New Hampshire or Bust

Chelsea Handler is one of my favorite comedians. Not only because she makes fun of Angelina Jolie and drinks more vodka than any human ever should, but also because she makes fun of Tori Spelling and drinks more vodka than any human ever should. I have gotten to see her perform her stand up live 4 times and loved each one.

I heard Chelsea would be performing in New Hampshire and decided it was a must that I be in attendance. I asked a few of my friends if they wanted to go by telling them they were going. So we bought the tickets, booked the hotel and hit the road from Syracuse, NY. It was me and my friend Rhac (Yes, pronounced like ‘rock’ and yes, his real name) and our friends the super couple, Shaun and Evangeline. They were one of those couples that were either super fun or super lame. So Rhac was there as my safety in case the lame couple showed up. I mean, his name is Rhac- you know he is a good time. We were planning on getting into town the night before the show, spending the following day exploring New Hampshire, go to the show that night and then drive back the next day. The plan took a detour when we found a fun moose statue and Santa Claus. Let me explain.

We were driving through Vermont, right on schedule to get to our hotel in New Hampshire around 7pm when Rhac noticed a moose statue he wanted to get a picture with of course. Rhac and I had been drinking for most of the trip already while Shaun drove. So we were basically like drunk children wanting to take every detour possible that seemed fun. We turned around, took some pictures with the moose and then tried to get back on track. But since we are all directionally impaired and in backwoods Vermont where there is no service for our GPS we did not. Instead we asked some guy for directions and while walking back to the car Santa spotted us. There was a tavern across the street and a man who looked like Santa Claus (if Santa was from the sticks and it was the off season so he trimmed his beard a bit). He was wearing jeans, a white tee, and American Flag suspenders. He called out, “What are you doing? I’m drinking! You should come do the same!” I’m not one to disobey Santa, so we adhered. It was a stereotypical small Vermont town. Everyone in the bar knew each other and accepted us like we were all old friends. Right down to Kathy the bartender and all of the beer vendors there who got drunk with us giving us free swag. We barely spent a penny with all the free drinks we were getting and also walked away with shirts, beads, beer buckets, and lots of stories from Santa Claus. We came to find out Santa’s name was Bob. We also came to find out Bob was a bit of a creeper which still to this day taints Christmas for me a little bit. I’ve never had so much fun with a bunch of strangers in my life. Evangeline was the responsible one to step up and say she would stay sober to get us to New Hampshire. I think we had all forgotten we still had to get to New Hampshire.

So after a night of drinks, taking 100’s of pictures with the locals, singing to classic 80’s jams on the jukebox, free swag, and creepy looks from Bob; we headed to New Hampshire. When we got there Rhac and I went to check in. Rhac was wearing every shirt we got at the bar, his sunglasses, and a Bud Light bucket on his head. I was sophisticatedly dressed with about 3 pounds of beads around my neck, Land Shark sunglasses and Hawaiian leis around my head. We got checked in, Rhac got the keys and I hit on the bell boy. Successful check in for sure.

The following day we took it easy and just drove around the town finding some little diners and shops to go to. We got back to the room with some time to pregame and get ready for the show.  Chelsea was hilarious as always and put on an amazing show. Heather McDonald opened for her and was funny as always too. I had gotten to see Heather open for her when I saw Chelsea in New Jersey too.  After that show I asked Heather for her autograph by brilliantly saying, “I have a book and you should sign it right now because you’re funny and I like your face.” I shouldn’t be allowed to meet famous people. They were doing a book signing after the Jersey show and I was convinced if I met Chelsea she would see what a talent I was and hire me for her show. I decided I would wing it and say something fabulous off the top of my head when I met her. I had brought her book to get signed but they were only allowing people to get signatures who bought the book at the store that day. Mine no longer had the book cover on it and was obviously not bought there. So I forced my boyfriend to buy one so we could get in line. Then we found out they were giving post-its with the correct spelling of your name to make it easier on Chelsea. So they only gave Jarrid one since he bought the book. I kept asking for one but that miserable woman was not budging and kept saying I couldn’t get the autograph since I didn’t buy the book there. So we moved up in line a bit and then I noticed my nemesis, the angry lady, was gone. So I grabbed Jarrid’s book that was bought there, went back to them and told them that the lady that was there before didn’t give me a post-it after I bought my book and that she should probably be fired due to a bad attitude and a slight lisp. It was a success. I got my post-it. When we finally got to Chelsea the fabulous thing I came up with was, “I lied to get in this line. Here is a post it with my name on it – It’s for you! I didn’t buy this here.” Then I spilled all the ice out of my empty rum and coke that I forgot I was holding and told the security guy to take a picture for me as I threw my camera at him. This is why I can’t have nice things.

But back to New Hampshire – we watched the show and were on a funny high. Afterwards we walked around looking for a fun spot to spend the night at and came across a group outside of a place that had some live music. It was a super chill bar with a really funnlive jam band playing. Rhac and Shaun are both huge jam band fans and I can tell you with 100% confidence if one of the band members asked them to go home with them they would have. I have never seen two grown men turn into groupies so quickly. While they threw their unmentionables on stage obsessing over the band I had my eyes set on Purple Shirt. This is still what we call him because none of us remember his name. He looked like a hot modern day Greaser minus the literal greasy hair and cigarette pack wrapped up in his sleeve. He was playing pool and kept looking over so I decided I would give him the privilege to buy the rest of my drinks that night. Purple Shirt hung out with us the rest of the night while we danced and partied with the band who Rhac and Shaun had of course become friends with. After the bar closed we headed back to the hotel where we kept the party going with some more drinks, pizza, and a giant kickball that had appeared at some point. Somehow we didn’t break anything in the hotel room from our drunken kickball / soccer game we were playing until around 5 am. When I woke the next morning I was lying with my head off the foot of the bed, Rhac was sleeping in the desk chair, and the room looked like a tornado hit it. A giant, drunk, tornado. This is the effect Chelsea Handler has on people.

It had been a great trip but it was time to go home. The ride home was a bit tamer than the ride there of course. We each had to take turns driving due to the lack of sleep and liver function. People always ask me what bars we went to and if we ever went back and the answers are – no idea and no. I would love to know the names of those bars so we could revisit them but sadly I do not. Hell, I can’t even tell you the name of the town we were in, in Vermont. But I can tell you that road trips and Chelsea Handler put together are always going to be a really, really great time for you and your friends and a really, really bad time for your liver.

Cheers Chelsea.

Amy and Jamie Take California

I want to share with you all a story of a magical week which was surrounded by glorious events that still make me jealous I can’t go back in time and live it again. There is adventure, travel, donuts, rum and peacocks…what more could you want?

Let me give you a little background on me and my friend, Jamie. We went to high school together and were friends, but never hung out outside of school much. I lost touch with her after graduation as I did a lot of people when I moved to California. I moved back after a year and a half though. Skip ahead to the night of my 21st birthday back in NY. I was of course two hours late and already delightfully drunk. I pulled up with my boyfriend in his jeep and I looked to my right and saw Jamie. I looked like a crazed mime, pounding on the window of the car freaking out in shock. Amy and Jamie were reunited, and I had to make a drunken confession to her: Jamie was my girl crush. We recalled stories from high school and admitted we were indeed girlfriend soul mates. It was pretty special. Our boyfriends didn’t seem to mind. She remains in my phone as ‘Jamie My Girlfriend’. Well, that’s a lie. On her birthday a couple years ago I changed it to ‘Jamie My Girlfriend The Birthday Girl’ and never changed it back. So congratulations Jamie, it is your birthday every day in my phone.

Onto our adventure: We planned a last minute trip to California for about a week. I got to Los Angeles a couple days before Jamie. I went to pick up the rental car and did my usual: You book the cheapest car, but you search for anything possible that could be wrong with it after leaving the lot. If anything doesn’t work or even is just slightly inconvenient for you, take it back about an hour later. Complain saying you will never use their company again and boom: free upgrade. Or you can just flirt with the guy at the desk, either way works. So anyways, I picked her up at LAX with my brand new Mustang and we were ready for the week. By the way, one of the first things she saw in California was a “men working in trees” sign. Seeing such a ridiculous road work sign is in itself a sign; a sign of very ridiculous things to come.

We were heading down to San Diego to stay with my aunt for the majority of the trip and then we would head back up to LA for the last couple days to catch a show at The Groundlings before heading home. Before heading to San Diego, we decided to take a drive through Malibu and just enjoy the day. We drove up into the mountains on some roads with some amazing views. A little too amazing, seeing as how I almost drove us off of a cliff one or six times. After almost killing Jamie I figured I should pay her back by taking her to lunch. Its common courtesy; when you almost cause death, you buy lunch. So we went to this great Mexican place at the end of Santa Monica pier. They were shooting a commercial at the pier which we kept walking through accidentally. They didn’t seem to appreciate it. Jamie and I apparently cannot take direction from anyone. A deaf / blind 3 year old would have understood better than we did. They seemed to just give up on us after a while and allowed us to walk through eventually. So if you see a commercial at the Santa Monica pier and two confused girls wandering around aimlessly in the background; yes I will be signing autographs. As we ate, the birds decided to begin kamikaze bombing Jamie as she attempted eating. She hovered over her food holding her knife like a serial killer looking like a paranoid crack head who had just sat down to her first meal in 8 years. She was not about to let one of those birds get at her Chimichanga. We escaped from dinner with no food having been eaten by the birds, and no birds having been slain by Jamie. I would say it was a success. Then we headed to San Diego, where somehow within 20 minutes of getting there I already had 2 parking tickets. San Diego must have little parking ticket nymphs that float around ruining people’s day. Either that or I just have a severe lack of an ability to read street signs. My money is on the nymphs.

Over the next few days we laid in the sun, we drank, we ate, we drank, we napped, we swam…we drank. One of the nights after some drinks was where we discovered Jamie’s Russian Rodney Dangerfield impression which I will hereon refer to as R.R.D. After a few too many cocktails I decided I would enjoy some outdoor play time, being the 5 year old that I am. I found a short brick wall in the yard where I would walk across like a balance beam which took some insanely intense concentration. I started to get cocky here and there and try little tricks like I was one of those crazy talented Chinese midget gymnasts. But I was quickly reminded that I am instead, just a crazy clumsy Italian average height idiot. Jamie was sitting in a tent outside in the yard and after each round on the beam I would walk back to the tent to peak in on her. She would be eagerly awaiting my return and every time I looked in the tent she seemed more and more excited to see me. We were both obviously having a blast with this little ritual because it went on for a good 30 minutes I would say. (It’s the little things) And then it happened; In her newly discovered R.R.D voice Jamie said “wool”. Yes, wool. I do not know why she said it, where it came from, or where she intended on going with it, but she just said it. And she said it just like a Russian Rodney Dangerfield would. I can’t explain how much I love to this day that I got to hear what Rodney Dangerfield would sound like if he came from Russia and was a sheep shearer.

The next day we went out for groceries for a bon fire we were going to have that night and we wanted to find donuts, headlights to be specific. Apparently they did not exist in San Diego though. We looked forever and it became one of those battles that is no longer even about the task at hand. I don’t know that we even wanted the donuts anymore; we just couldn’t let the donut gods win. But after two hours we had succumbed to defeat. We got a variety box of donuts and headed back for the fire. That nights’ honorable mention goes to Jamie yelling at our neighboring fire pit friends because they had used our donuts to put them on the end of sticks and put them in the fire. Who does that? She let them have it, and rightfully so. They’re not marsh mellows people, get your snack foods straight.

(Parking ticket update: 1 more, totaling 3 so far. Damn parking ticket nymphs)

The next day we headed to the zoo. There is always a peacock wandering around the zoo and I always try to pet him, but he is tricky! Also, I’m about as graceful as Shaquille O Neal would be attempting Swan Lake in figure skates so it never goes well. Aside from the visual of me chasing a peacock around the zoo knocking shit over the whole time; add in the audio of me yelling, “Jamie! I’m gonna get him! I almost got him! Jamie! Look! I almost got him! Jamie! Loooooook!” You would have thought I was that 5 year old kid with ADHD trying to get my mom’s attention and that Jamie was the neglective mom who was off somewhere smoking cigarettes flirting with the zoo maintenance guy. Needless to say, it was a great day and we took a ton of pictures. Now that I think of it I still haven’t sent her the pictures she asked for from that day. (Keep in mind this trip happened roughly 2 years ago. My bad Jamie. I promise I will send them…soonish.)

After an excellent few days in San Diego it was time to head back up to LA. The hotel was amazing that we were staying at. It was a huge room, a couple of TV’s, big kitchen, mini bar; it was great. We did some power drinking as we were running late, called a cab and headed to the show at The Groundlings. The show was amazing as it always is there. (Now that I’m a student there I will suck up a bit) After it was over we decided we were close enough to the hotel to walk. We were not. Well, maybe we were, but we got so lost who knows where we were. We made the logical decision to find a liquor store before we go any further and buy a bottle of rum. (Rule to live by: When lost and in despair, locate nearest liquor store and the world will once again be ok) So we brown bagged it until we finally called a cab. The cab asked where to and when we told him he laughed at us and literally drove us around the corner and we were there. See, rum will always lead you home. Jamie tipped the cabbie which infuriated me that she would tip for such a short ride. Sorry for yelling, Jamie, I have some rage issues when it comes to tipping cab drivers apparently.

(Parking ticket update: I lost count after 3.)

The next morning I woke up to the sound of the blow dryer coming from the bathroom. Jamie was in the process of trying to dry off her phone which she had dropped in the toilet. It was a sad morning. She had killed her phone, and we were packing up to leave this beautiful hotel room and also leave California. We spent the day around LA and then headed to the airport for a red eye. We were exhausted from a crazy trip and just wanted to get on that plane and sleep. But of course, we had one last obstacle. This obstacle happened to come in the form of a giant Mexican lady who was in one of our seats on the plane. She spoke no English (or so she said…I’m on to you!) and when I told her it was my seat she just kept shaking her head saying “Nooooo”, acting confused. Finally a flight attendant came over after my attempt at translation didn’t work. She didn’t seem to respond to me saying “You in my seat-o. Move before I have you kicked off the plane-o.” She reluctantly moved to her seat and Jamie and I took the window and middle seats. I took the middle one; I had pissed off the old Mexican mule so I might as well have to deal with sitting next to it. None the less, off we went, back to New York. (Although Jamie and I were convinced for a solid 15 minutes they were going the wrong way and we would be in Japan when we woke up.) Thankfully when we woke we were still in America. The pilots apparently knew better than we did. Weird…I know.

I can honestly say this was the best trip I have ever been on. Now, as I leave you, I will ask that you play me out with a theme song. Imagine in your heads ‘Paper Planes’ by MIA, as it was our theme song for the trip which we listened to roughly 13,006 times. (I also just really like the idea of exiting or entering things with a theme song.) Jamie was a specialist at the chorus doing the gun shots perfectly and always spitting clear across the car while doing so. So hit that beat and do the gun shots in the chorus with me while you practice your very own R.R.D.



Typical Evening in NYC

When a day begins with pancakes and a glass of Jameson on the rocks and ends with getting punched in the ear at a bar restroom in New York City you begin to wonder why you’re ever allowed out in public.

It was the morning of the St Patty’s day parade in Syracuse, NY.  I headed to my friend’s house around 830 am. We’ll call him Pot Hole (he smoked a lot of pot and turned out to be an asshole so we’ll shorten it up for convenience). I was meeting Pot Hole and some other friends there for breakfast before the parade. By 9am I already had a couple shots in me and 1 delicious pancake. Myself, Pot Hole and the others were ready for a day of whiskey and dancing. But I got a call from my friend Mollie around 10 telling me I was going to NYC with her that day to watch Syracuse play at MSG in the Big East basketball tournament. I won’t make up a name for Mollie because I think in the spirit of it being a St Patty’s day story it is appropriate there is a ‘Mollie’ in my story. Anyways, I decided to head downtown first and partake in the festivities for a bit first but was really excited about my new plans for the day. When I got downtown I immediately lost Pot Hole and the rest of my group. I have some issues when I drink. I wander, I pay attention to no one and nothing, I don’t listen to anyone, and I follow any group that looks fun. This usually ends with me losing my group, making new friends, and waking up 2 hours from my original destination with no car and 27 new phone numbers with names like “Mark plaid shirt” and “Alex blonde hair”. But on this occasion I actually found people I knew and decided to hang with them for a few drinks before heading to Mollie’s to begin our adventure.

After 4 hours of driving and some hard core 80’s ballad singing and fist pumping we were in the city. We had booked a hotel on the way down, so when we got there we checked in, got ready and headed out to the bar to meet the guy we were buying the tickets from. After getting the tickets we worked our way up to the bar and ordered up our first shots of the night and 2 Bud Lights. Because it’s NYC the total for that came to roughly $30. So it was time to start working the room. When a shot costs $9 its time to find some dudes. And by dudes, I mean wallets. With each guy our names and jobs became more and more interesting. I normally like to go with my usual, Gillian E Dubbs II, a marine biologist trying to save the Beluga Whale from what I believe to be the Lockness monster. I like to stick with Gillian, and just play around with the job. I have at one time or another been Gillian the local commercial actress, Gillian the painter who has an upcoming show (this is a fun one because I actually give them a time and place to go to see “my work”) and Gillian the Brit. I don’t give a job with that one, I just ramble on and on about anything I want to as an excuse to practice my British accent. These are all of course aliases I only use if I have no interest in the guy whatsoever past him buying me a drink. If it is a guy I’m actually interested in I’m Amy, emotionally unavailable and only in town for one night. Either way, it works out. That night I was still partially decked out in St Patty’s day gear so I went with some fun Irish names. I think at one point I was McGillian Maggie O’IrishGuiness-stein. After a couple hours of those shenanigans it was game time. We walked to the garden, got our seats, and made friends with the beer guy. We let him know we would be loyal customers all night. And what we meant by loyal customers, is that the guys behind us we were going to get to buy us drinks would be loyal customers.

It was a good game, we ended up losing, but still a good game. It was now 10pm and I had started drinking in Syracuse at 9am. I knew nothing good was going to come of this. We walked to a bar called Local after the game with the guys who were buying us beer the whole time. The least we could do to repay them was to continue to allow them to buy us drinks at the bar. I’m not sure how long we were at that bar, but we wanted to go back to Stout. It was apparently our new favorite place ever.

When we arrived Mollie realized she had lost her wallet. We traced our steps back to Local and MSG after ditching the guys but didn’t find it. So we went back to the hotel. I was washing up in the bathroom and when I walked from the bathroom to the room I found Mollie completely passed out sprawled across the bed, phone in hand, shoes on, and a whole mess of items scattered around her.  There was a camera, a brochure, some papers, a few $1 bills scattered around making her look like a hooker, and I swear I’m not lying…a spoon. I distinctly remember a spoon. I said to myself right there and then that I would find this poor hooker’s wallet so she had a place to put her $1 bills and her spoon. So I left the hotel on a search for the wallet. I went back to Local to look around and I decided to go check the bathroom. I was in the bathroom when a whole group of girls came piling into the bathroom yelling and fighting with each other. So here’s another fun fact about me, I have this problem where I don’t always realize when I say something out loud that most people would just say to themselves. This happened to be one of those moments.

“Let’s all be bitches and fight in the bathroom.” I said at an obviously loud volume and sarcastic pitch.

I barely finished saying ‘bathroom’ and one of them punched me directly next to my ear.  She didn’t even have the common courtesy to let me finish. I was going to also mention how classy it was to fight in the bathroom, but she cut me off by punching me in the head. So I did what my instincts told me to. I turned around, swung my fist like a scared 6 year old girl because I don’t know how to fight, punched the first girl I saw and then ran away screaming, also like a scared 6 year old girl. I ran out of the bar, still screaming, possibly more of a whimper at this point and decided I should probably head back.

I was defeated. I left the hotel on a mission which I had failed miserably at. The girl who punched me was apparently wearing a ring so I was also bleeding slightly. Defeated, cold, bloody, drunk and hungry I did what any self respecting Italian would do. I found the nearest pizza place and ordered a slice. As I walked back to the hotel eating my pizza, noticing my jaw click every time I chewed, I realized the utter ridiculousness of the whole day. So I just started laughing. I wasn’t even scared that I was a young female walking the city streets at 3am by myself. I mean honestly, who was going to mess with me? I was bleeding from the head, eating pizza, staggering around the streets laughing at myself. I probably looked like a drunk hobo on a meth binge.

When we woke in the morning we started talking about how crazy the night was. I very dryly and briefly stated what happened to me after she fell asleep stating I got punched in the head. She is used to me saying things that aren’t relevant to anything going on so she shrugged it off with an “oh, ok” not actually realizing what I had said. I rolled over and she looked up and saw the cut on my face and jumped up asking what happened. To which I repeated at a louder volume and enunciated very carefully, “I-got-punched-in-the-head.”

We packed up and before heading home, decided we would hit up China town to replace her real Coach wallet she had lost with a fake one made by Chinese children in the backrooms of restaurants on Canal St. If you have never been to Canal St just picture a typical NYC street but with 100’s of Asians screaming brand names at you and giving you a “come hither” look that puts a bit of fear in you. They say things like “pretty white girl get pretty bag” and they will repeat that phrase over and over again getting increasingly louder until you buy it. And that’s when you begin to wonder if their English vocabulary exceeds anything other than that phrase, American dollar amounts, and designer names. We did some shopping there, and then escaped China Town before more of the vultures attacked with perfumes that will make your skin burn and rings that will turn your skin green, and possibly make your fingers fall off.

The drive was another beautiful day, sunroof open, songs blasting, us singing perfect harmony in our minds to American Pie and Benny and the Jets. It was quite a trip, we had booze, laughter, guys buying us drinks, adventure, crazy bar bitches, illegal Chinese immigrant children making bags for us…a spoon. Life doesn’t get any better. But when we got back to Mollie’s we decided to make a pact:

Next trip to the city Mollie was not allowed to bring a wallet and I would wear a helmet.