Does this beard make me look fat

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Karaoke Diaries Part 2: Bobby Darin and a few verses from Nothing But A G Thing



A few years ago my buddy Phil had a very attractive female friend visiting him from out of state. The girl proceeded to commandeer the next few days of Phil's life as Phil knew that if he kowtowed to her impulses he stood a better chance of seeing her in some state of undress. First up, the girl asked to be driven up to Mount Charleston to go sledding. Phil and I drove her up to the mountain and afterwards she suggested that we should do karaoke later in the evening. I agreed to go with them only under the pretense that I was going to get out of going as I knew of my limited karaoke abilities and sharing them didn't appeal to me in the least. That is, until a beautiful woman asks me to do it and then I'm liable to die in a flurry of pelvic thrusts and vocal chord straining approximating a Tom Jones impersonation for said beautiful woman. Tammy (beautiful woman): Luke are you going to sing karaoke with us? Luke: Yes, yes I am.

I secretly hoped the karaoke bar we were heading to resembled the karaoke bar in Lost In Translation, you know, a crowd, screens, decent music. The karaoke bar we arrived at was located in a strip mall adjacent to UNLV, and wasn't so much a bar but a series of rooms where if you stood in the middle of the hallway outside the rooms the stereo sound of random strangers channeling their inner Celine Dion and Mariah Carey enveloped you and burrowed into your earhole like a tick that infects you with shitty music. So I watched my friends select their favorite songs then proceed to perform them or butcher them depending on your level of intoxication. One friend was singing the summer of 93's omnipresent single Nuthing But A G-Thing and it just so happened that I knew half of the song. When the parts of the song I was familiar with came around I snatched the microphone from my friends hand and spit out the rhymes like I knew what it was like to grow up in Inglewood or Compton. Truth be told, on one occasion as a result of my poor navigational skills I ended up in front of the two story doughnut adorned with the words "Randy's Dougnuts" that appears in many Snoop Dogg videos and just the sight of that doughnut got me panicky. But somehow I knew a good portion of the song and I sang it. Later on someone selected Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover" for me, which I knew well, and sang but only after drinking a great deal of plum wine. I was getting increasingly intoxicated off the wine, so I sat back and watched my friends desecrate pop staple after pop staple.

During one song i felt nauseous and before i could react, I felt what was easily a cup full of vomit coursing up my esophagus. I frantically looked around for a container, not wanting to interrupt the Theme from Flash Dance someone was actively vocally beating the life out of. There wasn't a container to be found, so I did what any courteous karaoke-er would do, I choked down that vomit. It's not an easy thing to do, you know. To defy direct orders from your stomach, essentially flipping the bird to its refusal of your belly full of wine, telling the stomach to enjoy both the ride and the alcohol. But I did, as I knew nothing kills the spirit of a lively rendition of a Kenny Rogers song like your friend vomiting on the table. So what did we learn, kids? Don't drink plum wine to excess without a bowl in front of you and if you see Randy's Doughnuts, you've probably taken a wrong turn at stabbing victim blvd. and are headed down car jacking lane. Yer pal, Luke

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Karaoke Diaries Part 1: This one's for the ladies. It's called "Hopelessly Devoted To You"? Oh hell no.


Karaoke is something that I've only done while being just a single gin and tonic shy of being pickled. There's a myriad of reasons for why I'm more than a little reluctant to belt out Journey's "Wheels In The Sky" in front of a room full of Japanese business men and assorted tourists mixed with the token locals. First off, lets just address the music selection part. You find me both a place where the karaoke machine has obscure REM, Tom Waits or Jesus and Mary Chain songs, in addition to a room of people who want to hear obscure REM, Tom Waits or Jesus and Mary Chain songs and I'll belt out Don't Go Back To Rockville or Jockey Full Of Bourbon or Just Like Honey like I was James Brown and Coconutz on East Desert Inn is the Apollo. Secondly, there's a reason why Sinatra's "My Way" has been banned in karaoke bars in some countries. Some songs were not meant to be butchered by a sloshed man fresh off his seventh rum and coke, clutching the mic stand like he's the singer from Creed. Right about now, you're asking yourself "Self, where is he going with this?". And I will tell you. You see, on two occasions I was that man clutching the mic stand fresh off my fourth gin and tonic as I'm a light weight. On the first occasion I was in Flagstaff, Arizona with some friends when my sister Faith, in a excellent display of how little she knows her younger brother, tells the karaoke maestro that I'd love to sing a song from the Grease soundtrack. This would prove difficult to do as I have never seen the movie or heard any of the songs, yet there I was being handed a microphone while not having the sense to read the song's title "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and offer a deal breaking "Oh hell no". After saying "I have no idea what this song is ladies and gentlemen" on the microphone, I proceeded to read the words to the song off the prompter, void of tone,melody, inflection and all the other elements that went into the pre "Physical" Olivia-Newton John gem. Faith then followed the Grease number sucker punch with a Sonny and Cher groin kick of a duet with "I Got You Babe". Now this song I knew. Faith filled in the Cher part and we carried the tune to the best of our inabilities much to the chagrin or enjoyment of the patrons in Gypsies, Flagstaff's after hours gay bar . Did I want to sing it to a room full of unsuspecting victims? Not a chance. Did I sing it anyways? I sure did. Did I learn my lesson and commit myself to staying out of karaoke bars lest I find myself at the mic with Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" queued up? Not at all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The fact that Sheryl Crow wrote the most accurate account of how and why to leave Las Vegas is very frustrating in that she sucks


I know I told you I was leaving before. I know there's been other women with more promising prospects and yet I stayed with you. There was Austin, with her beautiful, eccentric oasis nestled in the country's largest state of Toby Keith fans and gun collectors. Austin even introduced me to an ice cream shop that combines ginger snaps with vanilla ice cream which given the right combination of disregard for my pants size and quality of life could easily lead to my turning into a big fat fuck. But no, I told Austin that my one true love, the chocolate in my pudding, the yin to my yang, the Chico to my man was Las Vegas. Then there was Denver. Denver is a little different from Austin as she's a mountain girl with conservative views who's more or less know for the shitty beer manufactured in her region. But Denver has hosted four of the Wilco shows I've seen, two of which were at the famous Fillmore. I know what you're thinking Las Vegas, get to the point Freteluco. All right you hussy harlot of a woman you, Las Vegas. My new woman is Portland. I spent some time with her, and I think this time its real. She just gets me. She knows that what I need most in my life is to live in the same town as Peter Buck and a doughnut shop that sells doughnuts with names like the Ol' Dirty Bastard and the Cock N Balls. She feels my desire to go from microwave-like temperatures to endless torrents of rain. She recognizes the void that existed in my life prior to consuming a grilled cheese sandwich on a converted school bus whilst listening to Lauryn Hill's debut cd. She says I'm not meant to be with a woman that has only Carrot Top and two dollar steak and eggs at 3 a.m. to offer me. I told Portland I loved her then I queued up the Talking Heads' Remain In Light and we did our thing for five earth shaking minutes. She asked me what I want to do next and I looked into her eyes which yes, are heavily overcast but clear up later in the day, and I told her she's the one for me and I will live with her upon graduation. She inquired as to whether or not I could live with both her rain and quality coffee but before she could finish I started to sing her my favorite Sheryl Crow song, albeit not in key, but damn if I didn't belt out that song.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I do believe you're trying to seduce me, Mrs. Friemuth


1st time efforts rarely result in triumphant returns. This rule of thumb can be applied to an assortment of situations, but we'll just get to the nitty gritty and say that in my case it was sex. All the awkwardness of an uncomfortably packed elevator, plus post-coital confusion, in less time than it takes to toast a pop tart. Truth be told, in less time than it takes to unwrap a pop tart. Her name was Danielle Friemuth. She was a highly sexualized woman 5 years my senior who had embarked on a conquest of sleeping her way through the 89110 zip code, which she almost succeeded in doing, if you exclude the elderly and children. She was 19, which really begs the question of why would a 19 year old want to sleep with a 14 year old anyway? My knowledge of sex and associated skills were limited to the love scenes I'd seen on Days of Our lives, which I'd watch with my mom when I got home from kindergarten and Magnum PI. I remember how my mom would go on about his mustache and its magnetic powers. I couldn't get past those awful shirts he'd wear in every episode.

Still, Danielle wanted me to want her, which I kinda did. She had enormous boobs, and the only bare boobs I had seen prior to Danielle's belonged to my 75 year old grandmother who I regrettably walked in on while topless and my mother, again with much regret. I was too young to fully grasp or appreciate the concept of an STD, the gift that keeps on giving, so following a friend, who followed another friend didn't seem as dirty then as it certainly does now. But I found myself alone with Danielle on New Year's Eve 1993 after having smoked a festive amount of weed and my inhibitions were on holiday.

We talked for a little bit, then started fooling around. I tried and failed to take off Danielle's bra, my approach less debonair and more kid opening a Christmas present. She saw that I was struggling with the bra and she did the coolest thing a girl/woman/confused man can do and that is undo the bra with one hand behind her/his back. You'd have thought Danielle's last name was Copperfield and she had just made something vanish as I was really that impressed and really that naive. After the bra trick she asked me what I wanted to do and I said I had no clue what to do. I could have figured it out, I suppose, but I was naive and confused. So she walked me through what comes so easily to rabbits and Mormons, yet somehow mystified me.

The beauty in how long things lasted lies in the truth of how long things lasted. People love to embellish about these types of things as its far more palatable. I say fuck that, dear reader. It was about 5 seconds later when I realized I knew nothing about nothing and all I could think of was being home. Danielle knew it was my first rodeo and she did something that was nice. She wrapped her arms around me and said "It's ok". I never forgot that.

Being 14 I hadn't the faintest clue how to react to my subsequent emotions and thoughts. Was this relationship legally binding? Is she pregnant? If so, what kind of father would I be not knowing how to fist fight or change my own oil, let alone work for a living? So I avoided Danielle for a while till she wrote me a letter explaining how I was an asshole. I later apologized for my behavior and we became friends again. Shortly after, she moved to an apartment on Maryland Parkway to start working her magic on UNLV's student body and it's students bodies.

I lost contact with Danielle till recently when a friend told me she was on Facebook. Not looking to revive anything, or drudge up the past, but only say hi, I contacted her. To my astonishment, she had no clue as to who I was, not even a hint of recollection. I guess the adage of "you always remember your first"does not apply to the deflowerer. I attempted to explain who I was to her and that I wasn't on a "what does it all mean" trip, finding myself playing ex-girlfriend bounty hunter as to explain my present day actions or mistakes. I simply wanted to say hello. And she couldn't remember me, my name, those ravaging 5 seconds or the subsequent awkwardness. She told me she was a school teacher in Oregon, a mother of 2 and a married woman. She explained to me that she had long forgotten about most of her past in Las Vegas and apologized for not remembering who I was, but she hoped she was "good for me" that night. And that was that. I had been reduced to a notch on a headboard that had been worn off by the shifting scales of morales and time, which is fine. And here's to you, Mrs. Friemuth.