Month: September 2014

10 Tips For Having The Best Fall Ever

autumn-leaves

As of a few days ago, it is officially Fall!!! Fall is the best season, hands down… Summer is too sweaty, Winter is too cold and it also has Christmas, which, as an adult, is an endless bummer, and Spring… ugh… too much pressure to go do stuff outside. OOH, IT’S SO NICE OUT, LET’S GIVE A SHIT ABOUT TENNIS. We all know you’d be much happier sitting on the couch shoving fistfuls of dry Frosted Mini-Wheats in your mouth while watching your fourth consecutive episode of Chopped.

But none of that matters now, because it’s FALL! Ooooh yeah… getting crisp and cider-y up in this bitch! So, in the spirit of it being a kick-ass time of year, here’s a bunch of crap you can do to distract yourself from the fact that you will eventually die, as will all your loved ones, because life is just the worst. Enjoy!

10 Tips for Having The Best Fall Ever

-Look at all the pictures in your Facebook news feed of your friends posing with their kids in pumpkin patches. Think about how funny it would be to go pose in a pumpkin patch ironically. Realize that, actually, that would probably be more trouble than it’s worth. Go see if there are any Goldfish crackers left in that seemingly empty bag that’s balled up by the couch.

-Pull out all your sweaters that have been tucked away in your closet since March. Put on a fashion show for your cat. Yell at your cat when he is not appreciative of the dynamite way you rock that cable-knit. Apologize to the the cat for yelling at him, then cry on his belly until he scratches you. Then it’s back to the fashion show!

-Talk shit about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. People get SO MAD when they find out you don’t like them. People get INSULTED, like their grandmother is the one who first came up with idea of dumping nutmeg into some Folgers. Not caring about a thing that people care deeply about is so fucking satisfying, it probably gives you lung cancer.

-Ever been on a hay ride? No? Then go on a hay ride. If there are no hay rides in your area, fill up the back seat of your Ford Focus with loose hay, then pay an old man to drive you around while telling you stories about a haunted scarecrow. NOTE: As with most things in life, hay rides are exponentially more fun if you are gooned on cheap tequila.

-Rake up a big pile of fallen leaves. Jump in the leaves. God, that hurt your back. You are in the autumn of your life now. Pull the pile of leaves over you and drift off into a fitful slumber.

-Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so you should probably eat an entire turkey by yourself just to get warmed up. Cooking the turkey first would probably be the smart way to go, but follow your heart.

-Crochet a scarf. Or, if you don’t know how to do that, fashion a scarf out of tied-together old socks.

-Enjoy some postseason baseball until you start thinking about how the shortstop is 22 years old, and that when YOU were 22, your whole life basically consisted of taking rips off a dirty bong in an efficiency apartment while watching Jackie Chan movies. And this asshole… he’s 22 and playing PROFESSIONAL SPORTS? How dare he. Tweet racist things at him.

-Try to get into some of the new fall TV shows. Get bored. Think to yourself, “I could make better television than THIS.” Swear to yourself that you’re going to start a web series tomorrow morning. The iPhone is basically a high-quality HD video camera, so nothing’s stopping you! FUCK IT, let’s start RIGHT NOW! Wake up hungover with 47 videos on your phone of you singing Wilco songs into a ketchup bottle that you’re pretending is a microphone. Realize in horror that at least half of them have been uploaded to all your social media sites. Spend the remainder of the day sweatily explaining to your coworkers that your “cloud” got hacked by your identical twin, whom you’ve never mentioned before because you’re embarrassed of his alcoholism. Pat yourself on the back for coming up with such an airtight scenario. You’ve earned a Coke, buddy… full-sugar, no diet.

-Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour for Daylight Savings Time. No joke here. You should just really remember to do that.

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Girl Drink Drunk

Girl Drink Drunk is a regular column that features your host, an adult male who prefers bourbon and beer, exploring the sugary, sweet world of “girly drinks” for your edification and entertainment. He promises not to barf on you. Enjoy.

taylorswift

Here are two things that happened to me this week:

-I bought, then (mostly) consumed two bottles of wine from Arbor Mist’s “Desserts” collection, not because I enjoy such beverages, but because I have made it my business to write about sugar-blasted pseudo-booze on the internet. I assume you’re aware of this by now, unless you are a first time visitor to ZFS; if that IS the case, welcome, please remove your shoes (new carpet), and note that we prosecute shoplifters to the fullest extent of the law.

and…

-I listened to Taylor Swift’s new song “Shake It Off” for the first time. Then I listened to it again. Then several more times. Then an additional thousand times after that, because it is the catchiest song that has ever been written. It makes “The Name Game” look like Side A of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music.

Now, I want to talk about the second item first, because I guarantee you that… at the very invocation of Taylor Swift’s name, at LEAST half of you made a who-farted face and said, “this guy’s got worse taste in music than MY MOM.” And then you chuckled smugly to yourself as you fired up an e-cig and an old Guided By Voices album. My response to all of that is this: Take a step back from the front lines of the Pop Culture Snark War, and calm down. I get that Swift isn’t everybody’s thing, and I also get that it is fun to throw enormous amounts of shade at people that are very rich and very famous (and even more so when they happen to also be very earnest, as Swift tends to be). That being said… I don’t know… I feel like the internet-curated ill-will towards Swift is a little misguided. There are better targets out there, and more deserving ones, at that.

Which is not to say that I am Taylor Swift super fan, either. I am 34 years old, and also a dude. At this stage of the game, being WAY into young pop starlets is a little… unseemly. It happens, I guess, but it’s really not a good look on my people (early-30’s big, fat party guys). That being said, I am not immune to the charms of a well-crafted, radio-friendly song, which are things that Swift cranks out fairly efficiently. If nothing else, Swift and her musical overlords know how to capture and manipulate that intangible force known as “catchy-ness,” and said necromancy leads to otherwise reasonable people (such as myself) listening to individual Taylor Swift jams over and over again until Spotify sends us an email to inform us that our accounts have CLEARLY been hacked by a group of 7th graders.

The other reason that people dislike Taylor Swift is that she is a bit of a serial monogamist, and that, post-breakup, she writes songs about her exes. This is a stupid reason to hate a 24 year old person. You know what you’re SUPPOSED to do when you’re in your early 20’s? Try on a bunch of guys (or girls) and figure out just what the hell you like in a significant other. You’re SUPPOSED to take chances. You’re SUPPOSED to not settle too early. That is what being in your early 20’s is all about. And the fact that she writes songs about the guys that she dates… well, hell, she has to write about something, and dating and whatnot is a whole lot more relatable than, say, the hidden inconveniences of private plane ownership, or how one can spend $10,000 on hats and not feel even a little guilty inside. Writing about her exes is nothing more than a solid business strategy. But… some people feel that dating a bunch of guys and then singing about it is, somehow, Swift being a bad role model. Putting aside the fact that we, as a culture, should really, really, REALLY stop turning to our nation’s celebrities for moral authority and life-lessons we can point to when we try to parent our children (because, I mean, C’MON), Swift, by and large, is a FINE role model. She is basically just living the life of a normal, early-20’s person… albeit on a grander scale… and, if I had a child (which I don’t), I would be fine with hypothetical him or her hypothetically following her lead. It beats hypothetical him or her taking after Miley Cyrus and rolling on Molly while dry-humping an older gentleman at the VMAs. Which, AGAIN, I don’t care what Cyrus does. She can attempt to popularize the mythical Tijuana Donkey Show here in America, if that’s her heartsong. I’m just saying I’d rather my fake daughter have a few boyfriends, as opposed to smoking so much Salvia that her life turns into a round-the-clock Burning Man.

ANYWAY, I bring all of this up about Taylor Swift because, if you’ll remember several hundred words back, I mentioned that I had bought and consumed some Arbor Mist “Desserts” wine. While, at the time, I thought I was merely drinking some extremely sweet starter hooch, it was only after listening to the aforementioned “Shake It Off” on repeat that I realized I was actually drinking Taylor Swift herself. Or at least it is like drinking one of her songs. Let me explain…

The Girl Drink(s):

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If you’re not familiar with Arbor Mist wine, it is basically liquified Skittles that will get you moderately buzzed. You can usually buy it in gas stations, which should fill in any unanswered questions you have about Arbor Mist. The “Desserts” branch of the Arbor Mist family tree make its predecessors look like strong, black coffee. Tying themselves to specific dessert items… Strawberry Shortcake and Caramel Apples, respectively… have opened the door for the makers of said wine to just go absolutely fucking nuts with the sugar. IT’S A DESSERT! You’re basically drinking a pie! DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!!! How much sugar, exactly, is in Arbor Mist “Desserts” wine? So much that I immediately forgot the amount after looking it up, as it scared the shit out of my kidneys. That’s how much.

So, like I said, the flavors are Strawberry Shortcake and Caramel Apple, but that doesn’t really matter. You could call them Formula x17-A and Formula X17-B and the people that drink this kind of stuff are going to drink them, regardless. Yes, there are some differences… the Strawberry Shortcake one kind of tastes fruity, and weirdly also a little like a cream-based frosting smeared on a sponge cake. It’s unsettling, and not just because drinking it makes you feel like you’re going blind. Drinks shouldn’t taste like carbs. I’ve always said that, and literally no one in the girl drink industry agrees with me. The Caramel Apple variety is a little better; it basically tastes like candy corn, with the faintest touch of cider on the back end. It is slightly less sweet than the Strawberry Shortcake one, which is a lot like saying that a Mako shark will devour you slight slower than a Great White.

At the end of the day, the Arbor Mist family, in general, and the Arbor Mist “Desserts” wines, specifically, are just kind of whatever, at least as far as the actual product itself goes. Where they ARE interesting is within the concept of Taylor Swift, and how drinking a bottle of Arbor Mist “Desserts” is basically like drinking one of her songs. Here’s what I mean… Taylor Swift came into the spotlight as a teenager who sang sweetly pleasant country songs about Tim McGraw and teardrops on her guitar. That Taylor Swift is dead, or at least it is almost in the grave. The current Taylor Swift is a woman, who is living her womanly life out loud, but who still has to keep up a little bit of that sweetness in order to maintain a fan base that didn’t necessarily grow up with her. She has to appeal to BOTH sides of her fans… those that were there at the beginning of her career and are now, like her, grown ups, and those that are the same age as she was when she started, because she unquestionably still makes music that appeals to teenagers. In essence, she has to put out wine for the adults, and sweets for the kids. And since she only has a three minute song to in which to do that, she has to combine the two into one sugary product that will make you tipsy.

Arbor Mist “Desserts” are Taylor Swift, and Taylor Swift is Arbor Mist “Desserts.” One foot in the bar, one foot in the candy shop. Or, to put it another way, Taylor Swift is a specific kind of 24 year old lady, and if that specific kind of 24 year old American lady were a beverage, that beverage would be Arbor Mist “Desserts” wine. Sure, the haters are going to hate, hate, hate, but shake it off. It’s okay to like Taylor Swift, because Taylor Swift is an okay person and an okay beverage. In whatever form she chooses, Taylor Swift is okay.

The Return of the Surge

surge

Today is a very whatever Monday in September, and I was expecting literally nothing from it at all, save for work, and beer drinking after work, and, should it come to pass, the small bit of smirky joy that would come from seeing the Philadelphia Eagles get their doors blown off on Monday Night Football. However, this whatever Monday in September took a turn this morning. Things are different now.

Actually, things are like they used to be. Order has been restored. Surge soda is coming back.

If this news means nothing to you, then you were clearly not a teenage boy in the mid-90’s. Which… you should probably be grateful for that fact. It was a greasy time, filled with ska music and 90210 haircuts and very, very bland fashion. Cargo pants… a sea of cargo pants, hiding out-of-control boners.

And then there was Surge. Some will say that Surge was just a crappy knockoff of Mountain Dew. These people are bastards, and also lack vision. Surge was its own animal, and that animal was fucking delicious. Now… granted… Surge has not passed my kissable lips in over a decade, so my memory might be a little patchy and stained by nostalgia. But if I remember correctly, Surge tasted like a citrus tornado ripping across a prairie, destroying homes and businesses and leaving no survivors. It was also fatally sweet, like getting mauled to death by a pack of starving gummi bears.  And it looked like carbonated antifreeze, but that doesn’t matter. It was FUEL. It was LIFE. It was GOOD TIME JUICE, guzzled in mass quantities while driving around Arlington, TX listening to Reel Big Fish CDs and trying to appear attractive to the ladies despite having sticky, green mouths and a hard curfew.

In no particular order, here are…

Three Specific Memories I Have Involving Surge

-My best friend and I seeing Speed 2 in the theater, and sharing a massive concession stand Surge (which was totally “no homo” because we left an empty seat between us). This ended when, while attempting a mid-movie hand-off, the mop bucket-sized soda slipped from my fingers and landed directly in his lap. Things were never the same between us.

-Mixing Surge with stolen vodka during an inexplicably parent-approved high school party in a cabin by a lake on property that my grandparents owned. The Surge-tini did not catch on. SOCIETY’S LOSS.

-Splitting a six pack of Surge with my very first roommate in the dorms at the University of Texas. It was around Surge #2 for both of us that we realized we had nothing in common (save for a love of processed, liquid sugar) and that it was going to be a miserably long year of cohabitation. I did us a favor, though, by getting kicked out of school LONG before the awkwardness truly set in and started to fester.

And now Surge is back! I can have it again, and drink it again, and taste it again, and… well… that’s kind of worrisome. In no particular order, here are…

Eight Specific Fears That I Have Now That Surge is Coming Back

-I’ll hate it.

-It won’t taste anywhere NEAR as good as I remember it tasting.

-It will bring back horrible, Surge-related memories that I have repressed through years and years of heavy drinking. What if I was drinking Surge in Math class and sharted really bad and the prettiest girl in school laughed so hard that she DIED? I don’t REMEMBER that being a thing that happened, but it MIGHT BE? What if a sip of Surge unlocks that door?

-I am worried that drinking a lot of Surge will angry up my acid reflux. See, I’m an adult now. I have adult medical problems, and saccharine acid water stands a real solid chance of not playing well within their confines. Then again, I did just eat a heaping bowl of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni (with extra hot sauce) (and fancy, shredded Parmesan on top, because I’m 34 and a bit of a foodie), and I am not currently trying to plug up the smoking crater that was once my esophagus with old clothes and/or discarded copies of Esquire, so maybe it will be fine.

-People will think I’m the kind of person that wallows in nostalgia like some sort of backwards-looking man-child that refuses to embrace the present or, heaven forbid, the future, because the unknowable is terrifying and it’s much easier to remember stuff that’s already happened in a glowing, soft light and point to it and say, “that right there… that’s the best it ever was.” HAHAHA that’s ridiculous, that’s not me!!! Please don’t make eye contact with me right now!!!

-It will just taste like Mountain Dew, and all my years of chest-puffed bluster about how Surge was the superior green, citrus beverage will look foolish.

-I’ll somehow drown in a spilled pool of Surge, or I will have unknowingly developed a serious allergy to Surge and my throat will close up after the first hearty chug and it’ll be curtains for ol’ C-dog (this isn’t terribly realistic, but I always have to include at least one death scenario in everything that I think about because I’m sort of a broken person).

-It somehow won’t make me carefree and happy as 16 year old me. Fuck THAT if that happens. I’ve got a lot riding on you, Surge.

So anyway, I guess you could classify my feelings about the return of Surge as “mixed.” Nonetheless, and in conclusion, I think it’s safe to say that Surge is a thing I used to drink a lot of, then it went it away for a long time, and now it’s coming back, and very soon I will spend money on it so I can drink it in the apartment that I share with my wife. I will update you all on my experiences with Surge when the time is right, because if there’s one thing the internet is hungry for, it’s personal essays from a guy about a soda.