Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beer and football IV — weeks six and seven

Week six
The game: Saints at Patriots
The beer: Cambridge Sgt. Pepper Saison
The result: Win, 30–27
The commentary: G. was on fire today. First we went to A&J King where she hammed it up in mom's sunglasses. Outstanding. Later, when she wouldn't nap, I took her out to run a few errands. She rode the cart at Target—the only way to control her while shopping these days, just don't tell mom—and as we rolled by the electronics section she saw gridiron covering every single big-screen TV. "It's football!" You're damn right it is! On the way home to catch the late-afternoon contest against New Orleans we heard "All My Loving" by the Beatles. "Hey monkey, it's the Beatles." "No." "No, honey, the music is the Beatles." "It's not the Beatles, it's the Cheese." What do I know about music anyway?

It was clear once we got home and settled in that she still wasn't going to nap, so I accepted that she'd be watching with me. I honestly missed that this year anyway. Flipping around before the game, I activated the channel guide and the early game (whatever it was) shrunk to picture-in-picture size. She wasn't having it: "I wanna watch football!" OK, OK. I guess that brief Target sighting really pumped her up. I settled on the Fox pregame show for some reason, with all the laughing ex-players and ex-coaches whose job it is to sit at a long desk and kill time, and she exclaimed "It's Jeopardy!" That's her go-to when she wants to watch something and thinks she can trick us into choosing a show we're interested in. "I wanna watch Jepp-ah-dee." Honestly, we don't let her watch too much television. Right? Anyway, she totally nailed it: football pregame sets look exactly like the wide shots of all three Jeopardy contestants. Only there are so, so many more than three.

Oh hey: this was a pretty great game. Probably the best of the season so far, and not just because of the ending (bullshit). Aside from Thom Brennaman calling Hoomanawanui "the Hoe-man" (the nickname is actually pronounced "Hoo-man," Thom, but I do like the idea of a pimp breaking tackles down the sideline), the Pats coming back from the dead twice and G. saying "Don't say 'yay'" when I kept saying just that were the natural highlights. It was really something else and a good sign of life, not just for a struggling young receiver to step up but also for Brady to make a Brady play. (What no one talked about after was that even if Thompkins had dropped it—and it was a genuinely fantastic catch—they still would have had time to run one more play.)

The beer was a gift from my aunt to me on G's second birthday. OK? Based on the earlier father/daughter conversation it was the natural choice on this day. Saisons aren't my favorite, in fact I'm not sure I really care for any other than Notch's, but this one did alright. High expectations for a Cambridge (the brewer, not the Republic) beer that didn't quite get met, just like the album it's named after. Even in mono. Of course the beer and A's interest in "It's All Too Much" reminded me to extol the progressive genius of a three-year-old Beatles post during our drive to work the next morning. I consider it one of the best things I've written. I am my biggest fan.


Week seven
The game: Patriots at Jets
The beer: Ipswich Five Mile Equinox Pale Ale
The result: Loss, 30–27
The commentary: What's with two stinkers against the Jets this season? At least they scored more points than last time (though some of them were on defense). Everyone around here is up in arms over the overtime penalty and I suppose I am too. The rules are the rules, sure, but you pick now to call it for the first time ever? Anyway, enough's been written. I'll be glad when the Jets are eliminated from the playoff picture. Who the hell knows when that will be.

This morning we returned to Connors Farm for a another child's birthday party. Apple cider, orange cupcakes and the roughest hayride off all time made it a great day for everything except my ass. G. posed for several pictures, picked out the most perfect little G-sized pumpkin and managed to make a cloudless day even brighter, though a near-favorite moment was when an obviously overwhelmed teenage farm employee pointed to G. and asked "Is this yours?" The context does not matter.

Up next: The Dolphins are one win away from clinching the AFC East, or so I hear. Cheers!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Beer and football IV — week five

The game: Patriots at Bengals
The beer: Martha's Exchange Olde London Stout
The result: Loss, 13–6
The commentary: Bob Socci must be stopped. The new radio voice of the Patriots lied to me four times in an hour during a rainy second-half drive to Nashua: an interception (not an interception), two receptions (two drops) and Julian Edelman's amazing "touchdown catch." The world's smallest violin.

Why the hell was I wasting time in the car during a playoff-implication game against a tough Bengals team? Because my old friend Ivan and I ventured north on Route 3 to witness the Misfits declare war on Nashua, New Hampshire. The last time we saw them was one of the greatest nights ever, so who was I to refuse? (No pantsings this time, but they did play "TV Casualty.")

The evening (afternoon, actually) started at Martha's Exchange in downtown Nausea. I was frantically flipping between the FM band and the Bluetooth receiver to hear the driving directions and drove right by the place, of course, just as the Pats' chances were dwindling. I parked and Ivan pulled up right next to me. He had gone ahead to the concert venue (improbably called Bernie's) to get tickets and asked me to guess how many opening bands there were. "Six," I responded in jest. "How did you know??" Uh-oh, I wasn't going to home before nine liked I'd hoped, and the "No nap" text I got from A. halfway through my first beer didn't make me feel any better. We got inside Martha's (which was attached to a gourmet chocolate shop because why not, so of course I grabbed an enormous peanut butter cup for A. before leaving—she had earned it) as the hurricane hit the fifty yard line and there was just a feeling of malaise about the game. Bob Socci and a mediocre stout will do that to a man. The inevitable loss couldn't get us too down though—we had a long night ahead.

Next stop was Boston Billiards across town. That's the thing about New England, you can stick "Boston" in front of anything unless you're in Vermont. I think it used to be a bowling alley and it was enormous—there weren't many people there and it felt like even fewer. The waitress was practically waiting for us at our pool table, and when I picked up the modest beer menu to ask "Is this what's on tap?" she answered "These are our craft beers." I stared blankly at her for several seconds, wondering what kind of world she lived in where craft beer cannot be found on tap, and she stared back at me with equal puzzlement, wondering if I could sneak her into Bernie's. I broke the silence by settling on a "Sam Adams, please," settling because their selection of "craft beers" didn't move me. Nice safety beer though.

Ivan and I are pretty evenly matched so we traded wins and losses, much as the Broncos and Cowboys did touchdowns on the eight thousands TVs about the place. Did you see that game? Far out. Speaking of far out, we'd better motor if we're going to catch the last three opening bands.

We arrive at Bernie's and it's exactly what I expected, in that it was Good Times North. Bad highway weed was everywhere. And the Misfits fans? The Misfits fans! And the Sunday Night Football! The… Sunday Night Football? I was thankful for the Niners and the Texans as some local shitstorm belted out its nonsense onstage.

The place was the place. We got a couple of beers (slumming with Captain Budweiser & His Magic Trots) and went upstairs, which provided the best view of the game and the din. Mohawks, cleavage… you could smell the damage. Bring on the Misfits already.

Our timing was perfect because Local Shitstorm closed amateur hour (amateur two-and-a-half hours). We made the educated guess and returned to the lower level, got some refills and moved to within fifteen feet of Jerry Only's eventual microphone. Not three minutes later he entered from the parking lot via the general admission entrance (somewhere Glenn Danzig chuckled as he searched his couch cushions for autopsy photographs). Jerry and Dez and not-Robo were full-on and they opened with "We Are 138," if I remember right, and I probably don't. And look! Jerry's wearing a MISFITS shirt. Just like everyone else in here!

Vest-less! What do you call a combination receding-hairline devil-lock? That poster makes him look a little fuller on top, don't you think? We ended up in a perfect little spot, right between the pit and a wall. Maybe not everyone's idea of perfect? It was like old times except I'm pushing forty. I impressed myself by not overreacting to some knucklehead spilling my own beer on me. It should have been water anyway. Finding that Dunkins on the way home was a bit of a life-saver.

Text message, 12:02 AM: "Wow, just leaving Nashua now. Mistake, but still fun. XO." I survived a shirtless Jerry Only (not documented here), I survived that skank in the wheelchair, I survived nine-ball, I survived Geno Atkins and, thanks to G. crashing hard to sleep at some point in the evening, I survived the wrath of an exhausted wife and mother. Part two in a series of great nights with the Misfits.

Up next: Did you hear Dr. John's comeback album last year? It's pretty good. Cheers!