Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Tribute to the Boathouse 

Every drunk needs a home bar. A place that feels just as comfortable as home, sometimes even more so. The bar staff and regulars become just as much part of your family as the real thing. The show Cheers made it a cheesy cliche but it's always nice to have a place where everyone knows you. The Boathouse was that place for me for a very long time. This weekend I received the call, the Boathouse was closing it's doors forever.

The first time my ass hit one of their barstools was in the mid-90's when I was a young'n just getting to the point of realizing I was going to be stuck as a career corporate stiff and this would be my outlet. Sitting in our corner with BigMike and Landow and Lewey and JDub just drinking our way through happy hour into late night. 99% of the time is was uneventful, the other 1% became local legend. I met my future wife (and coincidentally EX-wife) running around the Boathouse like a drunken monkey on crack. The great crew of friends I now call my closest became that way through those shared experiences.

The summer months were spent day after day sitting on the back deck relaxing and usually resulted in anti-social behavior later in the evening. The staff didn't necessarily give us free reign over the place but there were few restrictions placed on us. Need a promotion run, pay me in shots. Need to have a big crowd for a special occasion, pay me in shots. More often than not we were the last patrons sitting at the bar while the staff cleaned up and recovered from the night. There is a huge Friday night crowd and can't get to the bar, no problem. Get the bartenders attention and watch everyone get pissed as they have to pass your drinks back while they still wait.

It was the glory days of tearing through stock shelves of liquor.

True story. The Boathouse thought my honeymoon was only going to be a week long instead of the planned two weeks. When I finally took my usual seat the general manager pulled me into the backroom. Standing there were 12 extra bottles of SoCo because they did not adjust for my missing second week. It was fun having a direct impact on the ordering practices of a drinking establishment.

The Boathouse hosted the sick version of our wedding reception (the second of the day) with 400+ of our closest friends crammed in acting as fools, the perfect setting for what would turn into the yearly party known as The Bash at the Boathouse. Each September we would invite everyone we knew for a night of live music and irresponsible drinking all in the name of various charities. Soon the bloggers were showing up in force adding their touch of craziness with pre-game poker games on the deck. It also was the start of the WPBT and the Vegas December Gathering courtesy of an airport bound casual conversation.

The last big bender happened a few years ago when Gavin showed up for the Peyton Charity poker tournament then proceeded to rip through the room like his head was on fire and the only solution was bottles of booze. We had people passing out in the corner, certain bloggers making unfortunate decisions regarding the female of the species, beer pong tournament, flesh peddling, and the always popular Gavin Smith live band karaoke performance. We'll never forget Running of The Lewey.

Those were just some of the crazy moments. Most of the time it was just a group of people sitting around bullshitting and throwing back drinks. After work, after softball, after lunch. The friends I made are still around and the Boathouse was our common meeting place. Now the doors are closed. In many ways my life is much more simpler now without the daily grind of the corporate monkey world but those were years I would never give up and now a huge part of my old life is no more.

Cheers to Boathouse for all those years of destroying my liver and giving me a place with so many great memories. I hope everyone has the chance to have a bar they can call their own.


I owe the place a better tribute but just threw something together quickly to get it done. Below is the important part.

I tried to find some pictures to show a little of what happened over the decade and a half. It was tough to limit it this much but any more than these pictures and the website would never load. I borrowed some from the feeds below and most are from my old Image Gallery that hasn't worked in 3 years.

Enjoy, feel free to email more if you have them.

Gracie's Bash Pictures
F-Train's Bash at the Boathouse 2006
Maudie's Bash at the Boathouse 2006
Falstaff's Bash at the Boathouse 2006

BigMike is not amused by harpies

Carter was a god damn trooper. After sitting in the Borgata poker room for 36 hours he drove to the Philly 'burbs and partied himself into a coma. We never talk about what happened AFTER this picture.

That's a young pre-WSOP bracelet Brian Lemke in the background

Bridget is not that tall, Andrea is not that short

We started running poker tournaments in 2001 and brought in some outside "talent" to help attract players to the game and it worked like a charm

The Brandon Schaefer Invitational Beer Pong Tournament
He can't be that much taller than BadBlood

Terri is the queen of multi-tasking

This all happened after I set up a charity softball game, things got crazy in a hurry and this is the tame picture. The Boathouse asked me to remove those pictures from my site, but now they are out of business so screw it.

I have no idea how I never got busted for running a poker game in a public bar

All Gavin wanted to do was sing Mr. Brightside


Monday, March 29, 2010

God damn, I am slipping. Day 1 and Day 2 have been written for two weeks just sitting in draft status. Drunk boy forgot to hit "publish". Presented again without proof reading.

2010 Mastodon Prelude
Philly 'burbs, March 2010

It's a common theme among most people who attend this spontaneous gathering of degenerates, try to explain the concept to others and halfway through the conversation you just end up shrugging your shoulders to say "You just have to see it to believe it." Even my attempt to write up the explanation turned into a half-assed idea of the concept behind the entire thing. It's not an easy thing to describe how a bunch of people from different walks of life suddenly descend upon a sleepy little village with no more prompting the a quick email at the beginning of the year saying "how does March XX sound for a visit?".

Early in the year I was chatting with Katie when the plans were starting to form up and I was answering questions again. It's really nothing like when the bloggers invade Las Vegas as there's very little in the way of solid planning and it's just a relatively small gathering of friends who would primarily attempt to get themselves faced in every fashion possible. The only time frame we had to go by was the 2am last call inside G-Vegas. Somehow my stories didn't scare her away from the unabashed Bacchanalia.

We through together a loose itinerary, she likes to drive plus it would save me from getting into the G-Vegas train station at 4am. It had been awhile since I just hopped in a car for a decent road trip and this seemed like a good time to get one in. Drive down, tear up the town, drive back, hopefully survive to tell the tales. The days rolled by until it was about time to load up the bags.

In the end it turned out to be everything I expected and nothing I expected. I realize that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever but I just tell it like I see it. Before I move onto the Day 1 recap you should go read four of my favorite writeups done so far. No offense intended to others but Otis and Pauly get top billing.

2010 Mastodon Weekend - by Otis
Mastodon Weekend deconstructed - by Otis
All Things Reconsidered - Mastodon Weekend - by Dr. Pauly
The Mastodon Chronicles - by Dr. Pauly

2010 Mastodon Weekend Day 1
Maryland, March 2010

"I probably shouldn't be doing 95 right now" - Katie

It was raining at 2am and we'd only been on the road for an hour, according to the gods of Mapquest there were 7 and a half hours ahead of us and the miles were clicking off at a steady pace. Everyone learned in Vegas that Katie is a damned trooper but the travel itinerary seemed to stress the boundaries of sanity but I put my faith in her abilities. Class til 8pm, short nap, then in the car and on the road to G-Vegas in time for her the early bird chirping. That meant piling into the Super Beetle at 1am and tearing up some pavement.

In no time we are loading up somewhere south of Richmond, VA. The rocket with fuel and me with Red Bull (48oz worth?). I consider myself to be a decent second-seater and I wanted to make sure I was wide awake to provide whatever distractions necessary to keep my pilot alert. Perhaps my biggest mistake of the trip, she didn't need my help and I was wired for the next 48 hours.

The miles ripped under us with just a few minor problems like morning "rush hour" traffic around Charlotte, NC and a little un-plowed snow. That is one shit kicking town that can't handle it's snow. In no time we were across the border into South Carolina driving by the magic water tower done up to look exactly like a peach. Or a peach colored ass-crack depending on your perspective. A well known sign G-Vegas is just a few short miles down the road.

Soon we were pulling into the nice quiet town about to explode. I like to consider myself a pretty decent traveler. I pack light, always prepared, generally have a good game plan set up. Knowing we were going to be getting into town a lot earlier then standard check-in time I called ahead and was assured the hotel would have a room ready when we got there after the long drive for the night. Sure as shit that didn't happen. I gave the poor lady at the front desk my number and we took a seat in the lounge. Potentially a long wait and I decided that just wasn't going to do. Have phone and have money, no sense sitting around drinking $20 Mimosas while stewing.

I called every hotel within walking distance trying to find any place that would let us check in immediately. I hit the bingo on my third call but all they had available at the moment was an "executive suite". He quoted the price and I almost snap called it, never mind it was going to cost the same as the four nights at the Westin and would only be used for a few hours to crash. It was a huge corner suite overlooking the Reedy River and more room then we would ever need. Katie passed right out and I was stuck staring at the ceiling courtesy of my Red Bull miscalculation. Just as I was fading out my phone chirped.

"Mr. CantHang, this is (shrew harpie) from the Westin. We just wanted to let you know your room is ready for checkin."

Fuck me. I thanked her and said I would see her much much later.

The rest of Day 1 was a blur of beer, sushi, shots and badly played poker. We figured it was damn close to 24 hours since the last meal and took it out on the local sushi establishment. I'm not ashamed to admit that I over-ordered, over-ate, and made a fine pig of myself. No idea when my next real meal would come along so I took the opportunity to pile in the food. Plus there was some open night drinking to get through which rarely goes well in my favor.

It was off to the Mastodon Weekend base called Connolly's Pub, the place of memories and many things which should be forgotten. I was greeted by the bartender with a very friendly "Hey, Soco!" Seems I had a lasting impression I was last in Connolly's over a year before. It was a nice calm evening of sitting around with Katie, Otis, and Tim with too many shots and impossible prop bets via Otis. Shit that was just impossible to know. I challenged him back with something simple, what was I texting to BadBlood at that very moment while I was constantly ragging him for not coming out.

"We're going to Platinum." Fucker, pay him his money.

I'm already shipping money around the greater G-Vegas area and the real gambling hadn't even really started. Since I was running so well why shouldn't we all hop in a car for a local poker game when I was on the fast train to Fuckedupville. This would be the beginning of a string of really bad decisions.

The Mark brings out a handle of Soco and I decide poker is a bad idea, considering my ATM card went missing somewhere along the way. Let Katie and Otis ram and jam the pots, they were the players who should be playing. This worked for about an orbit before I said to Otis, "put me in". I ran my little stake up quickly and then played my single worst hand of poker ever. It was really that bad.

The next morning I woke up with my entire world turned upside down, it had a little to do with shipping a $1,200 pot holding air and finding myself without cash or plastic. Day 1 went down as something that can never be repeated.