seamus mccaffrey’s? more like shameful mccaffrey’s.

Or would it be Seamful McCaffrey’s?  Or maybe Shame On McCaffrey’s (by which, of course, I mean Seam On McCaffrey’s).  Anyway, that’s a place here in the PHX.  The T and I went there last weekend for a little post-old-people-movie luncheon (we saw Iron Man 2 which, was, of course, effing awesome).  Now, there are several Irish-type joints down here in our town.  We have been to one that was awesome.  We have also been to Seamful McCaffrey’s.  So as we wandered around after the movie, trying to decide where to go.  We wanted two things:

  • Food.
  • Beer.

We wanted them both to be delicious.  So we thought maybe we’d go the Irish route because, in case you don’t know, Guinness is a fantastic breakfast/brunch/daytime beer.  Haters think it’s too thick or too dark and use silly adjectives like “chewy”, but that’s just stupid.  Guinness is delicious and refreshing and besides, Guinness is good for you, as the fella says.  So we use the ol’ iphone to get the skinny on the Irish joints nearby, and came up with two.  They had really similar reviews on the ol’ Urbanspoon.  Both were described as being “pretty good” for the most part.  We happened to have stopped to eye these reviews across the street from Seamus McCaffrey’s.  What the hell? we thought.  We’ll go to both of them at some point.  Here we are right now.  Let’s do it.

So we did.  And we wished we hadn’t.  Now, we walked in and the music was a little loud.  Loud and, um, metally.  Now, people like lots of different things.  And that’s ok.  But it is not ok for people to like loud, metally music at noon on Sunday when all I want is a Guinness and some Irishy food like maybe fish and chips.  We should have turned around and walked out.  But we didn’t.  We walked along the too-small bar, under the too-short ceiling.  There were a couple of open seats, but we were informed that they were occupied by smokers who were outside doin’ their thing.  So we realized that the only open pair of seats was in between a BIG dude and a scrawny weirdy.  We should have turned around, maybe acted like we were looking for other seats or going to a table or sitting outside (and why I couldn’t just walk right out the damn door and not feel awkward about it, I have no idea).  But we didn’t.  We sat down next to the big dude and the scrawny weirdy (the T did have a one-stool buffer between her and the S.W.).

So, having made the mistake to sit down, we ordered Guinnesses from the waaaaaaaaay too happy blond Midwestern bartender.  She was not good at pouring Guinness.  I will say two things about this:

  • One fine Sunday morning in Minneapolis, the T and I went to the Local.  We wanted to watch soccer and drink Guinness.  Having been served a Guinness, I was startled by a suspendered, mustachioed man who said, “I’m so sorry, sir.  That Guinness has way too much head on it.  Let me fix that for you.”  So he took it back to the bar and re-poured it.  The whole thing.  He started over from zero because he would not allow an imperfect pint of Guinness.  I think I might love that mustachioed hero.
  • On Saturday, I read a piece in Phoenix Magazine about the 50 Best Bars in the Valley.  Phoenix Magazine typically does a pretty good job of picking out good places.  They included Seamful McCaffrey’s on the list, and proceeded to describe a place that was not, by any stretch of the imagination, the place we had gone to the weekend before.  One of the things they were sure to point out is that the owner, who is actually called Seamus McCaffrey, insists that his bartenders pour a perfect pint of Guinness.  Bullshit, says i am whaleman.

This was not the place that we experienced.  First of all, our Guinnesses arrived quickly.  If you are a drinker of Guinness, you know that if you order a Guinness, you should be prepared to wait a few minutes longer than your companions who have ordered dreck.  Quick Guinness is not proper Guinness.  Guinness with an inch of head is not proper Guinness.

Continuing to ignore all the signs, we did not just chug the Guinness and run screaming into the street.  We sat there and ordered some foods.  Can’t screw up fish and chips too badly, right?  Right–and they didn’t screw it up.  It was fine, as was the corned beef.  But that’s neither here nor there.

Having ordered some food, I turned my attention to my poorly poured Guinness.  However, the guy next to me decided to talk to me.  This was not good.  This guy might have been mentally challenged.  He told me all about how he had to sober up because he drank a beer but then he found out he had to go to work and so now he had to sober up and so he had to stop drinking so he could sober up and he thought two orders of hot wings might take care of it but the thing you should really do is eat a whole loaf of bread because that’s what he did one time he was serious a whole loaf of bread but that was only because he had 17 shots and then he drank a whole case of beer so he had to eat a whole loaf of bread.

There was a lull in our “conversation,” so I made a point of turning my whole body to talk to the T about whatever.  At this point, the scrawny weirdy is trying to talk the bartender into turning the radio to a country station (the volume was turned down shortly after we sat down).  She can’t seem to find a country station on their satellite radio and offers the Irish channel instead.  This turns out to be choral music.  He doesn’t like that much.  She offers the Flogging Molly station.  He just doesn’t give a damn anymore if she ain’t got no country.

The food comes and the Big Fella starts talking again.  He wants to talk ad infinitum about the expensive liquors he has heard of and seen and he wants to know if the bar has any of them.  This was after a five-minute conversation about whether or not the bar has Red Bull and how much it would cost for him to buy two cans and did they have Red Bull and maybe they had Red Bull but could he buy two cans because he wanted two cans and did they have any Red Bull?  Yikes.  Fortunately the hot wings showed up which helped the talking…but made the sweating so, so much worse.

Anyway, we chowed and guzzled and got the hell up outta there.  The lesson here?  Don’t ever go to Seamus McCaffrey’s.

auuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggghhh!

On Tuesday, I linked to a couple of really sweet videos showing some British guy’s amazing parkour moves.

Today, parkour died.  That’s right, it died.  It ended.  It’s over.  Parkour, despite all of its inherent awesomeness, can never be cool again.  For there is now an MTV parkour show.

I know…you think I’m kidding.  I really wish I was.  But no…there is a show called MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge.  It’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.  It’s so ridiculously, retardedly contrived.  There are two MTV douchehounds hosting it (natch) and teams of parkourers (?) competing against each other…and then in the finals, the teammates compete against each other for individual honors on a completely contrived (yep, again) parkour course.

Now, maybe I don’t know shit about parkour (true), but I’m pretty sure that the whole point of parkour is being super awesome and doing gymnastics without looking gay.  MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge does not succeed in either regard.  It is not awesome and the dudes (the hosts mostly) look totally gay.  In fact, this entire experience has led me to pen this letter that I will be sending to MTV tomorrow (or whenever I get around to it):

Dear MTV,

One time, you were cool.  You showed music videos, which are awesome.  Everybody knows that’s not your bag anymore.  That’s not my complaint.  Well, it is…but not in this letter.  Everybody knows that MTV is now a network filled to the brim with silly crap.  Some of this crap is–OK, screw this.  I was trying to be friendly, but I can’t any longer.

MTV, you suck.  You suck harder than anything that has ever sucked before.  Why are you trying to ruin parkour by Americanizing it and making it appeal to your douchebag audience?  I hate you.  I hate you so much.

Love,

yer old buddy i am whaleman

ps. The Dudesons is pretty sweet in lieu of its daddy, Jackass.  At least you did one thing right.

a nifty world cup graphic

This is pretty spiffy, right?

They evaluate the World Cup squads based on each nation’s population, GDP per person, and experience.  And then they put it all together in a nice, pretty package.  Also, the World Cup starts in 28 days.  Yer old pal i am whaleman is downright giddy.

i am whaleman: matchmaker

If this person:

married this person:

then they could be Mr. and Mrs. Raef and Rae Frantz-LaFrentz.

a kid story

Oh, moppets.  Always saying the wackiest shit.  One of the things that happens regularly in the first grade classroom where I work is that students are offered the opportunity to make announcements.  Many kids really have nothing to say at all, but that of course does not stop them from talking.  One of the most popular announcements kids will make follows this format: “I saw ______________ at ________________.”  One of the kids said that one day (I believe they had seen a classmate at the grocery store) and that story has since proliferated in several different iterations.  The validity of each of these is in question, as the student making the announcement often does not know if the person saw them, and often do not recall where it was that they saw the person.  Basically, one of them told that story and now many of them repeat it.  Every day.

This being the case, announcement time is not always terribly interesting.  In fact, it is generally terribly not interesting.  Fortunately, this is not always the case.  The other day, a student told a story that was not boring at all.  For the purposes of this story, we’ll call the kid Cletus.  Oh, and we’ll call the teacher…um…Teacher (it wasn’t yer old pal iamwhaleman, it was the actual first grade teacher.  Yer old pal iamwhaleman is an aide).  So Cletus started telling a story about how he likes to go to Mexico to visit his grandma.  I didn’t hear the first part because I had been lulled to sleep by two stories about kids seeing other kids in places.  But I woke right up when I heard Cletus say that he likes to go to his grandma’s house because his rooster lives there.  His rooster, eh?  Yeah, his rooster lives there and his grandma takes care of him.  His rooster is nice and he has a knife on his leg.  Sometimes, when he goes to his grandma’s house, he and his grandma take his rooster and they go to have him fight.  Yes, that’s correct, Cletus was telling a story about going to a Mexican cockfight.  So Teacher tried to divert from the discussion of cockfighting as several other students started to chime in about watching roosters fight when they go to Mexico to visit family.  Teacher started asking Cletus about his grandma again and about where she lived.  Cletus started talking about other animals that his grandma has:

  • Cletus: She has a horse and a cow and a burro and some other roosters and chickens.
  • Teacher: Oh, does she live on a farm?
  • Cletus: No.

Ah, May-hee-co.

youtubetuesday (highly recommended viewing edition)

Ah, I came back just in time.  I know some of you out there ignore the youtubes that make their way onto iamwhaleman, but you should really watch these.  This guy is ridiculously awesome.  I’ve seen some sweet parkour guys before, but this guy?  Yowza.

That was last year’s video.  Here’s this year’s:

Reminds me of the time that Doug was parkouring through the streets of Minneapolis.  Such a weirdy.

dinosaur mcdonald’s

So we moved, right?  We did.  And here we sit, two weeks later, almost completely moved in.  One of the things that makes moving in complete is getting cable and the InterWebs…and Hey!  That happened on Friday!  The big positive of that for yer old buddy iamwhaleman is that I can now sit here in front of my teevee and blog it up instead of having to resort to going to places like the library (shudder shudder) to use their InterWebs.  Good stuff, right?  Anyway, this, in theory, will allow a return to the heyday of iamwhaleman, which you may remember from a few weeks ago when yer old pal iamwhaleman was churning out the goods on a fairly regular basis (and on a related note, how many “iamwhaleman returns to blogging” posts does this make it for yer old chum iamwhaleman…5?  Those are the kind of stats that I need.  Get on it, WordPress).

Anyway, as I’m sure you all know, moving is kind of a drag.  It’s not the moving part, exactly…it’s the part that comes around over the next couple weeks as you keep trying to purge crap and find places to put the things you want in your place and all that.  That part sucks.  We are now fully embroiled in that part.  The big problem is that there’s always other crap to do like, for example, going hiking with the Caramel Bacon High School Hiking Club.

That’s right, yer old pal iamwhaleman volunteered (was volunteered?) to be a chaperone on a Hiking Club hike.  Seems cool, right?  Go for a little hike?  It’s not like it’s going with a bunch of elementary school kids where you have to “supervise” them and they “whine” about every damn thing.  Well…no, it’s kinda like that.  Anyway, lots of things seem like a good idea at the time, and then turn out to be…slightly less so.

So here’s how our Saturday went:

We woke up a little before 6 AM.  I know, I know…that time doesn’t exist on weekends.  It doesn’t, really.  Being awake at that time on a Saturday is like accidentally waking up during “the change” in Dark City.  I’m pretty sure I made it outside just in time to see one of the buildings downtown rotating into its resting place for the day.  We woke up that early because we were supposed to be at Caramel Bacon High School around 6.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  We got there real late…around 6:30.  Ugh.  Oh, and we were the second-to-last ones to arrive.  There was a whole slew o’ kids sitting there when we pulled in.  Kids get pumped for hiking, apparently, which is pretty cool.

So we headed out around 7…two vans full of students and one car (ours) full of chaperones.  We drove down to Tucson, which is approximately 122 miles from Caramel Bacon High School.  Our first stop was for breakfast…at McDonald’s.  But this, my friend, was not just any McDonald’s.  This, my friends, was Dinosaur McDonald’s.  That’s right, I said Dinosaur McDonald’s.  Dinosaur McDonald’s, you ask?  Damn right Dinosaur McDonald’s, says iamwhaleman.  But why do they call it Dinosaur McDonald’s, wonders you…and iamwhaleman answers Here’s why:

That’s what you see as you walk into Dinosaur McDonald’s…a big ol’ dinosaur…for some reason.  But wait…there are more dinosaurs:

You know, the babies.  Why are there dinosaurs at McDonald’s?  Well, who the hell knows?  But the place is called Dinosaur McDonald’s.  For real.  There’s even a “Dinosaur Museum” inside.  No pictures of that…sorry.  Anyway, so that’s how the day started: Dinosaur McDonald’s.

So we got back on the road and headed up to Mt. Lemmon, a popular spot for hiking and such.  We drove out of town and headed up the mountain on the way to the Butterfly Trail.  We dropped off the students and three of the chaperones at the trailhead, and then took two vehicles to the ending point of the trail.  And then we hiked.  The first half of the hike was pretty groovin’…a long descent into a valley with a cool spring at the bottom.  We took a little break, and then moved onward.  After starting the ascent back up the trail, we, um…lost the trail.  We found a plane crash (really!), but we lost the trail.  Fortunately, the T ended the trail-searching that was going on and we headed back and she found the real trail (my hero!).  This is where the hard part started–you know, the UP.  Now, if you’ve ever gone hiking before, you know that this is where the hike starts to turn less than fun.  And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, let this be a warning to you all; when taking a bunch of inexperienced hikers hiking, it may be a good choice to avoid challenging routes of 7+ miles that involve several thousand vertical feet of climbing.  Just so you know.  But everybody kicked some butt through the tough stuff and we all made it back to the peak of Mt. Bigelow (where we had parked the cars) relatively unscathed.  We headed back to pick up the other vehicle, and we all got in our vehicles and started to head toward Tucson Mall for a lovely dinner of whatever the hell you want (Food Court + Kids = Less Whining).  One of the vans did not smell right, and not because of all the sweaty beasts inside!  Zing!

So we pulled over at a little wayside and popped the hood.  It wasn’t too difficult to locate the sense of the stink; there was some belt that seemed to be fraying and some gaskets that we figured were supposed to hold the belt on that were, well…not.  So that’s bad news, right?  Well, never fear; there was a Sheriff driving by who stopped to check it out along with some weird guy who was super-helpful.  They concurred that the van was FUBAR and its driving day was done.

So we call up to the PHX to dry to figure out what to do.  We get ahold of some guy from the district office, who tells us that they’ll go ahead and send us a new van.  Now, to be 100% clear, here was our timeline for the day:

  • 6:00 AM: Arrive at Caramel Bacon High School
  • 7:00 AM: Depart for Dinosaur McDonald’s
  • 9:00 AM: Arrive at Dinosaur McDonald’s
  • 10:00 AM: Head up to Mt. Lemmon
  • 11:00 AM: Start Hiking
  • 4:30 PM: End Hiking
  • 6:00 PM: Solicit advice from Sheriff on what to do
  • 6:30 PM: Get in touch with The District
  • 9:00 PM (scheduled): Get back to Caramel Bacon High School, having had dinner at the mall and driven the 120-or-so miles back up

So let’s pick it up a bit before 7.  The decision has been made that The District will be sending a new van down and picking up the busted van.  Our job is to take the good vehicles (full of kids) down the mountain to our Tucson base, Dinosaur McDonald’s. So we do that, while the T and two other chaperones hang out up on the mountain with the other kids.  After dropping off the students, the van driver heads back up to pick up everyone else.  So we chill at Dinosaur McDonald’s.  I mean, sure, everybody digs the Dinosaur McDonald’s, but for 2+ hours (and for the second time in a day)?  Eh, not so much.  I mean, there was this to look at:

That’s right, apparently someone stabbed the dinosaur’s eyes out.  No reason to fix that, I reckon.  So we hang out at the Dinosaur McDonald’s.  Such good times.  The rest of the crew shows up.  A whole bunch of other kids keep flying in and out of the PlayPlace, participating in some sort of ridiculous scavenger hunt.  Just another Saturday night at McDonald’s, I reckon.

So we wait and wait, realizing that the District folk were probably not busting their butts to get down there.  Finally, a little after nine, the guy showed up driving a flatbed truck.  And on the back?  Not another van.  Oh, no.  He brought us a short bus which, of course, all the students found hilarious (which was funny to me, because most of them were not native English speakers; apparently jokes about short buses bridge all gaps of culture and language.  So nice to find those common bonds between different people; we all make fun of slow kids).  So we got the short bus off the van and pointed the District guy in the direction of the mountain and the broke-down van.  We loaded up and headed out around 10.

We drove ahead and rolled into the parking lot about 5 to midnight.  Van #1 arrived around 12:15.  The Short Bus, having dropped off several students (I know, right?  An official Caramel Bacon short bus dropping kids off at their houses after midnight on a Saturday night?  Now THAT’S comedy!), arrived around 12:40.  We finally got home around 1:00 AM.

I can’t say I knew that’s what I was in for when I agreed to chaperone a hiking trip, but hey–it was pretty awesome anyway!  How else would I get to spend many hours at Dinosaur McDonald’s?  I can’t imagine I would, really.  The most disappointing part of the trip, though?  Looking for Dinosaur McDonald’s pictures and discovering that this used to stand out front:

Who in the hell would make that go away?  So sad…