Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Getting KO'd at Iowa State

In my first year at Iowa State as an undergraduate, I didn't join a boxing club. Nor did Iowa State have intramural boxing. Regardless, I did manage to get myself knocked the ____ out.

On a very pleasant Wednesday evening, a group of guys from our dorm floor had an itch to go out into the commons of Friley Hall (an outdoor space completely closed in by the dorm building) and play some hackey sack.  There we were, minding our own business playing hackey sack.  We were talking and yelling at each other at a volume that you would expect from a decent sized group playing hackey sack. 

The problem, however, was that it was Wednesday.  And, it was past 10pm.  

Friley Hall is 5 stories tall, and my house (Noble House) was on the third.  As you all know, when you inform a bunch of gentleman like ourselves that we were being a little loud for a school night, and you politely request that we keep it down, we would have granted this request in a heartbeat.  (I don't actually know this, but I like to believe that we would). 

Instead, colorful metaphors were used in a very loud and commanding way (STFU). This didn't go over to well. 

Do you suppose that shut us up?  Do you suppose that it even kept all of us at the same volume that we currently held?  I can definitely tell you the answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second is debatable. 

Soon after this command (with colorful metaphors) was directed at us very loudly with absolutely no sign that the command would be followed, an egg came down upon us and crashed into the middle of our circle. 

Isn't it obvious what the appropriate response should be?  

Of course!! We decided that we should ALL go up to the fifth floor and confront whoever threw this egg. I mean, seriously. Think of all the good that can come from this. 

Yeah, yeah. Hindsight is wonderful.

So, we all managed to get up to the fifth floor somehow. I think it was by borrowing a person of responsibility's key (they probably shouldn't have had this responsibility) to the elevator so that we could get onto their floor. After all, it was after hours.  

We went to the door of the room from which the egg came. Somehow, I was at the front of the 6-8 person group. I remember knocking, and inquiring who threw the egg.  The dude that eventually came to the door to confront us was a head taller than I was. I'm serious. The top of my head was where his neck began. He looked very much like this guy

This dude put his hand on my chest to push me away. I didn't want to look like a wuss, so I shoved his hand off my chest and told him not to touch me. That was the last thing I remember until coming to a few moments later as I was being dragged down the hallway by my dorm floor mates. 

When I got back to my dorm room, I remember not being able to tell you where I was. I couldn't tell you what day it was, what town I was in, or pretty much anything. It was a very distressful feeling having been knocked out. 

Eventually, things began to return. As they returned, I felt a pain in my back. When I asked my roommate Shawn about it, he was shocked to find out that I didn't recall the kicking that I had received after I had been knocked out.  Hmmm.  Nope.  Didn't remember that.  

There is an easy lesson I learned from this. I'm pretty confident that this won't happen again. 

It was humorous to find out that when campus security knocked on his door later, they found him kneeling and praying with a Bible open in front of him. He did get in trouble, but we also got in trouble, too, since we never could directly answer how we managed to get on their floor.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Second Time I Went to Jail

Did you miss the first time? If so, you can read about that here.

Unlike the first time, I had grown up a little. I was 23, and was finishing my second year in graduate school at Indiana University. I was visiting my good buddy Cory in Ames, IA because his lady friend at the time was graduating from Iowa State. I missed her graduation. You can probably guess why.

On the eve of graduation at Iowa State, a group of us found our way to The Zone in downtown Ames. At the particular time that we arrived at The Zone, they were having a pretty amazing deal called "Penny Pitchers". That's right. If you had a copper, you got yourself a pitcher of beer.  

Of course, some rules applied. You couldn't order five pitchers for a nickel. You couldn't order more than one pitcher at a time, period. Whatever coin you had, you didn't get change. If you didn't have a coin, then it cost $1, because these bartenders weren't about to give you any change for a penny pitcher.  

This deal lasted only 1 hour. Our group covered our table with pitchers. We began to drink them. This is where the fuzziness started.  

One block over there was a karaoke bar called Tradewinds where I used to sing a lot while I was an undergraduate at Iowa State. Since I knew there was always a long line for singing at this bar, I told everyone I was going to go over and put my name in if it wasn't too long. "I'd be right back," I told them. Little did they know they wouldn't see me until late the next day. 

I walked over to Tradewinds and asked the lady in charge of karaoke how long the wait would be. It must have been really, really, long, because I didn't put my name in. It wouldn't have mattered, because I wouldn't have made it back to sing.

On my way back to The Zone, I crossed the street and noticed a cop car slowly making his way toward me. Officer Schultz pulled over and got out of his car to stop me. He had noticed me lean against a car as I walked across the street.  

After walking a straight line, touching my nose, and failing to give a specific answer to where I was going, I was handcuffed and put into the squad car. All I could tell the officer was that I was going back to "that bar around the corner with penny pitchers." I couldn't recall the name "The Zone." For the longest time, I believed that if I could have come up with this name, he would have let me go. But officer Schultz was on a power trip that night. 

To this day, I despise this human being. I'm not even sure that Office Schultz even qualifies as a human being. I've had day dreams of rising to a position of enough power where I could make a call and have this guy fired. But I wouldn't do it until he had a few days left until he was guaranteed some sort of pension. Only then would I fire him, and let him know it was me.  I could go on how little I think of this human being, but I won't. 

So, I spent another night in jail wearing an orange jump suit. After an eternity of a morning, we were ushered to the judges chambers. I remember the judge looking at my charge and saying "so, it says here you leaned against a car." I remember thinking about saying something like "yeah, pretty heinous shit, right?" but I didn't. I plead guilty and got the hell out of there.  

I wish I could tell you I learned a lesson from this. I'm not sure that I did. In writing this, however, I did come up with something that I can take from it now. No matter where you are at in life, you are inevitably going to have to deal with incompetent assholes. Such is life. There are incompetent assholes everywhere, waiting for just the right moment to make your life miserable.

Pick up the pieces and move on. After it has blown over, you'll at least have a story to tell. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Martian Weekend

The Martian

Through both the recommendation of Mary Chapman, a family friend from Lawrence, KS, and of my good buddy Jonathan Vieker, who read it before me, I checked out The Martian by Andy Weir from the library.  I was 80 pages into it before Erin and I left for our weekend in Fort Collins, CO.  

I read it during the entire flight over to Denver. It had me hooked. It is so well researched, and is one of the best real science sci-fi books I've read.  The Martian is a survival story that takes problem solving to the extreme.  Little did I know, Erin and I would have our own problem solving to do that weekend.

Fort Collins

We flew in pretty late to Denver on Friday night, rented a car from Dollar rental, and drove to my cousin Jody's place in Fort Collins. We got there late enough that the liquor stores were closed and had to resort to buying some beer from a grocery store with not as good of a selection. The beer for the night was a Singletrack Copper Ale from Boulder Brewing company. 

On Saturday morning, we made Bloody Marys from a Bloody Mary bar at the Silver Grille Cafe, and after a long 45 minute wait, had a delicious breakfast.
Pleepleus likes Bloody Marys
Odell Brewing was our next stop. I was finally able to try the Tree Shaker, which is a double imperial Peach IPA.  Right down the road from Odell was our second brewery for the day: Funkwerks.
Bike Rack at Odell
 Once we had our fill at Funkwerks, we went to the Horse & Dragon for a sample of several of their beers. We switched things up a little and then went to Scrumpy's, a hard cider and mead bar. Right across the street from Scrumpy's was Compass Cider, where we went immediately following.
Jody and Jason in front of Horse & Dragon
 Once we landed at Pateros Creek Brewing Company, we got some darts and played an intense game. It was neck and neck until Jody hit the bulls eye for the win.  Jody & Erica took down Jason & Erin.  It was at Pateros that we finally made the two J&E's connection.

It got really fuzzy from there. We made our way to Hodi's Half Note for a little taste of some live music and a few beers. I specifically remember watching Wisconsin defeat Kentucky at this place and getting excited about that. We probably should have made our way home afterwards, but instead we stopped for some Moscow Mules at Old Town Distilling Co. Barrel Room.  I had a headache the next morning.

So, we went hiking. We hiked along the North Fork Cache La Poudre River. It was invigorating and very much needed.
Erin with a view of Milton Seaman Reservoir
Black Bottle Brewing company was our after hike stop, which we followed with Easter dinner at Jody's dad's place.  That evening, we rented Intersteller and John Wick for a movie night. Intersteller wasn't bad, it just had the ending that panders to the general movie watching public, which I didn't like.  John Wick was a movie about a guy who shoots over 75 people (mostly in the head) and wins. Sorry I spoiled it for you if you were wanting to watch it. The message I think the movie was trying to convey was that one should not f*** with John Wick.

The Adventure After the Adventure

We packed up Monday morning and had breakfast at Snooze Cafe before heading for the Denver International Airport. We turned in our rental car and hopped on a shuttle to the airport.  As we got closer to the airport, Erin turned to the luggage rack and saw a loose coat that looked exactly like mine.  She asked me if it was my coat.  No, it wasn't my coat.  But, that was a very good question, because my coat was also not in my bag. It was back at Jody's in Fort Collins. So what, right? She can mail it to me, right?  Well, the only key to the car parked at the Kansas City Airport, to which we were flying, was in that coat. Shit.

This wasn't a life or death situation, like about every problem solving situation was for Mark Watney in The Martian, but it definitely was a problem that needed solving. I felt like saying, "Don't Worry! I've read The Martian! I've got this!"  

Although we gave ourselves plenty of time before our flight, there was definitely not enough time to get to Fort Collins and back before our flight. We needed to find out where the two spare keys were as quickly as we could. There was a fairly easy solution if one was in Lawrence, but it would take the help of friends there. 

Both spares were in Kirksville.


Everyone in Fort Collins was having a crazy busy day, and there was no way they could get away. At best, they could overnight the keys someplace. We sought other solutions. 

I called Suburu in Kansas City to see if they could have a replacement made if we gave them the VIN number (printed nicely on the insurance card in my wallet). It took way too long for the guy on the other end of the phone to finally get to the answer we feared. It couldn't be done without a spare key. 


The flight was quickly approaching. While Erin thought of other solutions I approached the lady at the counter and told her of our situation. I just wanted to check whether there was a later flight to KC and how much it would cost. She sympathized and told me she would just switch us both to the later flight for free if that would help our situation. YES!

Now we had plenty of time to figure out how to get a key in Fort Collins. In hindsight, the best solution would probably have been to ask Jody to swing by the shuttle bus place, hand the driver the key and $5 and tell them there would be someone on the other end waiting for the key with another $5. It would have been a gamble, but I bet the driver would have done it.  

So, what did we do? After exploring several options, it was the least costly just to rent a car, drive it back up to Fort Collins to retrieve the key, and then get ourselves back to the airport. 

We were only delayed about 6 hours. 

Erin has committed to "bothering" me on trips again and asking whether I've got everything. I did the smart thing and didn't argue.