So Crown Royal approached me like 10 days ago or so and said they were looking for bloggers to ‘Crown’ their fathers for Father’s Day this year. “Would you be interested,” they asked.
There’s still time to enter your dad for the velvet Crown painting via CrownYourFather.com on your mobile device.
Well, considering the fact that my dad keeps his Crown empties, has carried coins in his Crown bags to poker parties for like 25 years and actually drinks Crown when he’s at the lake, I said yes. Part of the crowning was to buy a gift for dad. I went back and forth on this part. Do I send dad with me next week for the College World Series title game or do I save the funds and take dad to Lambeau Field in the fall for another one of his bucket list items.
In the end I went Lambeau because it’s harder to pull off that one and it’s one of those places he’s always talked about visiting.
Here’s the trip plan:
We make the drive from Ohio to Ludington, Michigan to catch the SS Badger Ferry. We put the truck on the ferry across Lake Michigan and into Manitowic, Wisconsin, which is just 41 miles to Lambeau Field. The ferry stops running on October 15 so our choices are an early September game against the Seahawks, a 4:25 kickoff against the Bengals (not ideal since I don’t want to watch my Bengals get lit up) or a Thursday night game against the Bears.
That might just be the play here. Rivalry game. Night game. Get up there on a Wednesday night, catch the game Thursday, maybe a stadium tour Friday and then possibly Northwestern-Wisconsin on the way home on Saturday.
That’s a bucket list trip right there.
Thanks to Crown for this opportunity. I’m happy once again to be partnering with Crown Royal and I know dad is jacked up over this whole thing.
When it comes to Summer getaways, Shay Mitchell knows how to do them right: exotic locations, beautiful scenic shots, pools, cute sunglasses, and, of course, lots of bikinis. While her vacations may not look quite like yours, they’re still fun to look at and serve as endless inspiration for your next trip. If the travel bug hasn’t hit you already, it will once you see all of Shay’s past Summer trips.
Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly on NBC at 7:00pm ET. Series premiere. I know it would be tasteless for her to literally dance on Roger Ailes’s corpse with this new show, but it’s basically what I’m picturing her doing.
2017 NBA Finals — Game 2 on ABC at 8:00pm ET.
Fear the Walking Dead on AMC at 9:00pm ET. Two-hour third season premiere. This has already been renewed for a fourth season, which surprises me. The Walking Dead itself went from a show that was watched by EVERYONE I knew down to almost no one I knew, but I never heard anyone talking about this one outside of a vague feeling of interest. But I have learned long before that my understanding of a show’s popularity has nothing to do with its actual popularity.
The Leftovers on HBO at 9:00pm ET. 75 minute series finale. Oh man, I don’t know if I need the largest box of tissues I can find, or a good punching pillow, or a pint of ice cream to get me through this. Maybe all of them. It’s gonna be good, probably. And in case you were wondering, no, I never got over thinking that the title is pretty damn dumb. I just got better at ignoring it.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO at 10:15pm ET. Special time.
How is Dale Earnhardt Jr. prepping for this weekend’s AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway? Oh, nothing major… just a little mini trip to Honduras to chill out around exotic animals with his wife Amy.
In case you’re a Dale Jr. diehard wondering why he’s in Honduras in the middle of his season, he had a good reason: family!
Some very sensible 8th grade students from New Jersey would not deign to be seen in a photograph with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan during their field trip to Washington. About half of the 150 South Orange Middle School students on the trip watched from a parking lot as the rest of their cohort sidled up to Ryan…
Have you ever eaten so much THC that you tripped? I don’t recommend it! You’ll get so paranoid and out of it that you may think you were drugged. It may then take a while to realize that it was you… who drugged yourself. You may start to wonder why you did this to yourself, and then wonder why you’re wondering why,…
No, the stress of pretending she wanted to be there didn’t finally get to her.
Lena Dunham has regularly suffered from symptoms of endometriosis and last month, she admitted at an endometriosis event that she had recently undergone excision surgery and was feeling good. According to People magazine, Lena’s endometriosis symptoms messed with her during the Met Gala on Monday night, and she ended up trading in her ballgown for a hospital gown.
A source tells People that Lena experienced endometriosis complications not long after arriving to the Met Gala. The source claims she was rushed to the ER for some medical attention. She was released after a series of tests, and she’s currently resting at home. Neither Lena nor a rep has said anything about her condition.
Having to leave a party because your body decided to hate you is never fun. But as much as I’m sure Lena was happy to get away from the obnoxiousness of the Met Gala and go home, I do feel a little bad. The only reason to go to the Met Gala in the first place is to watch people in ridiculous costumes attempt to do stuff while getting progressively drunker. Shame on you, endometriosis. You robbed Lena of the opportunity to see a hammered Instagram model stand in front of a toilet and wonder how they’re going to piss in a beaded body stocking.
Hey look, another face ravaged by meth and heroin. And this time we have an Oklahoma elementary teacher who is accused of pawning school property to fuel her drug habit. It gets better — or worse if you’re the kids she was teaching — Megan Sloan is accused of stealing $ 125 of field trip money.
Here’s my big question in all of this: Was she teaching with that meth face? If so, who in their right mind would leave their kid with Meth Face? I’d probably start asking questions. I mean that’s not the normal Hey, you’re 27, zits happen, kinda face.
Megan Sloan, a 27-year-old teacher at Holmes Park Elementary, was arrested May 1 after admitting to bringing drugs and drug paraphernalia to the school, according to court documents. Police say she also admitted to using “field trip money” to purchase gas and drugs for herself.
A teacher reported Sloan after she left her Facebook account open on the other teacher’s computer, according to police. The teacher reportedly saw a conversation in which Sloan talked about using and selling heroin and pawning school property.
Listen you idiots, don’t touch this shit. Want a buzz? Go jump out of a plane.
I respect the troll here out of Grayson Allen. At least he’s somewhat self-aware on why the majority of the country can’t stand him.
It looks like there was a little day party yesterday at Duke and Grayson decided to own his shortcomings by rocking a hat that says “Don’t Trip” on the side. Just a little reminder to himself that he is not, in fact, on a basketball court and no tripping will be needed today.
No, but seriously, being able to laugh at yourself is what wins people over. So Grayson doing this is a first step in people maybe not hating him so much.
Last week I went to South by Southwest for the first time. And then I got stuck there. Dustin wrote a fantastic blow-by-blow account of our trip live, as it happened, so please read that first. As with all things, perspective counts. And before everything became too misty and far-away in my brain, I figured I’d just elaborate on a few parts of the journey.
Now then, let’s Rashomon the shit out of this trip.
So (Editor-in-Chief) Dustin (Rowles) was 100% right when he reported that I said «fuck it, we’re driving.» That was a direct quote.
But what preceded that was a harried, head scratching litany of about sixty minutes of calls to every airline, saying things like «can we get to Baltimore? No? What about Washington? No? How about Providence? No? What about anything in New York? No? Are there any flights from Houston? No? What if we depart from San Antonio? No? Can we connect to anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line from any airport in the world? No?»
It was ridiculous. But I HATE being stuck. In anything. I can handle just about anything in any arena of life if I feel like I’m making PROGRESS. But stuck? Hellllll no.
So, I suggested that in the vein of Nate Dogg and Warren G, we mount up.
Because I LOVE A GOOD ADVENTURE.
And Lady C has this awesome cousin who works for Enterprise Rent-A-Car and he always sends us kick-ass ‘friends and family’ deals. I had already called the Austin Enterprise, which was like five minutes away. We already had a car on standby at a great rate if we wanted it.
All I needed was some buy-in from Dustin.
So…we’re in the hotel room, Dustin is kind of silent, looking at me, probably the ‘friend’ of his he knows and likes the least, and there’s this fucking fog of impending doom behind his eyes. Don’t get me wrong, we’re friends. Real friends. But if you could chart Dustin’s friendships on a ziggurat, I would be at the bottom fucking tier. Maybe with one foot on the ground. Dustin abides my friendship the way a mountain abides the surf that crashes into it.
Dustin and I met twelve years ago when Seth pulled him into a fantasy football league that I was in. That’s how we originally knew each other. And so, no matter how close we’ve gotten over the years, Dustin always views me with the wariness of a person who has tried to rattle you in combat. I have spent more than a decade getting in his kitchen. I have, intentionally, bid on his favorite players just to make him go insane. Three years ago, in the middle of a particularly vicious auction for his favorite player, I drove the price up so insanely high that Dustin was covering his own face with his hat so he wouldn’t bid, but was then YELLING bids through the cap.
For those of you blessed to avoid the sportsball testosterone of archaic rhino-on-rhino tomfoolery, let’s just frame it like this: I am an aggressive, Machiavellian motherfucker and Dustin is kind and thoughtful and has a heart of solid 24K gold.
So…we’re in the hotel room in Austin. Me, Dustin and (Pajiba Co-Owner) Seth, who is lounging on the bed just eating this shit up. And being Seth, he’s helping, (try this airline, they have a main hub here etc) buuuuuuut he’s also lapping up our desperation like a fine stew.
Fuck it, we’re driving.
Dustin, initially, is not on board.
And I’m trying to Sisyphus this shit up the hill, yelling «COME ON!» and «WHOOO!» and «WE’RE MEN OF ACTION, BABY!» And I’m clapping my hands as if the fate of every middle school pep rally depends on it.
Seth is grinning like a Cheshire cat. I mean ear to ear. Because he’s a student of behavior and knows me really well, but he knows Dustin REALLY well, and this may very well end in bloodshed.
Dustin is standing there in a half-daze. All the energy has drained from his body. His phone is in his hand, just dangling there, limp. Where, a minute ago, there was hope in the form of a tryin’-hard Delta agent, now there is only a hootin-and-hollerin’ idjit in front of him suggesting that he commit a version of self-flagellation.
SNORT SNORT LET’S GIT DRIVIN!
Seth hasn’t moved, but he’s beaming, and somewhere the penis of dead Nero is getting erect as Dustin does the math. He has OBLIGATIONS. He has MADE DEALS. He has a wife and kids and there are THINGS THAT NEED DOING. And SOON. The earliest flight is FOUR DAYS AWAY. Four. His eyes are soooo distant. He’s pondering the possibility of blimp travel. He’s calculating the effect of sleet on trains. For a second, he considers killing himself just to get away from me.
«This is too far to drive, though.» He says. «Like, I wouldn’t even drive this far with Seth. I don’t think I’ve driven this far with my wife. I don’t think I’ve ever driven that far with ANYONE.»
I say nothing. I do not move. I do not blink. I am a stone golem. Seth chuckles.
And then Dustin sighs.
«Okay, fuck it.» He whispers, barely audible. Resignation to a horrible fate. «I guess we’re driving.»
I’m over the moon. Because I love Dustin and I feed off his natural tension like Wensleydale and by god: I LOVE A GOOD ADVENTURE.
«I LOVE A GOOD ADVENTURE!» I yell.
«I’m fucked.» Dustin says.
Seth is now just fully laughing at Dustin’s misery. It’s all great. Dustin is looking at Seth pleadingly, like «is there anything you can do?» Like maybe Seth could just choke me with my SXSW lanyard or something. He’s waiting for Seth to say «this is a bad idea» or «whoa whoa, I’d think twice about this, guys» but Seth says nothing. Instead, he starts to raid our Press screening passes for the movies we were supposed to see before Dustin’s worst nightmare came true. «You fuckers won’t need them.» You can take the scavenger out of Philadelphia but you can’t take Philadelphia out of the scavenger. Here’s the picture Seth sent me when I first asked the Overlords to check the quality and fit of Pajiba gear. «Mine fits great.» He said.
That’s who he is.
Dustin and I pack up in silence. I am elated. He prays for the sweet embrace of death.
Now we’re ready to go. Dustin is facing his fear like the Persian emissary that Leonidas kicks into the hole in Sparta. He KNOWS he’s going in that hole, and he knows I’m gonna be the one to kick him into it, but goddammit, he’s not going to whine about it.
Dustin is out in the hallway, I ask Seth to just do an extra sweep of the room before he leaves and he says that he usually leaves after Dustin and he always does an extra sweep. These guys have been going to SXSW for nine years with Joanna Robinson and Kristy and a bunch of other good, smart people that I am in daily awe of. This is the first year they let the fucking barbarians into the temple. Seth assures me that he knows the drill.
Before I go, I head over to Seth to give him a final hug adieu, — and this is what I love about Seth, among other things — he has this flash, somehow, of elevated thought where he tetrises the various pieces of mine and Dustin’s personality into a complicated grid, bakes it for the length of the drive and it hits him: wait — this might actually WORK. And the last thing he says, half to himself and half to me, is «Fuck. I kind of wish I was going with you guys.»
With that, WHOOOOSH, the solid core hotel door closes behind me and I catch it like Bruce Lee before it slams, because I AM DAD and somewhere on that floor there may be a baby sleeping and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to be the douche that wakes up a baby like that. The door closes with a tickle, and Dustin and I step into the elevator. The buttons with floor numbers on them are worn and pitted. There’s broken tile around the edge of the carpeting. The mirrored glass portion of the elevator car is blemished with smudges that haven’t been wiped since Cheers was on TV. It’s kind of a shitty but cool, banged up hotel. I press the button tentatively, casually, so Dustin doesn’t start to tic. We ride down in silence. He lets me lead the way.
Me, mighty mighty pathfinder.
Him, catatonic vegetable person.
We have a super-nice Trump supporter cab driver (no Uber or Lyft in Austin!) who switches off Fox news radio as we get into the taxi. He’s affable and makes polite conversation about where we’re headed. He commiserates about the storm and says he heard it was a biggun but he doesn’t know any more specifics about it.
«Well then what good are you?» I ask him. «We were counting on you to know all about it.»
Luckily he chuckles and drops us off outside the rental station without incident. Dustin pays for the cab and pretty much gives the guy a 90% tip. Like, I think it was $ 6.10 and Dustin is like, «and add five dollars to that.» Because he’s a goddamn angel straight from heaven.
If tipping is an art form, Dustin is a finger painter. If tipping is comedy, Dustin is Gallagher. You sense that, in every tip, it’s less for Dustin about finding the appropriate digit of remuneration and more about just leaving a trail of joy and making up for past regrets and generally medpacking the shit out of the universe. He is not restrained, but he doesn’t tip like a bourgeois pig. The shit that guides his tipping comes straight out of the Old Testament. I promise you that if he ever got really wealthy he’d lose half of it to tipping. He’s that kind of person.
For what it’s worth, I would have given the driver two dollars. Because that’s pretty much the baseline. And he’d be damn lucky to get it, too. Fucking Fox News. Mouthbreathing shitshow. To clarify: I don’t hate the driver, I just hate everything that happens to get nice people like him to vote irredeemably cruel people into office. Everyone in my family is that driver.
But, y’know. That’s me.
The young lady who helped us at Enterprise had sherbet hair and pretty much the nicest demeanor and there was no line in front of us when we got there. That’s when the worm started to turn for Dustin a little. Because it was zero hassle, and she walked us outside to get into our car and she’s like «we’ve upgraded you to an SUV» (FRIENDS AND FAMILY Y’ALLS) and Dustin looks at me for the very first time since deciding to murder/drive with me and he’s like a little boy.
«This?» He whispers, genuinely shocked.
Yup. This, I say.
And now the picture in his mind starts to shift a bit. When he was picturing our fate in the hotel room, we were driving in a white-out blizzard in a rusty Renault Le Car stick shift with no radio and one seatbelt that you had to pull from the driver side all the way across to the passenger door.
He had imagined being so close to me he could smell my sinuses. He had pictured us fishtailing on a back road in the deep south and crashing into a crick. But he had not, even once, imagined that this big honkin’ tank would be our chariot of choice.
Our sherbet-haired friend lets us know that Friends & Family comes with all kinds of insurance (FRIENDS AND FAMILY Y’ALLS) and my American Express card comes with a shitload more and after the compulsory walk-around, we are R. T. G.
Dustin is settling into the super-comfy bucket seats of our Buick Enclave and he sees that there’s a built-in USB charger. That had been a concern of ours. And now, that concern was gone. Poof! One less thing. The Universe giveth and Enterprise taketh away.
First stop: Best Buy. I plug it into Waze. Six minutes away.
We pull out onto Colorado Street and stop at a red light near the Texas State Capitol. I take a picture. The first of many.
I do not talk. I give Dustin the minimum information he needs to keep his fraying sanity in check. The quality and comfort of the car has mollified him some. No sense in spooking him with an elaborate plan. I think about that line in Cider House Rules about how thoroughbreds are harder to manage. Dustin is a thoroughbred to me because he’s a prolific writer. It hit me a few months ago that over the last decade or so, I’ve read more things written by Dustin than by anyone else. Homey can fucking write. I need to make sure that’s exactly what he can do on this trip. In the immortal words of Jim Croce, You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
«We’re going to hit Best Buy and get a mount for my phone.» I say, «because I’m not driving that far looking down at my lap and shit. And also we’re going to find you something that you can plug your laptop into.»
To his credit, Dustin is game. He worries that a mobile plug might be priced at kind of a rip-off tier, but then again, what’s his sanity worth? The demanding, always-on never-off business of running a website doesn’t allow for vast windows of him falling into a snow-void. I’m trying to seed the trip with some positives. I feel like those plugs go for like fifty dollars. We decide that a hundred dollars is on the high end, but would still be worth it. Anything under the forty dollar mark would feel like a victory.
The plug is thirty six dollars. Dustin is pumped. And not only does it have an AC plug, it also has a USB port. So now we BOTH get to have charged phones. We pick a phone mount that attaches to the windshield and the whole Best Buy diversion takes maybe nine minutes. I make sure to give them my phone number at check out for the points and in the car, Dustin is set up and plugged in. We’ve tucked these metal plates into our phone cases and now our phones magnetically stick to a small, convenient, elevated arm off the dash.
We are strung tight, as they say, and Dustin has a fully-functional mobile office. We both have wireless hotspots on our phones. He is in the Pajiba mainframe like Oz. Like Neo. Phones are charged. He has INTERNET and we have SIGNAL and the ‘Murican SUV has big-ass cupholders and comfy-ass seats and 7/8ths of a tank of gas (Enterprise records tanks by eighths). I botch Dan Aykroyd’s quote from Blues Brothers, but I get ‘gas’ and ‘cigarettes’ and ‘sunglasses’ and ‘HIT IT’ in there and Dustin laughs, because, despite a world where it feels like fucking morons have taken control of everything, this shit is NOT VERY BAD.
Dustin smiles. The conflicted, war-weary, howlin’-at-the-moon Dustin from five minutes ago has vanished. Now, he’s got a twinkle in his eye that isn’t 100% against this adventure any more. We’re not EXACTLY Chris Farley and David Spade, but if you yarn-walled us, we’d be pretty goddamn close. He nods his agreement. The longest journey begins with the very first step and heaven knows that step is always better if you put an In-N-Out burger in your gullet before you take it.
I drop the transmission lever into D for Drive. Like a bauce.
Dustin clicks his seat belt in.
And like the Blues Brothers, we HIT IT.
(That’s the super boring time lapse of us leaving Austin on Day One.)