Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birthday Weekend 2014

Okay, it's over.

Months of planning finally came to fruition this weekend, and it was so worth it. Whatever frustrations I was feeling before completely melted away once we were all together in the hotel room. It was one of the biggest birthday weekends yet, but the group has become surprisingly cohesive. One of my biggest stresses in the past has been the tendency for cliques to form when you get groups larger than 20 people together, but this year I think we've finally gotten to the point where all of my different groups of friends have become friends with each other too. They're all comfortable enough with each other at this point that we can spend time together without awkwardness, without drama, united by one goal.

But I digress.

This birthday weekend was honestly probably my most mature and grown up birthday weekend to date. After about six years of this, we're really starting to get the hang of it, and this year we were able to avoid making some of our stupidest decisions.

Birthday Friday, the night usually reserved for the downtown Mankato pre-party shit show, was spent staying in. Travis and Bethie came to town, and Bethie cooked for us. 

This girl is pretty much always impressing me, but she stepped it up this weekend. She made us the most amazing stuffed shells, like with a homemade tomato sauce and everything. She was all, "It's nothing, I used canned tomatoes." and I was all, " zested a f%#!ing lemon, gurl." I suspect there was sorcery involved too.

We spent the remainder of the night doing spa treatments, talking about life, drinking clearance holiday booze from the Walgreens across the street (peppermint martinis ftw), and watching Veronica Mars. Basically, if you asked me what my perfect Friday night would be, it would be this night exactly. Creepy Instagramed selfies and all.

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre XXI: Leatherface Throws a Real Housewives of Orange County Premiere Party"
The next morning, a group of us went up to the cities early to catch a matinee of the Veronica Mars movie. 

It was almost too much for me. 

I'd been watching the trailer for this movie multiple times a day for months, building myself up to near hysteria by the time I was sitting down in the theater with my popcorn and Diet Coke in my shaking hands. It didn't disappoint. It made me laugh, it made me gasp, it made me cry. Like seriously cry. At one point I was actually weeping with happiness. Travis looked over at me with my shoulders shaking and tears streaming down my cheeks, shook his head, and asked, "Seriously? What the f%#! is wrong with you?"

Back off. I'm emoting.
After the movie, we met up with the rest of the group at the hotel.

We reminisced, we talked about life, laughed our asses off, and we took an alarming number of Jello shots. The perfect calm before the storm.

As we do every year, we started the night with go-go boys at The Brass Rail. 

They were out of control this year...and so were my friends. We were sitting on a big circular couch with a table in the middle, and one of the dancers basically crawled from lap to lap collecting all of our monies. We later found out that he wasn't even working that night. He just happened to be in the bar, and he decided to take his clothes off and make some money while he was there.

I suppose...if you love what you do...

I'd love to share some of the hundreds of photos that were taken of everyone, but I feel like the "I'm getting a lapdance" face is not always a flattering one, and the "where do I put my hands during this" conundrum makes for some awkward pictures. So I'm not going to do that to my friends. 

Now I, on the other hand, have no shame.

This photo, from this year is a bit troubling. In this moment I'm realizing that I'm about to have a "Kirsten Dunst in Spiderman" moment, which has been a dream of mine for some time now. 

And this is the face I decided to celebrate with...

Not cute, Chris.

Also, uncross your legs fool, he's trying to give you a lap dance, give him a lap to work with. Don't make this harder than it needs to be.

Then there was last year's dancer, a behemoth man, who surprised me by picking me up like I was a tiny little waif of a gay.

Where exactly is one to put his hands when being carried about a bar in the arms of tanned, gorgeous, muscley dancer?

Yeah, shove it in your pocket...that'll look natural.

Or this guy.


This one seems appropriate...a line was crossed.

Once we were all sufficiently covered in someone else's sweat, we moved to the next bar. It seems that the consensus among the gay community is that The Gay 90's is over. And it is true, it does feel like a gay bar made for straight people, and we're little more than zoo animals for sloppy bachelorettes and middle aged divorcees looking to go crazy, but I love it still. I'm certain there's a level of nostalgia to it. I started going when I was 18 and just coming out of the closet, and I feel like I grew into the proud gay man I am today partially because of our weekly Sunday night road trips for 18+ nights.

That, and it's fun to try to shock the straight boys in the bar off of the men's room that plays porn on big screens on all of the walls.

"Wait, where are we going? Is this the...why are we going in the bathroom? Are you supposed to go in that door? Where are we? What in the HELL IS THIS PLACE?!"

These hourly trips away from the dancefloor to go do shots with the boys are probably my favorite parts of the night. I love the ladies in the group, but trying to hang out with twenty four people can get a bit overwhelming. It's nice to split the group in half, and then convince them all to buy me booze. 

It's also significantly quieter in there, so a real conversation is possible. A few of the boys tried to have a heart to heart with me this year, but it's really just not the place. I end up spending the entirety of the conversation with my sexy (droopy sloppy) eyes trained on a TV screen behind them, nodding every now and then to pretend I'm still listening.

What they're saying:

"Chris, I just want to thank you for including me in this. I'm having so much fun, and I just want you to know that you're an amazing person, and you're an amazing friend, and I hope that you're having an amaaaaaaazing night!"

What's happening in my mind:

Then all of a sudden we're hugging, we're crying (because when I don't know what's going on, my default is hysterical tears), and I'm reaching my hand out expecting to pull it back with another drink in it.

At 1:15, I looked around at my group of laughing, dancing, joyful friends and made the realization, "Nothing good is going to happen after this moment right now." I needed to get these people, back to the hotel, fed, and tucked into bed before they all had one more drink, and the night went to shit.

I almost succeeded. 

We ended up going back to the hotel in three groups. My group walked back. I always look forward to a good walk after a long night of drinking. Another group decided to move on to another bar while there was still time...and someone ended up puking in the street because of it (like I said, nothing good happens after 1:15). The third group thought it was too cold, and they grabbed a cab to go back in. They beat us back, and that's when the incident happened.

I'm not really sure of the details, because everyone who was there was pretty fuzzy on their retellings the next morning, but I walked up to the door of my hotel room to a shouting match between one of my friends and the head of security. 

I have never taken charge of a situation harder than I did that night. 

I shoved my friend back into the hotel room, and I turned on my charm. Now I'd been drinking...a lot, so I can't be sure what the conversation actually sounded like, but I was pretty sure I gave one of the most convincing, impassioned, and well articulated speeches this head of security and hotel manager had ever heard. 

In reality it was probably something like this...

Whatever I said, it worked.

It was an amazing weekend, and I'm so grateful for all of my friends who made the trip to help me celebrate. Each year I feel like, "This is the best it's gonna get." and every year you bitches prove me wrong. I love you all. 

I can't wait for next year!

Oh, and btw, like half of you left your Birthday Weekend Soundtracks in the hotel.

Real nice, folks...real f%#!ing nice...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tales of Birthday Weekends Past

Are you all so sick of hearing about my birthday yet?

Too f%#!ing bad. We've still got a few days before the celebration, and I have absolutely no intention of stopping the birthday related mania for the following week until my actual birthday.

Settle in.

After a few months of prep, birthday weekend planning is complete. The hotel rooms are booked. The carpools are set. The itinerary has been decided. The guest list has been confirmed (three times), and I've managed to make it through without having a total nervous breakdown (although some of you brought me close...).

Now all that's left is the waiting.

The shenanigans that we undoubtedly will be getting into this weekend are of course what I'm looking forward to the most, but my second favorite part of birthday weekend is getting the truly ridiculous group of people that are my friends together in once place (which happens but once a year), and talking about what idiots we were the year before.

This annual birthday weekend has given us all some stories. Like the time that a friend of mine lured three unsuspecting straight boys he met in the elevator into our hotel room with promises of free booze, reasoning later to us, "If a straight guy is going to have one gay fling...I wanna be there for it?"

Or the injuries sustained by a party-goer after a drunken tumble out of a rickshaw.

There was also the year that no one thought to learn the route back to the hotel, and we ended up wandering around downtown Minneapolis for two hours before stumbling upon a cab (remember life before smart phones?).

One of our most memorable moments occurred during one of the earlier birthday weekends. It was fairly late in the evening, and everyone was good at drunk, but no one more so than this dude who was dancing erratically by himself. He had about four inches and fifty pounds on me (a bit like Hodor for any Game of Thrones fans out there), and was shaking it to Miss Independent harder than anyone has ever shook it before. My friends and I were snarking amongst ourselves ('cause we're bitches), when he caught me looking over at him.

Mistaking my gaze for interest, he came over and started grinding all up on me. I felt bad for being such a dick, so I danced with him for a bit before smiling, telling him to have a great night, and going back to my friends.

Everyone was laughing hysterically as I walked back. I was just about to begin regaling them with tales of how much funnier the situation was up close and personal when I noticed all of their eyes grow wide, and I felt two massive arms encircling me from behind.

Pretty much exactly what happened.
He lifted me off the ground and carried me across the dancefloor and away from my friends who just looked on in shock, obviously ill prepared to handle an abduction attempt by a drunk giant.

After he got me back into his corner, he set me down, I believe he grunted at me, and then started dancing again. I looked around for support only to see that my friends had gotten over their shock, followed us across the dancefloor...and they'd gotten their cameras out to capture every moment.

So I played along.

I posed for a whole series of pictures with this guy (that he was completely oblivious to). Me trying desperately to reach the straw in my drink over his should her while he tried to make a pass at me, me hanging onto a pole to keep from being dragged off by the brute, me making funny faces while he leered at me in the background. We were all having a ton of fun, and I think that's what caused me to take down my guard and give him the opportunity that he was waiting for. 

I had my head thrown back with my mouth wide open, hysterically laughing, when he dove at my face, sticking the entirety of his tongue into my mouth.

...and then he just left it there.

It felt like an eternity that his tongue lay unmoving in my mouth, his lips forming a suction cup around mine, but I'm sure it was only a matter of a few seconds. Just long enough for me to be blinded by the explosion of flashes from all of the cameras still trained on the two of us.

From what I can remember, I shoved off, insisted we had to immediately leave to my friends (who were now howling with laughter), and ran back to the hotel.

I have yet to see any pictures from that night, and I've been waiting for that shoe to drop ever since.

My sister's first birthday weekend made for a few of my favorite stories as well. I was nervous to bring her along, not sure how she was going to react to not only her first night out in a big city, but a night out in a gay bar.

She, of course, took to it like a fish to water.

I lost track of her pretty much immediately after entering the club. Our group is large, so it's not uncommon for us to split off once we get to the bar and randomly run into each other as the night progresses. I was nervous to lose Katy though. I mean, she can most certainly take care of herself better than I'd be able to, but she's my little sister, so I still feel protective. I wandered around looking for her for about 10 minutes before I spotted her...

...shoving wads of singles into the hands of a drag queen performing Toxic.

It was the proudest moment of my life.

As the night progressed, I watched her have more fun than anyone else at the party. I stumbled upon her talking to two guys who weren't in our group, that none of us had ever met, and I heard her shout over the thumpa thumpa of a fourteen minute remix of California Girls, "YOU SHOULD MEET EVAN! HE'S CANADIAN!"

She was playing dancefloor cupid...with complete strangers. I don't remember the last time I didn't just have to make up a name for someone I met at the bar because I couldn't be bothered to ask. Katy, on the other hand, wasn't just getting their names, she was having conversations that lasted long enough for her to get their country of origin!

She wasn't just making acquaintances either. She was making legitimate friends with people! As I was rounding up the group to move along to the next bar, I found my sister walking arm in arm with some guy I'd never seen in my life. I told her we were leaving in five minutes, and to meet us by the door. She responded, "Sound good! Michael just has to grab his coat!"

Who the f%#! is Michael?!
He's the guy that's going to be making out with one of your other friends in the hotel stairwell later tonight.

The best stories, however, seem to all center around what is the highlight of some people in our group's night.

The go-go boys.

Now, I'm a big fan of half naked guys dancing for dollars...a real big fan, but my friends are on another level entirely. It's not, as you may suspect, the gays that are super into it though. The gays are far more interested in the writhing masses on the dance floor that are doing the same thing for free. Sure a guy dancing in a shower is appealing, but that dude's behind glass. Elsewhere in the club there's probably a guy who is just as cute, but who is open to a bit more audience participation.

It's the girls and the straight guys that lose their effing minds. The girls pass literally handfulls of singles down the line, screeching as they are shoved in the waistband of whichever tanned, toned hunk is grinding around us at the time, almost as if they don't realize how much top shelf liquor that money could buy them (or me, it's my birthday afterall)!

The straight boys on the other hand seem to regard the whole experience with a mix of curiosity, admiration, and envy, still telling the stories the next day at brunch.

I don't think I'd ever heard "like a baby arm" used as a unit of measurement before.

Three years ago, two of my friends took their admiration of go-go boys to a whole new level though. I'm going to withhold their names (to protect the guilty), but you know who you are...

As we were getting ready to leave the bar I noticed one of the ladies sitting on the couch, having an awfully intimate looking conversation with a guy whose underwear was stuffed with my money. I didn't think much of it at the time, but as the night progressed, I saw her and one of the gays in our group huddled together, giggling over her phone. This happened multiple times. After suppressing the urge to throw a shit fit over not being included in whatever inside joke they had going on (on my birthday), I lost interest (which I do with most things not directly involving me). 

I'd nearly forgotten about it until about 3:30 am when we were all getting ready for bed, and my friend came running in with her phone yelling, "OH MY GOD! He's HERE!"

Here's how the rest of the conversation went:

"WHO is here?"- Me
"He's downstairs!!!"- My friend with the phone
"He's DOWNSTAIRS?!"- Her cohort for the night
"What is going on?!"
"I think he thought we were serious!"
"So he CAME here?!"
"You mean to tell me there's a porn star downstairs right now waiting?"
"EXCUSE ME?! You guys invited a PORN STAR?! Where did you meet a PORN STAR?!"
"He's asking for our room number!"
"Well don't GIVE IT to him! He thinks we're going to have a threesome!"
"Well we weren't SERIOUS!"
"Does HE know that?!"
"Who is this calling me?!"
"I gave him your number. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!"
"Can someone please fill in some of the blanks for me here?"
"Should we just turn our phones off?"
" you think I should answer?"
"I'm going to bed..."

We googled the guy the next day. He hasn't got many films on his resume, but he seems like he's got what it takes.

The big celebration is 2 days away. If I make it through, I'll update you all next week! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Birthday Weekend Soundtrack: 2014

Birthday weekend planning is in full swing, and it's never stressed me out quite like it has this year. Couple that with a 60 hour work week, and I really don't have to time to do much writing this week (at least not if I'm going to be playing three hours of The Sims and watching Gilmore Girls at the end of the night as well). 

So, two birds, one stone, this week I'm going to share the soundtrack I'm making for this year's birthday celebration. Making mixed CD's is kind of my favorite thing in the world, so a few years ago I started to make copies of my playlist for everyone who would be attending my party as a show of appreciation. I assume no one has touched them since, but I got to feel good about it at least.

1. Into the Blue- Kylie Minogue

I feel like a Kylie song as the first track sets the tone for what we're getting into here. A super gay collection of mostly dance songs. Kylie seems to have the market cornered on dance jams about not needing nobody to be fierce and fabulous. 

And seriously. This video. She's f%#!ing stunning!

2. Let's Have a Kiki- The Scissor Sisters

This song bugged me so much when I first heard it, but now I seriously can't stop singing it to myself in my best Ana Matronic voice.

3. Hold On- Colbie Caillat

I've resisted loving Colbie Caillat for long enough. Every time a new single comes out, I fall in love with it, but it always feels kind of shameful, like I don't want to like her because I feel like I'm expected to like her. This one got me though. I can't get enough. Screw my pride.

4. Stand by Your Man- Willam (ft. Drake Jensen)

The first (but not the last) drag queen on the list. Willam is possibly my favorite person on the planet (sorry 'bout it, people I actually know), and her take on this Tammy Wynette classic is everything, and her silver sequined dress in the video is exactly what I'm expecting from the ladies in the group on the 22nd. Take note.

Also, where can I find the bar full of line dancing gay cowboys?!

5. Flesh- Simon Curtis

This one makes me feel a bit dirty (in the best possible way) when I listen to it. I love everything Simon Curtis does.

6. Helen Keller- Cazwell and Manila Luzon

Seriously. This song. I can't stop.

7. Gold Trans Am- Ke$ha

Ke$ha is probably the greatest lyricist of our generation, "Sweet ass mullet, caught my eye. Now you got me jonesin' for a mustache ride." Brilliant.

8. Candy Yum Yum- Kevin Mikal

Proof that you ladies don't have the market cornered on being objectified in music videos. 

Also, more Willam!

9. Raise Hell- Brandi Carlile 

I've been using this as my personal theme song for the last year or so after watching Ally McBeal and realizing that all I was missing in life was a song to play in my head when I'm feeling beaten down and short on confidence. I love what she says in the introduction to this song about making a promise to herself to be reckless and not make any apologies.

10. SMS (Bangerz)- Miley Cyrus (ft. Britney Spears)

I can't figure out what the f%! this song is about (or why I love it so), but I was feeling compelled to include a Miley Cyrus song, and this one has Britney Spears in it, so...

11. Good Time- Paris Hilton (ft. Lil Wayne)

I've made no secret about my love for Paris Hilton's 2006 debut album (I like really, really love it), so I was thrilled to hear she was releasing another single. It didn't disappoint. 

12. The Wire- Haim

My sister introduced me to this song while I was home for Christmas, and it's made its way onto every playlist I've made since. Ob. Sessed.

13.  High Society- Betty Who

Another of my new favorites introduced to me by my sister. I think it's almost entirely because of the line, "We'll drink chardonnay through the day 'cause we say so..."

14. Work B**ch- Britney Spears

No explanation required. Watch the video. Drink it in.

So f%#!ing amazing.

15. I Hate my Job- JbDubs

The song's fun, but the video is really the best part.

Dem legs!

16. She Doesn't Know- Willam

I could only find the teaser for this song, it'll do the trick. 

17. Champion- Courtney Act

My favorite from this season of RuPaul's Drag Race (whose song Welcome to Disgraceland was on my birthday soundtrack a few years ago) covering one of RuPaul's sings, and dare I say, doing so better than Ru herself.

18. Love You When I'm Drunk- Mika

Been there.

19. Do What U Want- Lady Gaga (ft. Christina Aguilera) 

I kinda hated this first song in its first incarnation (is no one else uncomfortable about singing "Do what you want with my body" with someone with as many sexual assault accusations as R Kelly?!), but I adore this one!

So that's it, the 2014 Birthday Weekend Soundtrack (and also a 25 minute blog post). I've also got room for one more track to make a full CD. Thoughts?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Goonies Never Say Die

Every last one of you is in the dog house right now.


I realize that I resisted. I was probably even a bit of a bitch about it, but I'm incredibly susceptible to peer pressure. If you really cared about me, you'd have made it happen, and I wouldn't be feeling the way that I do now. Like my life is suddenly fulfilled, but with the knowledge that I've wasted 28 years with a Chunk-less existence.

You guys, I loved this movie. Like really loved it. Like really, really loved it.

Let me count the ways.

"Oh my god!" is right! Oh my god, that's Martha Plimpton! I recently fell in love with Raising Hope, and Martha Plimpton's character in particular. I had no clue she was a former child star!

Maybe she didn't have a ton of lines, but seeing her in those glasses more than made up for it!

How super adorable is Josh Brolin?! Young Chris would have had such a crush on him! I just want to pinch his cheeks!

(Full disclosure, this description of Josh Brolin and what I want to do to him was edited a lot after I Googled how old he was during the filming of this movie)

It's positively full Pinterest worthy inspirational quotations!

And the humor is shockingly adult for a movie that I found in the children's aisle.

But seriously, is this supposed to be a kids movie? 'Cause I could get down with this bondage action.

Oh hey, Josh Brolin...

Movies like this, childhood buddy movies, always make me super nostalgic for a group of friends I never even had and for adventures I never went on. My social group was basically Beth and I sitting in the same over-sized armchair watching horror movies that were far too gruesome for two kids whose mommies were still cutting the crusts off of their sandwiches. I was also much more of a "stays in and reads" type of child, so the closest to adventure I got was when I picked up a Fear Street Super Chiller

Towards the start of the movie, I thought I had found a kindred spirit in the main character, Mikey.

...and there's a Top Chef marathon we're missing.

But as the film progressed, Mikey became brave and adventurous. He met every challenge head on, and he overcame struggles and near mutiny to make his dreams come true and inspire others to do things they never thought they could.

Thats...not my story.

Now, Chunk on the other hand...

 This kid.

Chunk gives me life. I don't think I've seen more of myself in a character since that time I got drunk and decided to use Lorelei Gilmore as a template for how to get over a breakup (it ended poorly...really, really poorly).

Let's go over the similarities.

We both wildly exaggerate every story that we tell.

...I mean...I don't do that...everything I've ever written about happened exactly as I said.

It's called eating your feelings, and it's a perfectly reasonable coping mechanism.

We both have goddamn dirty mouths. 

Although I prefer the word f#%! (used often and emphatically) to shit, but to each his own.

Not everyone is cut out for camping.

This has been the story of my recent Pre-Birthday diet. Smoothie for breakfast, ice water for lunch, a salad for supper, and then THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF MY FRIDGE for a midnight snack.

I'm pretty sure I ate part of an ice cream sandwich wrapper the other day because I couldn't be bothered to peel it all the way off.

Speaking of ice cream...

I can't stay mad if there's a sweet treat in the vicinity either.

Chunk was definitely the shining star of the movie, but the rest of it was freaking amazing too! It was suspenseful, hilarious, and while it may be a kids movie, it didn't seem like it was made by people who assumed that kids are idiots (I'm looking at you Hotel for Dogs)

There's just one little bit of the movie that I was a little unprepared for.

What the actual f#%!?!
I know that Sloth is a gentle giant, and that he's one of the good guys, but his lack of teeth and his ears that seemed to move independently from the rest of his head made me a little uncomfortable. I spent most of his scenes laughing uncomfortably at his antics while also checking to be sure the rest of the characters had a clear path to an exit...just in case. In the end, he did save my boy Chunk though, so I have to respect him for that.

I was a bit perturbed by this exchange between the two though.

Really, Chunk? You think you're ready to take on being this man's primary caregiver? Yes, he's been good to you, but he's got some real developmental issues, and I'm pretty sure he's going to need way more help than an 11 year old can provide. Who knows what kind of behavioral issues he's going to have. What if he isn't so generous with half of his Baby Ruth next time?

And don't you think you should maybe run this by your parents first?!

Overall I'm giving this movie 7 stars...out of 5. 

I really f#%!ing loved it. 

Who's coming over for my third viewing this week?

Oh! And I almost forgot Chunk and my's biggest similarity.

Killer moves.