Wednesday, October 31, 2007

At the Hotel in Sydney!

Alright mates, I'm all checked in to the Harold Holt Surf-Inn and Lodge, and I got to tell you, the clerk bugged me from the second I walked into the place. He's this real scrawny guy in actual prescription aviators, and he had his nose buried in this little novelty-size Bible when I pulled on up to the counter.

RAY: Whoah, dude! Tiny Bible you got there!

CLERK: Excuse me? I think it's a perfectly fine size for a Bible.

RAY: Oh, sorry. I thought you were gonna come back at me with somethin' like, "It ain't the size of the Bible, it's the way you apply its lessons." I mean, I put that one on a tee for you, dude.

CLERK: [reluctantly sets down Bible] Are you checking in, then?

RAY: Hey, your name tag says Harold! You the guy this place is named after?

HAROLD: It's a coincidence.

RAY: Must bug you, all these folks comin' in askin' if you're Harold Holt, huh?

HAROLD: No one in Australia would ever think that I am Harold Holt. They chalk it up to coincidence and then typically get on with checking in.

RAY: I get you, I get you. [Unsuccessfully fishes around for ID and credit cards.] Huh, can't find anything. I called from the airport?

HAROLD: ID and credit card, please.

RAY: Yeah, uh, I can't find that stuff. [Offers handshake] Gentleman's bond?

HAROLD: It is not my job to tell you this, but those things appear to be tucked beneath the arm of your glasses.

RAY: [feels] Oh! Dang. I must have done that. Here you go.

HAROLD: [picks up the cards resentfully, using just the tips of two fingers] You'll be staying for our toast breakfast, I take it? It's highly suggested.

RAY: Yeah, uh, about that. No.

HAROLD: Toast breakfast is served from seven AM until noon. Please bring your identification.

RAY: You know, you're the first guy I've met in Australia who never says "mate." Even Hoshi was sayin' mate, and the dude's from Honshu.

HAROLD: Here is your room key. You're in 29b, up the stairs, overlooking the beach, as you requested.

RAY: Okay, then! [Pause] I'll just carry these bags myself?

HAROLD: Unless you'd like to revisit the lobby every time you need a clean shirt or socks, that is probably the wisest course of action.

Clearly I didn't like the guy too much, and I was pretty sure he didn't like me, so why was he tryin' to keep me around for toast breakfast so bad? Anyhow, I set up my room the way I like it, with all the clothes put in the drawers, the toiletries fanned out all nice on the bathroom counter, and the pen layin' crosswise on the writin' pad on the desk. Classes up a hotel room to act like a traveler of yore, you dig?

Next thing I knew I woke up on the floor and it was sixteen hours later — nine in the damn morning! Man, jet lag hit me like a beast! I felt great, havin' slept so hard, and realized that I did NOT want to sit in the hotel room until noon just to avoid the toast breakfast. "To hell with it," I thought to myself, "I'll just say no thanks. People do that all the time." I spruced up for a walk around town, dabbed some Obsession on my wrists, and headed through the lobby. Harold leaned out of a doorway and waved me over.

HAROLD: You're just in time for our toast breakfast. Come, come.

RAY: Oh, man. Dang. Forgot my identification, dude. Tomorrow, for sure.

HAROLD: It's alright, I remember you. Come, come.

RAY: Oh, jeez. Uh, okay. Cut me off if I start in with the sea shanties, will you?

I went into the little dining-type room and sat down. There wasn't any food out, and there was just one big grumpy-lookin' guy hunched over with his back to me (I don't know how I could tell his mood, but it seemed obvious). I could hear him crunching away, so I sat and waited. Harold came in pretty quick with a big plate of dry toast, maybe sixteen pieces, and set it down in front of me.

RAY: Wow, that's a lot of toast. I usually just have two pieces. You got any main dishes?

HAROLD: We sell a very special product for your toast here. Have you looked over by the fireplace?

RAY: [Looks] Huh! A little pyramid of three small jars that ain't got no labels! If I'd known THAT was gonna be there, I'd have looked sooner!

HAROLD: It is a sustainable, single-origin, organic, artisan, Marmite-type product. I collect and package it myself.

RAY: Marmite-type product?

HAROLD: Sixteen dollars eighty. You'll be amazed. It's a revolution that's going to set the toast world on its ear. My particular product's name is Marmold. As in, Harold's Marmite-type Product.

RAY: [thinks to self] Well, I'm gonna be here for a week, I basically have to buy this idiot's stuff. [Aloud] Okay, put a few of 'em on my tab.

HAROLD: You won't be disappointed. [Unscrews one for me] Just spread this on your toast, and ring the bell when you're out of either. [Leaves.]

RAY: [Sniffs contents of jar] Whoah, who peeled out on a bottle of soy sauce!

GRUMPY MAN: This stuff is bleedin' ambrosia. Don't knock it or I'll tin your cock, I will.

Okay, so now I got three jars of Marmold sittin' in my room. Maybe after my walk around town I'll see if I can chuck 'em as far as the ocean. I'm headin' out now for some steaks and Fosters and probably gonna set up shop on the beach after I make some friends.

Beef's Bachelor Party - HARD PLANS.

I wrote much plans for Roast Beef's bachelor party in this cool retro-lookin' leather bound notebook I picked up at Restoration Hardware today. I even wrote 'em all out with a fountain pen, usin' my best scrawl, in case it might be a thing I can present to him like on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Here are some of the party ideas I scritted down:

This is kind of advanced, and it ain't for the Emily Post crowd.
The idea is this: when a toilet gets filled to a certain point, it will automatically "flush" itself, because of the water levels and the siphon at the base and stuff — you ain't need to pull the handle. Ergo, if a dude voids enough liquid into the toilet to make it flush itself, he will cause his friends great glee. This being the case, if we can fill Beef up with so much beer that he can "flush the toilet" without touching the handle, everyone will feel great glee and carry him around the house on their shoulders. (Incidentally, I learned this trick at junior college one night.)

This one is best done to metal, like Hell Bent For Leather, or the hip hop single Fuck Tha Police.
This one's kind of rough on the gums. You take Fritos — those rectangle corn chips half the size of a stick of gum — and tuck them vertically inside his lips, in front of his teeth, so that he gets a toasty yellow grill like a boxer's mouth guard. Then, one by one, each friend at the party tucks five bucks into the guy's shirt pocket, steps back, and takes a hard open-handed slap at the dude's mouth. It's a good way to raise money for the honeymoon, and the PERFECT thing to do to this music. Replace chips as they break.

At the Community Center.
Nick LeFabre has carved out a profitable local business by teaching dudes how to cook food that wives like to eat. In this class Nick says that wives like to watch fat and calories while still feeling special, and shows some signature dishes: cranberry preserve on lemon-rubbed toast; summer pea spoonfuls with thrice-blanched black pepper. (This would be more like one that me and the guys wouldn't go to, kind of a morning thing for Beef only.)

Daaamn. Lookin' over this thing, seems all we need is a pony, a shotgun, and a place to hide the body. Bachelor party, we COMIN' FOR YA!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On the Ground in Ozzieland!

I’m on the ground in Australia, and I’m totally outta my mind! Everything is mad different here, and I think I’m gonna rent out my place back in the States asap so I can go local indefinitely!

First of all, the airline chick who greeted me as I came up the gangway was HELL of tight, and I almost went down on one knee when she clasped her hands and gave me that “G’day! Weyww-k’m tew ausstray-weeyah!” line. She was hella gorgeous, doggs! All blonde hair pulled back real simple into a hot bun, all tanned face, and you could TOTALLY tell what her dad looked like! That’s a neat thing about Australian chicks, although it can be weird at first.

Anyhow, I’m plopped down in the airport computer area now, lookin’ around for limos and hotels and stuff. I didn’t want to plan any of this, in case somethin’ came up, you know. For example, I was gonna give it all up to the airport greeter chick just now, but she went on some kind of break and I got to tell you, when I saw her lame-ass black nurse shoes and uneven-opacity black hose, I actually fell out of love a little bit. I know she just wears ‘em for her function, but damn, if you’re gonna be fine, get a different job. Those shoes hell of put me in a bad Minnesota bedroom, like with a humidifier and a fifty year-old career waitress named Bladge.

BALONEY! I am NOT losin’ interest in Australia already! That was a bogus blip. Looks like I’m bookin’ a room in the Harold Holt Surf-Inn and Lodge...says it’s right on the beach, they got a “highly suggested” toast breakfast ‘til noon each day...alright, not too swank, but it’s on some prime water, and I got much designs on breakin’ out the board. Plus, I figure if I get up late enough, I can skip the toast breakfast and sneak past the little guy in the office. I’ll be spendin’ at least forty five minutes gettin’ my hair all tousled in the local manner, especially the first day...that can definitely buy me a ticket past noon. At that point, it’s just a nice leisurely lunch of steaks and crispy cold ones at a local café, and then I’m off to the surf! I am hell of stoked about sittin’ in the sand, crackin’ lagers with some of the local blokes, and pissin’ in areas which are behind large storm wreckage (but still pretty close to the main beach).

Alright, my guy Mr. Hoshi from Hoshi’s Bonzer Limo just texted that he’s outside with the livery vehicle. Just got to make a few stops to pick up a board, some Sex Wax, and some steaks for the hotel room, and he’ll drop me at the Inn. I’m tellin’ you, the air here alone has just got me all kinds of jammed. It is SO not America. I feel like anything can happen! In America, things usually can’t happen, but down here, I get a way different vibe. Maybe it’s because the police cars look like something your cheap uncle would rent in Hawaii.

Seriously, Australia, get decent police cars and a national anthem that didn’t come programmed as the demo on the keyboard. I can help with this. I am at the Harold Holt Surf-Inn and Lodge for the next month, paid in advance.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Finally Airborne!

Daaaamn, people! We actually airborne and on the way to bad old Australia! United Airlines, I’m gonna write a letter when I get back. This level of service is high-steppin’, and I am hella plussed. I got two plus signs for eyes. Here’s how the flight’s gone so far:


Took off from San Francisco International Airport. At altitude I started cruisin’ around the passenger area, meetin’ people. Since it’s such a long flight, folks loosen up, break out the guitars and straw-bottle chianti and stuff. Turns out I’m sittin’ next to one of the main chicks in Australia (a model? can’t tell), and also this top race car driver they got named Angus Walliams. He’s totally what you’d expect — little, wiry, way energetic, and full of pranks. When I went to shake the dude’s hand he spun around and mooned me so hard I almost passed out from laughter! That thing was like less than a foot from my face, and it had an intensity! I thought about gettin’ another moon goin’ on right back at him, but then I was like, better not have two moons dukin’ it out near the hot chick. Basic manners, you know. I’m pourin’ one out for Emily Post, here.

After that they announced it was time for dinner, so all of us up in first class scrambled back to our seats and hella feasted on filets mignon and whole grilled pompano on the bone. Definitely nice, and they were pourin’ the ’93 Pétrus, so we got much classed and ended up in a circle on the floor singin’ a folk song. Somethin’ about a little Koala who goes to the store but can’t produce the right change and he gets booted. I think it’s one of their traditionals, everyone seemed to know it but me.

Fell asleep with my leg over the chick’s leg but we didn’t talk much. When I woke up, it was...


The captain said we were well over the Pacific by this point, and that it was time for stereo music. (“Ladies and Gentlemen in our first class accommodations, it is time for Stereo Music.”) For about an hour and a half the first class cabin was filled with really nice stereo music while we brunched on prawn cocktail, omelettes, waffles and champagne. There was also this rad side dish of potatoes.

Later in the day a couple of the guys and I started talkin’ about US/Australia business relations, and we came up with some bomb trade ideas. For example, Americans love the phrase “shrimp on the barbie,” but no one’s ever capitalized on it in the US, especially where specialty grilling utensils are concerned. We blueprinted some proprietary shrimp grilling skewer/baskets, and I got to tell you, these are gonna put MAXIMUM flavor on the shrimp. After we got the sketches done and discussed the legal angles for a while, I ended up just hangin’ with this one guy Corwin and shootin’ the breeze about golf. Turns out he’s in real estate and wants to open the world’s longest golf course! Australia’s definitely the place. Texas people think they like big, but imagine havin’ an empty United States to yourself...Corwin’s got plans for a par-9 hole! Almost half a mile of fairway woods. I ask you, why can’t golf have longer holes? To hear him tell it, there’s no reason aside from limited imagination.

Fell asleep before the chick got back to her seat. She was on the phone a lot, but I’m hopin’ she saw me conductin’ business and was swayed by my manly authority. Am I buzzed? Should I say that?


Pilot says we’re within sixteen hours of landin’. Seriously, I’m startin’ to get cabin fever up here. We havin’ fun, but how many times can you say the same thing to the same guy who’s goin’ to the same bathroom for the thirty-eighth time? It’s like we basically know each other at this point, and it’s kind of awkward.

I guess I’ll start gatherin’ up all my laundry, Flash memory sticks, and earbuds. Time to start gettin’ serious about Australia. The printers onboard just started shootin’ out the cover stories from the Daily Telegraph, so I'm gonna get current on shark attacks and parliament and stuff.