my swill. Know what I mean? A dude's swill. A man got to have his swill. I think I'm gonna buy a skeleton.

I got to get rid of some Nagels

Remember that famous artist from the 80s, "Nagel"? He did all kinds of what was considered at the time "great" art. Anyhow, I just found a bunch of my old Nagel prints down in the garage, stuff that I had on the walls back in my high school days. I need to have a garage sale. I could probably also get rid of those dumb fingerless gloves I bought at The Record Factory when I wanted to be like Julian Lennon.

Oh man, I just read about Nagel on the Internet. Apparently he died of a heart attack when he was 39? How do you do that? Probably it was cocaine, but I don't want to say that until I know for sure. I would hate to think of people making up dumb ways that I had died if I had died innocently of congenital heart deformity.