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April 2006

Beer Pong, or, How to Lose 3,000 Ping Pong Balls in an Hour.
drink responsibly | Friday, 04.28.06
One day, some fraternity brothers decided to take a break from flogging a pledge with a 2 x 4; their arms were tired, their hands were splintered, and their throats were as dry as the shallow desert grave that their newly inducted brother would soon be buried in to prove his loyalty. A mixture of red cups and dirty, hair-covered ping pong balls were strewn about the frat house from the previous night's kegger / date rape / ping pong party. The brothers, weary from their induction ceremony, began tossing the ping pong balls into the cups to pass the time. Soon, teams were formed, allegiances were pledged, and rules were branded onto the flesh of a freshman. And then God came down from heaven wielding a flaming sword, and after slaughtering the fraternity brothers with his mind rays, He sanctioned the marriage of beer and ping pong and oversaw their carnal love making. And thus, 9 months later, Beer Pong was born, and there was much rejoicing. And vomiting.

The official sport of alcoholics and guys with an endless supply of red cups.
I didn't go to a normal college. I don't think anyone was in a fraternity, and we didn't have things like "clubs," or "extra curricular activities" or "professors that weren't hobos." Therefore, my exposure to beer pong (or "Beirut" as it's known in fancy circles) was very limited. This all changed when my friends returned home from their normal colleges, as they were now well versed in drinking card games (like Asshole), drinking board games (like Drunken Connect 4) and drinking leisure games (like Sit Quietly and Drink). Beer pong is one of those games that looks so retardedly easy when you're sober, so like an idiot you step up to a table and do battle against veteran beer pong warriors, and suddenly you're violently sharing the contents of your stomach with your friends' shirts and shoes.

Here's how it works: You set up cups in a triangle (or two sets of triangles if you have a partner) on either ends of a ping pong table. You fill the cups with beer, usually a pitcher is more than enough for a table. You (or you and your partner) then take turns throwing ping pong balls into your opponent's cups. If you sink the ball, the other team drinks the contents of the cup. That's pretty much it until you run out of cups, but there are some variations that my friends and I usually play. For instance, if both teams are down to their last cup and the other team sinks theirs, your team gets one redemption shot that counts as an automatic win if the shot is made. Also, if you take a turn before finishing the contents of your cup, you will be called derogatory names or we will make references to your sandy vagina (unless you already have a vagina, either sandy or sand-free) until you finish.

Hooray I'm a winn -BLAAARGHGHGHGH- oh god, I'm ok. I'm ok. I'm fine. Seriously. I hope I didn't ruin the party, guys.
Now, you may be asking yourself why I spent three paragraphs singing the praises of beer pong. Well, last night, a friend and I took part in a beer pong tournament at a local bar. But this was not a normal beer pong tournament - no. This was a beer pong tournament to end all beer pong tournaments. The prize? $5,000. Let's just let that sink in for a second. I mean, seriously, $5,000? It's like winning $5,000 in a Duck Duck Goose Tournament of Champions. Usually when I play beer pong, the grand prize is that I'm drunk and fun to be around, so the thought of winning money for something that my friends and I usually do when we're out of glue to sniff was enticing.

There were two types of people at the tournament: people who are ridiculously good at beer pong and people who need $5,000. In fact, people drove in from Pennsylvania and New York just to compete! And here we are, two locals just checking out this stupid event because it was being held in the next town over... these other people were serious. Knowing full well that this game cannot be played sober, my partner and I set up a few practice matches, went through three pitchers, and seriously considered (for about three seconds) getting the fuck out of there before handing over the entrance fee. Maybe it was the booze talking, or maybe we wanted to be able to say that we competed in a beer pong tournament for 5 g's... ok, it was definitely the booze talking, and it was saying, "Yguys should -hic- totally sign... what? Oh fuck yeah totally sign up 'nshit." So we did. And we played. Now I'm not going to say how we did, obviously we didn't win because I wouldn't be sitting here typing this right now if we did. Instead my friend and I would be over at Sports Illustrated headquarters, making ridiculous demands and posing for our cover shot - holding our beer-covered balls for all the world to see. Instead, we're laying low for a while, practicing our beer pong techniques and combos, diligently training for the next tournament. 2007 is our year.

Catherine's Kamikaze Dating
speed speed speed | Monday, 04.24.06
When we last left Catherine, she was getting mixed up with Israeli sexual predators from Craigslist. Now she's thrown herself face-first into the black heart of speed dating, which, as far as I can tell, involves even more sexual predators and possibly the Predator featured in the movie "The Predator." Let's all join hands and read along, shall we? --JL

Catherine's Kamikaze Dating

I went speed dating. My co-workers made me.

Our date is traveling at a steady 77 miles per hour.
A friend and I were whining about our lack of dates. When our genius plan of calling everyone we knew to ask if they knew men fell through (no one returned our calls) we decided to go speed dating. Then she got a boyfriend. I still didn't have a life and thought it was funny, so I signed up (it cost $35) and talked it up like there was no tomorrow. Then the big night came, and I was shaking and calling people up to whine that I couldn't go through with it: "I can't do this!" The entire staff at my workplace gathered around the phone, encouraging me: "You got this, Catherine! Don't let us down, we need the stories. We'll give you candy!"


I walked into the bar, downed a martini, and was led upstairs by the event's coordinators. There were more women than men; the women would stay seated, and at a whistle blown every 5 minutes, the men would rotate one chair to their left. I was the youngest -- the event was for people 25-35; I'm 22. I was going to make up a cover story and a fake persona -- Tatyanna, 27, a publicist looking to settle down, for instance -- but alcohol made me believe that I was funny and interesting and would actually succeed in charming someone, and therefore didn't need to treat this like a science experiment with a sole purpose of getting anecdotes to tell at work.

Alcohol lies.

The problem is that these are, duh, mini dates. Dating sucks; multiply that by about 20 and cram it into one night. 12 to 20 little pockets of boring small talk and polite conversation, repeated ad nauseam to a bunch of people you wouldn't normally want to talk to. "So, what do you do? Uh huh. What are you interested in? I like movies. Do you like movies?" I tried to inject some humor into the conversation by telling stories I thought were funny; unfortunately, my "funny" is other people's "tales from a creepy freakshow". Example A: "So, what do you do?" "I'm a realtor." "You know, that's so funny, I was recently propositioned by an Israeli realtor and his ice dancer girlfriend."



Did I mention that because this happened when I was liquored up -- and because the acoustics were terrible -- I ended up yelling this tidbit loud enough to carry across the bar?

At the start of the night, you're given a number and a "scorecard", where you jot down the name, number, and brief description (eg "Trump fan", "horrified realtor", "what happens when the people on NJGuido.com start taking Metamucil") of the people you talk to, and circle 'Yes' or 'No'. Afterwards, you log on to the company's website, type in the numbers and "scores" of the people attending; if you both liked each other, you can message each other. Shockingly enough, one person wanted to talk to me after this debacle: a decent guy with whom I chatted about Bollywood movies, before the whistle started going, the pressure was on, and I cranked up the crazy. We've seen each other twice, and I'm really not feeling it; he's already on his way out the door. Zoom.

That was quick.

Bees on mirror are closer than they appear.
killa beez on tha swarm | Friday, 04.21.06
I'm not sure when I developed an intense fear of bees. It's recent though. One morning I just woke up and decided that the sight, sound or smell of bees should send my body into an epileptic-like state, complete with arm flailing, neck twitching and pants shitting. And it's not like I coat myself in honey before leaving the house every morning, nor do I attempt to pollinate. I don't do much of anything really, and bees still seek me out and fly up my nose and out my mouth or jam themselves under my eyelids on a daily basis. And yet, despite my intense hatred of the little bastards, I've never been stung. So I was puzzled when my tattoo artist said that it's going to feel like getting stung by a thousand bees over and over for three hours, because as far as I know, getting stung by a bee could either feel like having your digits removed by a Yakuza gang member or a handjob from God. I found the pain to fall somewhere in the middle, so it was like getting a handjob from a fingerless Yakuza gang member who doesn't believe in God or the benefits of lubrication.

I will step on your baby to get as far away from this thing as possible.
My most recent bee encounter happened in my car. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Jersey's nuclear winter was starting to subside, and I had some errands to run. What type of errands? Maybe I had to get some stamps, or .5 mm lead for a mechanical pencil, or a gigantic sandwich. We may never know why I chose to leave the house that day, but we all know that it will involve bees because I can't take three steps out of my fucking house without getting bumrushed by insects. Anyway, I get in my car and I notice something sticking out of my driver's side mirror. Something yellow. And black. And ready to jam its proboscis into my throat. Even though bees don't have a proboscis. It just sounds cool.

I have automatic mirrors, so I start wiggling the joystick around to see if it's alive or not. It's not moving, so I breathe a sigh of relief and open my window. I get to my first destination, do whatever I needed to do there, get back in my car and notice that the little bastard has moved. More joystick wiggling, he's dodging my mirror movements like Ong Bak dodges BMX bikers in that movie where he fights gangsters with the bones of his pet elephant. He is now perched in the center of my mirror, just waiting for me to accidentally open my window again because bees aren't smart enough to realize that the inside of the car doesn't equal the outside world, and underneath my shirt doesn't equal a hive. But I have two things that this bee doesn't have: a 6-cylindar vehicle and a lot of time to kill. A normal person would just swat at the bee. A hardcore person would just eat the thing. I, on the other hand, find nothing wrong with spending an afternoon swerving in and out of traffic on a major New Jersey highway, risking my life and the lives of those around me to dislodge a bee from my mirror with the power of wind.

I learned something that afternoon. Bees have sticky feet. I watched him brace himself, wings fluttering in the breeze as I reached upwards of 80 miles per hour on Route 21. He never let go. And I realized that if that bee can hang on to my mirror regardless of what sort of horrible trials I put him through, maybe, just maybe, he was sent to show me something about myself. Sometimes we're all just barely hanging on to the driver's side mirror of life, careening down the highway without any idea of where we're headed. But we’ve got to take it. We’ve got flowers to pollinate and hives to build and honey to vomit from our specialized stomachs. Maybe we should all learn to be like the bee.

And with that, I returned home, parked my car, rolled up a random set of Mapquest directions and swatted the hell out of that bee before running into my house and stripping off all my clothes. When life hands you bees, swat those shits and run like fuck. Stripping down to your skivvies and screaming "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod" is optional.



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