Failed High School Party

Senior year of high school a group of our friends decided we wanted to throw an epic event.  A standard weekend routine for us at this point would be to play ultimate and have a bbq, grilling essentially whatever we could get our hands on.  We decided at one point that it was time to step our game up.  We wanted to throw a huge party where tons of people would come and grill and watch/play ultimate.  This sounded like a perfect plan.  The Frisbee Q was born.  The event escalated quickly where before I knew it, we had bands lined up to play and what seemed like hundreds of people planning on attending.  Lucas and I made flyers and would go around handing them out to anyone inviting them to the event.  I would like to note that the event was going to be held in my front yard.  My front yard of my parent’s rental property that was shared with 9 other tenants.  I told my parents that we would be having a BBQ and playing ultimate with some friends, something that obviously would not set off any flags with them as we did that quite frequently.  It is amazing that when you are young, just how ignorant and inconsiderate you can be towards what is going on around you.  Especially when all you care about is having the event and making it as big as possible.  It was about a week prior to the event and I believe we had a couple bands lined up, tons of people talking about the event and a pair of parents in the dark about what exactly was about to happen on their front lawn.  A group of us the weekend prior decided to drive up to SUNY Geneseo because we were invited to scrimmage their college team which our friend Nathan had recently joined.  This was super exciting for us, because at this point we hadn’t even played another high school.  We played them with a rag tag squad of only 7 and I believe 2 of us were injured during the game.  Surprisingly enough we won, which was awesome for us.  I do not even think we stayed the night.  I believe we drove up just for the day.  After the game, I remember looking at my phone and seeing a call from my dad.  I call him back and it may have been one of the few times in my life I have heard such anger in his voice.  He told me that he found out at his job about the party we were throwing and the magnitude of it.  He was absolutely livid and said that there was no way the party was happening and to get home immediately.  To be honest, I am not sure if he even knew that at that given moment I was in upstate New York.  I tell my friends and our faces just dropped.  The car ride was depressing to say the least.  We had no idea how to even cancel the event at this point.  I mean we were handing out flyers to anyone we sort of knew.  Luckily word spread pretty quickly and that was that.  I think a couple bands were pissed that we canceled their gig, but really nothing that left a lasting impression in my mind.  Lucas and some others came over the day of the cancelled party so that if people came we would be able to turn them away.  I think we didn’t turn anyone away though and ended up having a smaller get together and grilled food.   That was probably the first time a party I had planned completely crashed and burned. 

Westchester to Albany

The“Retarded” was a poorly named challenge that Lucas, Richie P, Ben G. and I did while in college.  Lucas would frequently toyed with the notion of trying to ride his bike from his home in Westchester to Albany, NY.  I believe it was around 120 miles.  Lucas at this point was extremely socially dependant (self-admittedly) and asked me if I wanted to join.  I am by no means an avid bike rider, however I am always a fan of a challenge.  Lucas seemed confident that this was something we could accomplish in a day without any prior training.  I prepped the best that I could, by wearing some under armour and making sure there was air in my $100 bike that my grandparents got for me from Walmart. We woke up super early because a ride like this was going to take us all day.  Looking at Richie P. I could not help but laugh, as his outfit was a pair of Khaki shirts and a white undershirt. His bike was a mountain bike and he then had a book bag filled with random bottles of water.  His preparation made me feel significantly more confident in the ride.  I would say the first hour or so was pretty smooth, then that is when everything went wrong.  The ride became a true test of will power as everything that could possibly go wrong did.  Going down a hill, I try making a turn and my brakes lock up and I start fishtailing towards a truck going the opposite direction.  I luckily get away uninjured however the tire on my bike was popped and completely warped.  Lucas spent some time hammering it back into shape, though whatever damage done to the frame of the tire led to a consistent series of tires being blown out.  I am fairly certain I personally went through 4 tires during the ride.  Also for a majority of the ride, it was down pouring rain.  At one point I am behind Lucas and we are about to ride over some train tracks.  I see Lucas fishtail a bit and keep riding.  I immediately think that there is no way I am not fucking this up.  Sure enough the lack of confidence and skill helped catapult me from the bike and crashing into the ground.  I cut up my hands pretty bad and blood was rushing down my arms.  Lucas seeing this knows that blood is a breaking point for me and says that we can quit if I want to.  I looked at my bloody pruney hands, which could possibly be the grossest thing ever and tell him to help tape me up.  My final tire blows out within the last leg of the trip.  We were about 25 miles outside of Albany and no more spares to use.  We all sit on the side of the road defeated until Ben suggests that we call a friend in Albany to drive a bike out to us so that we can finish the ride.  For the last 25 miles of the ride I was able to use an actual road bike with clips.  I felt like I was flying.  We get into Albany and ride directly to Bombers to celebrate.  It was a fantastic sense of accomplishment to complete the ride despite all the hiccups that came along the way.

Take the Chips and Run

The summer of my senior year of high school was one of the wildest times of my life.  A group of my friends all moved in together in a large house that was owned by one of our friend’s father.  His dad was going to be sailing for the year and somehow Leon convinced him to let him and 5 of his friends move into the house.  I still to this day have no idea how he pulled it off.  I am sure there will be plenty of stories throughout the year going into further detail about the chaos that ensured during my brief stay in what we called “The Chicken Coop” prior to leaving for Albany.   I do not want to say that the people that lived in the house were bad people.  I loved each one of them, however it is fair to say that each of them had a moral code that was skewed in their own unique way.  When there is that many people living together for the first time on their own with loose morals, it created a powder keg of sorts.  Probably the worst at the time was Eric.  There was one day where I had to go to get dog food for our newly acquired pet and Eric asked to tag along.  We drove over to the stop and shop and we walked in to the store.   The way the store was laid out was there was the entrance doors then a little area where the recycling center was and some random food items they were promoting.  This week it was a bulk pack of wise potato chips.  It was those lunch packs that made any grade school child gitty when their parents came home with one.  Eric was just staring at it and said he would meet me at the car.  I go in and buy the dog food.  As I am walking out of to the car, I hear my name being shouted and I turn and see Eric running to the car with a couple boxes of these chips.  He screams “get in the car” I run to the car and get it started.  He jumps in and I peel out.  I have no idea if someone was chasing him or what I just acted on impulse.  He said once in the car that there was a security guard just hanging out and he didn’t seem to be leaving any time soon so Eric decided to just grab them and run.  I look back at this period of my life and see lots of things that I could of done differently.  They were not always the best decisions, but they were at least my choices.

String of Bad Luck

Back when I was 17 I worked in the computer department of Circuit City as a commission sales-person.  It was a pretty sweet job as my pay was determined by my ability to push computers and more importantly the service agreements on various customers.  I was pretty damn good at it too.  I was making great money for a 17-year-old working part time.  There was a week though that put quite the dent in my financial stockpile.  I was driving a Dodge Spirit, which was my father’s back up car.  I didn't ever really enjoy driving a car so owning a car for myself was not really a priority in life.  However even if driving a older car, a person should be aware of all the things a car needs… mainly oil.  I essentially destroyed my fathers back up car because I never put oil in it and ruined the transmission.  So there I was with no car and a job that I needed to get to.  I was forced to ask friends and my parents for rides to Circuit City after school so that I could get to work.  One day I was running late for work and my father had to drive me.  He is a notoriously slow driver and in my mind that would just be too much, so I asked if I could drive to work.  I don't think i was recklessly driving, though I will say my mind was all over the place.  I was about 2 minutes from work when the car in front of me stopped short and I went crashing into the back of them.  It was your basic fender bender, however our car was going nowhere fast.  I do not remember what exactly happened in terms of insurance exchange or the cops, but I do remember that I was not going to be late for work and I ran to my job while everything was still being sorted out.  In one weekend I totaled 2 cars.  It put quite the hit on my wallet.  To top everything off, the following week I was in a friend’s car, complaining about the current situation and I punched the windshield of their car from the passenger seat and cracked their window.  It was yet another thing I had to pay for and truly the icing on the cake.

The Burger Challege

After sectionals during one of the many years where ultimate consumed my life, we went to a restaurant in Ithaca that was known for having a burger challenge.    Our team had some established eaters on it and challenges such as this really allowed them to test themselves or at least win a free t-shirt.  The challenge was simple, a person had to consume the entire meal without throwing up.  The meal consisted of 4 burgers on what seemed to be a loaf of Italian bread.  I remember the bread being one of the toughest parts about the challenge.  Right away Zac, Liv and I say that we plan on doing the challenge, then out of left field Billy Olli states his intentions to enter the challenge as well.  Many teammates scoff at this and try to deter him.  I remember him saying that he once at 4 big king burgers from Burger King and that this would be easy.  The restaurant was filled with Bashing Pinata players as well as Kung Fu Grip players, which was a team from upstate NY.  The plates are brought out and I remember thinking that perhaps I got in over my head.  The eating commences and in 15 minutes Zac finishes the meal.  He then was informed that the overall time record was 11 minutes. (He would later return to break that record)  Liv now no longer pressured by direct competition with Zac was able to take his time and finish leisurely somewhere in the range of 20 minutes.  I take significantly longer as my focus was simply to accomplish the task and finish the meal.  I finish the meal in 40.  Now all eyes are on Billy as he is clearly struggling with his challenge.  When there are around 30 eyes watching one person eat, especially with our group, the amount of heckles or cheers is abundant.  Shockey would walk over and give reassuring words of wisdom and say things to hype Billy up.  I spend my time threatening to field tackle him if he tries to run to the bathroom to vomit.   There was probably a half of a burger left with a decent amount of excess bread.  The next thing we all see is Billy grabbing an empty water pitcher at the table and vomiting into it.  The best way to describe it is by saying that it resembled a soft serve ice cream dispenser.  He fills the pitcher to the top and a series of cheers and boos fills the room.  Shockey walks over and just takes his water bottle back with a face of disappointment.  Afterwards Zac, Liv and myself get our t-shirts and a photo, which would be placed on their wall.  Billy says that he still hungry as he just vomited up his entire meal.  We all laugh and high five as the camera freezes us in mid motion.  Great times for all

The Santa Speedo Sprint

Back when I still lived in Albany, Squirrel and I heard of an event that was being held on Lark Street called the Santa Speedo Sprint.  It was a charity event to help raise money for a cause that I have completely forgotten.  To be fair my intentions for entering the race were not noble.  I just thought it would be a hilarious event and something fun to do in Albany.  I went to Squirrel with an idea I had where I wanted to drag him on a sled in my reindeer outfit (a gift given to me by Kim Ryan a couple months prior).  We figured it would be funny if he wore a Speedo and just sat in a sled as I dragged him for the race.    I admit our planning of how to accomplish this was poorly done, but we were young and just assumed everything would just fall into place.  First off Squirrel did not get a Speedo instead he purchased a g-string which was a little more revealing.  He also purchased a toy whip to use on me during the race.  In addition he had a sack of candy that he would throw out to the spectators.  I was in charge of the sled construction.  Pretty much I knew that we would not be able to just drag a sled on the road, so I decided to add wheels to the sled for ease.  I took four office chair wheels and drilled them into the sled and used a copious amount of hot glue to secure them.  I tested it out on my living room floor and they seemed fine.   From there I simply used rope to attach the sled to a backpack, which I would wear over the reindeer outfit.    We found out there was a pre-party at Lark Tavern where people could get a drink prior to the race.  So we walk over fully dressed however I am fully dressed in normal clothes over a reindeer outfit.  I drink out of a straw so I do not need to take my mask off.  Race time begins and once people see what is about to happen, we quickly are moved to the front of the start line.  The horn goes off and we are cruising.   I think that I easily have this as the wheels are assisting so much and it just feels like a light jog.  The one thing we neglected to realize was that the cross streets on Lark are cobblestone so as soon as we hit the first cross street the wheels fly off.  The task instantly became very tiring.  It starts to heat up under the costume and difficult to breath.  Also the 2nd leg of the race was uphill which made matter just that much worst.  I would love to say that I finished the race however at the last block when I was practically falling from exhaustion, squirrel gets out of the sled and says for us to run to the finish line.  I am sure it was a Cool Runnings moment he was aiming for.  Later on I was able to see videos of the race, which were absolutely hilarious just because Squirrel handled being the Santa like a pro.  He was waving to the crowd and throwing candy to the masses. 

 

My Very First SantaCON

The very first Santa Con in NYC was such a unique and fun experience.  This was before the event became over popularized and hated by so many.  It was our first year in New York City and we heard of this event where people would dress up like Santa and various other Christmas themed characters and bounce around from place to place celebrating the holiday and drinking along the way.  I had been working at bar in the east village hosting weekly trivia and had become quite close with many of the bar staff there.  The head bartender Diana, loved the idea of having a morning open bar where we would pregame prior to going out for the Santa con festivities.  My apartment at the time was tiny and would not be able to fit the people that wanted to attend.  From there it became a shit show.  The open bar was chaotic.  I remember at one point Tank being behind the bar just pouring expensive whiskey into a solo cup for him to enjoy.  Needless to say we got our moneys worth (considering it was $20 for 2 hours).  Then it was time to hit the streets.    We really had no idea where to go or what to do.  We stopped by what we thought was the first stop on the Santa Con route.  It was a bar called Lunesa.  It was 11 am and empty.  There was a couple with their child dressed as Santa and a couple others at the bar.  There was a great video eventually posted online of Q dancing outside from their security footage.  He was dressed in a green-man outfit with a Santa hat.  Also in route to the first bar Feetch punched Tank in the face, while I was not there for this I do remember hearing the story retold constantly throughout the day.  Pretty much the story gets hazy from this point out as it ended up being various drunken moments but here are some of the highlights

-Crowd of Santa’s all at the Post Office

-Christian B. getting a Christmas tree as his costume and just carrying it around all day.

-Ending up in a karaoke night club with Emily Cho that was filled with Santa’s

-Posing in Wedding photos with a couple

A Free Day in NYC

For the first couple years of college I, along with many of my friends were flat broke.  The only funds I had were whatever I was able to save up from the previous years of working part time in High School.  I was in a new city and just starting college.  It was not an opportune time to start finding a job.  Unfortunately my parents also were not in a position to assist much either.  When you have no money you really find unique ways to fill your time and still go on adventures of sorts.  During one of my holiday breaks, while visiting home Lucas, Richie P. Leon and myself decided to take a trip to Manhattan.  We did research and found a bunch of stuff that we could do that would be free.  We woke up super early to get down to the city because the first stop on this adventure was sitting in the audience for a taping of the Caroline Rhea Show.  The show it self really has no lasting memory with the exception that Billy Zane was there, and we received a jazz cd and some Centrum multi-vitamins.  I wish I could tell you how we filled time the rest of the day, but I really do not remember.  The other main segment of this trip was that we were going to Usher for the off-Broadway show Blue Man Group.  At that point they had a program where you could volunteer to usher and in return see the show.  Prior to that, Richie P. gave Lucas ample amount of shit for not wearing a tie.  He called it unprofessional and forced us to go to a store and pick out a tie for him.  We went to the K-Mart in Astor Place.  An area I would eventually become extremely familiar with as I eventually moved to that area.  Seeing Blue Man Group was always a fun time as it was wild, energetic, artistic and overall free.  Which was something that was necessary at the time for some of us.

My First Concert

I did not attend my first musical concert until I was 16 years old.  I remember it being a big deal as I continuously left out, as other kids would talk about shows that they were seeing.  Finally my day came where I bought tickets to see the band Less Than Jake at the Chance in Poughkeepsie.  I was going to see the show with Mike Stratton who was also really into the band as well.  I think the opener for the show was Lars Frederickson and the Bastards, which was a punk band headed by bassist of the group Rancid.  The day of the concert was going to be a very busy day for me.  I had a school trip to NYC, which got me out of all my classes.  My business law class was taking us to see a taping of the Judge Hatchett.  It was one of those reality court shows that were becoming extremely popular.  I had the whole day planned out.  We would be in the city from 8-3 and I would get home and meet up with Mike around 6:30 to get to the show right when it starts to see the opening act.   My plan did not go according to plan.  We did not even leave the courtroom until around 6pm.  The taping was absolutely excruciating.  It was so unbelievably fabricated and nothing seemed natural.  There were numerous takes done and someone would constantly come out and ask us to look surprised about certain things that were said.  By the time we got back to the school, my ride had already left and I was going to miss my first concert.  My business law teacher Ms. Reverri felt really bad about this and actually offered to drive me to the concert, which was about 40 minutes away from the school.  She lived nearby to the venue so it would only be a little out of the way.  I changed in the car out of my dress shirt and tie, which we had to wear for the taping and put on a Mighty Mouse t-shirt.  Why I remember that detail I have no idea.  I got to the venue in time to see the main act.  The show was so energetic as people danced around in the pit the entire time.  At the end of the event I was soaked in sweat and completely exhausted.  I went home completely ecstatic from the experience and was immediately planning the next concert.  I have Ms. Reverri to thank for making it happen.  

Groomsman

There was a house party out in CT at Ali Kruk’s house.  The theme was something along the lines of a Rodeo.  I remember that I needed flannel so I raided Liv’s closet for an outfit.   The night was spent mingling, playing drinking games and all the other fun stuff one experiences during a house party.  At one point Seth was trying to get a group of us into the bedroom so that he can tell us something.  At this point in the evening everyone had a decent buzz on them and did not have a full understanding of the reasoning behind gathering John, Ferri, Billy and I all in a single room.  We eventually found out he wanted to ask us to be his groomsmen for his wedding.  I would say that for about 15 minutes he was not able to get more than 3 of us in the room.  As soon as we were one shy, someone would volunteer to go out and get the other person, never returning.  I know that at one point I went out to get Shockey, but then took his spot on the beer pong table.  Ferri I believe just relaxed on the bed drinking the liquor.  Finally we all are in the room and Seth asks us to be his groomsmen.  It came as a complete shock to me and it was something I was not expecting. 


My Grandfather

When I was a kid I would frequently visit my grandparents.  I absolutely loved going upstate and stay with them.  It was such a dramatic change from the lifestyle I lived at home.  Plus as most grandparents do, I was spoiled.  Spoiled in my family’s case was the occasional McDonalds and Entenmann's cinnamon rolls in the morning.  My grandparents lived on an cattle farm and at some point late in my childhood the cattle farm closed and my grandparents retired.  My grandparents bought a place upstate and started the retired life.  At some point during my many visits to the house, I noticed my grandfather would eat a bowl of ice cream every evening.  At one point I decided to ask my grandfather why he ate a bowl of ice cream each night.  He said simply “Why Not?”  That always stuck out in my mind. 

 

Vegas and the Craps Table

I learned how to play craps while attending the Trouble in Vegas ultimate tournament.  Ultimate was the perfect catalyst to travel the country and experience new and exciting things with a huge group of friends.   Getting ready for the trip I set a budget.  I knew exactly how much money I was willing to lose out in Vegas.  I believe I set my limit at 2000, which at that point in my life was a huge chunk of change.  I used the reasoning that you do not visit Vegas often and it was more for the experience.  My game up until that point was a mix of black jack and roulette.  They are simple games that were quick and to the point.  I do not have patience for poker as I tend to just start betting impulsively based on my mood.    I wanted to learn craps though because it seemed like a fun interactive game.  I have always considered myself lucky with dice, based solely on my experience playing games like Yahtzee and Risk as a child.  Talking with Wexler, he mentioned that he knew the game and would be happy to teach it to me.  The first night playing I learned the basic rules and eventually had the chance to roll.  Rolling is so exciting because everyone there is watching you and betting on you.  It is quite the thrill.  I went on a bit of a heater where during my run people like Devo and Wexler made a decent amount of cash.  I however did not take full advantage of the situation because I was so consumed with rolling.  I think at the end of the evening I was a couple hundred up while Devo and Wexler each made close to a thousand.  I now had the itch.  I saw how much money others made and I wanted to not get mine.  After the days activities we return to the craps table.  At this point word spread through our group that a bunch of us made money the night prior and people were now around to just watch.  Sure enough we have another good night where I make a little over one thousand in the night.  I was euphoric.  My entire trip was paid for and I could not be happier.  Normally a person at this point would just cash in and chalk that up as a win, however on the final day of the trip a small group of us were still hanging out at the hotel, killing time before we had to leave for our flight.  I figured why not spend a little more and see what happens.  A little more turned into a day drunk filled spectacle where I labeled myself the recession buster and only went by my gambling alias Johnny Boombots.  Wicus was also at the casino that morning and immediately lost even more money, rightfully earning the name Cold Hands Chris Wicus.  The flight home was brutal as I was coming down from my buzz and now had what I can only label as a weeks worth of hangovers combined into one giant hell.   The trip was free and Johnny Boombots was born

Christmas in July

I believe it was my 19th birthday.  I was home from college and decided to have some people over for a BBQ.  I think the theme was Christmas in July.  We had inflatable Christmas decorations and people dressed up in Santa hats.  Looking back at it, most of the themed parties were poorly executed.  We were young and full of ideas, most of them not getting executed or executed haphazardly.  Towards the end of the night there was still the majority of a gallon of milk.  I decide that I am going to attempt the gallon challenge.  To this day I have no idea why I thought I should do this.  I know that the game plan I had going in would be to go as fast as I could.  There was motivational speeches and a crowd beating Frisbees to encourage me to keep drinking.  After a while it was painful to sip and my entire body felt bloated.  There was no way I was going to quit.  I continue to drink the milk until the very end when like clockwork my body decides that is also the time when it will let all of the milk inside of me back out.  I ran over to the parking lot and let loose.  The thing that I most clearly remember from the evening was afterwards.  John Kurian and Delia just moved into an apartment and invited us over to drink and party.  I remember sitting in the corner feeling gross as everything I smelled or tasted had a hint of sour milk to it.