Category Archives: El Guapo

Conversations In Bars: The I.R.A.


Today’s Music: Neil Young – Keep On Rockin In The Free World

*Note on today’s post: As with everything that happens to me in a bar, this is as true as I remember it. However, unlike most of my bar stories, I was sober for this one.

Ah yes, here we are again...

Ah yes, here we are again…


It was a Tuesday afternoon when I showed up to hit on the bartender.
I’d seen her a few nights before, working the Sunday night shift. This particular bar, in a working class neighborhood, was an Irish hangout. Saturday night, the place was awash in uilleann pipe music, cameraderie and pints of Guinness.
A friend of mine brought me there. I had a blast. That night ended early the next morning at someone’s apartment, with a rum-soaked dash into the neighbor’s pool for a quick dip before the neighbor came out in his boxers to yell at us.
But that’s another story.
This is how it always starts.

This is how it always starts.


So after a bit of discreet investigation, I found out the bartender also worked the Tuesday day shift. I got there around 1 pm. The place was just about empty. I ordered a pint (mmm…afternoon drinking…) and waited for her to come back over so I could strike up a conversation.
While I was waiting, the guy who was sitting a bit down the bar wandered over and started talking. He’d started his afternoon drinking while it was still morning.

What followed was quite possibly the strangest real-life conversation I’ve ever had.

The Other Guy: Hello. Who are you?
El Guapo: Hey. I’m [name redacted].
TOG: Did they send you?
EG (looking a bit confused): Sorry?
TOG: Did they tell you where to find me?
EG: (Even more confused): Sorry, who?
TOG: Would it be easier for you if I turned around?
EG (Bewildered): Would what be easier?
TOG: To shoot me.
EG: (Lonnnng pause) Sorry man, I’m just here for a beer.
The guy makes one of those “oh, so that’s how it is” expressions. I, still bewildered go back to my beer, trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
But The Other Guy wasn’t done.

TOG: I’ve been here over ten years, but I knew they wouldn’t forget. Now with all these peace talks, I knew they’d send someone over to clean up.
EG: Listen man, I’m just here to hit on the bartender
TOG: Sure you are. I guess it wouldn’t help if I tell you about my life here since I’ve been gone…

So for the next while, we chatted. He told me stories of the old country, of his kids. He told me about the construction business he’d built up.
The drink flowed freely.
I must have opened my mouth and spoke at some point, because eventually, he realized I was too much of an idiot to be anyone’s hit man.

The evening (yeah, we were there for a while) ended when he said he had to head off. I told him I needed food. He offered to give me his construction business.
I heartily agreed.

And that was the last I ever saw of him.

I could have built my very own Assassin HQ!

I could have built my very own Assassin HQ!


And the bartender? Apparently The Other Guy scared here and she didn’t want to mess around with any of his friends.
Meh.

An Odder Week Than Usual…


Today’s Music: The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright

So here’s the latest from my corner of the world…
– My boss of the last several years has quit. His last day is this week.
I had a conversation with my new boss. I asked who was my backstop if an issue comes up that I can’t deal with. His response was to kick it along the line to the people taking over. So, great that it isn’t my responsibility, but I’ve spent the last several years with my company before we were bought.
From what I understand, there hasn’t been much of a brain dump from my boss to the new overlords. Which means all the institutional knowledge my boss holds is about to walk out the door.
I don’t mind change, and we have a great product, now under the umbrella of a multinational company, so it can be taken that much farther. And it would be nice to stick around and grow with the new company.
Plus taking a new job is always a pain in the ass. but I’m still waiting to see if we’re all just interchangeable cogs in the machine, or if this is actually an environment I feel like coming to daily.
Jury is still out on that…

Mine is the one that stands out. Obviously.

Mine is the one that stands out.
Obviously.


– After reading stories from CurvyRoads and REDDog, as well as a ton of great pics from Gray Dawster, I’ve decided to actually go and get my motorcycle license. Hopefully, I’ll have my permit soon, then it’s off to the Motorcycle Safety class and a whole bunch of riding lessons. I had an old Suzuki GS 750 decades ago, but never got around to getting a license. I figured this time I’d do it properly.
My wife, (The Most Wonderful Girl In The Universe), is still very against me getting a bike (NYC driving is a full contact sport), but I’d like to be able to rent when we’re in more motorcycle friendly areas.
Plus riding a bike down the Pacific Coast Highway is on my list of things to do.
You know what would look good on this? Me.

You know what would look good on this?
Me.


– I still haven’t heard from Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I can only guess that they are trying to sort through the list of all the kids that want to hang out in my awesomeness. I’ll follow up with them later this week and see where that stands.
My work is halfway done already...

My work is halfway done already…


– The model railroad looks a bit like a cross between Three Mile Island, and the Manhattan High Line railroad before they turned it into a park: a mess.
I’m trying to decide whether to just rip up and re-lay all the track, or strip it down to the wood and start again. Either way, I really need to learn how to solder.
If anyone knows any good tips or instruction sources, I’d really appreciate it.
Clearly, I'm modeling the latest tsunami/earthquake/nuclear explosion.

Clearly, I’m modeling the latest tsunami/earthquake/nuclear explosion.


– I took today off (late night last night), and Friday is a day off too. More time with TMWGITU!
Woohoo!
Rings
And around it goes…

How’s your week looking?

Stir crazy. Possibly fried.


Today’s Music: Calexico – Two Silver Trees
Days Til Spring: NINE!!!

And if you can, please help out Merbear.===========================>>>

(*A note – Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious malady that effects a lot of people. This isn’t intended to mock those that suffer from it, or to make light of a very real condition.)

The snow is still melting, but the real warm hasn’t shown up yet.
It’s grey outside, threats of rain and snow.
We went to Canada last month, and found an indoor Monster Mini Golf (glow in the dark!) this weekend.

Can you believe the dragon was only a par two???

Can you believe the dragon was only a par two???


And yet, as this interminable cold and gloom continues with no end in sight (except the ticking of the calendar into a new season), I find myself with the less serious version of Seasonal Affective Disorder: the dreaded Cabin Fever.
Soon... (Or else!)

Soon…
(Or else!)


It gets me towards the end of every winter – the knowledge that spring, sun and warmth are coming coupled with the fact that they aren’t here yet has me gnawing at myself for a way to escape.
So in the interest of preserving whatever sanity we still have, here are some (whatever the opposite is of) Sure Fire tips for beating SAD.
PILLOW FORTS!
Defend yourself from the invasion of this dreaded condition! Outside light (especially grey) looks much better when diffused through flannel sheets strung a few feet above the floor.
TELEVISION!
Immerse yourself in stories that take place somewhere else, preferably somewhere warm.
Your insurance may cover a Netflix subscription to stream the Complete Gilligans Island!
BLOG!!!
Look, you know you’re going to do it anyway. Why not use it to repair your mental condition? (That way you can also get a medical waiver to do it at work!
HAWAIIAN SHIRTS
Seriously. They exude spring, summer and warm weather climes. Plus, if it’s a good one, you’ll need to wear your beach sunglasses so you don’t blind yourself.
INDOOR PICNIC!
Who doesn’t love a picnic? Plus, fewer ants!
(If that’s not the case, I don’t want to know.)
(Nor do I want to come over.)
MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE FOOLISH THINGS YOU’LL DO IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER
My old ones are here and here.
My next one will be up next week.

If I last that long…

An Adventure: The Naked Bar Slide


Today’s Music: Lionize – Surrender
Days Til Spring: 44

I’ve danced naked on bars, I’ve made naked snow angels outside them. Here is the final installment of my “naked in bars” opus.

Above my right nipple is a small scar that has long since healed. But my memories of it are vivid, and I still rub at it absentmindedly from time to time.

Not every story ends here.  But the ones that do are great.

Not every story ends here.
But the ones that do are great.


Maybe a year or two after the first naked bar dance, my dart partner, The Terror, had gotten engaged to a wonderful woman from the bar we hung out in. He and the boys were out for his bachelor party, getting all sorts of drunk in all sorts of places. I was at the bar, drinking lightly, with a completely different group of friends from college.
And then worlds collided.

The Terror and the boys came back. Even though the bar (unlike last time) was full, space was made for them at the corner. Greetings were exchanged, backs were slapped, drinks were ordered.
“Gimme a Jameson”, shouted the Terror. “I can drink that smoother than anything!” six sets of eyes turned to me, all of us having been there the last time someone said that.
I smiled, and considered it a wedding gift.
“I can drink that smoother than you.” I said. Bigger grins all around.
The shots get set up, the shots get knocked down.
And I yell “Clear the bar!!!”

Now, I have no doubt that this time around, I drank it smoother than him. I’m not saying he dribbled all over himself, because that would be rude. But he was getting married, so give him a memorable send off.

“CLEAR THE BAR!!!”

The regulars started laughing and moved away towards the back wall. The new folk were looking on in disbelief as the story was explained to them, and they moved against the wall.
“Hey Otto!” I called to the bartender as I slipped out of my shirt and started undoing my belt (with a little wiggle. You know, for the crowd). “How about a slide this time around?”
Otto laughed and sprayed down the bar below the taps with seltzer. *Remember that the taps are the demarcation point. It’ll come up again.*
While Otto finished hosing down the bar, I got out of the rest of my clothes, making it as sexy as only a 170lb six-footer in need of a shave and a haircut can.

At this point, the people who’ve figured out what’s going on are laughing and clapping, while the rest are looking very very puzzled, and perhaps a bit aghast.

So naked me goes back by the dartboard, and, clad only in a worn pair of boat shoes, bellows “CLEAR THE BAR!!!” one last time before sprinting towards the rounded corner of the bar. I time my launch perfectly, feet leaving the ground as my fingers curl around the top of the bullnose edge of the bar and my arms drag me over it, adding to my momentum.
My stomach hits the bar in a splash of seltzer, and, with a slightly arched back to reduce drag, I zip down the bar, a carbonated rooster tail of spray marking my passage, as Otto sprays me in more seltzer (or possibly Diet Coke) as I slid by.
I’m in the zone! Only three other people have done the naked bar slide in this particular place, and I’ve already gone further than any of them! Why, I’ve almost made it as far as- Crap!
The taps!
(Remember those?)
They’re set at the middle of the bar, and jut out over halfway into the bar. I suddenly realize that maybe I had a tad too much momentum. And the bar is soaked, so no traction there.
So, like a latter day Indiana Jones avoiding a sword laden trap, I roll onto my side and watch as the taps near. I begin to slow down, my body contorted (and soaked) as speed bleeds off, decelerating to the point where, when I reach the tap, I’m going just fast enough…to scratch my chest…from below (???) to the center…of my nipple.

And the place goes wild!
I’ve seen plenty of stupid bar stunts, and been involved in plenty myself, but truly, this was an appreciative crowd.
So finally, I get off the bar and dry myself off. Several bar napkins staunch the flow of nipple blood. I make my way back to the end of the bar, past the smiling faces, the shocked faces, and the faces that have no idea what they’ve just seen, and lean against the bar near The Terror. We order another round (tequila this time for me) and toast. he leans over.
“I think you drank the Jameson smoother than me this time.”
“Nah. Congratulations, John. Have a happy marriage.”

A Very Surfing New Year


Today’s Music: The Ramones – Surfin Bird
Days Til Spring: 79
I’m generally the quiet type. I don’t talk a whole lot. Because when I do, it invariably gets me in trouble.
Despite the fact that it was below 30 degrees farenheit this morning with a water temp of maybe forty deg F, I’d been saying I was planning on surfing new years day for several weeks. Enough to the point that A Frank Angle, on his list of “national…” days listed wednesday as El Guapo Surfing Day. Enough to the point where my boss sent me a happy new year email, closing with “don’t drown.

20140101_100341

Wish I’d been wrapped in a blanket like my board…


So despite the frigidity of the weather forecast, and the fact the the surf forecast was one word – Flat – I’d backed myself into a corner.
To be honest I was still planning on going when I went to bed at 2 last night. I’d cut myself off after two (delicious) beers so I wouldn’t be hung over. I even packed my bag with gloves, booties and hood and pulled out my wetsuit.
I woke up bright and early at 8 am, but my wife (The Most Wonderful Girl in the Universe) was so warm and snuggly that I stayed curled up with her until 9. But then my innate “me”ness kicked in.
By 945, I was in my wetsuit at dunkin donuts getting coffee.
By 1015, I was on the beach, freezing my butt off, looking at an ocean surface only slightly rougher than glass.

Don’t let the ripple in that pic deceive you. That wave, and all the waves were breaking so close to the beach it was like surfing in sand.
But don’t let it be said that I am a victim of common sense!

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

The waves were so low, and breaking so late, that I stood a few yards from the beach. When I saw the few surfable waves roll in, I hopped n my board and rode them the five yards into the sand.
20140101_104922
Those drops of water on the board are good atlantic ocean drops.

So I stayed in the water about 45 minutes. When I first got in and the water trickled into my glove, it was so cold that it took about five minutes until the water warmed up and I could move my hand again.

The waves? Crap.
The weather? Freezing.
The surfing? Horrible.
But New Years Day, I spent the morning doing something I love – sitting on a surfboard in the ocean on a beautiful morning.
And if that ain’t worth it…well then, the crazies who ran into the water in bathing suits (and a tutu) 10 minutes after I got out was totally worth it.

And you thought I had problems???

And you thought I had problems???

Happy New Year to each and every one of you to your families, and to your loved ones.
And I hope every last one of you catches your wave, whatever it might be.

How to Make A Guap: Fire


Today’s Music: Red Fang – Number Thirteen

An irregular series on some of the misadventures – the highs and lows along the way that made me who I am, in case you’d like to make your own.
As always, these stories are true, or at least as true as I remember them.

This story takes place somewhere around 1980. I was between nine and eleven, I guess.
It was summer – the very beginning.
School had just let out.

Such a beautiful day. What could possibly go wrong?

Such a beautiful day. What could possibly go wrong?


I remember it being an exceptionally beautiful day. It was warm, the sun was out. Birds were singing, and I had the whole summer to play.
But first, I had to tend to the end-of-school chores. All the notebooks, the handouts, the loose papers and tests all had to be put away, or my parents would get very upset, and I’d have to spend the summer cleaning my room.

So I gathered them all together and put them in a garbage bag.
A paper garbage bag.
And then decided (like the young miscreant I was) that instead of throwing everything out, I could just burn them.

Next thing I know, my bed was on fire.

So a few minutes later, my sister sees me running by with a full teapot in my hand, turning and rushing up the stairs.
“What are you doing?”
“FIRE!” I shouted, heading to the blaze.

It had grown beyond the capabilities of a teapot.

I just had to ask...

I just had to ask…


So my sister grabbed me (thank god one of us had brains) and got both of us out of the house. At this point, you could se the tower of smoke coming out of the back window of my room.
My sister left me on the front lawn and ran up to the corner where she pulled the handle of the fire callbox.
Our next door neighbor was on the sidewalk just before the trucks came, and heard the sirens and saw the smoke. He thought my sister had been smoking, and that’s what caused the fire.
I have no idea how she answered.
20 minutes later, I was lying on our neighbors couch where he’d given us shelter. The firemen were in the house doing what they do.
My neighbors daughters, about my age, were giving a running inventory of stuff being hurled out the window of my flaming room.
“There goes a bed.”
“Oh, and some blankets!”
“Are those books?”
“There’s a lot of stuff…”

I may have asked them to shut up.

Eventually, the fire went out, my parents came home, and we headed back.
Somehow, my parents were kind enough to let me live that I could tell this tale all these years later.

One final note – for all the kids reading this: If you do something like this (please don’t) and live through it (you won’t, at the time, feel good about that), if your mother tries to ease herself and your dad by saying “well, we needed to change the carpets anyway”, DO NOT(!!!!!) say, “Oh, so this was kind of a good thing!”.

Trust me on that.

Yeah, there are easier ways to get one.

Yeah, there are easier ways to get one.